View Full Version : Growling Puppy

Lexie in CA
7th December 2007, 03:14 AM
My Lexie is now growling at us. :( She bites so we pick her up to get her to stop and she growls at us. Oh, and she growls as she bites my pant leg or sweater.

Any advice on how I can deal with this? Or anybody have any idea why she's doing this? Thanks.

7th December 2007, 12:45 PM
Please, please, please get a good puppy manual-- I have recommended getting one by Dr Ian Dunbar. Please do this!! All of these activities are really normal. Puppies growl to try out the various sounds they make. They are normally just playing -- my Jaspar has been a growler all his life and still is and it is all only in play. The only reason she would be seriously growling is if people are simply fussing way too much over her and she is getting unhappy with the attention -- if so, listen to what she is telling you and back off -- give her some crate rest or put her in an exercise pen -- especially if there are kids around, kids can TORMENT a small puppy and under 9s in particular should never be given unsupervised, full access to a puppy (or a dog for that matter!). One final option is that she is experiencing some kind of pain if she is growling in response to being handled. In this case she needs a vet check right away.

But please -- it sounds like you really need to have an informative book that would explain all these basics. You would feel far more confident in dealing with these totally normal behaviours. :thmbsup: Growling and nipping is NORMAL. It is going to go on for some time. Soon she will also start chewing things as well. This is what puppies do! I'd also really, really recommend getting a few private sessions with an APDT certgified trainer who will come inand explain what is going on and how to manage her. This would be a worthwhile investment if you want to keep Lexie. Ypu can find APDT trainers in your area at www.apdt.com. Or, you can directly contact Dr Ian Dunbar's Sirius dog training in Berkeley (they have 19 centres around the bay area: http://www.siriuspup.com/index.html);these are superb dog behaviouralists and trainers. Please do some of these things if you are serious about keeping this puppy.

On the other hand (and very important for your happiness and Lexie's!!): If these things are really, truly disturbing to you, and you are finding this overwhelming, you might want to sit down and talk with the whole family and seriously consider whether you want to keep a puppy -- it may be that returning her to the breeder or placing her through breed rescue in your area (I can give you contacts) and considering an adult dog instead would suit your family much better? Puppies are VERY HARD WORK for the first year of their lives and really do not suit everyone. People usually only discover this after they get the pup or the dog. A lot of the dogs that come into rescue are puppies at about 6-12 months of age where people are just exasperated and cannot cope. It is much better to realise this might not be the right choice now, rather than later, as puppies are always easier to home (or the breeder can place her elsewhere and refund the money for her). It is a difficult choice, I know, but from several years of doing rescue, a lot of unhappiness on all sides can be prevented by taking an early and honest decision.

Lexie in CA
7th December 2007, 04:14 PM
Thanks for the info on Sirius Training classes. They look very informative. I have Lexie in a puppy class, but I don't know if it's very helpful yet. We've only had one class. If after the next couple classes I don't feel like they are helping, I'll definitely enroll her in the Sirius. You are a wealth of information.

I am definitely interested in keeping this puppy. I've just never done this before so I need all the information I can get. I guess this is the way most new parents feel. :o Thanks again Karlin.

7th December 2007, 06:02 PM
I sent you a Pm, but the best book I have ever purchased was written by Barbara Garnett-Wilson, titled: The Cavalier King Charles in fact and fancy. It is more expensive then some books, but I found it well worth the money. I refer to mine alot.

Puppies are alot of work the first year. Libby is now 15 months and she is growing into a fine young lady.

The best advice I can give, is be consistent. Think about what you andt the rules to be and do your best to keep them consistent. If you let them get away with it once, they will try it again.:)

Keep that camera handy, because they grow so fast.

7th December 2007, 06:45 PM
All of Barbara's cavalier books are wonderful.

I feel it is really important for dog owners, especially new owners, to read widely and have at least one good dog manual to hand at all times (there are many theories and many methods of training). I read several books on raising puppies and training dogs in the two month period when I knew I was getting Jaspar and before he arrived so that when he arrived, I had a pretty good awareness of what to expect, how to manage initial training, what is normal and not normal. I must have refereed at least once a day to Shirlee Kalstone's bible on housetraining for the first 5-6 months, for example. :eek:

Now I collect good web links as well and I think every new puppy owner should read every single article in the 'puppy stuff' section here, for a start:


Sirius also has some good articles:


As does Dee Ganley:


I think Dr Dunbar's books area mongst the very best on managing puppies and training dogs. Also anything by Pat Miller (who contributes regularly to the Whole Dog Journal.

You are fortunate to live in the bay area as some of the trainers I admire most live in that region and run training programmes.

Debby with a Y
7th December 2007, 07:12 PM
I'd also really, really recommend getting a few private sessions with an APDT certgified trainer who will come inand explain what is going on and how to manage her. This would be a worthwhile investment if you want to keep Lexie.

I want to heartily echo this advice!!!

I just searched in my area and the first up is the trainer who my boyfriend hired to "fix" his Giant Schnauzer. Rocky is a 6-year-old, 80 pound, extremely strong dog who was totally out of control. After a few bad encounters with the dog, I insisted my bf hire a trainer and this one came highly recommended.

Four private sessions later, and the dog is now in Advanced Obedience classes, he is a different dog. He is still high-spirited and I still don't trust walking him by myself, but I am also attending the classes and amazingly I am able to walk him on a loose lead for several minutes before he acts up.

Bottom line, don't let your dog be 6 years old before you do this...my bf is having to undo 6 years of bad behavior (and on a HUGE dog) but I wanted to emphasize that this trainer has done miracles with the dog and it was well worth the money.

Good luck to you! ;)