Hi! Some of you may know- I have a 15 week old Black and Tan cav! We are crate training him and he is getting that very well. He has only had a few accidents the past few weeks (my fault ) I should have realized he needed to go . Anyway he has been displaying dominant behavior . Every time I pick him up he will growl . It's not a snarly mean growl but a warning . He seems like he will not do this to men and it is usually with me . I also had him in the bed with me ( bad idea) and it got worse when I tried to move him. Any help is appreciated this is my first cav . I know he is healthy and not in pain so be we just had a vet visit and he is healthy! Thank you !
Something does not sound right. True I'm not expert but I don't really "get" the whole dominant/alpha dog/ pack leader ideas....oh I understand what people mean. Maybe because my background is dealing with small children. Anyway, that is a whole other debate. I'm think perhaps either something medically is going on with your baby OR it something you may be unknowingly doing. Sorry, I hate to say that but I really do not believe a 15 week old cavalier is trying to dominate you (just MY opinion). Honestly, I would want to rule out myself first. Especially since you said he does this to you more than anyone else. Make sure your pup sees you before you pick him up maybe you are startling him, or are you always picking him up when he's sleeping or doing something he really likes or wants. Fletcher gets grumpy (and has growled) when its time for him to give up an antler or bully stick. He also is a bed hog and will sometimes growl if I move him from his sleep, I usually pet him and kind of wake him up then slide him over.
Cavalier health is complicated, and its easy for vets even really good ones who have cared for other cavalier in the past to miss something. So if you cannot work this out by changing your actions then a medical answer would be MY next step.
Please let us know and good luck.
Hmm. Yes I guess that might be the situation . He has been to the vet two times and I know she specializes in cavaliers that is why we chose her. He has been given a clean bill of health both times . I suppose he may just be annoyed since it is always when he is comfortable and I need to move him. I will try not being so abrupt and pet him and let him know right before I pick him up. I will try this for a few weeks and see how it works . Thx
I always talk to a resting animal before even going in to pet them. It just lets them know that you guys are going to be interacting, and not to be surprised.
This is not a dominance thing, it may just be that he's unhappy you are disturbing him.
You could ask your vet to check for a potential health issue next time you are in-- but I don;t think this is likely to be due to pain or health in such a young puppy :) and do please put the word 'dominant' out of your mind :) -- especially with a puppy that is only a baby still -- true 'dominant' behaviour is very very rare; almost everything that is (unfortunately) described and often, disastrously treated as 'dominance' is very common, basic dog behaviours. Or to put it this way -- if a toddler snatched a toy from another, or argued with a grownup, would anyone call that 'dominant'? Of course not -- it is behaviour totally expected and fully in line with both age and the fact that the child has not matured enough to do otherwise. Dogs are the same.
If this is guarding behaviour -- EXTREMELY common and NOT dominance :) -- it is however indeed something that needs to be tackled immediately (as an owner training responsibility; it isn't a behaviour or personality problem with an untrained puppy who knowns no better). Your pup is at a very critical age for learning the right behaviours and if guarding begins it can become frustrating and even dangerous. The way to manage it is to train your dog not to be bothered at all by being asked to move, give up a toy, chew, food etc. These are once again all owner responsibilities though (I am going through all this basic training right now too with puppies!) -- a pup/dog that has never been trained kindly and in a fun positive way (never with punishment) to behave as we would wish will simply have no idea what its owner expects and this can add to an increasingly unhappy and potentially fear aggressive, confused dog (though not a 'dominant' dog).
There are very basic techniques for managing this -- do download Dr Ian Dunbar's free book After You Get Your Puppy (see link below). There are also loads of training sheets and guidance at the links pinned in the training forum and all will have information on the basics of puppy training and managing guarding behaviour. There are also many earlier threads on this topic with links to good advice -- so many things you can do. Also your up is at a critical age for puppy socialising classes and a good trainer wil be able to give you fun activities to help address this issue (look for a trainer with CPDT or APDT qualification).
Ian Dunbar book: www.dogstardaily.com/free-downloads
The good news is that this is very easy behaviour to train away from at your puppy's young age. :D
We just got a black and tan also! although we already have a tricolor so this is our second cav. However, he just turned 9 weeks old and he is so talkative! He growls when we pick him up and when we talk to him when hes excited. When he plays with our 2 year old cavalier the two of them are so loud, its so funny. I was worried at the beginning because i thought he might have a little dominant streak in him or something but i think he just thinks that were playing when we pick him up. Hes a very high energy puppy. He only has two speeds, a thousand miles an hour and asleep.
Haha! Well we have discovered that it is just that! He is very talkative and just loves playing. He growls, grumbles , and lets is know what he is feeling! I was worried but now I know he is just talking to us!