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Thread: Still Growling getting worse

  1. #1
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    Default Still Growling getting worse

    Abby is 20 weeks old now and she is has become very independent, which is fine. The problem I'm still having is when my daughter or I pick her up she growls. It is very similar to the growling she does when we play but I dont think she has the same intention!

    We have told her firmly NO when she does it, occasionally if I say to her ok girl I'm going to pick you up and move you now, she's okay with that.

    It almost a habit now that I really want to break!

    BTW we are starting obedience training classes on April 10th I hope this helps.
    xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo
    Cristina, Maci and Abigail
    xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

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    I'm sure your training class instructor will have an idea of how to handle the growling. Maybe having a treat in your hand when you call her to you, and then pick her up. I always tell my puppy "up" and then pick him up- he is 16 weeks old.
    Jato - Blenheim, Nov. 2007
    Zoey - Ruby, June 2008

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    I would start by seeing your vet and making sure she isn't growling because it is painful for her to be picked up. Once you eliminate that, then it is time to start working on this as a behaviour issue. Obedience -- a good positive methods class -- should help. But also consider that many dogs do not really like being picked up.

    Also: how are you and your daughter lifting her? By the front legs? this can be very painful for a dog. Many people lift small dogs by the front legs as if they were children or cats and had arms that articulate like human arms. This isn't how they are built. They really should be lifted by fully supporting chest and lower body so legs are not dangling. Maybe too you are picking her up too much -- not sure how old your daughter is but kids can mean well but really make a puppy anxious and fearful by constantly wanting to carry them around. I wouldn't recommend a child under 10 or 12 be lifting and carrying a cavalier puppy around anyway -- interactions where lifting is involved should be with the child seated so the puppy isn't raised too far off the ground. A puppy needs its space respected too and if you happen to have a dog that dislikes being lifted, then don't lift unless really necessary. One of my dogs is not a fan of being lifted and carried and never looks very happy when I do this so I keep such interactions to a minimum.

    Anyway just a rang of things to think about. A growl is a dog's polite way of saying 'I really do not like this'. The fact that she is better when you give her a phrase that she knows is an advanced indication you are going to lift her, suggests she is a lot happier when not startled by suddenly being swept up. I'd also be considering why she isn't happy being lifted rather than try to force a dog to be carried.

    PS Never scold a dog for growling. This is a dog's polite warning before more serious action! If a dog is taught it is wrong to growl, it is confusing to the dog -- who is trying to be polite! -- and she may just go straight to biting without issuing a warning growl first. As noted above, she has a reason for growling and you'll need to figure out what that is.
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Jaspar Lily Tansy Libby Mindy
    In memory: Lucy Leo
    Cavalier SM Information site:www.smcavaliers.com

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    Thanks for the sage advice. I will consider all you have said.

    Most of the time I am picking her up because I want her to come and she doesnt. My daughter is 9 and loves her to bits, I have asked Sarah to tone it down and not be on her so much, I hope that will help.

    Last night the pup was on my bed and I wanted her in her bed for the night and when I asked her to get down she barley moved, I asked her againand still no response, so I went to pcik her up and she growled, I backed away and went back again and again she growled. So I just left her there and moved her when she was sleeping.

    So I belive part of the growling is not because it hurts or she is uncomfortable, I think it's a power issue. My take on it...I could be wrong, this is my first puppy in a loooooooong time
    xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo
    Cristina, Maci and Abigail
    xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

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    Quote Originally Posted by cricket865 View Post
    Thanks for the sage advice. I will consider all you have said.

    Most of the time I am picking her up because I want her to come and she doesnt. My daughter is 9 and loves her to bits, I have asked Sarah to tone it down and not be on her so much, I hope that will help.

    Last night the pup was on my bed and I wanted her in her bed for the night and when I asked her to get down she barley moved, I asked her againand still no response, so I went to pcik her up and she growled, I backed away and went back again and again she growled. So I just left her there and moved her when she was sleeping.

    So I belive part of the growling is not because it hurts or she is uncomfortable, I think it's a power issue. My take on it...I could be wrong, this is my first puppy in a loooooooong time
    IMO-- this has to be stopped. NO puppy should be challenging an adult human, and YOU backed off.
    Part of the reason I never have this issue is that I raise my own pups. From early on they want my touch, and during housetraining they love the praise. I make sure when they are weeks old that I can hold them any way I need to, even in very submissive poses. I give them things and I make sure that I can take things away-- NO growling-- tho with some, I have to raise my voice to get them to let go of cow ears or tendons.
    Obedience class is a good place to learn how to be in control. I am very glad you are taking her. It can actually strengthen the bond between owner and pup. Good luck

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    I know lots of people on this board think Cesar Milan is the devil incarnate. I don't think he's 100% right or 100% wrong, but I would probably agree with him on one thing in this particular situation -- if she doesn't want to be moved, and you start to pick her up and she growls, you back off, hesitantly try again, she growls again, and you end up leaving her alone as a result, then she definitely has learned a lesson that you probably don't want her learning. Namely, "If I don't like something, I can growl at that human and as a result they will leave me alone." That type of thinking could possibly have repercussions later with things like nail clipping, grooming, etc., depending on the dog's temperament. I'm sure others will disagree, but that would worry me personally. Of course, if the growling is a result of pain upon being picked up, then that's a whole different thing, as Karlin said.

    I know that growling is a desired warning from a dog that is about to bite, but I think that a dog that is only 20 weeks old who is growling as a warning when they don't like something perfectly reasonable from their adult human (like moving them from one place to another) would concern me.

    We had all sorts of behavioral problems with Daisy as a pup, some normal, some probably on the very extreme end of normal, but they were all related to very, very rough play on her part (like you would not believe!). However, she has never once growled at me as a warning (nor bitten me except in play). She has growled at the kids a time or two, with good reason. We worked with the kids a lot before and since getting Daisy about a dog's signals and what they mean, respecting those signals, etc. But occasionally, they overstep and she growls at them. I don't have a problem with growling in that situation at all. In fact, it prompts another discussion with the kids about respecting a dog, so I'm perfectly fine with that. She growls all the time in play, and I love that because it is so obviously for show.

    Good luck -- I hope you get it all sorted out soon. I know how stressful this kind of thing can be. I would probably try to rule out the possibility of pain upon being picked up, really watch her signals and your behaviors that prompt them, and then if you decide it's a problem, I would talk to a trainer. We did and it did help, although as I said Daisy's issues were mostly puppy related, and part of the solution was just growing up on her part.

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    We have had some problems with Willow. Such as growling, possessiveness etc.

    The techniques of Cesar Millan make sense to us - we are trying to implement them - and must say we are having great results.

    Suggest that you watch the Dog Whisperer, and remember that you have a dog and not a child. Parenting skills will not necessarily work with a dog.

    Good Luck.
    Simon and Shirley
    Guinness (12yr Tri) - Willow (2 1/2yr Ruby) - Bailey (1 3/4yr Blein) -Tarmac (departed B&T was 10yr)

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    This may sound really obvious, but instead of physically lifting her when she may not like it and you want her to come....show her a treat and tell her to go to bed. Give her a treat when she comes. Then encourage her to get into her own bed ( a crate?) and give her another treat. Pups, especially pups of that age, can have independent streaks and decide they know better. It's up to you to show her the behaviour you want and encourage it with lots and lots of treats.

    Although definitely get her to the vet too..
    Holly - 7years
    Amber- 3 years

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    A couple of things are coming to mind here and they have all been mentioned above by others.

    First there is the issue of whether Abby is in pain or being caused pain and that must be ruled out.

    There is the issue of whether you are giving Abby the message that you are not in control. A dog will certain take up the role of alpha if it thinks its humans are not capable of doing the job. The bed situation is a classic. She got up there, told you that it is her bed & you obeyed her by backing off & leaving here there. That can not continue.

    Lastly, a topic that is a little uncomfortable & yet must be addressed. Is it possible your daugher is roughing her up when you are not looking. Young children sometimes do not have well developed skills for handling small animals. Some even deligh in tormenting an animal.

    So my steps would be:
    a) a vet check
    b) attend some obedience classes with her
    c) buy her a nice comfy crate for her to sleep in where she feels safe & also understands her place in the pack.
    ~ Sam, Sonny & Beau ~

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    Last night the pup was on my bed and I wanted her in her bed for the night and when I asked her to get down she barley moved, I asked her again and still no response, so I went to pcik her up and she growled, I backed away and went back again and again she growled.
    But she is only 20 weeks old. This is expecting the response of a far more mature and trained dog. This is like asking a 3 year old to go get ready for bed and expecting them to remember the whole sequence of undressing, putting on PJs, washing teeth face and hands, getting in bed -- by themselves. Or asking your 9 year old to solve an algebra problem before going to bed.

    At this age I would not expect any such response. Instead, make things fun and help her learn the basics of training (basic fun groundwork ONLY!) you will cement later by proper obedience. Go and get couple of tiny treats, and then LURE her off the bed with that yummy promise. Most dogs cannot be expected to seriously and consistently respond to a cue alone until they reach 9-12 months --many trainers do not do any serious structured training until 6 months at earliest, and even then it is only generally to do some playful basics -- that is why many trainers do specific 'puppy classes. Puppies like kids have brief attention spans and short term memories and go thru many phases of forgetting or rebelling against training before they reach age one. They don't have the capability of remembering commands and what they are supposed to do every time! She is still just a baby.

    So keep in mind what you expected of your daughter at age 3 or 4 and put it in a dog context. Lure Abby down cheerfully with a treat right before her nose, saying 'off' (never down! as this means 'lie down') as she comes down give her lots of praise and then the treats (but a young pu[pp[y should not be expected or allowed to jump off a high bed either...). Make it fun and rewarding. Right now you are doing the equivalent of military academy training for a toddler -- they are not going to get it, they just are not mature enough, and what she hears is a command she doesn;t remember and then someone grabbing for her. Think Barney and the 'cleaning up' song!! She needs motivation, she needs it to be fun, and you need to just keep in mind how young and tiny she is.

    I would wager the root of this problem is that Abby is getting very exasperated a being picked up a lot by a small child. Kids don't always understand puppies are not toys and don;t like being handled constantly and played with constantly. This is too stressful for her and she has learned growling is a good technique to get results when she doesn't want to be handled again. It is clearly working! She has no idea that you only want to put her on the floor so she is growling at you too. A 9 year old IMHO needs to only be having controlled interactions when you are there and should never be picking up a puppy and carrying it around.

    I am not saying it is acceptable for a dog to growl in normal interactions -- but I think she is stressed and growling for a reason. Saying 'no' to her for growling only means 'don't growl' which in turn risks having a dog go straight to biting instead if it feels under pressure. You don't allow growling inappropriate situations, but here, you 1) figure out why it is happening in the first place. If it is stress from a child -- then you, the adult, need to restrain the child around the puppy; the puppy is only conveying its unhappiness. I do not think this is aggression at all 2) guidance -- reward proper behaviour, which mens your puppy needs to know what behaviour is good, which means the puppy needs to be in situations it enjoys where it can be rewarded and praised for the polite behaviour; 3) don't make the dog discipline your child -- an exasperated puppy, tired of being carried around, my growl. You need to be there every time your young daughter interacts with that puppy, it needs to be controlled, how she holds the puppy needs to be checked, and I'd limit her to lifting him at most a few times a day and this should be in supervised interactions with her sitting down, not carrying her around (imagine someone lifting your daughter to a height 8 times her own height -- how terrifying is that? Make the intercations less stressful by having them happen when children ar seated and calm. The puppy needs to learn -- and should be able to EXPECT -- that interactions with your daughter will be pleasant. Which means reducing handling activities (picking up) to a minimum and reshaping these interactions so your pup LIKES rather than FEARS them.

    Please have a read of these:

    http://www.deesdogs.com/documents/Th...oneHandout.pdf

    http://www.deesdogs.com/documents/ch...dogs%20doc.pdf

    Especially:

    Starting Off Right
    Following are some guidelines to help you start off on the right foot. Remember, small children
    should never be left alone with a dog or puppy without adult supervision.
    Holding:
    • It's safest for both your child and puppy if your child is sitting down whenever he wants to
    hold the puppy. Puppies are squirmy and wiggly and may easily fall out of a young
    child's arms and be injured. If held insecurely, a puppy may become frightened and
    snap or scratch in response. After your child is sitting, you can place the puppy in his
    arms.
    • Have your child offer the puppy a chew toy while he pets the puppy. When puppies are
    teething, they tend to chew on everything, including hands and arms, so having a chew
    toy handy will divert the puppy’s teeth away from your child. An added benefit is that
    the puppy will come to associate pleasant consequences (getting a treat) with being
    held by your child.
    • For larger dogs, have your child sit in your lap and let the dog approach both of you. This
    way you can control your child and not allow him to get "carried away" with pats that
    are too rough. You are also there to teach your new dog to treat your child gently.*
    Petting and giving affection: Children often want to hug dogs around the neck. Your dog may
    view this as a threatening gesture, rather than an affectionate one, and may react with a growl,
    snap or bite. You should teach your child to pet your dog from underneath the dog’s chin,
    rather than hugging him or reaching over his head. You should also teach your child to avoid
    staring at, or looking directly into, your dog’s eyes.
    Giving Treats: Children tend to become somewhat fearful and anxious when a dog tries to take
    a treat from their hand. This causes them to jerk their hand away at the last second. The dog
    may then jump up or lunge to get the treat which may result in the child being knocked down.
    Have your child place the treat in an open palm, rather than holding it in his fingers. You may
    want to place a hand underneath your child's hand to help guide him.
    Supervising Play: Children move with quick, jerky movements, have high-pitched voices and
    often run, rather than walk. All of these behaviors somewhat resemble the behavior of prey
    animals. Almost all of a dog’s play behaviors are based on predatory behavior. Consequently,
    your dog may respond to your child’s behavior by chasing him, nipping at his heels, jumping up
    at him or even trying to knock him down.At first, your child may need to play quietly around your
    new dog until he becomes more comfortable and calm and your child has gained more control
    over the dog. Your dog must also learn that certain behaviors on his part are unacceptable, but
    he must also be taught what behaviors are the right ones. Our handout: "Dealing with Normal
    Puppy Behavior: Nipping and Rough Play" outlines procedures for discouraging rough play and
    encouraging appropriate play. However, most children under the age of ten are not capable of
    carrying out these procedures, so it’s helpful to teach your dog a "leave it" command that you
    can use when play gets too rough. Taking an obedience class together is a good way to teach
    your dog to respond to commands.An approach that is not helpful is to punish your dog for his
    behavior. If he learns that being around children always results in "bad things" happening to him,
    he may become defensive in their presence.
    Possessions: Your dog won’t know the difference between his toys and your child’s toys until you
    teach him.
    • Your child must take responsibility for keeping his playthings out of your dog’s reach.
    • If, and only if, you catch your dog chewing on something he shouldn't, interrupt the
    behavior with a loud noise, then give him an acceptable chew toy and praise him
    lavishly when he takes the toy in his mouth.
    • Don't give your dog objects to play with such as old socks, old shoes or old children's toys
    that closely resemble items that are off-limits. They can't tell the difference!
    • Dogs can be possessive about their food, toys and space. Although it’s normal for a dog
    to growl or snap to protect these items, it’s not acceptable. At the same time, children
    need to learn to respect their dog as a living creature who is not to be teased or
    purposefully hurt and who needs time to himself .
    If your dog is growling or snapping at your child for any reason, the situation needs IMMEDIATE
    attention. Punishing your dog is likely to make matters worse. You may call our Dog
    Behavior Helpline at (303) 696-4941, Ext. 346 for more information.
    http://www.deesdogs.com/documents/whydogsbite.pdf

    Written for children! See especially:
    Warning Signs
    Watch and listen for the warnings a dog will give you to let you know when he is upset. If his ears
    are laid back against his head, or his legs are very stiff, he is probably warning you that he feels
    threatened and will protect himself if he must. If the hair on his back is standing up, that’s
    another warning. If a dog is growling or barking with his teeth showing, it means he is ready to
    bite. A dog's warning signs mean that you’re doing something he doesn't like, so stop doing it!
    There are many more good resource articles here:

    http://www.deesdogs.com/training.htm and here:

    http://www.diamondsintheruff.com/behavior.html

    Good luck -- and talk to your instructor about these issues when you start your obedience class s I know they will be able to help give you lots of postivie approaches to addressing and reshaping unwanted behaviour.
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Jaspar Lily Tansy Libby Mindy
    In memory: Lucy Leo
    Cavalier SM Information site:www.smcavaliers.com

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