Pup growling when disturbed whilst sleepy

(17 Posts)
hmc Tue 22-Apr-14 20:52:06

Last night and this evening 14 week old pup has growled at ds when he petted him whilst he was dozing. Yesterday was a dramatic one - he barked suddenly and quite ferociously as if fearful and startled when ds just stroked him; I imagine he had been in a deep sleep, was disorientated and momentarily didn't know where he was ...but I initially thought he had bitten ds (it sounded dramatic) but mercifully he hadn't

This evening it was more of a considered low rumbling growl as in - get out of my face kid! In defence of ds - he merely strokes the dog, he doesn't poke or similar, ds is a sensible 10 year old.

Pup is laid back, friendly and loving otherwise

Have done some googling and opinion seems divided as to whether it is an issue or not. Some say - how would you like it if you were disturbed in your sleep (s'true - I frequently 'bark' at dh if he tries to cuddle me in the early hours when I am fast asleep) - and say don't wake your dog with physical touch, speak to them first before attempting to move them etc, others suggest that it could escalate ....

So what do you think

basildonbond Tue 22-Apr-14 21:06:41

Erm .. The expression 'let sleeping dogs lie' should give you a clue I'd have thought, no?

Don't let ds touch the puppy when he's asleep and you won't have a problem

SpicyPear Tue 22-Apr-14 21:08:14

I'm firmly in the camp of teaching your child not to touch a sleeping dog and waking with a voice command if necessary. I don't mean this as harshly as it sounds, but dogs are not cuddly toys and when they are sleeping is not an appropriate time to pet them. That is absolutely basic dog handling. Adults and children should respect their space when they sleeping.

I do not agree that dogs should be forced to accept this and would argue that not respecting the dogs space is likely to lead to a stressed animal and potential escalation.

Where was the dog sleeping when it happened?

I firmly believe that dogs should be left alone whilst sleeping. Would you let your child go and prod a sleeping baby? Probably not. So why let them disturb a sleeping dog? I certainly wouldn't go into DS's room in the middle of the night and start prodding him :/

This is another reason I think crates are a good idea. It gives the dog their space to go and chill and you can teach the child not to go there. Dogs absolutely love them - we still have a massive one for my 3 year old lab, tried to take it away and she was restless!

hmc Tue 22-Apr-14 21:43:52

There are all kinds of sayings Basildon - like "spare the rod, spoil the child" which neatly illustrates I think why we shouldn't live our lives by slavish adherence to platitudes hmm

I am an experienced dog owner and this is by no means my first puppy but I have never encountered this in any of my dogs before - hence canvassing opinions. I acknowledged in my op that I personally don't like to be disturbed when sleeping so I am willing to accept this for the puppy - just concerned however in case the puppy has some sort of (potentially escalating) aggression issue

hmc Tue 22-Apr-14 21:45:12

I also think there is a difference between prodding and a gentle caress!

hmc Tue 22-Apr-14 21:46:21

Spicy pear - dog was on the sofa. He does have a crate that he can go to

saintmerryweather Tue 22-Apr-14 21:46:22

some dogs don't like to be touched when sleeping. our dogs are fine with it. if ds must touch the puppy when hes asleep, get him to wake him up by speaking to him first so the dog is not sleepy and disorientated. and don't tell the dog off for growling (not saying you have)

hmc Tue 22-Apr-14 21:52:30

Agree - I know it is not a good idea to admonish for growling.

I guess we've been fortunate with uber laid back dogs before. Happy to accept that pup doesn't like it and have warned dd and ds not to disturb him when he is sleeping. Glad that it's not likely to be indicative of any particular problem.

I'd growl at your kid if they stroked me when I was sleeping lol just tell them to leave him alone when sleeping. Doesn't really sound like the start of aggression to me, it sounds like your dog is pissed off with being disturbed (quite rightly so!)

Also the dog could just have been dreaming - you did mention he was disorientated which is an indication he was probably in a deep sleep dreaming, so I don't think he has aggression, think he was just being a grump but then again can't we all smile

hmc Tue 22-Apr-14 21:55:26

Indeed grin

saintmerryweather Tue 22-Apr-14 21:57:20

the thing is its all well and good to just say don't touch him but sometimes you need to move the dog. he's got to learn to accept it eventually

Puppies have all sorts of funny little phases they go through, I would not touch him for now while he;s sleeping unless Id woken him by talking first and just keep an eye on his behaviour in case it escalates. He could just grow out of it. Our puppy used to do loads of weird stuff he doesn't do anymore

SpicyPear Tue 22-Apr-14 22:09:18

I agree you need to be able to move the dog but it's much better to start training a solid voice command to get them to do so rather than to have to physically move them.

hmc Tue 22-Apr-14 22:13:17

I've just moved dozing pup from armchair to crate for the night by a combination of voice command and treats. I suspect the treats were the deal clincher

hmc If your pup is anything like mine was then treats are always the way to their brain haha! Then again I've got a lab - absolute gluttons smile

affafantoosh Tue 22-Apr-14 23:40:37

The reason people find themselves with dogs with escalating aggression problems is that they don't listen to the dog's attempts to ask for space smile

I think the voice+treats sounds like a solution - and you won't need the treats forever, although producing them once in a while as a reminder that they might be forthcoming is a good plan!

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