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Puppy didn't recognise me - growling

(13 Posts)
Howdoesjuliancope Mon 13-Jun-11 10:54:18

second post in as many's a steep learning curve!

Anyone got any ideas about a funny incident that happened yesterday?

I came downstairs after a shower, probably looking and smelling a little different (in bathrobe, wet hair etc) and our 10 wk old puppy - who has been with us for a week - began backing away and growling.

I wasn't worried initially and just spoke to her as I normally would and pottered about. After a few minutes we were alone in the room and it was obvious that she still didn't recognise me so I sat on the floor a good way away, ignoring her and reading a book, and occasionally tossing a little treat her way.

After half an hour of this she approached and took a treat from my hand, gave me a little lick, and then skittered away again, still grumbling. So even after getting that close, she still didn't recognise me.

I then went and got dressed, dried my hair etc and got the usual welcome.

She often fails to recognise DH if he is wearing something different (suit, pyjamas, jeans etc) but then I pick her up and introduce her to him and she realises who he is.

Normal or a bit odd? Anything I can do to help her with this? Did I do something stupid to invite it?

2T2T Mon 13-Jun-11 11:46:31

awwww - I know you wanted advice, but that sounds so cute smile. Hope you get some answers though

Howdoesjuliancope Mon 13-Jun-11 12:18:55

Thanks 2T2T...I hope it is quirky and cute rather than a deranged precursor to chewing my arm off grin

Spamspamspam Mon 13-Jun-11 12:51:19

Our pup did this with my husband once, it was very weird. He came into the kitchen wearing shorts and she went mad, hiding between my feet and barking and growling at him. He realised straight away and just got down on the floor and said "it's me, silly, it's me!" she went straight to him wagging her tail etc.

Another time a friend of ours came out into the back garden and Maggie thought it was my husband so went running over to him, wagging and smiling and only when she got close did she realise it wasn't husband at all!

midori1999 Mon 13-Jun-11 13:14:58

It is normal and one of the reasons we need to socialise puppies with all sorts of people, people wearing crash helmets, hats (like postmen!) and people in all sort of situations and uniforms etc.

I would be careful not to make too much of a fuss though when she does this as you could easily accidentally encourage it. Maybe make sure that next time you are in a towel looking similar you are coming down to give her breakfast or something.

Also, make sure she is getting out for plenty of socialisation, even if you need to carry her. That extra week with the breeder makes a huge amount of difference, more than you'd realise, even if the breeder has made a huge effort to get her out and socialised, although it sounds like maybe this hasn't happened.

CoffeeIsMyFriend Mon 13-Jun-11 13:17:57

I was going to say similar to Midori.

You need to 'flood' your puppy with socialising.

Take it to school, sit outside a coffee shop and just let the world go by. It is very very important.

ExitPursuedByAKitten Mon 13-Jun-11 13:19:46

My puppy did this when I first took him on holiday to the caravan. When I got up the first morning he growled until I spoke to him. He is nearly 4 now and sometimes fails to recognise me if I am wearing a hat.

Elibean Mon 13-Jun-11 13:20:28

And its normal - my dog once had hysterics (barking, growling) at my grandmother, when she wore a shiny black rainhat.

Come to think of it, my dd used to look at me as if she didn't recognize me when I had wet hair after a shower - as a baby. not for long, and she didn't growl, but still shows how confusing change is to little ones!

2T2T Mon 13-Jun-11 13:45:25

i must say, i do think this all sounds very cute! How funny that they don't recognise you grin. I thought they relied on scent confused

Howdoesjuliancope Mon 13-Jun-11 14:18:28

Thanks everyone...interesting that I could accidentally encourage it Midori, hadn't thought of that.

I have been doing major, constant, uber socialisation for the past week and will keep going with that in the hope it helps her to 'catch up' on those extra weeks at the breeders (suspect socialised with grandchildren as seems OK with kids but probably not with other adults as they freak her out).

midori1999 Mon 13-Jun-11 15:03:32

I don't think it's so much a case of not recognising someone as that they don't associate that person with a hat/towel on their head or whatever.

Lots of dogs 'learn' to growl as when they are puppies people think it's 'cute' and so laugh and then pick them up and cuddle them or somehow accidentally reinforce the behaviour. One of the reasons smaller dogs are often so yappy.

TarquinGyrfalcon Mon 13-Jun-11 21:18:01

One of our dogs would bark, growl and back away if someone familiar was wearing gloves or a hat.

We did lots of socialisation (and lots of wearing of gloves and hats in all sorts of situations) and she was fine.

DogsBestFriend Mon 13-Jun-11 21:35:40

Sounds very familiar. My 8 yo GSD is clearly uncomfortable with me when I wear my reading glasses. He's been here a year now but it's only fairly recently that my sight has become so (infuriatingly!) bad that I need to wear glasses almost every time I need to read/use the PC.

GSD is a rescue dog and lived from a pup to age 7 with a lone mum's family then went into kennels. The kennels boss sometimes wears glasses (and GSD is very ill at ease with him, not that the poor man has done anything unkind to him!) but his main carer was the rescue owner's partner who doesn't wear glasses and with whom he is fine. I can only put my dog's dislike of spec-wearers down to lack of being accustomed to seeing them.

I agree too that you should be cautious of encouraging the behaviour. Just as you're not advised to make a fuss of the dog who's scared of firework or thunder noise you should IME act as if it's nothing to get worked up about by carrying on as normal.

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