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Puppy Growling

(7 Posts)
vigglewiggle Wed 02-Jan-13 23:59:08

our previously placid Spinger Spaniel puppy has reached the ripe old age of 6months and has begun growling. It is mainly when eating and usually when approached, but a couple of times he has just growled the whole way through eating!

He has only done it occasionally but I am worried that he may go on to snap or bite if we don't deal with it. I've read that you shouldn't punish growling, but treat it as a warning (which I am teaching my 6 & 4 year olds). But how to I then stop it from happening, or is it a normal stage for a puppy?

littlewhitebag Thu 03-Jan-13 08:41:54

I think dogs can become very protective of their food. We have always made our lab pup (8mths) sit or down before food and give paws. When she starts eating we make her sit again. During eating we have always touched her and patted her. This has made her realise her food will always be there and she doesn't have to protect it and also that we are in charge of the food. Perhaps doing some of this might help?

vigglewiggle Thu 03-Jan-13 08:59:37

Thank you. The breeder suggested that we petted him when he was eating in the early days which we did and we got the children to do too. He seemed fine so we have left him to it more recently.

He's just had his breakfast and has done low-level growling all the way through. It's a most like an appreciative rumble, but if you touch him it turns into a determined growl.

I got DD2 to give him his food, because she is the main one he growls at and I got her to give him a piece of liver when he growled when she went near his bowl. I have told the children to leave him alone when eating because I'm getting concerned that as he gets bigger he could turn on them.

MothershipG Thu 03-Jan-13 09:14:41

As he gets older his ideas about what he can do will change, in this case he is telling you that he is uncomfortable having people around while he is eating. As a home with young children you can either 100% isolate him or try and help him relax, but I really wouldn't be involving your children in this yet!

I'd go back to basics, do you dry feed? Sit on the floor and hand feed him, use it as a training opportunity, sit, down, paw, make him work for each piece. smile Then move on to feeding from a bowl sitting next to him dropping bits of food in his bowl. Building up to making him completely comfortable having you around while he eats, only then introduce the children.

He's an adolescent, this probably won't be the last bit of challenging behaviour you'll have to face in the next few months! grin

vigglewiggle Thu 03-Jan-13 09:19:53

We do a mixture of kibble and BARF. He is worse the more tasty the morsel! He is a lovely dog otherwise and I don't mind him guarding his food (I'm rather like that myself grin), I just don't want it to escalate.

I will try the hand feeding with his kibble. Thanks.

Paddlinglikehell Thu 03-Jan-13 09:52:43

EXACTLY what Mothership said

vigglewiggle Thu 03-Jan-13 10:19:20

Thank you.

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