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Dog starting to growl...help!!!

(10 Posts)
mrscraig Fri 11-Nov-16 08:16:32

After some advice please as been reading up on the Internet and sooooo many mixed methods.
My 18month old spaniel cross who, up until now, has been a delight and well natured has started growling...mostly at the children when approached whilst he is on the sofa.
He seems to be guarding. This has never been a problem before now, but clearly is developing into one.
I believe now I need to get him off the sofa to re establish boundaries but what is best way to do this..? I realise it was a mistake in first place to allow him on the sofa but would really appreciate some advice on the best way forward.

He is also ball obsessed and can get aggressive towards other dogs when he has his ball. When he doesn't, he's absolutely delightful and will play with and approach dogs happily. I don't want to ban the ball but any suggestions of what I can do to make him calm down with it..?

Thank you smile

DanielCraigsUnderpants Fri 11-Nov-16 09:38:37

First of all take your dog to the vets to establish whether there is any medical reason why he may be showing aggression.

If you're able to get advice from a good qualified behaviourist I would probably make that investment now at the earliest stage rather than get advice on the internet, because we cant see what might be causing the issues from behind a screen. Dog behaviour is influenced by so many things and each dog is very different. SO that would be my advice. Good luck with it

mrscraig Fri 11-Nov-16 15:01:04

Thank you for that
Will have a look online.
Any other suggestions/advice will be greatly appreciated in true meantime..!

Ylvamoon Fri 11-Nov-16 15:08:08

First, ball obsession, just don't take the ball to the park.

Growling, best thing to do is kick him off the sofa and "shush" him into his basket when he does it. This way, he will learn that growling is not tolerable. If you just refuse to let him on the sofa, he might look for something else to "claim"- rather than learning, that "his house" belongs actually all the humans and not to the dog.
To underline, the fact, that the sofa is yours, you can "shush" him off every time you want to sit down & only invite him on if it suits you (e.g. evening when kids are in bed).
I gather, your dog is male and of medium size, which means, he is in his late teens trying to "establish" himself as an adult - hence the go at the kids. (My dog - medium sized- didn't settle till he was about 2 1/2while my girls settled at around 12-18 months).

Depending on your children's age, I would also encourage them, to do a bit of "work" with him. With your supervision, they could give some basic commands (your dog should already know) like sit, down, ... and give a treat. In doggy language, the one with the food, is the one with the power...

With a bit of doggy sense, from your side, he will learn quickly & you safe yourself a lot of money and heart ache.

gratesnakes Fri 11-Nov-16 15:28:13

Have a read of this:

grishastewart.com/resource-guarding/

gratesnakes Fri 11-Nov-16 15:29:29

It's quite normal and fixable I think. Good luck! Hope you get your friendly dog back soon.

tabulahrasa Fri 11-Nov-16 15:33:07

" best thing to do is kick him off the sofa and "shush" him into his basket when he does it. This way, he will learn that growling is not tolerable. "

Absolutely do not do that.

Growling is a good thing, it's a really obvious communication from your dog - if you teach him that growling won't be tolerated he may just skip it and move straight to snapping and with no verbal warning.

Dogs that are taught not to growl are potentially very dangerous dogs.

mrscraig Fri 11-Nov-16 16:32:59

Thank you for the advice
Today I've been keeping him off the sofa - when he jumps on, I've been calling him off and giving him a high value treat. He has then been sleeping on his bed. Will need to make sure though he doesn't transfer the guarding to the bed. Thought I (and the kiss) will approach with food to the bed so he can see we are not a threat if we go near.
He has been quite nervy recently too - today when I took him for a walk, he got very skitty and barked when a man walked past us, which he hasn't done before.
I'm hoping this is a phase.
There seem to be a lot of differing opinions regarding growling and this is why I am desperate to get it right!!

tabulahrasa Fri 11-Nov-16 21:51:35

I was in a bit of a hurry earlier, but I just wanted to get the don't ever tell a dog off for growling thing on here as soon as I could.

So a bigger post. smile

You want to build on the rewarding him for getting off of his own accord, with resource guarding you need to make sure you're not teaching him that actually yes he does need to guard whatever because it will be taken off him, so don't turn it into a battle of wills, teach him that it's way more rewarding to be on the floor.

I'd lure him off then praise and reward, then give it a command and go from there until he's reliably getting off whenever he's told.

The ball and other dogs is very easily managed, just don't have both going on at the same time.

With respect to the bed and the DC, I am genuinely unsure that that is the right approach as yes, you want him to be ok with them walking nearby, but on the other hand his bed should be his space where he's not having people invade it.

I do think a behaviourist could be the best idea for you, just with the combination of him staring to be a bit guardy over things and children...

mrscraig Sat 12-Nov-16 07:07:01

Thank you
Really great advice - the article was very interesting too.
Will keep you posted as to how it goes...

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