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i can't understand my dog

(19 Posts)
thefootofourstairs Fri 01-Dec-17 22:43:38

So , he randomly growls at us
Has done it since we got him 5 months ago
I thought he had packed it in and that it was a settling in thing as there had been no growling for the last three weeks ,
until now , it has started again .

situations when he has done it :
taking his collar off ( fine 9 times out of ten but then takes offence to it)
moving him off my knee
touching his belly ( happily rolls over for belly rubs at other times)
and other similar things .

dh has had him sat on his knee all night , just given him a biscuit and then gently touched his back and told him to get in his basket ( was lay on the rug at this point)
he got growled at . He has never growled at dh in 5 months , until now its been me or ds2.

Have been to a trainer / behaviourist who says its nearly always fear based . I have been going along with that and we have all been careful with him ( the dog) but now i'm starting to feel like he is just being cheeky or dominant . He seems really relaxed with us now . i cant understand why after 3 weeks hes started again confused

He is a nervous dog around strangers and other dogs ( another reason we went to trainer) but he happily lies on us belly up , plays , licks us , chills out . seems really happy .

whats going on ?

dudsville Fri 01-Dec-17 22:53:46

How old is he? It can take adult dogs up to a year to settle. I had an anxious girl and it was always too late to soothe her once she was anxious. I had heard from somewhere at the time that the soft spoken and higher pitched tones of good words released endorphins for dogs, so I love bombed her when she wasnt anxious, saying her name and repeating other words like "good", etc., while doing things she enjoyed, like getting brushed. She became less anxious and was more receptive when I used her name to give her direction. I don't know though what it was, too many variables. Time, the bonding re my voice and good gentle touch. Good luck op.

Runninglateeveryday Fri 01-Dec-17 22:58:20

My dog growls a lot, it seems genuine towards other dogs if they come near her ball (thankfully never bitten) so we leave ball at home now. She growls many many times a day though lots of it is attention seeking eg when running her belly then stopping she growls. When you don't play she growls, touch wood she's never bitten or lunged, doesn't bare teeth.

thefootofourstairs Fri 01-Dec-17 22:59:24

Hes around two years old .
He doesn't seem anxious with us , that's what i cant understand . That and the way weeks can go by with him being fine .
I've removed his collar fine tons of times , then hes taken offence to it , then been fine for weeks and then he has a problem with it again .
i like things to make sense damn it grin

thefootofourstairs Fri 01-Dec-17 23:00:51

how long have you had her running ?
i worry about it escalating .

villainousbroodmare Fri 01-Dec-17 23:00:56

Don't have him on your knee. Don't touch his belly unless he obviously wants you to. Head off conflict situations before they occur if possible.

Otterseatpuffinsdontthey Fri 01-Dec-17 23:04:27

First things that come to mind : could he be in some sort of pain?
If he's being allowed up beside you (I.e. on the couch) + previously just growling at you and your son - now progressing/escalating to your husband - could be dominancy issue?
What breed/age? Do you know any of his history?
Wouldn't be leaving him, unattended, with children.
Disclaimer - hope this is helpful (but have consumed 2 large glasses of wine!)

villainousbroodmare Fri 01-Dec-17 23:10:40

PP's use of the word dominance will mislead somewhat but certainly if an animal is unable to gracefully yield resources, they should not be able to access these resources - e.g. furniture access, toys, bones etc.

Runninglateeveryday Fri 01-Dec-17 23:16:36

She is 4.5 years old had her since she was a puppy, she's always done it. Hopefully it won't she seems to do it for attention, does it when she needs a wee and it's dinner time. She's quite vocal !

TheLuckDragon Fri 01-Dec-17 23:20:32

My dog used to be extremely aggressive and we had all sorts of behaviourists tell us what to do etc but it turned out she had severe problems in her back legs and she was in tremendous pain. The aggressiveness (she even bit my DH in the face once) was as a reaction to the pain she felt when we touched or moved her

counterpoint Fri 01-Dec-17 23:27:25

My dog's nearly 4 and he will occasionally growl when you take his collar off or give him a hug whilst he's sleeping. It's never led to anything more. I just walk away and leave him to his peace.

thefootofourstairs Fri 01-Dec-17 23:29:05

Villainous , he constantly wants to be on my knee . The minute i sit down he wants to get up . Hes fairly small so it takes him a few attempts to jump up but that's where hes happiest , curls up and goes to sleep .
Otterseat , he runs around energetically , looks fit as a fiddle . can't say for sure but he doesn't look ill or pained in any way and i suppose it would have to be a pain that comes and goes .
Tonight hes spent ages playing fetch in the living room with dh , then jumped up on his knee and went to sleep . Ran after him to the kitchen for his nightly biscuit , lay on the rug after eating it and then growled .
wish he could bloody talk !

thefootofourstairs Fri 01-Dec-17 23:29:47

that's good to know counterpoint .

LaurieFairyCake Fri 01-Dec-17 23:31:51

I think growling is talking grin

He's just saying 'nope, no likey right now'

If WE were sophisticated enough to speak dog we'd know the difference between 'me no likey' and 'omg it's a squirrel' and 'piss off' - but we have to really understand the different growls

thefootofourstairs Fri 01-Dec-17 23:33:12

good point Laurie grin

NoSquirrels Fri 01-Dec-17 23:41:22

What’s important is that he’s communicating with you - even if that’s eff off! - and that you respect that communication.

It’s not the same, at all, but we have a growly cat. She’s lovely, but she’s grumpy & growly. We respect that. Dogs can do more damage, so that’s the difference, but the principle is the same. Your dog is saying that right now I am uncomfortable so that’s important.

Would be easier if they could speak human, though!

dudsville Sat 02-Dec-17 07:03:27

When he's growling what happens with his eyes, teeth, tail and ears? I.e. how is it different to a grumble, which is what I call it when my girl tries to engage me in conversation. One of my guests once confused it for a growl but she just users her vocal cords to chat at times when she saying hello or that she'd like us to go to bed now.

thefootofourstairs Sat 02-Dec-17 19:34:10

i'm no sure dudsville . When he wants something though he does a particular bark , if we don't pay attention to that he then stands on his hind legs and sort of dances his front paws grin
i'm pretty sure the growling is an eff off .

NewBrian Sat 02-Dec-17 21:25:37

It took my spaniel a couple of years to stop growling when certain areas were touched. Sometimes she would change during the middle of being fussed and growl (as you describe) and as the trainer said, that’s a sign it is nerves. Have also had a very growl job that was just ‘talking’ but doesn’t sound like your dog is doing that.

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