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I'm new to this forum but I think it's a great place to ask questions! My toy poodle is nine months old and appears very loving and playful but there are times when he growls. For example - today he got hold of something he shouldn't have and growled in a very mean manner when I tried to take away from him. I'm confident he would have bitten me if I didn't distract him. Is this normal behavior? Is he acting in animal instincts? Will this get worse as he gets older? Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated. Otherwise he's a loving poodle.
 

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Funny you should post about this cause just last night our standard has started the same caper. He was on the couch and I went to sit down and asked him to move, which he didn't so I pretended to sit on him and he growled very seriously at me. I continued to sit down and told him no and he stopped. We did this over and over again (about 5 times) until he didn't growl at all, but I was surprised to say the least.

He doesn't do it when I take anything away from him, and I rub his muzzle regularly while he is eating and never heard a peep.

My feeling is that this is not normal behaviour and it's certainly not something which will be tolerated in my house. Your pup will not grow out of it, in fact is he is allowed to get away with it it will only get worse. I am not a dog trainer, and someone will be along shortly I'm sure to give us some more ideas but I will be doing the distracting thing with T, get him to do something else correctly that I can reward him for. Last night I didn't think he would actually bite me so I just made him put up with what I was doing until he decided that growling wasn't going to get him what he wanted which was for me to stop.
 

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Blue Fox is right! You need to nip it in the bud and correct him. he will not grow out of it - he thinks he is the boss. ginger still does it after all the training we have been through. But she has this fear thing - and no body can touch her when she is comfie - except me. Not good.
 

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I always thought,that the tiny dogs naturally have a tendency to be a bit more vocal about their likes and dislikes.
We had a little Maltese ages ago and she could turn into a rottie...all 7 lbs of her.
Having said that,it's best to nip it in the bud and let her know,that it won't be tolerated.
Gunther only growls when he is startled from his sleep.
 

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agreed spoo fan on the smaller dog comment. I had a chichuahua growing up that ws mild mannered enough, well kinda, but he would eat you alive should you cross him. Not the best dog for a 4 year old, but lets say my reflexes are quick for avoiding bites and I learned all about body language before I could write my name thanks to Pixie.

As for the correcting, I think that would be a big mistake. Yo don't EVER "punish" a dog for growling, by all means don't hold back if a dog bites you but don't ever try and teach one NOT to growl. The growl is your warning that a bite may be on the way if you correct them for growling you have eliminated your warning system and good job you now have a dog who will bite without any warning at all. Theres no fixing that in most cases.
The growling you discribed in your post is NOT a dominance behavior and has nothing to do with your dog thinking he is the boss. That is called resource guardining, dogs who live in packs and are low on the pecking order still growl and threaten a higher up over a someting they are guarding. It doesn't mean they think they are alpha in any way, it means they don't want to give up whatever it is they have willingly.

You need to teach your pup, sooner rather than later, 1) nothing in the house really belongs to him and 2) It's ok if you take something away from him - I use the cue "Thankyou" when I take something from my dogs. Other peole use words like give or drop it, you get the idea. I taught my dogs the cue by always trading whatever I had for whatever they had. For instance, if a dog snatched a dish towel, (which happened last night) and took off with it and I was teaching him with the "I'll trade ya" method I would get either one of his favorite toys which I keep put away most of the time or a treat and get him to trade the iteam he has for whatever I have. You wouldn't like it either if I just walked up and took your diamond ring away from you would you? But if I offered to pay you for it you would be more willing to give it up right?
I also play tug games with my dogs where I will give the cue for drop it, agian in my case it's "Thankyou" and win the tug game.
I also teach leave it, if I say Leave it the dog's know that they are not to touch or pick up or eat whatever I've told them to leave. Leave it used to be a huge deal whem I live with my mother. She had a habit of droping her meds on the kitchen floor and the dogs would go for it. Leave it was the very first thing taught to new puppies.

Honestly if you make training a game, reguardless of what you are training, you dog is likely to learn much faster and be happier about the process. Children are the same, ever see a kid in preschool learning something through a teachers cleaverly devised game? It's the same thing. School is always in session at my house, by products of being a trainer maybe, but the point is any time we play a game we always add a few sits or downs or waits or whatever in.

As for teaching dogs that nothing in the house is really theres with the possible exception of a crate or special bed it's really more a mind set and lifestyle than an actual lesson. I control all good things in my home. I know which toys are my dog's favorites and they only get those toys when I am around. I keep all the really good bones for myself too, agian they only get those when I am around and I give them out. Food comes from me as well, as do treats. Nothing in my home is free. There are some toys that the dogs can occupy themselves with when I am busy, I'm not an idiot after all and don't want them tearing apart my new house. I keep toys in groups of five or six and change the group every two weeks or so. That way they don't get bored with whats out for free. Their favorite toys I use for training, or games that I am directly involved in. It is rare that those toys are left out for the dogs to play with whenever. Among the toys that ARE left out all the time, there are some old favorites and second favorites. But the extra special toys are mine. Not sure if thats explained very well, but there ya go.
 

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Well.

I do not discourage growling itself since it is the warning that they plan to bite if pushed further.

What I do is simply find a way to get what I want without getting bit.

My last miniature poodle, who had a toy dad would be a demon if he had something he wanted and I would never put my hand to be bit to get it.
I learned to throw a magazine or something towards him until he was clear from the object to get it.

Some dogs are more apt to have this trait than others. My two dogs now, a maltese and a min poo would never in their wildest dreams growl or snap me.

Never.

But....yes.....a growl is a warning to you! In dog language.
 

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I am in two minds about this! I see what your saying Wonderpup that it is a precurser to warn that a bite may follow BUT biting is not acceptable either and I don't want a dog that would even consider that I was a target for a bite so therefore there is no need for the growl.

The dog must willingly give up whatever it is couch, food, toy whatever without having a display of warning me that a bite may follow if I proceed with what I am doing. There will be no bite, the dog should not even consider that as a follow up option and therefore there is no need to warn me!

My shepherd would die with his leg in the air before he growled at me for anything. He willingly gives what I ask without any need to let me know he is not happy about it; probably cause he is happy about it :smile:

No in this house growling at people is not acceptable behaviour especially if the dog is asked to do something he doesn't want to. I am all for replacing and we say "thank you" as well in exchange, we also practice "nothing in life is free" if you want what I have you will do something for it and I am the giver of all things wonderful. I think it is simply more training on my part, we obviously have not developed a strong enough bond that this behaviour is considered acceptable by the dog.
 

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Blue Fox is right! You need to nip it in the bud and correct him. he will not grow out of it - he thinks he is the boss.
Quoted For Truth : )

It will only get worse too, and soon he'll control you,and you`ll be the one sleeping in the crate :banghead: haha
 

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Neither growling or biting is allowed in my home towards any humans. I can understand a dog growling at a unfamiliar person that is not family or friends (plumber, electrician, etc) but never at any of us including kids. If the dog is uncomfortable with behavior, noise, etc then it needs to walk away.

When a puppy has attemped to growl they get put on there side or back in a submissive position while who ever they growled at stands over them until they are completely calm. That show's the puppy/dog who's the leader, doesn't hurt them and its not harsh punishment. That goes for whatever they growled about. A dog/puppy should never attemp to growl at the pack leader's....ever!
 

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I think you misunderstand my statement Jen, I don't accept growling or biting in my home at us or at guest in our home. However, you can't correct the action you have to correct the cause. Otherwise you've defeated your purpose and in most cases that I have to deal with you have taught your dog that you are dangerous and maybe derseve to be bitten, which is just as unacceptable as the origional problem of resource gaurding.

As for your above statement about a dog or puppy never growling at the pack leader that is simply not true. It does happen. In addition to that, if an owner is going to buy into the dog pack school of thought in it's traditional sense and, which I'd advise against since YOU are not a dog, it might be worth noting that in an actual dog or wolf pack a pack leader isn't a leader forever. Leadership changes as the pack memebers grow and mature, younger dogs challange and win higher spots in the pecking order, older dogs get grow weaker and unable to hold their positions or die and so changes are a fact of life. This is the major problem with that thought to begin with, and the reason it is so unpopular with expereinced trainers.
So why then, knowing that, can somebody think that a younger dog wouldn't attempt to challenge a superior at some point in their live? This goes for humans as well. When dogs go through adolescence and their "teenage" stage they often challenge their human family as well as other dogs in the household if there are any. It is how we respond to these challanges that makes the most difference. To each his own opinion but I personaly feel that squashing a dog in the name of dominance is over the top and does a lot more harm than good. Which sadly is contrary to what most of the adverage owners think. On the whole the average tends to lean toward people feeling totaly justified teaching through fear and pain in general and specificly in cases of percieved agression.
If you teach your dog to be afraid of anything about you or your behaviors you are asking for trouble.
 

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I really think a growl is a blessing.

Better to have one before a bite than a bite without warning.

Of course.....it is no fun dealing with it and brainstorming what to do about it.
 

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I think you misunderstand my statement Jen, I don't accept growling or biting in my home at us or at guest in our home. However, you can't correct the action you have to correct the cause. Otherwise you've defeated your purpose and in most cases that I have to deal with you have taught your dog that you are dangerous and maybe derseve to be bitten, which is just as unacceptable as the origional problem of resource gaurding.

As for your above statement about a dog or puppy never growling at the pack leader that is simply not true. It does happen. In addition to that, if an owner is going to buy into the dog pack school of thought in it's traditional sense and, which I'd advise against since YOU are not a dog, it might be worth noting that in an actual dog or wolf pack a pack leader isn't a leader forever. Leadership changes as the pack memebers grow and mature, younger dogs challange and win higher spots in the pecking order, older dogs get grow weaker and unable to hold their positions or die and so changes are a fact of life. This is the major problem with that thought to begin with, and the reason it is so unpopular with expereinced trainers.
So why then, knowing that, can somebody think that a younger dog wouldn't attempt to challenge a superior at some point in their live? This goes for humans as well. When dogs go through adolescence and their "teenage" stage they often challenge their human family as well as other dogs in the household if there are any. It is how we respond to these challanges that makes the most difference. To each his own opinion but I personaly feel that squashing a dog in the name of dominance is over the top and does a lot more harm than good. Which sadly is contrary to what most of the adverage owners think. On the whole the average tends to lean toward people feeling totaly justified teaching through fear and pain in general and specificly in cases of percieved agression.
If you teach your dog to be afraid of anything about you or your behaviors you are asking for trouble.



Ummm....nothing I stated was directed at you or your training techniques. I never said a puppy willl not growl because they are learning. At least 2 of my own puppies have done this when learning and thats how I correct. They have never continued this behavior afterwards. Since I have owned multiple Amstaffs and Pit Bulls this behavior has to be nipped right away. Any other breed should be as well but we all know what people think when a bully breed growls. Any potential aggressive behavior is something I have zero tollerance for when its concerning with my dogs. This is all my opinion on what has worked for my family of dogs as well as training techniques of other proffessional's. Not every professional trainer uses the same techniques and I understand that. With that being said I was not directing ANYTHING at YOU or what you believe to be the proper training techniques.

Also, just because I lay my dog down and wait for them to submit doesn't mean it's being mean or making them fearful. I don't have to be a DOG for my dogs to realize who calls the shots in our house hold. The 4 legger's find there place with in each other, and we are the pack leaders. Im not sure why that would bother you so greatly anyhow.
 

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I certainly feel there is a bond not quite strong enough with the poodle yet. He undersatnds that I am the leader but he also wants to challenge it as Wonderpup I think said he is the young dog throwing out the challenge. He should respect me and my wishes without questioning or indicating he is not happy with the request. It has only been this once and I will certainly be keeping an eye on any further developments. I think with more obedience training the trust/bond will be strengthened and he will not continue with this type of behaviour :smile:
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Many thanks for all your input. I will take a firm stance with Jersey and hopefully things will improve. This is a great site to exchange information!
 

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Growling Reply

My male, unneutered, growled at us at a little over a year old when we had to inspect his rear end for poop. He also made a motion to bite although he did not follow through nor did I push it to that extent. This happened on two occasions.

He has done this a few times,just a growl, not even very distinctive when being touched near his rear or one time for seemingly nothing at all. Previously he has only growled with the other male when playing or trying to take over a toy.

We have tried to handle him more and get him used to all sorts of contact.

We did bring him to the vet to be sure there was nothing wrong with him.
I do feel that any dog that bites its owner always has the potential to bite and can not be a pet in my home. I woudl never want anything to happen to an innocent party and if the dog can bite the owner certainly a less important person to the dog is at greater risk.

That being said, with no insult to anyone who wants to live with that uncertainty, he has seemed to get over what was hopefully a stage and things are going well.
 

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Ummm....nothing I stated was directed at you or your training techniques. I never said a puppy willl not growl because they are learning. At least 2 of my own puppies have done this when learning and thats how I correct. They have never continued this behavior afterwards. Since I have owned multiple Amstaffs and Pit Bulls this behavior has to be nipped right away. Any other breed should be as well but we all know what people think when a bully breed growls. Any potential aggressive behavior is something I have zero tollerance for when its concerning with my dogs. This is all my opinion on what has worked for my family of dogs as well as training techniques of other proffessional's. Not every professional trainer uses the same techniques and I understand that. With that being said I was not directing ANYTHING at YOU or what you believe to be the proper training techniques.

Also, just because I lay my dog down and wait for them to submit doesn't mean it's being mean or making them fearful. I don't have to be a DOG for my dogs to realize who calls the shots in our house hold. The 4 legger's find there place with in each other, and we are the pack leaders. Im not sure why that would bother you so greatly anyhow.

I agree 100% with Jenn about not tolerating any types of growling ! I don't care what breed of dog you have it should not growl or try to bite you. This is the problem with many dog owners they think GROWLING at the owner is ok !!! I REPEAT IT IS NOT OK FOR YOUR OWN DOG TO GROWL AT YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If you do not correct this you will continue to have problems period ....

I have own a Rottweiler, German shepherds, Samoyed, maltese/poodle mix none of them growled at me. I been training dogs for over ten years I am not certified yet ( but will be later this year :tongue:) I tell all of my clients and family and friends that you need to lay down the rules with your dogs.

Being a pack leader does not = fear in your dog , if you have created fear in your dog you are not using the right energy to correct them. None of my dogs coward in fear when I corrected them. With the Rottwelier she would bite anyone she did not know. My uncle trained her as a guard dog. She was trained to be the biggest baddest dog to any challenge to her yard or family. She was aggressive dominate to people she did not know. She called all the shots on who she wanted to bite. This was all when she was living with my grand parents. I took her in and trained her within a month or 2 not to bite! she was not fearful of me. She was shown that I call the shots on who is welcome in my house.

You have to really understand dog behavior to make certain methods work.
 

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I agree with Wonderpup. Trading is the right way. I used it with Puzzel Jr as a puppy and it works even now as a grown up. And he has never been difficult in that matter by the way. I can take is food away when eating without any problem. But if he takes something harmful I always use trading to avoid accidents .
 

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I agree with Wonderpup. Trading is the right way. I used it with Puzzel Jr as a puppy and it works even now as a grown up. And he has never been difficult in that matter by the way. I can take is food away when eating without any problem. But if he takes something harmful I always use trading to avoid accidents .
I also think trading is a good idea when a puppy/dog takes something thats not for them. Why not trade your shoe for their favorite bone. Thats a pretty obvious solution to curve that kind of bahavior. Even food aggression is completely avoidable if you properly train your dog from the beginning. I have always put my hand in all my dogs food and I remove there food while there eating. That should be a pretty basic training technique for every pet owner..IMO. I feel the real issue isn't what techniques are best for training but more what the human's allow as acceptable behavior from the beginning and if leadership is established. If you let a dog get away with a behavior (growling for instance) and later realize, the growling is happening more often now or its progressed to a nip, suddenly the its a big concern. If people would correct this from the begining there wouldn't be a growl, nip or bite. It doesn't matter the technique you use. Assessing the growl as a negiative behavior that's not tolerated is easy in my eyes.
 
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