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Sunny the growler...

975 Views 4 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Thracian
Hello all!

I'm hoping someone can give me some advice. I have a poodle which I adopted about a year ago. The vet said he is about 7 years old and super healthy. He is a miniture that is arguably the cutest dog in the universe (but aren't all poodles? :tongue: )

Anyways he has a problem which I feel may become serious very soon. He growls at every member of my family if they touch his back or crowd him. By crowding him I mean attempting to pick up/ hug him/ put both arms around him. However, he remains very friendly and affectionate even seconds after growling. I realize this MAY be a sign of aggression that I fear MAY lead to biting. This is my first dog ever so I'm trying to be a good friend but also remain a good owner. I would love some advice as to what this growling might mean or what I can do to correct the behavior if it is indeed a precursor to something worse. Thanks all!

-Joey and Sunny
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645 Posts
Well I would first do a vet check to make sure he is not in any pain when being picked up Once the vet gives the everything ok then I would call in a trainer to your house so they can see exactly what he is doing.
Does he have a safe spot he can go to where he is left alone? Crate, bed , corner of the couch that once he is there nobody bothers him or touches him?
You can call him off or out but he should have a spot that is his time out spot and same thing if he is bad you can have a time out from him by having him stay there.

My personal thought is he is being a spoiled brat and it worked once where he growled and got left alone so he is trying it more and more.
Some NILIF would probably help as well right now to remind him where he belongs in the family.

they sit before you open a door, never pet if they nudge you but have them do something first sit, down ,shake a paw.
Down before they get dinner, before water.
Basically they must do something for you before you do something for them.

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3,412 Posts
I agree - don't let any growl go undisciplined - just a touch and a word or sound that you would use to correct. My Ginger does that and is corrected every time but she still does it - she has fear and this might be your dog's problem also. Ginger will jump if touched unawares but then is ok - she is just so fearful. But I don't try to soothe her I correct her - my word is "out" and a touch. she knows - they are so smart.

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26 Posts
Actually, I wonder if Sunny is growling out of fear rather than being spoiled. I rescued Cupid, and he is very skittish of touch. He prefers it on his own terms, which I have accepted. He's now very loving toward me--he'll cover my face with kisses and come to me for hugs and pats--but there are times when he'll still back away. And he backs away from other people.

So my question is what do you know about his history? Maybe touch wasn't a positive thing for him. If that's the case, then you need to help him understand that people can be a source of joy, not pain.

What I do is let Cupid come to me. And give him lots of praise and treats when he does. I do the same when he goes to my parents and other people. Let him go at his own pace.

Do you think fear might be a motivating factor?

Thanks for rescuing, by the way.
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