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New growling issue between Boo and Jemma..

September 16th, 2005, 10:48 PM
This is actually kind of funny but it bothers me at the same time. Jemma has always been dominant over Boo. She keeps him in line (she even stops him from going in the garbage).

In the past couple of months, Boo has figured out that if he growls, she leaves the room. So now, he uses it all the time. If she's blocking a doorway, he lets out this little grunt and she moves out of the way. If she's on the sofa and he wants a turn, he grunts and she gets off and he gets up.

I tell him no growling and I get him before he moves her when I am close enough to catch him, but it doesn't stop. It's like he figured out that this works with her and now he's abusing it. :rolleyes:

He is fine otherwise- I can do anything to him, take anything from him, as can perfect strangers...

The problem is, Boo never growled before this, so I haven't trained him to stop and it's so sporatic that it's hard to enforce... Jemma, on the other hand, has been trained from Day 1 not to growl or snap at him, so I'm afraid that she won't really defend herself. It's fine when I'm home, but if I'm not, is it safe to assume she'll defend herself?

And another question: how do you correct something that is so sudden and quick? It's a short grunt and then she's up and he's asleep. It's really hard to catch, especially if I'm not in the room...

September 17th, 2005, 01:42 AM
How old is he? It sounds as if he is taking over top dog position between them. As long as she submits every time it shouldn't turn into a battle but if she doesn't you may have a fight. Just because Jemma was there first or she is older doesn't mean that the position is hers. Just make sure that he doesn't try to also take over yours. You can correct the growl but I am assuming that they are loose when you are not home so you wouldn't be able to stop it all the time unless they were kept apart during this time. Is Boo usually vocal in other ways?

September 17th, 2005, 10:45 AM
Boo is the "strong silent type". He never makes a peep other than this and the occasional barking when there is a potential intruder.

I say Jemma is the dominant one because she is- she's older than him by a little bit- she's going to be 5 in December and he's going to be 5 in May, and we got her second but she is just much much more naturally dominant. She's more agile than him and she can still flip him on his back if she needs to while he has never been able to do that to her (and she does it often). She's a pretty high strung, crabby husky lab mix, and Boo is a big clumsy, very laid back either newf pointer mix or Dane pointer mix...

In the beginning before I knew to feed Jemma first and then Boo, Boo started to get all dominant on her (or at least he tried), and he was terrible at it. Some dogs can be dominant easily and others become total a**es when they do it. Boo was just constantly bullying her and annoying her. So we switched the food order and we were very clear about it and that all ended. He was just awkward as the dominant one.

Could it just be a little give and take between them? Because last night, I was petting Jemma and she was growling at me (Jemma purrs at night when you touch her), and Boo got up and left... Maybe it's just their weird aggressive way of communicating?

Lucky Rescue
September 17th, 2005, 11:47 AM
It's fine when I'm home, but if I'm not, is it safe to assume she'll defend herself?

I don't think you really want to find out, so it would be best to separate them when you're not home.

Growling is a warning that if not heeded can result in an attack. If a dog is not allowed to growl, he might go directly to the attack.

It sounds like the social order is changing, and as long as both dogs are clear on the rules and okay with it (Jemma heeds the warning) it should be okay.

September 17th, 2005, 02:38 PM
Well, neither has ever bitten the other, with or without growling. They get along pretty well otherwise... :)

September 17th, 2005, 03:02 PM
It sounds as if he is taking over top dog position between them.

Age, sex and who was there first has nothing to do with who is top dog in the house even if their humans try to set up their order. They can also change places.

September 17th, 2005, 03:08 PM
Boo just sucks at being dominant. He becomes more of a smart a** than anything else. I just hope I didn't screw things up by stopping Jemma's growling...

September 17th, 2005, 03:37 PM
Don't worry but if they are changing orders without conflict everything should be fine, just let it happen. It is still your job to keep both in order.

September 18th, 2005, 06:28 PM
You will notice that Jemma might be in control over certain parts of their life together and now Boo is stepping in at other times. Dogs can go back and forth in their dominance over the couch, or toys, or food...etc.
Personally we have never bought in to the feed one first over the other, or that people must eat first. The dog who eats first is the one who checks in with me and respects my position. Firsts eyes gets first food. In all the years of raising dogs it has worked just fine.
As Lucky says growling is not all bad - it is a form of pressure that Boo is applying. Jemma respects him enough to do as he asks - that's okay. Our dogs will growl occassionally at each other and we do step in to correct the bad manners. It's as if our teenagers were bickering - I will step in and guide them into better behavior.

September 18th, 2005, 08:13 PM
But if he grunts and she moves, what do I do? I mean, I can stop him growling, but if I move her, then he wins anyway. You know what I mean? If she doesn't move, he'd just walk over her and make her growl at him... No matter what I do, he will still want to get by her and she'll still have to move to let him...

September 19th, 2005, 12:09 PM
You have 2 choices - you can ignore it since it really isn't causing harm to anyone or you can stop it. The only risk you run is that if she decides not to comply he might get grumpier.
You aren't trying to interfere with his dominance over her but you are telling him it is rude to growl and not to claim ownership over YOUR couch. When you do this you correct his growling and make him back away from the couch and don't let him up. You are saying it isn't his couch to tell others what to do it is YOUR couch and you say who can be on it. You might want Jemma on the couch with you and "too bad, so sad" for him.
Quick question - have you noticed other changes in her behavior at all? He might be picking up on something - a weakness - that you haven't noticed yet.

September 19th, 2005, 12:25 PM
What do you mean by a weakness? The only weakness she has is that once you get to know her she loses her dominant, confident exterior (or as her previous owner called it "happy-go-lucky"), and she becomes more and more submissive and fearful. It's like she is very comfortable being dominant but she's still very scarred and insecure.

September 19th, 2005, 12:42 PM
I think its more like the bully on the playground - could be a softy at heart but if he doesn't trust you then he's all fists and threats. I think she is stepping up to the plate to be tough to keep the world away and keep herself safe. But once she trusts you her true personality comes through and she's a wuss (how do you spell that?).
How long have these 2 been together? He might have just figured her out and now is brave enough to call her on it.
By 'weakness' I meant that she might not be feeling well and isn't up to the task of holding her dominance over him. It's easier to submit than to argue.

September 19th, 2005, 12:54 PM
No, she's healthy as heck. A bit of allergies, but nothing unusual for her...

They've been together for 3 years now... I think Boo might be getting confidence he's never had. Now that we're in the house, you should see him- all protective and alert- he's never been like that before.

September 19th, 2005, 06:49 PM
Theres the change that we were looking for - new house. He has new territory to protect and is stepping up to the plate.

September 19th, 2005, 10:50 PM
LOL You make it sound like moving here made him grow his testiclees back... :D But I get what you're saying... I just don't like him as the dominant one. But I had a small breakthough yesterday when the smoke detector went off and Boo was scared out of his mind-- not that that's a good thing, but Jemma got to see him all vulerable and it gave her a boost...

It's really sad- when the detector goes off, he is SURE that we're going to beat the crap out of him. It's like sad Pavlov- no food, just beats. It's horrible to watch him cower. I sit there with him till the detector stops chirping, stroking his face sooooo gently. Poor Boobs.

September 19th, 2005, 11:38 PM
wow...jemma and Boo sound like my parents lol oh too funny!
She's probably nagging at him in doggie language lol

ok but i hope it gets solved ;)

September 20th, 2005, 01:12 AM
LOL Funny way of putting it jiorji. :D Jemma's crabby 99% of the time, so I never thought to associate them as grumpy old folks. Besides, they're only 4...

September 23rd, 2005, 08:27 PM
I know this too well. Everyday is a battle in my house for top dog. My 2 labs are 6 months apart in age. Bosco will be 2 this month and Chester will be 2 in April. You can't pet one without the other budding in. But they are 2 huge sucks and know there place in our home. Bosco is top dog most of the time, except when Chester swipes his toy or bone. We had Bosco from 9 weeks old and Chester when he was already a year old. That makes a huge differnce as well. Chester's previous owners didn't pay much attention to him so he can be destructive. Bosco on the other hand loves to be touched, patted and played with, always by my side.
When the fight begins for top dog, they figure it out on their own. No need to interfere unless you sense one could be in danger. Barking and growling is normal when dogs play.

Chiceh :crazy:

September 23rd, 2005, 09:06 PM
Barking and growling when playing can get your dog in a whole lot of trouble if another dog sees it as a threat. Like everything else dogs don't automatically know how to play well, they need to learn the rules of play.