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Pup growls when Playing

PetFriendly
November 8th, 2005, 04:34 PM
Ok, so now that I have your attention, here's how the behaviour came about... Over the last couple of visits to my parents house, where my two darling brothers live, said darling brothers have been playing with the dog.

Charley will retrieve a toy you've thrown for him in the hopes of getting a game of tug-of-war out of it. Everyone is clear on and follows the 'don't let the dog win' rule and Charley is quite good with 'let go' once the tug of war game is over so the object can be thrown again for him. It would appear though that while wrestling with the dog, they were pretend growling at him...

So now, if Charley brings a toy to you to play and you lean over and take hold of it, he starts to pull and growls. I am positive he's playing as he'll run before you can even touch what he has if he doesn't want to share (we've made progress here, he used to nip then growl then run, now he just runs and we're still working on it).

can the growling escalate into agression? Is this something I should worry about? In the mean time, I've been stoping the play when he growls but its hard since I have to make sure I also come out holding the toy...

jesse's mommy
November 8th, 2005, 04:42 PM
My parents dog is the nosiest tug-of-war player I've ever seen in my life. She's the sweetest dog in the world, has no aggression to her and no signs of increased aggression. She is about 4 now, extremely playful, but loud. It's just her way of expressing herself. Loves tug of war, loves playing fetch, loves being chased, it just sounds like she's just caught a squirrel. You know she's fine because her tail is wagging the entire time. She also talks when she wants something, no barking, just talking. Sometimes it actually sounds like she says "I want it". Some dogs are just like that. Now Jesse is super quiet when she is playing because she is concentrating so hard (it's rather amusing). So I say, you know your own dog and use your own judgment there. My parents dog's aggression has not increased at all.

jessi76
November 8th, 2005, 04:51 PM
Growling does not always equal agressive behavior, nor will it lead to it. My pup sometimes growls when we play - but I interpret it as "I really like this game" - I KNOW it's not threatening in any way, beacuse of the rest of his body language.

Lucky Rescue
November 8th, 2005, 05:32 PM
It's normal for dogs and puppies to growl when they're playing, especially playing tug.

My dog is over 5 and growls like nuts when I play tug with her.

Dogastrophe
November 8th, 2005, 05:42 PM
All three of mine will growl to certain degrees when they are playing with each other and with me. Little Jack is the noisest of the three. He often sounds like he is trying to kill his playmate. Lucy makes very little noise when playing with the other dogs unless she is playing tug.

Roxy's_MA
November 8th, 2005, 06:02 PM
My dog growls all the time. It is just one of the sound she loves to make. She will come up to you with a bone in her mouth growling at you and tail wagging like mad. Roxy will bear her teeth when showing aggression, and if she growled to show aggression, I am sure it would sound different then the play growl.

PetFriendly
November 8th, 2005, 07:34 PM
All of Charley's body language says "More, more, this is fun" because his tail wags and his ears are their normal floppy self. Its amazing though how 11 lbs can make so much noise, I gues he just has lots to say!

I've never seen him bear teeth (not sure he can with an under bite?!) but he puts his tail down and ears back. And like you've all said, this growl isn't the same as the 'who are you and why are you coming towards my yard' growl.

Thanks, i feel so much better!

tenderfoot
November 9th, 2005, 08:02 PM
Ditto on the 'play growling' is normal and fine. Some dogs just love to talk about it all. We had a Rottie that would sound like he was going to tear your head off when ever you tickled his sides. It was just his Rottie way of laughing. Thank G-D her never ended up lost and in a shelter, had any one tickled him and not understood Rotties they would have labled him as aggressive and put him down. He was the sweetest animal on the planet - he just loved to do his Rottie laugh.:p

Joey.E.CockersMommy
November 9th, 2005, 08:08 PM
Joey growls when he plays with his stuffies, he also growls after "going" on the grass he growls and kicks back the dirt at the same time. He also sometime growls when he eats. :)

toymom
November 16th, 2005, 11:40 AM
Joey growls when he plays with his stuffies, he also growls after "going" on the grass he growls and kicks back the dirt at the same time. He also sometime growls when he eats. :)
our puppy, who is now about 11 wks does this also. I am concerned that it may be agression and I don't want that - I have 3 children. Last night she had a rawhide chew and was growling and I would take it from her when she growled, wait about 20 or 30 sec. or so and then give it back and say good girl and pet her and then take it away as soon as she growled - did this for about 5 min or so to try to let her know not to growl with a chew toy - is this a good idea or not?

PetFriendly
November 16th, 2005, 03:02 PM
our puppy, who is now about 11 wks does this also. I am concerned that it may be agression and I don't want that - I have 3 children. Last night she had a rawhide chew and was growling and I would take it from her when she growled, wait about 20 or 30 sec. or so and then give it back and say good girl and pet her and then take it away as soon as she growled - did this for about 5 min or so to try to let her know not to growl with a chew toy - is this a good idea or not?

Hi There

Your problem is not the same as mine I don't think. What you have is resource guarding, not playing. Your pup is growling because it doesn't want you taking its rawhide away. You'll want to find a professional trainer as this is likely caused by a few things/behaviours that are all fixable but need to be dealt with ASAP.

tenderfoot
November 16th, 2005, 06:42 PM
Definately need to teach this pup some respect and manners. He probably got away with this behavior with his litter mates and it worked so he is happy to try it with you. You as the parent need to teach him that behavior will not be permitted in your house.
Use the 'drop & take it' commands. Get the bone and hold onto it while you share it with your dog - say 'take it'. Let her chew for a few seconds and then point to her nose and say 'drop it' in a short and firm tone. If she resists then gently rattle it in her mouth and make her want to give it up. Having her on the leash during the first round or two will make it easier to empower your words. Each time she is successful at releasing the bone to you then let her have it for a bit longer while you still hold the other end (all things belong to you). As she shows you that she is making good choices then release the bone to her saying 'take it' but don't really take your hand away. Say 'drop it' quickly and take the bone from her. Increase the time that you let her have the bone and gradually move your hand away at a greater and greater distance as she shows you that she is successful. Having the leash on for these longer stints will continue to give you control while you teach.
If she ever gets really nasty then be very firm with her and back her away from the bone with your leash. Give her a minute to think about what just happened and try again. Remember to end on a positive experience and always give lots of praise when she makes a good choice.