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Night Growling Problem

October 11th, 2007, 02:47 AM
I recently, about a month ago, adopted a 6-8 year old aussie (paperwork says she is 8 vet says looks closer to 6) and she is a very energetic lovable dog. But recently (past week) she has begun growling at me at night. She only does it at night and has never snapped or been otherwise agressive (I have never owned a dog before so am sort of nervous about agressive behavior). I am careful to make sure that she knows she isn't dominant over me, and when she gets upset about my roommates dog getting her toys we are quick to break it up and take the toys away so they know it is not ok. We do our best to stop agressive behavior before it becomes a problem. The night growling is never instigated by any more than me coming near her intentionally. She hasn't done it if I am just walking across the room or something along those lines. Recently when she does it I send her to sleep in the living room, hoping she may realize that being unfriendly at night ears her a spot in the living room instead of my bed (she is smart so I had hoped this would be a quickly learned lesson).

Is this a common behavior (ie she is sleepy and thinks I may intend to play, and wnat to let me know it isn't what she wants)? Or should I be seriously concerned?


October 11th, 2007, 11:30 PM
I'm not a behavior expert, but I wanted to bump this up to the top hoping someone can help you out.

I think the biggest problem you'll have in fixing this will be that your body-language is going to tell her that you're a little put off by her growling. It's hard to keep our body-language from communicating nervousness to a dog and if she's pushing you, she'll try to take the advantage and 'move up' in the Pack.

I think what I would do, and if this is not the right course of action, someone please correct me--but I would call her to me when she growls, and when she comes, praise her up and reward her. You'd be making her do something on your command and then rewarding her for that. It puts you in control and perhaps she'll stop testing you when she finally sees you're in charge. Giving her a command also keeps your mind off being nervous about the growling, so your body language doesn't send the wrong signal to her.

We had a very dominant springer spaniel that would guard the bedroom if hubby got to bed first. She'd greet me at the door with a snarl and bared teeth. After she backed me into the hall and up against the wall one night, I started bringing the DustBuster into the bedroom with me--not only did she hate the sound of it, but carrying it gave me confidence (and affected my body language). If she growled, snarled, or charged, I'd turn on the DustBuster, then when she backed down, I'd get to my side of the bed, call her to me, and give her a bit of a treat. Eventually, she looked forward to the treat and would sit waiting for me to come in. She never gave me any more trouble--and after a while, I cut back the treats till she wasn't getting them at all anymore. :shrug:

You and your roommates should probably start a "nothing in life is free" routine with her--only reward her for things that you ask her to do. Everything on your terms, not hers.

I know there people on the board more savvy than I and with luck they'll see your thread and chime in :fingerscr

October 12th, 2007, 12:19 AM
I heard of a thing that dog's get called night blindness. Could have that maybe.

October 12th, 2007, 08:41 AM
"I think what I would do, and if this is not the right course of action, someone please correct me--but I would call her to me when she growls, and when she comes, praise her up and reward her."

I would add to this - be sure to keep your back straight when you do this - don't bend into the dog. Keeping the back straight reinforces the "I'm in command"...

October 19th, 2007, 09:32 PM
Zar was an aggresive dog and would growl at my husband when he tried to come to bed. I would kick him off the bed and not let him back up for a few days. After doing that 3 times he stopped growling as he would rather snuggle up beside me then sleep on the couch by himself. We knew little about him when we got him only that he was abandon in shop yard and had nothing to eat or drink for 12 days. We had to work hard with him but after awhile he turned out to be the best dog. As you see he was my baby and protector as my husband works nights.

October 20th, 2007, 08:19 PM
i know it will be very hard, but when you dog is growling dont let her feel your nervous energy, because that will make her nervous which may lead to agression. stand up straight and give of an i am in control here feeling, dont look her in the eyes, do not pat her and do not talk to her when she is growling, that will reinforce the growling. if possible put her on her leash and give her a corrections ( a "snap" on the leash) this may take a bit to get her stop growling but it will work if you are persistent, she must know it isnt ok to growl at you, because she should see you as her leader and she is a lower rank in the "pack" then you. hope this help:)