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testing?

shelleyb
March 6th, 2008, 01:35 PM
I have a 20 month old female golden named Molly. She is a good dog but has on occassion tested me. What concerns me is that within the last 6-8 weeks she has growled at someone three different times. The first was my ds's friend (15 yr old female) Molly had her shoe and the girl was trying to get it from her. My dh was nearby and he disciplined her. Then a few weeks later I was taking Molly's bed away from her (she chewed a hole in it and was digging out the inards, fluff everywhere) and she she growled at me. I disciplined her. then this morning (again a few week time difference) my 9 yr old dd was trying to take one her toys away from Molly (Molly took it from her room) and she growled at her. I was in the bathroom at the time but my dd said she disciplined her and all was fine.

Molly is a good dog, she listens fairly well. She's not that great on the leash (pulls a fair amount, loves to grab the garbage, food, trash out on the streets) She's not a vocal dog, her front door manners are not good (she jumps on people at the door) but she is, for the most part, an easy dog.

But I am wondering if the growling is something to be really worried about? I don't think she would snap but to me, any growling is unnacceptable. Any advice?

jessi76
March 6th, 2008, 01:46 PM
growling doesn't always mean aggression. Growling can be very playful as well. are you absolutely certain your dog wasn't being playful? from what you've written, it sounds as if taking these items from her may have been misconstrued as play. My dog LOVES to run around w/ shoes in his mouth, if I try to quickly grab it from him, I'd probably get a growl as well, BUT, I'd recognize it as "oh! we're going to play w/ this! yay!" type of growl.

If I want to TAKE an item from my dog, I always ask for a LEAVE IT or GIVE prior to grabbing, pulling, and taking the item. This makes my actions perfectly CLEAR that I am NOT about to play with the dog or item.

growling is a form of communication and IMO, shouldn't be discouraged. often times a growl is the first thing to happen before a SNAP. a dog who is disciplined for growling may skip that step and go straight to nipping without warning, which again my own opinion, but I think it's VERY dangerous. I would always prefer to have that growl first, so I know what the dog is communicating or trying to convey, whether it be play, aggression, annoyance, pain, etc...

sugarcatmom
March 6th, 2008, 02:26 PM
I totally agree with jessi76, please do not discipline your dog for growling. All you're doing is taking away a potential warning system. Here's some good info on dog body language that you might want to check out: http://www.dogstardaily.com/training/body-language

Some snippets:
....many dog body postures and vocalizations simply have a variety of meanings. For example, a growl may be a threat, or it may signify frustration, fear, lack of confidence, or learned helplessness. Alternatively, a growl may be an invitation to play, or it may be a learned communication that has very little to do with underlying emotions. Some dogs growl as a solicitation to play, some growl as a request to be etted and some will growl if you try to stop petting them.

The interpretation of ambiguous cues can be difficult at times and often depends on context. Sometimes, quite subtle atmosphere cues help provide the answer. For example, a protruding tongue, a brief paw raise or even an obvious playbow would all signify the playful intentions of subsequent behaviors, such as growling and chasing.
If you miss the interpretive atmosphere cue, ask the dog “how he is feeling” by instructing him to come, sit, lie down, and rollover. If the dog does not come, if he freezes, baulks, cowers, or runs away, usually you are in trouble. But if the dog comes quickly when requested, he is advertising that he is friendly and prosocial. And of course, rolling-over is the penultimate sign of doggy deference. What more could we ask for? Also, worthy of note, he is demonstrating compliance. In fact, he is being willingly and happily compliant. A prompt response by the dog is good evidence that the owner is in control.
When a dog promptly (and happily) comes, sits, lies down, and rolls over when requested, the dog is demonstrating compliance and the owner is in control. This is a simple but revealing test if ever you are confused concerning your dog’s feelings or emotions. The above procedure also helps rebuild confidence in a dog that is upset. If the dog concentrates on responding promptly to all four requests, most likely he will stop growling before completion. Welcome to the wondrous magic of counter-conditioning.

There is an additional, quite insidious reason for a dog to bite without warning. Originally the dog would growl whenever he was upset. Although people heard the growl, they did not listen to what the dog was saying. The dog was upset but no one paid heed. Instead they punished the dog for growling. The dog now had two reasons to be upset, the original reason and the fact his owner is angrily bullying him — and so, the dog growled more. Unfortunately, the level of punishment was increased until it effectively inhibited the dog from growling. The dog no longer growled, but he was still upset, in fact, very upset. Now we have the equivalent of a time bomb without the tick. The dog is doubly upset but no longer shows it, because the owner systematically punished him for trying to communicate his feelings. By all means instruct a growling dog to shush but ALWAYS investigate and attempt to resolve the underlying cause.

shelleyb
March 6th, 2008, 02:51 PM
hmmm, after talking to my ds (15) he mentioned that she does growl sometimes when he's play tug-of-war or something similar with her so it could just be her playing (she is verrrrrrrrrrrry playful)

Thanks

Ford Girl
March 6th, 2008, 03:02 PM
I agree, some growling is ok, Dazy growls alot during play and trying to get away with a rock or sock in her mouth. She is very vocal. She is very saucy, turns her head to the side...and looks at me as if to say...are you going to try and take this, can it be a game, should I run? LOL!

Does she freeze while she growls? Teeth showing? Whites of eyes?

shelleyb
March 6th, 2008, 04:14 PM
I agree, some growling is ok, Dazy growls alot during play and trying to get away with a rock or sock in her mouth. She is very vocal. She is very saucy, turns her head to the side...and looks at me as if to say...are you going to try and take this, can it be a game, should I run? LOL!

Does she freeze while she growls? Teeth showing? Whites of eyes?

umm, I think she maintains whatever body position she was in before, in the case of the bed, she was chewing it up and when I went to take it she stopped chewing it and looked at me while giving her little growl. Definitly no teeth tho.

Ford Girl
March 7th, 2008, 02:09 PM
umm, I think she maintains whatever body position she was in before, in the case of the bed, she was chewing it up and when I went to take it she stopped chewing it and looked at me while giving her little growl. Definitly no teeth tho.

I'd like to say this is sauciness or puppitude...it's her disagreeing but I wouldn't say it's agressive or guarding, mouthing off yes...I get this too with a little head turn to the side grumble mumble...very saucey. What I do is step towards her and snap my fingers and say sit...just a little way of showing her I'm the boss, but asking for an appropriate behavior and I dont like the attitude...then I ask for a high five or a down or a behavior from her, if she complies then I praise, and if she gives more attutude I step up my body language and response...she usually response and does what I ask...

Thats how I would correct it...:shrug:

How are you correcting? :)

danaekitty
March 7th, 2008, 02:31 PM
I don't know what to tell you, just wanted to say good luck! Sounds like you're a lot better off than some other members that are having some more aggressive problems...........

........what is it with Goldens these days? Something in the water? Stars misaligned? Yikes.

Ford Girl
March 7th, 2008, 05:22 PM
I don't know what to tell you, just wanted to say good luck! Sounds like you're a lot better off than some other members that are having some more aggressive problems...........

........what is it with Goldens these days? Something in the water? Stars misaligned? Yikes.

Over breeding by bybers. Sadly. :sad: