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Happy growler?

Soroush
May 17th, 2010, 01:47 AM
I haven't posted here for a couple of years (maybe more). For those who don't know, I have a lovely mutt (Shipoo) who is now 4 years old (damn!)

Lucy is amazingly affectionate and spoiled like a queen. She behaves like an angel all the time and does many funny things including saying "yum-yum" if you have a treat handy :)

For the past 6 months or so, she's developed a habit that was concerning to me at first, but due to laziness and other factors I have failed to address it.

She occasionally growls (mostly at me) for random reasons. Keep in mind I'm the alpha in her pack and she shows every sign that she knows that. I'm not sure what to make of her growls. I can easily take away her food, treat, toys and bones without hearing any growls, yet I get the funny looking teeth and some growling when I'm kissing her head or trying to move her while she's sleeping (she sometimes takes too much room on our bed!)

A few times I tried to escalate the situation by intensifying the activity that she seemed uncomfortable with but the situation never led to a bark or a bite. A few times I firmly told her to stop growling and she did. I can claim that the behavior improved as time passed, but just recently Miss Lucy has decided that growling is fun and she should growl when I'm playing with her. She tends to come lay on my lap and ask me to rub her belly or give her kisses. When I do, she sometimes growls and naturally the first reaction I have is to stop what I'm doing, but she quickly insists that I should go back to what I was doing and of course the growling restarts!

Should I care? Is this something that needs to be addressed? She seems to have associated growling with pleasure too. I have never seen this before in any dog and couldn't find much info on it on the net either.

What else can I add...

She's extremely confident and laid back. Loves people and trusts both me and her mommy (my wife). She loves her mommy more than me and rarely ever growls at her, but she shows more respect (more submissive) when I'm around. She's never really been punished for anything except the few firm NO or BAD GIRL warnings she's gotten for different things. That's mainly because she never really does anything wrong.

In her whole life she has probably barked less than 20 times. Very quiet dog.

Any help or comment is appreciated.

Frenchy
May 17th, 2010, 09:06 AM
One of my goldens used to growl but it was easy to see that it was happy growl. :shrug:

babymomma
May 17th, 2010, 10:41 AM
Some dogs are just more vocal then others..

I grew up with a dog that growled ALL he time.. He was never agressive. Just vocal..

And when you gave him scritchies, the more he liked them, the more intense his growls became.

I miss him :cloud9:

ownedbycats
May 17th, 2010, 11:40 AM
I have a golden retriever/lab mix who growls/moans/groans when playing. It's not any kind of threat and is accompanied by a toy being banged into your shins to encourage you to pull on it, or throw it for her. Sounds really ferocious, but just her way of talking.

Soroush
May 17th, 2010, 11:59 AM
Thank you all for your replies. I feel relieved :)

JennieV
May 17th, 2010, 12:32 PM
Yup..Dogs have ways to communicate with us, but its not necessarily a threat when she growls.
As long as her behaviour doesn't escalade to unwanted agressiveness, you should be fine.
:thumbs up for picking up on the behaviour though!

shibamom
May 19th, 2010, 07:16 PM
This is a very common trait amongst the Shiba Inu breed. Very quiet and never bark, but when they do, it is a "happy growl". It's all just the communication :)

Etown_Chick
May 19th, 2010, 10:42 PM
My friend's dog growls 'hello'to people she likes! I thought she was going to bite me the first time I heard it, now I realize it's her happy noise.