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Growling dog when disturbed sleeping

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Growling dog when disturbed sleeping
  • I know this has been talked about so often that at least I know it is very common. 

    Dublin is a sweet dog but when he climbs into bed at night ahead of us and I want to come to bed later after he is sleeping, I have to move him over.  I don't even touch him, but I do say..Dub move over now.  He always jerks up and growls and even shows me his teeth.  It always freaks me out which doesn't help at all.  I usually take him by the collar (cringing a bit too) and force him to get down till I am settled. 

    I know we are told DO NOT let him on the bed then till he learns about manners and who is boss here.  I guess my question is does this mean my pup is too aggressive.  Or at just a year old is he testing the pecking order of life here?  He did the same growling, teeth baring thing when my husband and I had to bath him today.  He never bit but he hates water and totally fought us.  We did not let him get away with it and husband carried him into the tub.  He then became submissive again thank goodness.  I just do not want a mean dog and this new thing of his is rather upsetting.  I think he senses my wimpiness!  I can see a new personality in him at the dog park too.  He used to be laughed at by the regulars because he is so submissive with the other dogs.  But twice now when someone picked on him a bit to harshly he arched his back and showed his teeth at them.  His hair stands up and his tail is between his legs but he seems to be trying to stand up for himself finally.  I do not want an aggressive dog of course but he used to let any other dog take a ball from his mouth or a stick right from him.  Now is putting up resistance and I sort of like that he isn't a big baby anymore.  As long as his it goes no further than the lip curl. 

  • losinsusan

    I know this has been talked about so often that at least I know it is very common. 

    Dublin is a sweet dog but when he climbs into bed at night ahead of us and I want to come to bed later after he is sleeping, I have to move him over.  I don't even touch him, but I do say..Dub move over now.  He always jerks up and growls and even shows me his teeth.  It always freaks me out which doesn't help at all.  I usually take him by the collar (cringing a bit too) and force him to get down till I am settled. 

    Are you sure that he is not just asleep and gets startled when you wake him up?

    Afterall not everything is dominance related... There are also some "dog people" that say, that humans have no place in the canine pecking order, since we aren't - well - canine ;-)

  • At a year old, he is going to go through personality changes. I wouldn't allow him on the bed at all. Get him a mat on the floor or a crate. I would start him on a NILIF program. As for bathing, I would completely retrain baths. Make it enjoyable as long as he isn't growling. Teach him to get in the tub with no water - using treats. Then slowly, when he's comfortable in the tub, start getting him just a little bit wet. Also, use some sort of noslip mat for him in the tub. I also wouldn't take him to the dog park for a little while. You can see if he behaves better after some training and some NILIF, but you don't want to risk his behavior with the other dogs escalating into a fight. It sounds to me like he's resource guarding. I would also teach him an "out" and a "leave it".
  • I agree with corgipower 100%. I don't allow growling at people. Or lip curling.  If he can't be nice about sharing the bed, then he doesn't get to share it.  Since this behavior is moving into other areas and you're concerned about it, it seems like it will only progress. NILIF can be fun. It SHOULD be fun. You don't have to be a big jerk to let your dogs know what the rules are. It's a positive thing. Smile They like to have boundaries and know where the limits are.
     

  • FourIsCompany

    I agree with corgipower 100%. I don't allow growling at people. Or lip curling.  If he can't be nice about sharing the bed, then he doesn't get to share it.  Since this behavior is moving into other areas and you're concerned about it, it seems like it will only progress. NILIF can be fun. It SHOULD be fun. You don't have to be a big jerk to let your dogs know what the rules are. It's a positive thing. Smile They like to have boundaries and know where the limits are.
     

     

    I agree!

    I also strongly believe that all dogs are aggressive under the "right" circumstances. Gotta be aware of what those circumstances might be, what your dog's comfort zone is, and then make sure he's never put in a situation where he feels he has to test those behavioral boundaries.

    Also, if he's being growly at all, DO NOT MOVE HIM BY HIS COLLAR. If he is going to be aggressive, this is a common way for people to get bitten. Either keep a leash on him and guide him with the leash or get him to move off some other way. (I taught my dog a quick and easy "off" command for this purpose: *throw treat on the ground* "Off!" *dog follows treat* -> "Off!" *dog jumps off* *throw treat on the ground* - took us like 5 minutes.)

    To me, it sounds like your dog is "resource guarding" his comfy place on the bed. It sounds like he's saying, "Hey, this is my spot, and I'm comfy here, so go away!" I think NILIF would be extremely valuable for you.

    And, at least for now, don't allow him on the furniture at all. Better he suffer a bit by having to sleep on his own bed than someone gets bitten because they accidentally rolled over on him in the night, right? Wink

    Don't be too concerned, it's not a huge problem right now, but a bit of extra training now will make your lives MUCH easier later on! 

  • I agree with everyone else...  He is starting to mature and now is the time to get this behavior under control (while it is still just rude and not dangerous - not every dog who growls in displeasure will bite - but that is certainly not a risk I would want to take with a growling dog).  Start from scratch with NILIF, make him work for everything, but in a fun and rewarding way and start training all the commands you will need like recall, "leave it" and "drop it" for the park and "off" at home - to prevent problems.  Do this before you let him be in a position where he might react poorly - if he is growling, that is not the time you want to grab a collar - that is a time when you want a solid "off" command...

    For us, when Wesley went through a bratty phase with furniture - he had no furniture privileges - the rule is, he who guards spaces gets no access to those spaces.  Furniture should be a privilege for dogs not a right.  He earned them back by not being bratty and getting off each time we ask him to.  That said - I often come to bed after Wes has already gone to sleep at the foot of the bed - it is my bed, so I want to be able to get in as I choose, but I am also careful not to startle him - that is not fair either.  So, I usually talk to him pretty loudly as I am coming into the room so that I can be sure he is actually awake when I am asking him to move over... 

    For the park - if his tail is between his legs, he is probably afraid and maybe having to be around dogs who are picking on him a little too much is a bad idea for right now...  A fearful dog is just as likely to fight as a pushy dog (if not more so) if he feels he has no other option.  I would teach a really solid "leave it and come" - this is really valuable when your dog plays with other dogs because even in groups of dogs that have a great time playing, things can get out of hand pretty quickly.  If the dogs can be called away from the game or from a ball when two look as though they both want it a little too badly - many many issues can be avoided...

     

  • In addition to the NILIF recommended above, you might want to try a few short periods (~15 minutes) of "tethering" each day.  Get a 6-8' leash, attach it to your waist, either through a belt, or around your waist, (other end on dog's collar) and then go about your daily routine.  No commands/cues/corrections to the dog, just move about.  Remain calm and nonconfrontational, so need to really interact with the dog, just be sure you are moving about frequently.  If dog starts to settle, go get a drink of water.  You're passively asserting leadership here.

    I'm glad schleide remarked about the dog park.  Your dog is most likely fearful, (tail tucked) and being reactive.  This should be avoided.  When you see this behavior, it is time to leave the park.  Try not to put your dog in this situation.  Try going to the park when it is less crowded, or arrange "play dates" with dogs that you (and your dog) know.

  • his behavior is perfectly normal- he hates being bathed, you're physically forcing him to do it, so he fights back. It's beyond rude in the dog-mind to physically force a dog to give up a "claimed" resting spot, and there you are again, physically moving him and he's reacting like a normal dog. I would suggest you try hard to never physically force your dog to do anything- pretend he's a 700 pound tiger and use training instead. He shouldn't be allowed in the bed until he can master 100% a get out of bed command- go in there and practice, reward well for compliance, and keep the door shut the rest of the time. Instead of attacking him and bathing him, gradually desensitize him to accept it. Remove the "we can't let him get away with it" idea from your mind and embrace the concept of NILIF: the dog always has a choice. He can do what you want, and get what he wants, or he can choose to not-comply, but he won't get what he wants. But he can make that choice.

    And whatever you do, don't punish a dog for growling. Dogs who are punished for growling learn to not-growl and now you have a dog who will bite without warning.

  • I think he is developing resource guarding which typically rears its ugly head between the ages of 1-2 years old (adolescents).  NILIF and read what you can to understand resource guarding.  My dog is a resource guarder as well he doesn't guard my bed because he knows it mine but he will guard the floor, the chair anywhere he makes himself comfy - it could be a cold floor, outdoors in the dirt, if he is resting and doesn't want to be disturbed he guards.  It takes a good protocol, NILIF and time to work these things out.