I hope the tips in the post can help in the meantime and there are also some comments from a few other readers that adopted a new dog and had some issues with growling. It as if the dog is trying to communicate to the approaching dog or stranger, “Keep back! Your steps are pretty much what I did; rather than ever pressuring her or making her more uncomfortable I’d move closer inch by inch with a toy of treat – anything that let’s her know my coming near her means something fun or good is coming her way. Cats and squirrels, oh yes! Multiple approaches are essential for success, since the first approach is always the most frightening and time consuming. And if it is protection, what difference does it make as far as handling / training goes? He also growls when he is eating and someone even comes close. I’m not quite sure where she’s got this new behaviour from, I’ve tried comforting her, telling her it’s all alright, or that the person doesn’t want to play, and giving her attention myself. I’ve really enjoyed learning more about Chessies from reading your blog over the last year. Because of his size, it really puts people off him. Little Charlie is driving me and my husband nuts! Maybe she was abused by a man and now that she feels safe with you and your husband, strange men threaten that safety and security. Assuming the dog is reacting out of fear, this is a good method to use for them as well. Silly owner – I hope I haven’t ruined him as we were improving greatly. Tags:Aggression, Counterconditioning, Dog Behavior, Fear, Problem Behaviors. Go on, grab me again! I know exactly what you mean, Jen. I don’t know where you live but if she did bite him would your local law mean that she would be put to sleep for being deemed ‘out of control’? As the dog starts “acting up”, the handler becomes more apprehensive. She loves food and treats, but not in these situations. If they are allowed to retreat and approach in their own good time, the vacillation gradually disappears, especially if the stranger retreats each time the dog approaches. I’m sure you haven’t ruined anything and the fact that you’re aware of his mood and have been making good progress tells me your boy is in good hands. Try foods that he’s never had before or would not get on a typical day and save these treats for these special occasions. It probably won’t cost that much and it would be money well spent. The sad part is my kids and me love him ??????? We have only had him from last February. Mr. N, you’re such a good watch dog and friendly guy! so I correct her and usually take her out of the situation. Your pup might have learned that growling works to make you back away from the food bowl or stay in place when he’s comfortable. We adopted a 12 year old Chocolate Lab in January of last year. But after she had what should have been a simple exploratory surgery that turned into fighting for her life 4 years ago, foxy just has not accepted her. They usually don’t do that, and I believe I was actually the reason they did growl.. One of the moms who was standing there with the kids is incredibly annoying to me (she has several large dogs who she keeps exclusively in her back yard, yelling at them at the top of her lungs whenever they bark because, guess what, they’re BORED!) Any time you feed a dog from a food bowl is a terrible waste of potential rewards in training that otherwise could have helped the dog overcome his fears. Treats or toys do not work, when she sees a strange man. Get back here with my treat". Thank you for putting this info out there. Just recently however she’s started growling at everything, no idea why, I’m a bit sick of people telling me that “it’s not like Labradors to be aggressive.” She’s not being aggressive, the second she gets to the person, or dog, she licks them to death and nuzzles them. He’s mellowed a lot in the 3+ years we’ve had him, but I’m still aware and cautious for his sake. When your dog starts to bark excessively simply use the dog whistle which will omit a high-pitched and unpleasant sound and distract your dog from the stimulus. Here’s another tip that might be helpful: Over the years, I’ve worked with Haley on barking at strangers (or delivery people) coming to the door by first telling her “It’s okay”, meaning I’ll take control of the situation. I didn’t realize when Haley was younger that she probably felt she had to handle some of those stressful situations herself since she was out in front on our walks when kids would approach. When you’re working on this with her, the goal should be to prevent any reaction or growling before it starts rather than trying to distract her with food after she’s already worked up. Any stranger that walks towards us (or not) is a risk. Also he barks and growls at dogs and if they come near him he will go to attack I’m at my wits end I want to be able to let my young nieces around him and go out for family days without having to worry about him biting people or attacking other dogs he’s so well behaved for me always by my side I love him so much just honestly do not know what to do😞. It is important to proceed slowly. They’re usually not that expensive and can offer some great tips and advice. Just like people, dogs have their unique personal space range and it’s thoughtful that you make sure people understand and respect his space. Even though your dog quickly learned to approach you and your friend, it is highly unlikely he will run straight up to take a treat from the first stranger. This attitude of “don’t correct your [vicious, growling] dog” is precisely the problem. Aside from obvious safety concerns, we must also address the dog’s peace of mind. Evaluate the stressors in your dog’s world and reduce or eliminate as many of them as possible. Now he doesn’t like most people that come on our house. Also, read this article: https://www.boredcesar.com/why-should-you-leash-your-dog-in-public-areas/. Barking is pretty normal as long as it’s not an aggressive type of barking while bearing teeth. My dog I just got it from a shelter and my dog sadly will growl/bark at my family members even when they give her a treat I am worried about this behavior with Christmas coming up and everyone coming over what should I do. Some of these tips are hard to explain in a blog comment, but I hope you get the idea. She was terrified, crying and trying to hide behind me. Hi Evelyn, I can imagine how frustrating the barking must be and I’m sure you would like your girl to be comfortable and relaxed around guests. Of course, she would not be interested in good, when she is is in that state already…. Any dog or breed of dog can growl or act aggressive. Once the dog approaches readily, use a lure-hand signal to entice the dog to sit before receiving the food reward. Any slight touching or releasing of our foot against his body will set him off. If your dog is barking or growling at a stranger, stay calm and try to reassure them that everything’s OK. of 3: I squeeze and love him but if for example he’s trying to root through the bin or he’s sat on the settee and someone wants him to move he makes this horrible blood curdling bark and snaps I don’t wanna give up on him so I’m asking for help. Your first reaction may be to suppress the growling by scolding or punishing the dog. We have read conflicting views in reading articles about what to do about growling. My question now is: Is it necessary/important that my husband (the person she barks/growls at and in reality her owner) takes the classes with her or may I do it. Haley’s come a long way from being scared and somewhat reactive around little girls to enjoying spending time with little ones and even giving them kisses when they walk in the door. But he will be ok after he gets to know u . No, your husband doesn’t have to attend the classes, but it’s a good idea to have him work with her at home to reinforce the training and also strengthen their bond. Again, lure-reward techniques are absolutely essential when training fearful dogs to approach and sit. We already spent a lot of money on trainers over the past 8 or 10 weeks, since we got her . ? This is repeated many times over, progressively increasing the scratching-time with each treat until substantial petting (examination) is possible. She now goes on walks, to daycare, has obedience training and sometimes private lessons. Ugh, I can imagine it’s frustrating to hear those comments. They discuss training him on a remote collar, first while leash walking then in other situations like our situation described above. I would tell them to stop and pull them away. My 8 month old Labrador used to be totally fine outside, around people, and other dogs. 🙂. 🙂. It’s interesting that she seems fine at first when guests come to the house but growls after a short time. However, it is usually possible to entice the dog to approach at least part of the way. It might take a little time at first for your lab to catch on, since he’s going through those difficult adolescent months, but it’s a great way to communicate and reassure them when needed. It can be stressful when your dog growls at someone, but since dogs often pick up on our feelings, it’s important to stay calm and not correct her for growling. I’ve heard they have great personalities and are very loving. She had never been walked. You can repeat the exercise by getting closer to his bowl each time, until you can stand right beside the bowl while he eats. Thanks. I’m so glad you found the article helpful. We keep him on the lead when strangers come in so that they don’t get a fright. 🙂. Week 5 introduces the stand for examination and Week 6 the rollover for examination. Reducing Your Dog’s Exposure to Strangers. I really wish I could offer an easy fix here but hopefully you’ll give the trainer a shot and you’ll have many happy years with your new boy. There are lots of books on training. I’m so impressed that at 12 years old you’re more caring and responsible than many adult dog owners. She was overly confident in herself. Tonight the dog will eat dinner, handfed by strangers. Fantastic post. A lot of dogs growl at people wearing hats or maybe it was the way he was walking or the way he looked while approaching. ? Turn your dog’s attention from the stranger to you in a calming voice and reward them when they stop barking. I’m so glad positive reinforcement and counter conditioning are more popular these days; the methods I that were normal when I was a child would have probably made Laika even more defensive and fearful. Dogs are good judges of people and I trust his opinion. If the dog has any history of biting (puncturing the skin), the following procedure should be conducted as a private consultation and not in a public class. Probably have to walk away and access the situation. My dogs make all sorts of vocalizations. Thanks for giving her a great home! Any other advice you can offer would be great. If she relaxes after you’ve greeted your guests and eventually greets them herself, that’s a good thing. Instead, I would work to reclaim your space, both around your feet and warm stove and around his food bowl. Thank you for the informative post! This sends her the message that she doesn’t need to be a protector and that you’re in control when guests arrive. ? Thanks, Lisa! I learned to be thankful for his growls so I could make him more comfortable. Instead, keep him busy. The social stimulus, e.g., person or another dog, should never be allowed to approach. Interrupt him when he barks and growls. If they learn growling will get you to change your behavior, they will do it every time. Look for clues about what might be causing her concern about the guests and also what works to lesson her stress (such as creating more physical space between her and the guests). Or they do the opposite and don’t guide their dog at all, leaving the dog to handle the situation themselves. It just occurred to me last night that it could be a severe anxiety issue. It’s a natural instinct to want to correct them when they growl, but when she’s tense with a stiff body and an intense stare, the pinch from a prong collar or sensation from an e-collar will likely make her reaction worse. Since our daughter & 2 grandchildren lived w/us at the time this was not good, however, she got/gets along just fine w/our then 6 yr old (now 8) grandson. That’s great that it worked out for you! For example, maybe the other workers happily call her out of the room versus taking her out without verbal encouragement. It really wouldn’t cost that much and a good canine behaviorist could probably work wonders with Sade-Mae. When he stops growling, reward him with a “good boy”, or in the beginning, a treat if it’s handy at the exact moment of training so that he knows what he is being rewarded for. A growl is your warning. We end up keeping foxy in her crate or away from the family for my sister’s safety who is staying with us until her return. When you join the Top Dog Academy you also get access to personalized email support so you can train your dog yourself. It might be a slow process of desensitizing her in order to help her accept guests, but it’s also very rewarding to help a dog overcome an issue like this. You have know idea how your post made me realize that growling isn’t always a bad thing! Too many people handle these situation the wrong way, by getting as reactive as their dog (pulling on the leash and yelling at their dog to stop) which unbeknownst to them just makes the whole situation worse. Your dog sounds like she’s well adjusted and socialized because she likes playing with other dogs and meeting people, but when dogs are between 6 to 12 months old, they’re going through a maturity phase that can be challenging, similar to how teenagers test and challenge their parents. Instead, once the dog voluntarily approaches each person, we will teach him to first sit for examination and later to lie down, or roll over, when being examined. It’s just something to be aware of if you notice her changing or becoming a little more difficult to deal with in the next six months or so. I just realized that I forgot to link those articles in your comment, Phil. Hopefully, this is just a small bump in the road and with your help and patience, she’ll soon be calm and relaxed around your guests. Chewy and Haley could really team up and torment a neighborhood. Sadness is creeping up – what can I do? Maybe they could just drop a treat on the floor as they pass through the room, so the sight of just seeing the boys becomes a positive experience. If you continue to train your dog, his behavior will continue to improve. Fortunately my Sadie and Jake haven’t growled at anyone…yet. Each approach builds confidence. That’s one of my pet peeves when people have their dogs off-leash but have no control over them, but I’m glad to hear she’s doing better already. It’s probably just a new sound they’re not familiar with and you’ll have a very different experience when meeting them in person. It is decidedly not pleasant to feel anxious yet be forced to face your biggest fears on a daily basis. Some barking and growling, especially at people who come to the door, is fairly normal as long as it’s just vocalizing and it’s not offensive aggression. Regardless of the reasons for the dog’s fear, there is a huge urgency to resolve the problem — to rebuild the dog’s confidence — so that your dog can get his life back.The “Solution” Becomes The ProblemIf an owner is nervous or reactive, the dog will likely become nervous and reactive. I tried to be as calm and composed as possible, and just continued walking, looking straight ahead. “My owner is just wonderful most of the time. Diffuse your dog’s reaction by putting distance between her and the person she’s reacting to, even if that means turning around and walking in the opposite direction. As long as my grandson sits still Rebel will go back to sleep. He looks like a grown man, so what is the difference? Thank you, Rose! We slowly decreased the distance to the children and increased the level of interaction but only within Haley’s comfort zone and while ensuring the safety of the kids. The main problem is her growling and barking at everyone who comes into our home, she’s fine at first and will wag her tail but after a minute or so she starts growling. I like your real-life example with the kids. A long and protracted growl is not necessarily sign of an impending attack, rather the dog is warning us that he feels decidedly uneasy. In recent times, bark collars have come onto the market. I bet your setter was a little tense already and it’s hard to tell what might have made him growl. Progressive desensitization basically comprises shaping the classical conditioning process. Thank you for your article! I’ll plan on calming them first. Depending on the specifics of your problem, here are some effective solutions that will transform a grumpy pooch into a calm pup. I’ve also allowed her to bark on a few occasions when someone suspicious was close to the house. Teaching the “Place” command is a good idea too, so he’ll learn to go to his bed when asked. I’d love to hear back on how things go with Kilo if you decide to try some of the tips! Repeat this many times over, varying both the speed and nature of the approach and contact.The above routine is repeated in Week 2 with the same people, each carrying something, e.g., walking stick, umbrella, clip board, etc. Also, he is very frightened of children and growls a low and continuous growl when he is in a situation with them. However, when we walk out at night or in general when there are not many people in the streets if he sees someone he growls! What a positive way to work together as a team using a high level of communication. It took quite a while before Haley felt more comfortable around kids, but taking things slow and working at her pace really helped her be more comfortable and less fearful. Or is it being protective of me? Thanks for the article; I’m researching why my foxhound mix growls every time she sees one of my neighbors; the same person. If he barks when you open the door, practice opening and closing your door (and even greeting an imaginary person). My owner is untrustworthy around other people and dogs.”Characteristically, the dog develops a Jekyll-and-Hyde-type personality. My Favorite Global Pet Expo Products 2017. We definitely agree with the 7 points listed, especially keeping distance. You’ll want to look for a trainer who uses positive reinforcement techniques and also one who has some experience with working with aggressive dogs. To be honest – I am confused. To the extend, that I might show fear myself, and if it just coming thru my pores….. She is VERY strong. It’s great Teddy lets you know how’s he’s feeling. more ». We are finding it really difficult because it is preventing us from inviting other family and friends over. https://www.boredcesar.com/why-should-you-leash-your-dog-in-public-areas/. At the very least, the trainer should be able to give you an idea of how easy or difficult it might be to help him with his fear or aggression towards men. If so, then I suggest that try some distraction work which would potentially save her life. This is the basic courtesy that humans owe each other, and canine companions must be held in secondary status to this social contract. Another vicious circle develops, whereby the more the dog is punished, the more he has reason to growl and hence, the more he is punished etc. 2. If your dog barks when there is a knock on the door, start out by knocking softly on a table or the wall and giving your dog a treat. 🙂. You’ve done an amazing job with Laika’s issues since adopting her and I think it’s pretty common to have ongoing reinforcement for things like food guarding. Today he barked at a group of children sitting in long grass in a field. BUT – here is something that is getting worse and worse: She growls at men, in the beginning a few weeks ago, she growled at some men wearing baseball caps, now at any men in any situation – it is clear, she would bite. If she continues the growling or approaches them aggressively, then it’s something you’ll want to work on. Really enjoyed the write up and great tips shared here! To continue to force the dog to stand for examination will destroy the dog's stand-stay in short order. I quickly learned to keep her closer and put myself between her and whatever she felt threatened by. Don’t worry though, it’s a normal phase of their development and it means you may need to reinforce training, do some more socializing and nip any problem behaviors in the bud. It’s one (or two) of the breeds of dogs I’d like to spend some time getting to know. This article is based on Dr. Dunbar's Behavior column in the June 1989 issue of the American Kennel Gazette. I’ve learned that Jack has boundaries for people and for dogs and I make sure everyone respects them. The dog is growling because he feels uptight in specific situations, for example, when approached by a stranger. However, we are in public she goes up to people and other dogs fine. As soon as we passed them, the pups were their normal, relaxed selves! It’s tempting to pet her and say “It’s okay” or some such, but that rewards her growls. An otherwise well-socialized dog may growl when approached. She does bark when someone comes to the door , near car so forth, i believe its normal and just being protective and aware. Hi Jennifer! Enticing the dog to approach for the first time is the most time consuming aspect of treatment, thereafter training proceeds quickly and smoothly. Barking at strangers when out for a walk is a form of “stranger danger!” or a sign of frustration. Excellent post! PLEASE! If she seems aggressive or defensive and wanting to approach guests while growling, it’s best to work with a local trainer that uses positive reinforcement methods to evaluate and work on her aggression. Great post with a lot of good tips! Allow him to explore new experiences on his own terms and you’ll probably see this barking and hiding behavior resolve itself soon. I do try to remove her from the area when I see him coming or if she alerts me to him. This article was really helpful. While they may seem ideal on the surface, you might want to consider this option carefully. Thanks for such insightful information. This just stresses me out. The other talks about him wanting to become dominant in more and more ways as he is always looking for ways to influence his control and presence, like to sit on the couch or to sleep on our bed. I’m glad you make the point about the breed not being for everyone. They told me . Very good point about there being different types of growls and reasons behind them– something that is often forgotten I feel. Thanks for your kind words and for stopping by today. She started to fight with the harness and the lead, then stood in front of me and just growled, whilst the other dog owner commented on how lovely and playful his dog was being…. Hello! The stand-stay is the most unstable of the four basic stays and most probably, instructing the dog to stand already has unpleasant associations. Great post, especially the part about not training the early warning system out of your dog! With her, I did tell her “no” calmly and then tried to distract her with treats and reward calm behavior, like sitting and looking at me. It is such an important communication tool and can lead a person to all the great suggestions you listed. You can stand between him and his bowl until he sits and looks at you, then step out of the way and allow him to eat. However, the lengthy procedure explained below may be, and should be, conducted during a Puppy Class as a preventive exercise, in just a fraction of the time. It never escalated beyond the growl however and I was quick to control the situation by creating distance and reassuring him he is alright. I have only heard him growl a few times and even this he does not sound too mean. I have no idea why, but I will admit it does make me a bit nervous when he does this. Probably the best clue to knowing whether you’ve picked the right trainer is to take note of how your pup responds. Excellent information on how you worked with Haley to help her overcome her apprehension about little girls, too. If she didn’t relax or calm down, I would sternly tell her to go lay down in her bed. Each day, weigh out the dogs daily ration of kibble, put it in a plastic bag with a pinch of freeze-dried liver powder, shake well and use as directed. Do you have any suggestion for how to find/choose a trainer? How to Stop Your Dog from Barking at Strangers Method 1 The dog no longer growls when the stranger approaches, because he is no longer afraid of strangers, so now it is time to teach the dog to "Shush!" If it’s only the one person, maybe that worker has a different manner of dealing with dogs. That way your pup won’t feel as threatened. To fix this type of aggression, and stop the dog from growling at strangers, you need to expose the dog to various types of environments where he can encounter several people, several smells and even get to see other animals. I am just worried that that feeds into her resources guarding though. I need any advice for my dog Jacob. I was guilty of doing that with Haley when she was younger because it’s a common human reaction, but when I stopped to think about why Haley was growling and what she was feeling, I realized that she was only trying to communicate her feelings. It sounds like the male trainer has had pretty good results with her, but it wouldn’t hurt to try a different trainer for the aggression since it seems to be getting worse. A fearful or aggressive dog should never be “flooded” by a social stimulus. He has never growled at us, but he has growled at people in our home that approach him too quickly or put their hands on his without an invitation. 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