5-year-old Black Lab suddenly growling at me?
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Thread: 5-year-old Black Lab suddenly growling at me?

  1. #1
    hellosusieqz is offline Member
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    Default5-year-old Black Lab suddenly growling at me?

    Hey guys!

    I am so sorry if this is in the wrong category but I have no idea where else to post it.

    My parents have a 5-year-old black lab named Sampson and I have been around him since he was 9 weeks old. As the oldest sibling of my family, I feel he has always respected me almost as much as my mom and dad (who he sees as the pack leaders). He has never ever once growled at me. Ever.

    Recently, my husband and I purchased a puppy. We've had him for 4 weeks now. Currently, we are staying with my parents in order to save money for a home before our first baby comes in September. So our new puppy, Bentley, and Sampson are sharing a home.

    They each have their own spaces. Sampson rules the whole downstairs of the home and Bentley is only downstairs whe he is awake from a nap and we are playing with him, or if he is outside in the bakcyard. Bentley sleeps upstairs with us, in our room.

    For now, we have kept them apart since Bentley wants to play and Sampson is unsure of how to handle his "in your face" personality. And I can't tell how Sampson feels about Bentley yet...when Bentley would approach him, Sampson would growl and go away but wag his tail at the same time. Either way, I think Sampson is clearly irritated with Bentley, which is understandable because now there is this new puppy that is in his territory. So we keep them apart.

    Recently, Sampson has been growling at me when I come near him to pet him, and I am shocked. Like I said, he has never ever showed any signs of anger or irritation with me, and now he seems to dislike me! It feels like it is coming out of nowhere.

    Does Sampson know I am Bentley's mom, and that I am responsible for bringing this new puppy around that he clearly isn't fond of? And will we ever have our relationship back to normal? I keep hoping things will change once we move out...are my hopes to high? What I can I do now to make this situation more comfortable for both me and Sampson?

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    deidra's Avatar
    deidra is offline Senior Member
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    people with more experiences may be able to help you more than I can but...

    Can you have one on one time with Sampson? You and him just go for walks. Take him to the park to play with him. Do some training in the backyard ect..
    ~It doesn't matter how smart the dog is,it matters how smart the owner is.

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    hellosusieqz is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by deidra View Post
    people with more experiences may be able to help you more than I can but...

    Can you have one on one time with Sampson? You and him just go for walks. Take him to the park to play with him. Do some training in the backyard ect..
    That is actually a very good idea! I do notice a difference in Sampson when Bentley is away.

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    BigBrownDog is offline Senior Member
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    Has the older dog been to the vet lately? I would suspect a health issue rather than an emotional one. If he's in some pain that would make him pretty cranky.

    You may be humanizing these dogs too much. They are really very simple beings and i really doubt the older dog is harboring ill feelings towards you due to the new puppy.

    On his dealings with the new puppy. Tail wagging does not always equal happy dog. Quite the contrary. Has the older dog been properly socialized with other dogs?
    Last edited by BigBrownDog; 04-29-2012 at 11:19 AM. Reason: Flipping ipad
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    mitziandjudysmom is offline Senior Member
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    You have to be careful when you interpret canine behavior. Often it's nothing like humans would act or feel. A growl does not always mean hostile feelings. It can mean anything from "Stop or I'll attack!" to "I don't like that". Probably Sampson knows you brought that pesky puppy into his territory, maybe he doesn't like it, maybe he's jealous. But in time, I bet Sampson and puppy are best friends. In any event, one of the best things about dogs is that they don't hold grudges as humans do. Sampson will always love you as he has in the past.

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    tammyhuffman is offline Senior Member
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    Has Sampson had a thorough check up recently (with blood work)? Did you properly introduce Sampson and Bentley on neutral territory prior to bringing the puppy in to Sampson's home? If not and if there are absolutely no health issues with Sampson I would start over by introducing the dogs in a very neutral territory. The vet would be my 1st stop though, perhaps something is wrong and this is the only way he has of communicating it to you.
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    Someone will correct me if i am wrong but at times it is better to let the dogs sort out their place even if it entails a big dog growl at the puppy. Once they establish who is in charge then things go more smoothly. It could be that Sampson is a bit stressed at the new pup and knows someone is in his domain and he can't sort out that he is the boss because you are keeping them seperate. You undoubtalby smell like the new dog thus perhaps the tension. If it was me I'd let dogs go where they want and not keep them seperate. Other may disagree.

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    BigBrownDog is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beerfish View Post
    Someone will correct me if i am wrong but at times it is better to let the dogs sort out their place even if it entails a big dog growl at the puppy. Once they establish who is in charge then things go more smoothly. It could be that Sampson is a bit stressed at the new pup and knows someone is in his domain and he can't sort out that he is the boss because you are keeping them seperate. You undoubtalby smell like the new dog thus perhaps the tension. If it was me I'd let dogs go where they want and not keep them seperate. Other may disagree.
    I would agree that keeping them apart (unless you have prior experience of Sampson being really physically aggressive with dogs) is not good. You have 2 dogs in the house. I would allow them to work out a relationship and only separate if Sampson can't be trusted with this puppy. Most adult dogs are OK with pups - they may not be best friends initially but will probably grow into a friendship - which will never happen if you keep them apart.

    And if he growls or shows his teeth with the puppy, that is communication - not aggression. Allow the puppy to learn how to behave appropriately around the older dog from the older dog's messages.
    Sharon, Blaise and Diesel.

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    TBGSAM is offline Senior Member
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    I dont' know if this has been brought up or not but you did say you were expecting? This might be part of the reaction towards you from Sampson.

    I agree with letting the dogs interact with each other as long as they are supervised as already suggested. Tootsie made Sarah cry on numerous occasions did it hurt me to see Sarah cry yes but Tootsie was teaching her what is acceptable and what was not they are best buddies now.
    Coleman - CGC blk lab 6/02/97-2/25/08 adopted
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    hellosusieqz is offline Member
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    Thanks to all who replied!

    The reasons why we haven't let them work it out physically yet is because Sampson is about three times Bentley's size right now. Sampson has only really had one other dog companion that he has come in contact with, and they were able to work it about because they were about the same size and it wasn't a big deal to let them growl and play rough with each other...Bentley is still a young pup, though, and the times we have tried letting them interact, Sampson has snapped back pretty hard. I'm just concerned that Sampson will do damage to Bentley without really meaning to since he's so much bigger and has never had to handle being around a small dog before...if that makes sense.

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