Agression and play growling... (NOT Ender thank gawd)
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Thread: Agression and play growling... (NOT Ender thank gawd)

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    Ender's Mom's Avatar
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    DefaultAgression and play growling... (NOT Ender thank gawd)

    Upstairs from us lives a small family and their dog Jackson. Jackson is a mix (I have no idea of what but there has to be some border collie in him) from a shelter who is approx 1.5 years old... they've had him for a while but they don't know his entire history. When we first moved in, Jackson's owners found out we were getting a puppy and they let us know that their dog has agression issues with other dogs but hopefully we could introduce them and get them used to eachother enough to play. These people are VERY responsible with their dog so I'm not really worried about Ender too much... they cross the street when they see another dog coming and have warned the dog owners in the neighborhood that Jackson has issued. When we'd meet in the hallway or in the back by the garage, Jackson would kind of growl when Ender got close to him at which point we usually just went on our seperate ways. He has NEVER lunged or had all out baring of teeth... just a low growl.

    Fast forward to last couple of days. We tend to let Ender drag his leash if we are going from the car to the condo (a 10 ft walk literally) especially if we are carrying stuff. Jackson was outside off leash and his owner and he were playing fetch with Jackson's favorite ball. (I see him with that thing all the time) Ender of course was like "yay I can play with Jackson" so he went over and Jackson was fine with him. He didn't growl at Ender or anything even when his owner was petting Ender and loving on him. So... we decided to let them play for a while and yesterday. Each time Jackson (who is more solid on commands than Ender... he is older after all) was off leash and Ender had his leash attached and was dragging it while playing. They fetched and Ender would get Jackson's ball, or would chase Jackson when he'd get it. Jackson growled a few times but to me it sounded more like a play/excitement growl. Ender's hackles raised some but they do that when he is super excited (he has growled ONCE at another dog and that was in obedience class when this little pug mix wouldn't leave him alone). Jackson's tail was wagging and he carried it pretty high (which seems normal for him).

    Even when they both had the ball and were tugging eachother around, Jackson didn't growl. He would drop it when his owner said drop, and Ender would steal it, and Jackson would just go chase him around. Because he's border collie mix, he's much faster than Ender but they are the same size weight-wise (of course Ender will be bigger than Jackson soon).

    It seems to me that Jackson is not aggressive off leash, but probably is while on leash. (He's got a whole different attitude when on leash and when the owner let him off leash, his stance immediately changed to happy puppy "come chase me I have a ball")

    Would you consider the behavior I described safe for Ender as long as Jackson is off leash? Can growling be done more out of excitement rather than true agression?
    ~Lindsay

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    DefaultRe: Agression and play growling... (NOT Ender thank gawd)

    My last lab, Tucson, was fear aggressive. Being on leash dogs can feel trapped and get aggressive. When we would meet a new dog I would drop her leash. She was always fine if she felt she could run away.

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    bibber's Avatar
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    DefaultRe: Agression and play growling... (NOT Ender thank gawd)

    Hmmm. It sounds like they are safe playing together, as long as they are closely supervised especially for the next several visits and they get to know eachother better. Maybe when Jackson has his leash on, he just feels a need to warn other dogs that he doesn't want to be messed with. Our Bodie growls or barks very rarely at "danger", but he growls A LOT when he is playing with Sam. It really surprised me at first, because Sam never growls during play.

    Brenda, Sam & Bodie

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    AngusFangus is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Agression and play growling... (NOT Ender thank gawd)

    Well, I think it's a good theory.

    What I know is this: Angus was attacked by a Mastiff while on a leash. To that point, he had never growled at another dog.

    Since then, he has growled several times at other dogs. BUT, always while on a leash.

    I think he felt trapped when the Mastiff was on him. Rightfully so. :'(

    And I do also think that sometimes growls are just in play. Crash growled when we played tug. He was so cute. You could encourage it by stroking his throat. I loved the sound he made. But it was ABSOLUTELY in play, no question. As soon as you were ready to stop, he'd stop on a dime.


    Connie and "The Boys":
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    ipopy Guest

    DefaultRe: Agression and play growling... (NOT Ender thank gawd)

    I would talk to the neighbors to find out if Jackson has ever shown any aggression off leash. As Nellie's Mom stated, it could be a fear aggression. Maybe somewhere in Jackson's history he was attacked while on his leash and he does feel trapped when other dogs approach him. I agree that supervising them closely while playing together is a good idea.

    ~ss

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    Ender's Mom's Avatar
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    DefaultRe: Agression and play growling... (NOT Ender thank gawd)

    Well yeah I would supervise Ender playing with ANY dog regardless of history/breed/temperment. Actually his friend Lucy, (another border collie mix) sounds more agressive with Ender and guards her travel water bowl (her owner has to restrain her to allow Ender to have a drink) and definitely shows agression towards other dogs when they want to play with Ender.
    ~Lindsay

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    DefaultRe: Agression and play growling... (NOT Ender thank gawd)

    My dogs have the same problem. When they are on leash they act like they want to kill that dog coming down the path but if you let them off the leash all they want to do is play! I think they feel loss of control on a leash.

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    DefaultRe: Agression and play growling... (NOT Ender thank gawd)

    jackson and bear can be like that too - they have on occasion lunged at a passing dog when on leash or tied up. off leash, they could care less. i would ask your neighbor if jackson is toy aggressive - you should be really careful if so, because a dog can snap when you least expect it if he/she feels threatened that another dog wants to take away his/her toy.

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    DefaultRe: Agression and play growling... (NOT Ender thank gawd)

    Quote Originally Posted by Sally Harrell
    jackson and bear can be like that too - they have on occasion lunged at a passing dog when on leash or tied up. off leash, they could care less. i would ask your neighbor if jackson is toy aggressive - you should be really careful if so, because a dog can snap when you least expect it if he/she feels threatened that another dog wants to take away his/her toy.
    I was worried about that but Jackson really did seem fine sharing his toy with Ender. He, being so much faster than Ender, would get it most of the time so Ender was chasing him. But he pretty much only chased with limited growling when Ender had the ball and lunged for the ball and not Ender. They even were nose to nose, each grabbing onto the ball and Jackson just tugged Ender around the yard and waited for Ender to let go then the chase would begin again. Also, when they were tugging on the same toy, Jackson's owner said "drop it Jackson" and he did... while it was still in Ender's mouth. To me that seems pretty good and the opposite of being toy aggressive.

    I think I feel better knowing now that 1. play growling happens and 2. lots of leash aggressive dogs are fine off leash. I just wanted to make sure I wasn't insane in letting Ender play with him.
    ~Lindsay

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    DefaultRe: Agression and play growling... (NOT Ender thank gawd)

    I think leash aggression is fairly common. My sister's dog, Akluq (or however its spelled!), is a very obedient and friendly dog but can not be trusted on leash around other dogs... he loses it apparently!
    ~Jo & CoCo


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