Hi all! First time poster and new to the website. I wanted to come somewhere that is NOT a veterinarian just looking for money (when I asked them about my problem, they obviously told me to bring the dogs in to be "evaluated").
Here is the scoop: I have two labs...both male, and brothers, one from the prior litter. So I have Colby (2 years old, black and the dominant one) and Cody (1 and a half years...chocolate, bigger by about 8lbs).
They are both exceptional dogs. Colby is always SO eager to please. He LOVES fetch (always has something in his mouth following us around to throw it for him)...both LOVE attention and being petted. Both listen VERY well. Neither are aggressive with other dogs (though Colby likes to be heads up on the other dog and appear dominant)...but NEITHER have ever fought another dog. Both are good with kids...
The last time that I was down at home, I had them both with me (both unleashed and not on chains as they were both just getting out of the truck and we were heading to the house) when my father in laws' neighbors dogs both came running over to his house (both of them weigh approx 120lbs if I had to guess) and Colby got excited thinking he was going to make a new friend and they commenced to tag team him! Well, let's just say I had my ways of getting them off of him...and the neighbor will be dealt with soon since her dogs are regularly at his house attacking his dog too...but that is another story.
I took them both in and checked him over...he had NO cuts, scrapes or anything...just some slobber on his neck where these fiendish dogs had their mouths.
Lately (the past couple months), Colby has began to actually GROWL at me and my wife when he is being scolded for doing something wrong. He was sniffing at some food on the table last night and my wife in an authoritive voice scowled "No!" and he growled at her, stood his ground for a second and then walked away. But when I came over and yelled at him, he layed down on the ground and looked away from me (keep in mind he has growled at me before since this incident with the other dogs too)...I have NO idea what has brought this behavior on...just curious as to what some of you all think that it is because I have never had a dog do this before.
I have only 2 personal opinions. 1.) He is so used to being the dominant one and in charge outside with Cody all day long until we get home from work, that he is trying to establish some sort of dominance over US too? or 2.) He just has too much testosterone flaring and is need of getting fixed? (both of them since fixing the dominant one and not the submissive one may cause problems down the road)...
Sorry this post is so long, but I really appreciate any opinions out there!
I don't think that your dog's encounter with the neighbor dogs has much to do with his current actions. He's at that age where his adult personality is really setting and he's seeing what he can get away with. Have they had any sort of formal training? Search "NILF" on the forum and start applying it asap....make him work for everything he likes (food, playing) and make sure your wife is involved too. Nuetering should also help and they're the perfect ages to do it.
First thing is first, I would absolutely neuter them. No reason to keep a pet dog intact.
Second, do you think the growling is related to the presence of food? on previous occasions when he has growled at you or your wife, has food been involved? food can be a pretty common trigger for this type of reaction.
I do plan on having them into the vet to be neutered and I am hoping that is one of the quick fixes.Originally Posted by Trickster
I don't think that the food is what is triggering it...maybe last night, but the couple of times prior to that weren't for sure. One time he had his nose in the cat's rear end and she scolded him and he growled at her for that...and one time while I was sitting on the floor, he came over sniffing in my ear and I told him "no" and he continued and I told him "NO!" a little more authoritive and he growled at me for that...
So you think that he IS trying to establish a "ranking" within the family, huh? He has had no formal training, but like I said, this is the first dog that I have ever had that has done this. Course, this is also the first SET of male/un-neutered dogs I have ever had too. It truly is a dog's nature to test his position with other dogs and from what I hear, family members too...but I am going to have to nip this in the butt before Thanksgiving rolls around and we have a house full of kids.
Thanks for the responses, you guys! Keep them coming!
I don't know that I would necessarily be concerned with "rank" and "vying for position" and all that, I think it's way more simple, in that he's testing to see what he can get away with and what he can't, regardless of rank or position.
Agree with getting them neutered, and agree with implementing NILIF (Nothing In Life is Free) which as Nicole said, means he has to work for everything. Ration out his kibble and give it to him throughout the day for performing random behaviours at your request (sit, down, etc). Same with fetch or petting/attention. Make him work for anything that he enjoys, because nothing in life is free.
Baloo - 5 year old black lab
Peanut - 7 year old minpin
Monster - 3-ish year old frenchie/jack, rescue
Structure structure structure..... if he doesn't respect you, you are in for trouble, possibly even after the neuter though I agree that is the place to start. Some labs are grumblers. Some have reason (physical injuries) but most don't. My choc girl had a bad neck injury that caused her to grumble at dogs approaching her for the longest time even after it was fixed because she associated dogs approaching her with extreme pain (her whole neck was out of alignment, muscle damage, etc). Some dogs grumble that have allergy issues and thus don't feel well either. You do need to rule out what may be physical vs mental, but I know that structure in my household is not lacking (it is in MANY) so was able to rule that out right away. If you have a training club near you, it'd be a very good idea to take him to classes. Good luck. Anne
WindyCanyon Girls, August 2014
Neutering isn't a quick fix, but should be done. It will help. But you need to establish rank...with you and your wife being in charge. They are testing you. Food is a necessity....so it could be a trigger. Next, you need to train them separate, and together...they need to be bonded to you...not exclusively to each other. And finally, I'd say that you should have Colby checked thoroughly...including thyroid as a dog can become "testy" if they are not feeling well. So, not that we are vets, some of your issue will be resolved with going to see a vet for neutering and for an overall check-up. The rest is NILIF
Dani, Rider & Rookie
SHR Watson's Safari Rider, JH, WC, CL1-R, RA, CGC, TDI
SHR Endeavor Put Me In Coach, RN, WC, CGC
Member Since 6/2003
Dogs develop their personalities until about age 3. IMO you should neuter, have the dogs checked for medical problems if it is a sudden occurance and consult an animal behaviorist, who can diagnos and help you with behaviour modification.
Handle every stressful situation like a dog. If you can't eat it or play with it, just piss on it and walk away
Another neuter vote. Then try NILF and get yourself to a training class with those guys.
With lots of kids around the house and food for Thanksgiving I'd keep the dogs away from the hustle until you get this sorted out, either outside, crated, or leashed to you. No reason to risk a kid being bitten.
Only after the last tree has been cut down, only after the last river has been poisoned, only after the last fish has been caught, only then will you find that money cannot be eaten. - Cree prophecy