Growling and Snarling
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Thread: Growling and Snarling

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    DefaultGrowling and Snarling

    Just last week our 4 year old yellow lab. has started to growl and snarl when we touch his face mostly when he lays on our bed. He has slept in bed with us since we had him. But he also will growl and snarl at my wife mostly, more so than with me and not only on the bed. It seems to happen at night mostly too. When he growls at me while on the bed I tell him to get off the bed and let him sleep on the floor next to me. But I am very concerned about his growling and snarling at my wife. We used to be able to rub our face in his face in a playful manner and now when my wife's face gets close to him he growls. However, we tried putting her face near his face with treats for reassurance and he is OK with that!

    One major change in the house, was our first baby born in October 2007. My wife has been home since then with the dog and baby. The dog is fine with the baby, lays down next to him, never growled or snarled at the baby. The dog doesn't growl or snarl at us when we are with the baby. Also, the dog gets activity 3 times a day playing catch in the backyard. We have not neglected giving attention to the dog at all since the babies arrival, in fact we might be over compensating the dog with attention since the babies arrival.

    Any help will be appreciated b/c we are fondly attached to our first dog ever, yet I need to be realistic to protect my wife and child.

    Thank you,
    Joe

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
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    2,653

    DefaultRe: Growling and Snarling

    Stop letting him sleep on your bed and stop putting your face in his face.

    He needs to sleep in his own bed or in a crate until his behavior stuff is sorted out.

    First, take him to the vet to rule out any medical issues- dogs react funny when they have vision changes, pain issues, etc.

    Then tell more about what you do when he does it- how do you correct him? When exactly did this first start?


  4. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    3

    DefaultRe: Growling and Snarling

    The Vet appt is scheduled.

    Why would sleeping on the bed have anything to do with it if he has done this for his whole life. Is he just getting older and trying to be dominant?

    One thing I didn't mention in my post was that his body is hard as a rock, he won't look at you and his hackles are up, when he growls and snarls. Then he seems to be very remorseful and walks away from us in a timid and scared manner. Then he will gradually try to come back around us.

    What I do when he growls at me is I say a firm harsh "No". Then when he comes back to me after snapping out of his mean streak, I give him commands like:---- sit----give me your paw----other paw---and I pet him.

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  6. #4
    kaytris is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Growling and Snarling

    he's treating the bed as 'his' space, and its not - so bed privileges are OVER. Personally, I wouldn't allow this dog back on the bed at any point, but if you must, then it has to be at your invitation, and the dog must listen immediately if you tell him to get off.

    after the vet visit (make sure vet checks mouth/teeth thoroughly) I'd implement this: http://www.dragonflyllama.com/%20DOGS/Writing/LTD.html

  7. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
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    2,559

    DefaultRe: Growling and Snarling

    Dogs are not remorseful. Your dog is not sorry he has done anything.

    First and foremost, what does your wife say about this? If I were home with a snarling dog and a newborn baby, I'd have more then words for the dog.

    What level of training does the dog have on him? Has he been obedience trained in the past? Get him in a crate away from you when you sleep if he is becoming possessive of your space.

  8. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    10,230

    DefaultRe: Growling and Snarling

    I would have the vet check his vision. If he's having trouble seeing it may explain why it's mostly at night (lower light levels) and why it's when you get close to his face maybe he can't see you as well or he's getting startled. For your wifes safety I would get him off the bed and try to keep from getting close to his face. Try to figure out the triggers and avoid them. Also does she do the same thing when he does it to her? Is she in control and he listens to her? He may do it more to her as a dominance thing and getting him off the bed would help with that.
    Good luck figureing it out.

  9. #7
    ObedienceLabs4Me is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Growling and Snarling

    I would have the vet do a complete physical. Second in no way would he be on the bed. That is a place of privillege for pack leaders and it does sound like he is trying to get it as his own. No more bed privilleges. No, he's not remorseful and with his body as hard when he's growling he is very serious. I would not allow the dog to be next to the baby until all things are ruled out. His life has been turned upside down and with this different behavior, I would always advise to error on the side of caution. Remember as I said with bringing a new baby in his world has been turned upside down. Plus if there is a problem with his vision............. Remember, too, for as much as all of us love our Labs they are still dogs and still related to the wolf and always capable of biting.
    Susan
    UCDX GRCH Dunn's Marsh Caleb of Waltona UDX3, OM3, RAE Canadian UD, RE
    FallRiver's Micah of Waltona GN RAE, Canadian CD, RN

    www.labmed.org


  10. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    4

    DefaultRe: Growling and Snarling

    Hey, Joe! What a frustrating problem to have. :-[

    I'd ask around about a professional trainer or behavior consultant qualified to deal with these types of issues. Punishment or corrections can sometimes make the problem much, much worse (depends on the dog).

    Two good places to start are http://www.apdt.com and http://www.iaabc.org.

  11. #9
    ObedienceLabs4Me is offline Senior Member
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    Akron, Ohio
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    DefaultRe: Growling and Snarling

    Another excellent source for dog trainers is the National Association of Dog Obedience Instructors. It's the oldest of it's type

    www.nadoi.org
    Susan
    UCDX GRCH Dunn's Marsh Caleb of Waltona UDX3, OM3, RAE Canadian UD, RE
    FallRiver's Micah of Waltona GN RAE, Canadian CD, RN

    www.labmed.org


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