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Question
Posted by: Jean | 2011/02/22

Growling dog

Our dog growls at times and my feeling is he feels threatened, however he is very strong willed and when told to do something he doesn''t want to do he growls if you try to enforce authority. Now I know that if he is approached by both my husband and Iwhen he is lying down and we want to see a inner thigh that perhaps is injured or has a sore, he has growled and in this instance I believe he feels threatened. What to do? This is causing many problems as my husband feels the dog is trying to show that he is boss! He is a cross between a Rotweiler and a Boerboel.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageDog Behaviour Expert

Hi Jean, firstly it helps to realize that a growl is not a bad thing! The dog is warning you to back off and it cant cope. What i would do is three things:-
1. Make sure there is no physical problems present that the dog is reacting too.
2. Bring in some of the basic House Rules below.
3. If you are not winning, then i would suggest bringing in a professional to help you that can give you more info than i can supply here. The trouble with this kind of behaviour is that it often escalates and that is something you want to avoid at all costs, especially with the size of the dogs and the mix of breeds. You can find a behaviour consultant by Googling animal behaviour consultant and doing a SA search.
Exercises:
1. Ignore dog when entering home. Fold your arms, don’t look at or speak to the dog. When it has given up, call dog to you, ask for a sit and give a treat. The treat here is important as the dog is being rewarded for the behaviour you do want. You can slowly fade the reward when the dog cottons on.
2. Ignore all demanding behaviour – when dog comes and want attention, totally ignore it as above. When it has given up, call in your own time and give the dog the attention it wants.
3. Work to Earn Regime – from now on ‘no freebees’. You can implement this by getting the dog to sit, down, wait etc every time it wants something from you, even if just attention.
4. Take this a step further and when you have time (over weekend for example) and take the dogs daily rations and make it work for every single bit.

Make sure dog is getting enough physical and mental stimulation

Good luck and do let me know how you go, thanks Scotty

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

1
Our users say:
Posted by: Dog Behaviour Expert | 2011/02/22

Hi Jean, firstly it helps to realize that a growl is not a bad thing! The dog is warning you to back off and it cant cope. What i would do is three things:-
1. Make sure there is no physical problems present that the dog is reacting too.
2. Bring in some of the basic House Rules below.
3. If you are not winning, then i would suggest bringing in a professional to help you that can give you more info than i can supply here. The trouble with this kind of behaviour is that it often escalates and that is something you want to avoid at all costs, especially with the size of the dogs and the mix of breeds. You can find a behaviour consultant by Googling animal behaviour consultant and doing a SA search.
Exercises:
1. Ignore dog when entering home. Fold your arms, don’t look at or speak to the dog. When it has given up, call dog to you, ask for a sit and give a treat. The treat here is important as the dog is being rewarded for the behaviour you do want. You can slowly fade the reward when the dog cottons on.
2. Ignore all demanding behaviour – when dog comes and want attention, totally ignore it as above. When it has given up, call in your own time and give the dog the attention it wants.
3. Work to Earn Regime – from now on ‘no freebees’. You can implement this by getting the dog to sit, down, wait etc every time it wants something from you, even if just attention.
4. Take this a step further and when you have time (over weekend for example) and take the dogs daily rations and make it work for every single bit.

Make sure dog is getting enough physical and mental stimulation

Good luck and do let me know how you go, thanks Scotty

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