Growling before snapping.

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yummybagel
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Growling before snapping.

Post by yummybagel » Fri Jan 21, 2011 4:41 pm

Hello!
I have a male beagle, and he is around a year and a half years old.
Is it a wise idea to encourage him to growl before he snaps or nips when he is annoyed?
Most of the time my beagle directly snaps or nips before growling....I have read a little bit of Victoria's book and it said that dogs usually growl before they bite or snap. But I think I've accidentally discouraged him from growling. When someone in the family, including me, stroke him too hard or too much (we do sometimes stroke him too much to the point where even I think it's annoying) he gets annoyed so he warns us to stop, but not with a growl but with a snap. There was a time when he growled, but in my attempt to "reprimand" the person who was petting him too harshly I'm afraid that it looked to him that I was reprimanding him for growling. My bad... :? But I was wondering, if it really is an ok idea is there a way to encourage him to growl before he nips?

ladybug1802
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Re: Growling before snapping.

Post by ladybug1802 » Fri Jan 21, 2011 5:07 pm

Sounds to me like your little chap doesnt really like being petted too much, so to be honest, the best way to get him to growl before snapping again is to take a step back, stop people other than people he trusts 100% petting him, so that he starts to realise you wil stop this from happening. You may have accidentally reprimanded him growling, but he may have come to the conclusion that him growling makes no difference, so he has to up the behaviour to a snap in an attempt to get people to listen to him.

I think that as you know you stroke him to the point it is annoying, you need to stop this now.

My dog Dylan is nervous of strange people he doesnt trust, and used to snap at people if they got too close or tried to touch him. No growl. He was a rescue. I took advice from here (have a look back at my previous posts) and I took that advice and now he is amazingly better. We have had no issues for months and months, but now, should someone for some reason make him feel uncomfortable (maybe by staring at him when too close, as I dont let strangers touch him) he will growl. 6 ,onths ago he would have just snapped.

SO the key is to stop doing the behaviour he is trying to tell you he doesnt like. Give him a quick stroke and pet on the chest or under the chin when he comes up for attention, but leave it at that, and DONT stroke him on the head.

runlikethewind
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Re: Growling before snapping.

Post by runlikethewind » Sat Jan 22, 2011 2:13 pm

Good advice from Ladybug. It is possible to a dog to go 'back down' to growling level. When this happens, it is to be HEEDED, not ignored. The reason he is now snapping is because growling never worked and he had to go to the next level.

As Ladybug has said, your steps to get to this level as as follows:

First of all stop petting him - dogs are not soft toys to be mooched about and petted/stroked whenever we feel like it. They need to be respected. Allow his stress levels to go back to normal. Ask EVERYONE to stop approaching and touching. If you do not do this, you will get a dog who starts to growl even upon approach and dog who bites with touch.

Then your next step is to leave him to come TO YOU for attention. This is not what some people say as him being dominant. That is utter rubbish. He needs to feel more in control of what is going on around him,. that is all. Leave him to start affection. THEN, only give a little scratch on his neck or whatever you truthfully feels he would like (NOT what you would like to do) then finish. Good boy.

If he growls, you have gone too far. Say OK and then stop what you are doing. Repeat! :D

emmabeth
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Re: Growling before snapping.

Post by emmabeth » Sat Jan 22, 2011 6:44 pm

It is possible to get the growl back, I have done this/am doing this with my latest rescue Ellie who was previously taught that shed get yelled at or smacked and whatever it was she didnt like would be continued anyway so she went straight for a bite and yelp which I think made people back off.

Shes now growling a little and snapping rather than biting and its all because we have watched her so carefully and made a point of backing off when shes said in ANY way 'i dont like this, stop'.
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Mattie
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Re: Growling before snapping.

Post by Mattie » Sun Jan 23, 2011 3:43 am

Like Emmabeth I have got the growl back with a dog but not with another. The dog that the growl didn't come back was an old girl of about 13 when I got her but by watching her body language I was able to see when she was getting stressed. The dog I did get the growl back was a young dog, 10 months old when he came to me.

Learn about body language, there is a thread with some good clips in about this in the Dog Training Articles section which may help.
[url=http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v312/Nethertumbleweed/PIXIE.jpg][img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v312/Nethertumbleweed/th_PIXIE.jpg[/img][/url]

YakieSwe
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Re: Growling before snapping.

Post by YakieSwe » Thu Jan 27, 2011 7:00 pm

Okay, heres my way of looking at this issue!

He's a young dog and to stroke/cuddle: that's human invention. Some dogs dont like it. Yes, the growls, snips and snaps is his natural way of saying: enough! Keep away! And that's something to respect.

How do you stroke him? Where on his body do you most stroke him? Is he reacting when the hand is to long in somewhere particular place on his body? Head, back, neck, belly, behind etc. He may have some pain to check up by a vet.

If you shore his okay:
Your goal and mind should from now on be this. Gently respect where that his line ends about strokes, and stop handling/stroke him LONG before he even can react to it. If he usually is okay to be cuddle with for like five minutes. Stop cuddle him half that time from know on.

Maybe even make some distance from him. Move to the other side of the sofa, a chair etc. Bring an extra chair if needed. Wait for maybe 5 minutes and then decide if you want to go back to the first seat.

Start and see what happens. Tell me! Good luck
Dogs are TROUBLESHOOTERS. It's us humans who create problems.

yummybagel
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Re: Growling before snapping.

Post by yummybagel » Thu Jan 27, 2011 7:51 pm

Thank you so much for the posts!
I will try to resist cuddling him too much...It's hard sometimes though :wink:
All of us in the family would have to take a step back..
I think it's cuddling that he's annoyed with the most.

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Nettle
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Re: Growling before snapping.

Post by Nettle » Fri Jan 28, 2011 2:41 am

Dogs hate being cuddled. Some will learn to like it because we like it and they are being generous with us - but if you look at the face of a dog being cuddled, most will be enduring it and longing for it to be over. A bit like I don't like my face being licked but I put up with it because it means so much to my dogs. :)

Get some big soft toys for your family to cuddle. Your dog will be so relieved that he no longer has to squashed and rubbed. If you really want to show your dog how much you love him - walk him! Cuddling just shows how much you love yourself. :wink:
A dog is never bad or naughty - it is simply being a dog

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yummybagel
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Re: Growling before snapping.

Post by yummybagel » Tue Feb 01, 2011 6:46 pm

What you said makes sense, Nettle :)

The poor guy has been cuddled his whole life, no wonder he's reacting the way he is.

yummybagel
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Re: Growling before snapping.

Post by yummybagel » Tue Feb 01, 2011 7:28 pm

So I have a question on to what extent I can allow strangers to touch him.
Am I to forbid petting completely, or is just an occasional stroke on the chest or on the back ok?
He is not reacting too badly yet, and he doesn't seem too nervous when a stranger come and try to pet him.
Although, there are times when he kind of steps back whenever a stranger tries to pet him, and usually people stop when he does that.
To what extent should I allow a stranger to touch him?

emmabeth
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Re: Growling before snapping.

Post by emmabeth » Tue Feb 01, 2011 7:53 pm

For now, I would say not at all - you already know hes not comfortable with some levels of petting and that he doesnt growl first to say he doesnt like it, so the sensible option for now at least is not to allow strangers to pet him. After all, hes YOUR dog, they have no need nor right to do this.

That will involve you being quite assertive about it because for some reason, humans seem to think they have a divine right to touch any animal they see that isn't traditionally known for eating people (and some will even try to touch THAT type of animal too -how we EVER evolved as far as we have I do not know :lol: )

When he does have his growl back and he is more relaxed and happy that he wont get petted when he doesnt want it, then you can choose whether or not you allow people to greet him and pet him IF he wants it, and stop it BEFORE he is unhappy with it.

Most of the time, if you leave a dog wanting more fuss, rather than have them wishing someone would stop, they will grow to like it more. My newest dog is now like this and part of the reason she was rehomed to me was because she apparently did not like people, or fuss, or cuddles or sitting next to folk on the sofa.

She does now like ALL these things and is becoming a much more 'touchy feely' dog, in that she will paw us w hen she wants something, sit on the sofa next to us, invite scritches and even get inour laps if something frightens her - but it is still very very much on her terms. This is all because we have left her alone, and demonstrated that we will not cross the boundaries intentionally and if we do so accidentally we listen to her.
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Sarah83
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Re: Growling before snapping.

Post by Sarah83 » Tue Feb 01, 2011 8:16 pm

Dogs hate being cuddled. Some will learn to like it because we like it and they are being generous with us - but if you look at the face of a dog being cuddled, most will be enduring it and longing for it to be over.
Mine insists on being cuddled at times and will actually shove and wriggle his way under your arms so that they're around him :lol: Sometimes he's a real pain with it to be honest. That said, there are times he doesn't want to be cuddled and although he's far too polite to tell me where to go it's obvious from his body language that he would prefer to be left alone. I listen to him at those times and just leave him to it, he'll come to me if he wants my attention.

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Nettle
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Re: Growling before snapping.

Post by Nettle » Wed Feb 02, 2011 3:43 am

Mr. Nettle's terrier is like that :lol: I often look at the two of them and say "the amount of time I spend telling people dogs don't like being cuddled!"

Thing is - you are wise enough to leave the approach to your dog, and keep the arrangement on his terms. Many people just pitch up to a dog and take cuddles whenever they want - and dogs don't like this any more than the little kid likes being hugged and kissed by whiskery peppermint-breathed old relatives! :mrgreen:
A dog is never bad or naughty - it is simply being a dog

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ladybug1802
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Re: Growling before snapping.

Post by ladybug1802 » Wed Feb 02, 2011 3:58 am

Dylan is also a real cuddle monster! He comes over to me on the sofa and positions himself right in front of me, between my legs, and isnt happy until I put my arms round him! Also if I lie on the floor he comes right over to me and lies in front of me along the length of my body, his back to my front, for a good old cuddle! He loves cuddles from the people he trusts but he would HATE to even be attempted to be cuddled from someone he doesnt know well...and I woukldnt let them at all.

So yummybagel, as Emmabeth says, it is best to not let any strangers stroke your dog at all......that is what I have done with Dylan due to his fear and he is now much happier being around strange people...altho I still dont let strangers touch him...they dont need to after all!

Sarah83
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Re: Growling before snapping.

Post by Sarah83 » Wed Feb 02, 2011 6:52 am

Mr. Nettle's terrier is like that :lol: I often look at the two of them and say "the amount of time I spend telling people dogs don't like being cuddled!"
Come on Nettle, dogs like to make us look like liars at any opportunity :lol:
Also if I lie on the floor he comes right over to me and lies in front of me along the length of my body, his back to my front, for a good old cuddle!
I woke up this morning with Ruperts head next to mine on the pillow, his back pressed up against my front and my arm round him. I got screechy kisses and waggy tail when he realised I'd woken up :lol: Now he's curled up at the far end of the couch and wants to be left alone.

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