Corrections for growling

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#1
I was lurking som'where else and I was interested when this topic came up and absolutely SHOCKED when I saw how many people correct their dogs for growling.


Personally, I may interupt/redirect occasionally, but I never give any sort of P+ for any growling behavior. Iam in the camp that thinks its a valid communication tool, and that taking away this system may lead to a 'bite first" type dog.


My last visit to the dog park, Both Chili and Emma growled on several occasions, Chili, mostly in play, and Emma growled at a dog trying to mount her...Both times this woman started telling them "NO NONO!" (while still petting them mind you) and I had to reassure her it was ok.

Why is growling so taboo to so many people? For those of you that don't allow it....What is you thinking behind it? :)

might I add that my dogs (knock on wood) get along fine and growling has never escalated to a bite between me and them, or them and each other, I think this is in part of me allowing this.

i also actively try to countercondition them to whatever triggered it in the first place.
 
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Dekka

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#2
I used to correct it. Till I went to that Ian Dunbar seminar on aggression. He pointed out a growling dog was one trying to NOT bite you.. giving you all the chances in the world to let you know what was upsetting it and allowing you to chose to stop.

He talked about how dogs who are punished successfully for growling are the ones that 'bite out of no where' as the main issue hasn't been resolved and the dog 'knows better' than to warn.

Made sense to me now if one of my dogs growls I would work to fix the underlying issue, not try to fix the symptom.
 

corgipower

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#3
I also used to correct for growling.

Most noticeable is with Ares, when I would clip his nails, I would correct if he growled at me. He did eventually stop growling and went to warning bites. I corrected for that and soon he was drawing blood and running away from me. That's when I decided maybe it wasn't the best approach.

With lots of treats I got him to allow me to touch his feet again and if he so much as twitched his lip, I'd quit and let him be. I did rebuild the warning system and he now will lie down for me while I clip his nails. He grumbles if I get too close to a quick and he knows I'll respect him when he does.

As for growling at other dogs, it is a warning and the only time it's escalated past a growl and into a bite was if the other dog didn't back off when growled at. I don't correct either dog in that situation, I just calmly separate them or redirect them.

By allowing Morgan to give the growls and warning snaps (I trust her completely to not inflict damage while still managing to be effective), she has been able to put better manners on Nyx and Tyr.

But I think a lot of the general dog owning public think a growl is aggression and are horrified and embarrassed that their dog isn't playing nicely.
 

noodlerubyallie

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#4
My trainer is trying to get me to stop Ruby from growling. As we know, Sibes are not known for being silent - growling is a normal tool for them, and it's not only to give a warning, but it's to share excitement, happiness, opinions, etc.

I refuse to correct her for it. I try to interrupt/redirect her when she does it to strangers, because most people don't realize that she isn't growling at them to be angry - she's growling at them for attention. Usually I can say her name and she shuts her mouth.

I think the problem lies in what most of us were taught when we are little - a growling dog is mean/angry. I think the message is lost - growling is a form of communication, and I can't imagine Ruby without her signature growl. :)
 

Maxy24

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#5
I totally agree with you that growling should never be punished, that does not solve whatever problem that is causing the growl or stop whatever the dog was feeling, it just ends that noise, nothing else changes. The dog will still escalate if he continues to be pushed to that point, he just won't growl anytime before he gets to his next step (snapping for instance).

People think they are punishing aggression in general when they punish a growl, they don't realize they are simply punishing one of the many ways a dog displays "aggression", not the aggression itself, the dog can still show it in many other ways, many of which are much worse than growling. Growl or no growl the dog still wants to growl and will still continue along the same escalation that it would if it had growled, it just skips the growling step.
 

ihartgonzo

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#6
I NEVER correct growls... and both of my dogs can be quite vocal. Both of them have also never even come close to biting. Coincidence? Fozzie once growled at an exhuberant dog getting in his face at the dog park, wasn't even showing teeth, just telling the dog to step off. They were in the midst of lots of other dogs greeting each other and I think Fozzie was just feeling overwhelmed. A lady (who didn't even own the other dog) swooped in and yelled at Fozzie, then grabbed his muzzle. I asked her to kindly get her hands off of my dog, and informed her that I was watching him, he has every right to express discomfort, and moments later HER spazzy Belgian went after another dog out of nowhere and I was right there to remind her that warnings are a good thing. I think some people see growling as a promise of a bite, rather than a way of avoiding needing to bite at all.

Correcting growls is unbelievably pointless and stupid, to me. It's like punching a person for politely asking you to give them some space. :confused: I see sooo many dogs at work who will either go right into attack mode with no warnings, or who have simply learned to shut down and do nothing, because they've clearly been punished for using warnings. If anything, correct the dog who is being growled at! The only time I'm concerned about growls is when it's clearly escalating, the dog is very tense/stiff, or the other dog is not respecting the growls at all. Then I'll redirect or seperate.
 
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#7
and I can't imagine Ruby without her signature growl.
Chili is the same way. I can't imagine him without som' kind of noise coming out of him.


People think they are punishing aggression in general when they punish a growl,
thats what all these people seemed to think, "hes thinking about biting and biting is wrong!" sort of thing...i noticed they all had lots of examples, makes me wonder about the overall relationship. :(

lady (who didn't even own the other dog) swooped in and yelled at Fozzie, then grabbed his muzzle. I asked her to kindly get her hands off of my dog, and informed her that I was watching him, he has every right to express discomfort,
omg patience of a saint. I would have been pissed.
 

ihartgonzo

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#8
omg patience of a saint. I would have been pissed.
Fozzie is the one with the patience of a saint... he just looked at her like WTF lady? She is so lucky that he's the most tolerant dog in the world. If she had pulled that stunt on Gonzo, she would hear a much, much scarier warning than a little grumble. :eek: And probably pee her pants.
 

protodog

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#9
I don't correct growling because I don't want a dog who thinks that biting is her only communication option.

At work, a dobe bit the groomer in the throat (just a small scrape, but still terrifying). The dog did not growl or tense beforehand, probably because he had always been punished for communicating discomfort. The groomer would have much preferred to receive the growl instead.
 
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#10
Fozzie is the one with the patience of a saint... he just looked at her like WTF lady? She is so lucky that he's the most tolerant dog in the world. If she had pulled that stunt on Gonzo, she would hear a much, much scarier warning than a little grumble. :eek: And probably pee her pants.
I had a lady grab my pomeranian and smash her face into her terrified dogs face (think little kid making two dolls kiss) while making "look see? friends! Kiss kiss!" sounds. I lost it as politely as I could... she too, was fortunate in her which dog to manhandle choice that day.
 

corgipower

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#11
Also to me a growl between the dogs tells me to pay attention more and with Ares be ready to step in and get him out of there or get whoever he's growling at out of there.

Growling at me tells me I'm doing something I shouldn't be doing.
 

ACooper

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#12
Phoebe growls and snarks at Orson all the time.........we let her. That has been her way of telling him to get out of her face since he was a young punk, she's never bitten him, and he TRULY needs to be told off sometimes, LOL (even now when he's an older punk) So we let her handle it.

If she were growling at people? IDK........I might feel a little differently, probably remove her from the situation at the very least.

Orson isn't a growler so no point of reference there for me.
 

mrose_s

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#13
I also feel that a growl is a warning, I don't punish it. I fix the situation/make it more comfortable one way or another.
Buster is a very quiet/reserved dog. A growl from him is a praised warning, I'd rather that then him flying off the handle before I can control him.

The only time he's growled at people have been when he's been obvisouly uncomfortable or put in a very stressful situation, he's rarely made me think
he might bite.
 

Maxy24

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#15
You'd need to find out WHY he's growling at them and address that so that he no longer feels threatened and has no need to growl. Dogs growl for a reason. If you are having this problem you might want to make your own thread so it will be noticed.
 

JPuckett1989

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#16
I'm so GLAD I read this thread.

First let me say that some of you are way more polite than me and I would have exploded on someone if they ever laid hands on my dog in an aggressive way like that.

Last night my girlfriend had a couple classmates over(4) to help work on their papers and sadie randomly growled at one of them,which was a little strange she didn't growl at the first 3 but the when the last one came in she growled at them and my girlfriend corrected her for it and I had to let her know later that she doesn't need to be doing that because she's just upset about all these new people coming into her space.

We're still working on sadie's socialization but this thread just helped me open my eyes about growling more. I'm some what embarrassed by her when she does it towards people and children in the apartment complex. Most of the time though I can understand a lot of people just think they can run up to a dog and play with them and the dog will be comfortable with it. I have noticed that she doesn't like when people walk straight/forward and directly at her like making a B line for her. I assume she takes it as an aggressive movement towards her? Either way,I'm glad she growls and doesn't just snap at people,otherwise we have a much larger problem on our hands.

This thread has really helped open my eyes farther and I'm going to make my girlfriend read it as well.
 

Dekka

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#17
What if your dog is growling at family members?
What about it?

Are you saying you think dogs should be corrected for growling at family members? Dekka growls if she is very comfortable and hubby or child go to pick her up. Is it better she start biting them?

We just work on her tolerance to being harassed whilst napping that is all.
 

Dekka

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#19
It might help us if you give more specifics in your questions (hypothetical and real) :D
 

theresa92841

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#20
Recently Anisette has started growling over her food bowl towards the other dogs and over some treats to the other dogs. She didn't do this before. So I am not quite sure where it is coming from and what is causing it.

In fact, one time the chewy was on the floor. She was on the sofa. Another dog went to get the chewy, she jumped down and growled.

Now this I am not a fan of at all. And I want to stop her from progressing with this behavior.
 

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