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Puppy growling...

post #1 of 72
Thread Starter 
Hi!

Can anyone explain to me when a puppy growling is considered normal and when it's something to be concerned about? I guess by "normal" I'm talking about situations where it is reasonable that a puppy get annoyed and growl. Our new puppy has been growling at times at my boys when they try to pick him up. It seems to be mostly when he's tired and wants to take a nap. I've instructed them to stop picking up and leave him 100% alone when he's sleeping. Honestly, I'm a little surprised to hear ANY growling from him, but this is our first puppy and I'm pretty clueless overall. We're talking about a 9 week old male lab (purebred) here. Thanks!
post #2 of 72
Ummm.... never. Puppy should NEVER think it's okay to growl at anyone in the house. Ever.
post #3 of 72
Never, ever. At any age.

9 weeks and he's already doing this? You are likely in for a wild ride, I'd start looking for a behaviourist now, to use in the future.

I mean that in all sincerity.
post #4 of 72
Thread Starter 
Oh dear, you both have me really worried now.
post #5 of 72
OK, I know I'm a cat person, however my kids aren't even allowed to pick up our cats. That is, not even our 7 y.o.

I don't really think that kids should be picking up an animal that size. What if the dog isn't supported properly, feels threatened and growls/bites?

Maybe I'm in the minority though.
post #6 of 72
Even so, the puppy should NOT think it's okay to growl. Growling is the precedent to biting and this puppy obviously thinks he has every right to growl... and guess what is coming next??

A nine week old puppy doing this has got some cahones... that is for sure... and could have a screw loose. Aggression in a puppy that young is NOT normal. At all.

Even if the kids were picking him up wrong, his reaction should be to cry, not growl.

I would contact the breeder asap and possibly consider that you might have gotten the wrong puppy for your family.
post #7 of 72
I really agree with Mom0810. She is right on and you really have my sympathy for your situation. The pup may be right for someone else who has the time and inclination to handle such a dog but you want a playmate for your kids, not a project.
post #8 of 72
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by betsyj View Post
I really agree with Mom0810. She is right on and you really have my sympathy for your situation. The pup may be right for someone else who has the time and inclination to handle such a dog but you want a playmate for your kids, not a project.
You're exactly right, I want a companion for my boys, not a project.

I think it's time for a chat with the breeder.
post #9 of 72
Is growling when playing with a toy also unacceptable?
post #10 of 72
No not when playing with a toy. If it is growling when taking the toy away that is a different kettle of fish.
post #11 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by sarathan View Post
You're exactly right, I want a companion for my boys, not a project.

I think it's time for a chat with the breeder.
Don't you have a cat? What is wrong with having a cat as a companion. I find them to be the easiest to care for, though they are of course more expensive to care for than a small rodent...but definitely cheap in comparison to a dog.

After having had some cats pass on I purposefully sought out super friendly, outgoing, affectionate cats to adopt. My cats are fantastic...they greet peopel when they come in and generally love people! Lap cats, super smart and great with the kids, two of them even fetch (yeah...you read right they fetch!). They are the most amazing pets ever, and hardly any work. And, nearly half of the work my kids now to (feeding/watering). The other half (litter pan) is quick! I even have persians, though I've cheated recently since having a baby and clipped my two girls down. So they're currently shorthairs!

I adopted them as adults, and none had prior experience with kids, BUT they are wonderful. (keep in mind I don't let them handle the cats, other than supervised petting and play though)
post #12 of 72

Childproofing your dog

Great book I used when we got a puppy 6 mos before our first baby. Some examples we used to childproof were coming up on the puppy unexpected and grabbing, pinching, pulling all the shile saying good dog and giving praise. Simulates what a child does when playing with a dog. Also around dinner time taking food out of bowl WHILE dog is eating and same thing giving praise. The book is short and easy read with great troubleshooting too. Our "puppy" is now 13 and is not only great with the kids, he protects them as well. Important for then to know where they are in the pack....ZETA! The book is called CHILDPROOFING YOUR DOG Brian Kilcommins
post #13 of 72
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by phatchristy View Post
Don't you have a cat? What is wrong with having a cat as a companion. I find them to be the easiest to care for, though they are of course more expensive to care for than a small rodent...but definitely cheap in comparison to a dog.
Yes, we do have a cat. He's a good cat, we really love him, but he doesn't like playing with the kids much. You're right, cats are soooo much easier than dogs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by flavcon View Post
Great book I used when we got a puppy 6 mos before our first baby. Some examples we used to childproof were coming up on the puppy unexpected and grabbing, pinching, pulling all the shile saying good dog and giving praise. Simulates what a child does when playing with a dog. Also around dinner time taking food out of bowl WHILE dog is eating and same thing giving praise. The book is short and easy read with great troubleshooting too. Our "puppy" is now 13 and is not only great with the kids, he protects them as well. Important for then to know where they are in the pack....ZETA! The book is called CHILDPROOFING YOUR DOG Brian Kilcommins
Thanks for the book recommendation, I'll check it out!
post #14 of 72
Wow, I am totally surprised by everyone saying that growling is abnormal in a 9 week old puppy. If you've ever seen a litter of puppies together they growl, and snap, and yelp at each other to let their litter mates know when they've crossed the line. Being woken up by a litter mate who wants to wrestle (which is what being picked up by your kids probably seems like for your puppy) would be a perfectly good reason to growl.

What you need to do is teach your puppy that your kids are not litter mates and that what is acceptable with other puppies is not acceptable with them. But this is not something that you can expect your puppy to know intuitively. Especially at 9 weeks old, which in my opinion is on the young side to be away from Mom.

I think you really need to get some guidance (perhaps from the breeder?) on what is normal and what isn't and how to deal with various behaviours in order to turn your pup into a valued member of your family.

Good luck! I can tell you want what's best for your family and your dog, and that's a great place to start.
post #15 of 72
Thread Starter 
I e-mailed the breeder this morning and her response is NOTHING like what I got here. She basically said that a 9 week old pup is is testing limits and needs to learn his place in the "pack", which is at the bottom tier. She actually encouraged me to get him to growl, and then when he does, the kids and I are to firmly tell him "NO!" and roll him over on his back for 5 seconds. Then all is forgiven. We are not to give him space as this teaches him that growling makes people do his bidding, bad lesson. Honestly, this makes more sense to me than statements that a 9-week old puppy should NEVER growl, EVER!
post #16 of 72
It's not that a 9 week old puppy should never growl, ever! It's that he should not growl at his people.

I TOTALLY agree with flipping him over on his back and would have suggested that earlier, but I have been flamed here for doing so, so I was treading lightly. Your breeder is very right and she knows her puppies better than anyone. Please try it and I am sure you will have a different puppy in no time.

Sorry I did not suggest it before, but you will no doubt hear all kinds of reasons here why that is such an awful thing to do to your puppy. DON'T pay attention and do as your breeder suggests.
post #17 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by mom0810 View Post
It's not that a 9 week old puppy should never growl, ever! It's that he should not growl at his people.

I TOTALLY agree with flipping him over on his back and would have suggested that earlier, but I have been flamed here for doing so, so I was treading lightly. Your breeder is very right and she knows her puppies better than anyone. Please try it and I am sure you will have a different puppy in no time.

Sorry I did not suggest it before, but you will no doubt hear all kinds of reasons here why that is such an awful thing to do to your puppy. DON'T pay attention and do as your breeder suggests.
I have a question....

Were you flamed because the school of thought that says flipping the puppy on his back could cause him to later be aggressive. I am just curious!
post #18 of 72
I am a cat person also but have been reading ALOT about puppies (forcefully by Dd who wants a puppy, SO BAD!!! Her words lol) You should get Cesar Milans books. He has some great ways and has been working with dogs since he was 15. Turning the puppy on his back is a perfectly acceptable way of establishing pack authority, but its not like your going to let your kids grab him by the legs and fling him on his back. I doubt highly that he would become agressive later on in life. Maybe if you are unsure bring him to the breeder and have her show you how to do it (and the kids too!) This is your first puppy you should not feel like you can't have a support system for him! lol I know never having a dog before in my life I would have to also!
post #19 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkylarJulesmom View Post
I am a cat person also but have been reading ALOT about puppies (forcefully by Dd who wants a puppy, SO BAD!!! Her words lol) You should get Cesar Milans books. He has some great ways and has been working with dogs since he was 15. Turning the puppy on his back is a perfectly acceptable way of establishing pack authority, but its not like your going to let your kids grab him by the legs and fling him on his back. I doubt highly that he would become agressive later on in life. Maybe if you are unsure bring him to the breeder and have her show you how to do it (and the kids too!) This is your first puppy you should not feel like you can't have a support system for him! lol I know never having a dog before in my life I would have to also!
Thanks for the advice!
post #20 of 72
The reason to not alpha roll your puppy are legion. Read up on alpha rolling and see if this is really what you want to do. And when that stops working what will you do next?

Breeders are not automatic experts in dog behaviors and often times simply blame the new puppy owner rather then admit faults in their breeding program. There could be a million reasons this puppy is growling-you are a novice home and advising you and your kids to do alpha rolls is horrible advice.

If you are going to keep this puppy please enroll in an obedience class that the whole family can attend-including your hubby. Get a second opinion on what is going on with this puppy from a behavorialist. Where are you located?
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