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For those of you who know Kevin, he was quite a handful in the beginning but over the past few months has finally started to mellow out. However, he still has his moments. There are some things he still just isn't comfortable with (taking his collar off, muzzles, etc.) and can/will get ugly about it. I've learned to work around these "quirks" of his and we're managing. Today, I thought we had reached a milestone. He was stretched out in the kitchen looking at me so I sat down beside him for a little conversation and loving (we do that a lot). He was so rotten he flopped over with his head in my lap (he's NEVER done that!). I was so excited but didn't make a fuss....just kept rubbing his head for probably five minutes. All of a sudden, it was like he realized "hey...my head is in her lap and I don't do that" and growled. I stood up, walked away and ignored him and he settled down. I wanted to go back over and pat his head but didn't. Was that the best way to handle it? He's probably never going to be a "cuddler" but I would love for him to be comfortable enough to lay with his head in my lap. Don't know if this is has any meaning but he was cranky for the next hour or so....not with me but with the others (including Sparkle, the cat). Hitchie was pretty cranky today, too but I attributed his crankiness to the heat....it's miserable here.

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Blair, Stella (DND Heather), Lizzie (M's Deadra), Hitch (Hallo Dominant) and House (Mac's Dr. House)

Missing my handsome men Lewis (Vs Lowrider) - 11/11/01 - 3/11/09, Kevin (Dakota's Hi Five) - 1/1/06 - 4/18/11 and my cat, Sparkle Baby - ??/??/96 - 4/23/11

"The gift which I am sending you is called a dog, and is, in fact, the most precious and valuable possession of mankind." (Theodorus Gaza)

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When mine have an "issue" like that, I just keep after them, slow and steady. A little bit of exposure to whatever it is every day. FWIW, I would not have gone after him and started petting him again either - it was enough for one day. It takes lots of time and patience. The only thing I might do is to add some yummo treats to the mix. I keep some in my pocket all the time for Cash, rewarding her wen she's not scared of something. If she's calm and accepting, she gets a treat. And I know she's in that state because she does accept a treat (when she's freaking she won't eat anything no matter how yummo!).

 

We don't get super hot here very often but mine all don't want pets when they're really hot. Very cranky houndies!

Chris - Mom to: Lilly, Felicity (DeLand), and Andi (Braska Pandora)

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Angels: Libby (Everlast), Dorie (Dog Gone Holly), Dude (TNJ VooDoo), Copper (Kid's Copper), Cash (GSI Payncash), Toni (LPH Cry Baby), Whiskey (KT's Phys Ed), Atom

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Sounds like you did the right thing to me. In fact, when I'm watching a multiple dog household, sometimes if I'm petting 1, it will growl if another gets close. I walk away from the growler and go over to the dog it growled at and pet him. If the grump calms down, I'll walk over and pet him again. They learn that if they're nice to others, they get more loves. You have different goals, but same method.

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Guest Greyt_dog_lover

I respectfully disagree with Sambuca above. These are two different situations, one is resource guarding (getting attention and another hound comes close) and your situation is a bit of space agression. By getting up and leaving him alone, you are reinforcing the growling behavior. He knows that when he growls you leave him alone. You are walking a fine line. On one side, you dont want to give into his growling and reinforce the bad behavior, but on the other hand, you dont want to push him too far and have the situation escalate. I know you have had these issues for a long time. Maybe its time to go back to basics with him in regards to hand-feeding, as well as what was suggested above with the positive reinforcement with treats when you are petting him. As far as what I would do in that situation, I guess I would have corrected him with a sharp "uh-ah", and then give him one more pet and walk away. Basically I would have gotten the "last word" so to speak. But again, knowing his history, you are walking a tightrope. It is so frustrating when he lays in YOUR lap, then growls AT YOU! I know that would really discourage me and tick me off at the same time. I think you have made huge strides, a few setbacks along the way are to be expected. Just be consistent and persistant with his training and he should get back on the right track.

 

Chad

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I agree with Chad on this one. It's always important, in my opinion, to have the "last word" so to speak. I make sure I don't reinforce a growl by doing what the dog wants. Slow and steady will win the race and you'll have a very strong bond with Kevin when all is said and done.

Judy, mom to Darth Vader, Bandita, And Angel

Forever in our hearts, DeeYoGee, Dani, Emmy, Andy, Heart, Saint, Valentino, Arrow, Gee, Bebe, Jilly Bean, Bullitt, Pistol, Junior, Sammie, Joey, Gizmo, Do Bee

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I would be so happy if I never saw a "last word" response again on here. Yes, you reinforced the behavior when you got up, but yes, that was the right thing to do. Had you not, there's a good chance he would have escalated the behavior. And yes, you were also right to not go back over adn try again after he had already told you he wasn't comfortable. The important thing about these situations is that you don't repeat them so as not to repeatedly reinforce the negative behavior. In this particular case, it's a bit tougher because he chose to put his head in your lap, but the lesson here may be if he does that again, pet him briefly and then you end the session before he has a chance to get upset.

 

In the meantime, the best way to work on changing his feelings about this sort of thing is to gradually desensitize him using food. The idea is to replace his negative associations with certain forms of contact with positive ones by associating them with food - and not dog treats or kibble, but human food, the really good stuff!

 

I would start with touch that he is comfortable with, rather than touch you know he is uncomfortable with. So for instance, if he doesn't mind being touched on his side while standing, start there. Have you treats ready, touch him very briefly then give food. Repeat over and over. Then extend the length of the touch a little bit and reward with food. Repeated ad nauseum ever so gradually increasing the length of touch or moving toward places he is less comfortable having touched, making sure not to do both at once (either lengthen the time, or change the position, not both). Watch for signs that he is becoming stressed at any stage and back off if he is. The idea is to create a situation where his reaction to you touching him is wagging and other happy signs, not just signs of tolerance.

 

My #1 piece of advice, you cannot move to slowly or cautiously with this type of training. Err on the side of caution and in the meantime, avoid situations where he might feel forced to growl. I do believe you can have a dog who will enjoy human contact, maybe not sleeping in bed with you all night, but placing his head in your lap and getting pet, but it will take hard work and patience.

 

I hope that helps.

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Jen, CPDT-KA with Zuri, lab in a greyhound suit, Violet, formerly known as Faith, Skye, the permanent puppy, Cisco, resident cat, and my baby girl Neyla, forever in my heart

"The great thing about science is that you're free to disagree with it, but you'll be wrong."

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Guest Greyt_dog_lover

Neyla,

I am in no way trying to start a fight, or otherwise create any tension. Could you explain to me why you dont like the "last word" suggestion? I am always looking for more information and education, I honestly would like to hear your idea why this is not a productive thing. I am open to new ideas and ways of accomplishing behavior changes in a positive manner.

 

Chad

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I would be so happy if I never saw a "last word" response again on here. Yes, you reinforced the behavior when you got up, but yes, that was the right thing to do. Had you not, there's a good chance he would have escalated the behavior.

 

In most instances I would agree with you but some times you get a dog that you need to have the "last word" with. Valentino tried to bite me when he first got here, the reason, I got to the door before him and reached for the door handle, he grabbed for my hand but I was too quick for him. He wanted to make sure he was out the door first. It had nothing to do with touching him. If I would have walked away, I'm sure his behavior would have escalated and the next time he really would have bitten me....hard. It was important at that point that I have the last word and let him know that that behavior was totally unacceptable. He was a tough one but now 5 years later, he is sweet and undemanding so I must have done something right.:lol

Judy, mom to Darth Vader, Bandita, And Angel

Forever in our hearts, DeeYoGee, Dani, Emmy, Andy, Heart, Saint, Valentino, Arrow, Gee, Bebe, Jilly Bean, Bullitt, Pistol, Junior, Sammie, Joey, Gizmo, Do Bee

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Guest Spencers_Greyt

Buzz was similar to Kevin. He still growls at me from time to time. Mostly if he's on the bed with me and I "encroach" his space. I kick him off the bed every time he does that. But back when I first fostered him he would growl if I sat next to him but I continued to do it anyway. I was nervous because I thought he might bite me but he seemed to get better and better the more I petted him when he growled. I think you need to work through it. I think walking away reinforces Kevin to think he can get away with it.

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Neyla,

I am in no way trying to start a fight, or otherwise create any tension. Could you explain to me why you dont like the "last word" suggestion? I am always looking for more information and education, I honestly would like to hear your idea why this is not a productive thing. I am open to new ideas and ways of accomplishing behavior changes in a positive manner.

 

Chad

The theory behind it is that dogs communicate via growls, barks, snaps, and bites. When a dog growls, he's telling you that he doesn't like what you're doing (for whatever reason, it scares him, it hurts, it's uncomfortable, or he just doesn't like it). If you don't listen, his only options are to let it go or to "raise his voice", which means instead of growling he resorts to mouthing you, snapping, or worst case, biting you. Just think of the growl as your dog saying "I don't like what you're doing, please stop." If he says that repeatedly and you don't listen, well...

 

At the same time, we as humans don't like anything that we see as aggression, including growling and I agree that it's not a good idea to reinforce it repeatedly. But, my feeling is that it's our responsibility to then avoid doing the thing the dog doesn't like so he doesn't feel he has to growl, while working on desensitizing him to it using positive training methods.

 

This doesn't mean that you have a household where your dogs rule the roost. Instead, you ensure you have a calm, respectful pack of dogs by teaching basic manners like wait, leave it, etc. There's a little booklet by Patricia McConnell about managing a multi-dog household that I think contains a lot of great general info (that would apply even to a single dog home) about how to achieve that dynamic. It's called Feeling Outnumbered.

 

I hope that helps explain where I'm coming from. Thanks for asking. :)

gallery_12662_3351_862.jpg

Jen, CPDT-KA with Zuri, lab in a greyhound suit, Violet, formerly known as Faith, Skye, the permanent puppy, Cisco, resident cat, and my baby girl Neyla, forever in my heart

"The great thing about science is that you're free to disagree with it, but you'll be wrong."

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Neyla,

I am in no way trying to start a fight, or otherwise create any tension. Could you explain to me why you dont like the "last word" suggestion? I am always looking for more information and education, I honestly would like to hear your idea why this is not a productive thing. I am open to new ideas and ways of accomplishing behavior changes in a positive manner.

 

Chad

The theory behind it is that dogs communicate via growls, barks, snaps, and bites. When a dog growls, he's telling you that he doesn't like what you're doing (for whatever reason, it scares him, it hurts, it's uncomfortable, or he just doesn't like it). If you don't listen, his only options are to let it go or to "raise his voice", which means instead of growling he resorts to mouthing you, snapping, or worst case, biting you. Just think of the growl as your dog saying "I don't like what you're doing, please stop." If he says that repeatedly and you don't listen, well...

 

At the same time, we as humans don't like anything that we see as aggression, including growling and I agree that it's not a good idea to reinforce it repeatedly. But, my feeling is that it's our responsibility to then avoid doing the thing the dog doesn't like so he doesn't feel he has to growl, while working on desensitizing him to it using positive training methods.

 

This doesn't mean that you have a household where your dogs rule the roost. Instead, you ensure you have a calm, respectful pack of dogs by teaching basic manners like wait, leave it, etc. There's a little booklet by Patricia McConnell about managing a multi-dog household that I think contains a lot of great general info (that would apply even to a single dog home) about how to achieve that dynamic. It's called Feeling Outnumbered.

 

I hope that helps explain where I'm coming from. Thanks for asking. :)

I can't agree with this more wholeheartedly. I think there's a misconception that by not actively correcting things like growling, we're giving in and condoning it. This is definitely not the case. I think you have a couple of approaches, you can either punish the dog for that behavior, or find a way to remove the anxiety that is causing the behavior. Punishing the dog is easy and gets quick results. But you create a situation where the dog is doing what you want more out of fear. The second approach is harder, you have to be smarter and more clever about it and it takes a little more time. But in the end, you have a dog that is doing what you want because the dog wants to do it, not because it's fearing what will happen.

 

You can make an argument that maybe it's fine that the dog is doing what you want because it fears you. I'm sure that there are people that prefer that type of relationship. But I'm willing to bet that most of us would prefer our dogs do what we want because it's what they want to do.

Lima Bean (formerly Cold B Hi Fi) and her enabler, Rally. ☜We're moving West!

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Guest bigbrindlebunny

I've got some growl/space issues with Pete, and he's my first dog, so I really pay attention to these threads and the more experienced (hell, that would be everyone) owners. What I'm doing now, and it seems to be working, is a tip toe between the two methods of having the last word and backing off immediately. I think you're both right, and I've gotten to this point by trial and error.

 

First off, I sit next to him on his dog bed. After 2 years I've finally figured out how to approach and pet him in ways that cause less stress than others (he's a big fan of the armpit scritch or tummy tickle), and he lets out a big sigh and falls asleep. After a while he can wake with a start and a growl because he's forgotten where he is and who is touching him. I'll stop petting IMMEDIATELY when that happens. I then put my hands back in my lap, but I look directly at him and say his name a few times and remind him it's me. I'm not angry, but I'm serious. He relaxes, puts his head back down, sighs, and I pet the top of his head gently hold his nose and mouth in my hand while lightly telling him he's a silly boy. Then I start to pet his tummy again, and he goes back to sleep. Sometimes he's still a little out of it and can growl again, so I start the process all over. When he really doesn't want to be bugged, he's learned to just sit back up and turn away from me (I feel so dissed!), and I'll respond by leaving.

 

It's taken a long time, but we've progressed to the point where I can pet him while he's sleeping and I'm watching TV for just hours. If I happen to stop, he kicks me to start again. He's also (just) started curling up against me when he lays down. I still get one or two growls per night, but 2 years ago you could barely put your hand on him if you were sitting next to him. For some reason, squatting or leaning over him doesn't bother him at all, it's sitting next to him when he's lying down. Since that means he'll never be allowed up on the bed with us, petting him while I watch TV is when I get to really love on him. And I do.

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Guest LindsaySF

Teagan has bad space aggression and sleep aggression. When he growls at me, my response is different depending on the situation. He has different growls that mean different things. One growl might be a minor warning growl, half-hearted, he's a little annoyed with me for whatever reason, and I'll tell him to knock it off and he does. But he has other growls where I know he means business. If he's not totally awake and growls at me, like he really doesn't know who I am, or when he growls with this certain look in his eye... In those cases you bet I'm going to back off or I might not have a face in a minute.

 

Rogan seems different. He still has space issues but he will seek people out to cuddle and be petted. He will growl but I doubt he'd ever follow up with a bite, he's a wuss. I'm not going to find out for sure though. When he growls he is ordered off the couch and all petting stops. It's the worst possible punishment for him. For some dogs (like Teagan), that's not a punishment at all because they aren't cuddlers to begin with, every dog is different.

 

I don't know your history with Kevin, but I think you did the right thing. Maybe Kevin was starting to fall asleep and forgot where he was? It's good that you didn't provoke him into a possible bite. Leaving was also a negative thing for him because the petting he liked stopped, so you did not necessarily reward the growling if that's what you're worried about.

 

 

 

~Lindsay~

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For what's it's worth, I think you did the right thing.

 

Kevin would not see it as you getting "the last word" if you did anything else, he would see it as you did not listen to him when he was uncomfortable. Knowing his history, his next option would be to escalate and potentially bite.

 

There are different reasons for growling. Guarding a resource that is not his to guard warrants a reprimand or punishment or whatever along those lines (he growls on the couch, he gets booted from the couch). Growling because the situation is upsetting/uncomfortable for them (as in the case of personal space issues many times) is a form of communication - and listen to it. If you don't, you will quickly learn that the next thing after growling is snapping and biting as communication.

 

Just my two cents. :)

With Buster Bloof (UCME Razorback 89B-51359) and Gingersnap Ginny (92D-59450). Missing Pepper, Berkeley, Ivy, Princess and Bauer at the bridge.

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Neyla,

I am in no way trying to start a fight, or otherwise create any tension. Could you explain to me why you dont like the "last word" suggestion? I am always looking for more information and education, I honestly would like to hear your idea why this is not a productive thing. I am open to new ideas and ways of accomplishing behavior changes in a positive manner.

 

Chad

The theory behind it is that dogs communicate via growls, barks, snaps, and bites. When a dog growls, he's telling you that he doesn't like what you're doing (for whatever reason, it scares him, it hurts, it's uncomfortable, or he just doesn't like it). If you don't listen, his only options are to let it go or to "raise his voice", which means instead of growling he resorts to mouthing you, snapping, or worst case, biting you. Just think of the growl as your dog saying "I don't like what you're doing, please stop." If he says that repeatedly and you don't listen, well...

 

At the same time, we as humans don't like anything that we see as aggression, including growling and I agree that it's not a good idea to reinforce it repeatedly. But, my feeling is that it's our responsibility to then avoid doing the thing the dog doesn't like so he doesn't feel he has to growl, while working on desensitizing him to it using positive training methods.

 

This doesn't mean that you have a household where your dogs rule the roost. Instead, you ensure you have a calm, respectful pack of dogs by teaching basic manners like wait, leave it, etc. There's a little booklet by Patricia McConnell about managing a multi-dog household that I think contains a lot of great general info (that would apply even to a single dog home) about how to achieve that dynamic. It's called Feeling Outnumbered.

 

I hope that helps explain where I'm coming from. Thanks for asking. smile.gif

 

 

I don't think either approach is really "wrong." It depends on the dog and the situation. I definitely think there are times you need to make sure you make your point, and there are times when the dog does.

 

With my spook Cash, she did not like any sort of contact in the beginning. She was just too scared. So we went slow and steady, at a pace she was comfortable with, in introducing and desensitizing her to petting and handling. At the same time, we were also working on building her confidence by teaching her "watch me" and other games and commands that she could "win" at. When she growled and/or moved away, it was because she had had enough and needed some space and time. Her sessions became gradually longer and she began to enjoy pets and rubs more. The first time she came up and *asked* for attention I was ecstatic! Cash gets rewarded for anything resembling calm, not anxious behavior, and recently, getting attention became an acceptable reward.

 

Toni has the opposite problem. She is insanely confident, very pushy, very talkative and noisy, and she likes to use her mouth to express herself in all ways. With Toni we know we *must* have the last word or she thinks *she* has won and her bad behavior escalates. We teach her to "wait" and "ask" and "quiet" an she does get reprimanded when she barks/growls because its mostly her complaining and not real aggression or discomfort. If she ever is really afraid or hurt she doesn't. You need to know your dog and how she reacts. Toni needs reinforcement that she's not the queen of the entire planet, that she does't get the last word, and she doesn't get her way. I do take her places by herself, so that she feels she doesn't have to compete with the others all the time, which is a big part of her problem. Toni gets rewarded for calm, quiet, good-mannered dog behavior.

Chris - Mom to: Lilly, Felicity (DeLand), and Andi (Braska Pandora)

35764734494_93de5b5963_b.jpg

Angels: Libby (Everlast), Dorie (Dog Gone Holly), Dude (TNJ VooDoo), Copper (Kid's Copper), Cash (GSI Payncash), Toni (LPH Cry Baby), Whiskey (KT's Phys Ed), Atom

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This is all very interesting....I understand where everyone is coming from, even though the thoughts are very different. Had Kev's head not been in my lap, I would have tried to work through it. He can go from zero to ten in no time flat and ten is very ugly. In certain situations, I am very comfortable with correcting or settling him back down. I sit down with him all of time but yesterday he just decided to flop over in my lap and was content. I didn't ask him to do it...he did it on his own so I thought maybe we had made one more step. He's still a work in progress. Just when I think I've done it, something else happens (like taking his collar off!!!!). He's not a snapper...he's a biter and doesn't give a lot of warning. I don't want to make him sound like a horrible dog...he's anything but. In almost seven months, he has improved so, so much but I'm still learning his growls...the "I don't like this" growl and the "get away now" growl. We both have a long way to go.

siggie50_1.jpg

Blair, Stella (DND Heather), Lizzie (M's Deadra), Hitch (Hallo Dominant) and House (Mac's Dr. House)

Missing my handsome men Lewis (Vs Lowrider) - 11/11/01 - 3/11/09, Kevin (Dakota's Hi Five) - 1/1/06 - 4/18/11 and my cat, Sparkle Baby - ??/??/96 - 4/23/11

"The gift which I am sending you is called a dog, and is, in fact, the most precious and valuable possession of mankind." (Theodorus Gaza)

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Tough call. I will tell you that with Batman, who was a *perfect* dog who happened to have sleep startle, I made absolutely sure that he never fell asleep with his head in my lap, and I always made sure he was unmistakably alert before I approached him when he was lying down. Other dogs .... Well, maybe a little food for thought here: Joseph has no space aggression to speak of but he does not like being examined while he is lying down. Petted, sure. Examined is different and he knows it's different and he doesn't like it. So I don't do it. If I had to, I'd put his muzzle on and firm "Easy." And if he were touchy about muzzle going on, I would be working on that, a lot, cheerfully, every day. (Fortunately he isn't the least touchy about it.)

Star aka Starz Ovation (Ronco x Oneco Maggie*, litter #48538), Coco aka Low Key (Kiowa Mon Manny x Party Hardy, litter # 59881), and mom in Illinois
We miss Reko Batman (Trouper Zeke x Marque Louisiana), 11/15/95-6/29/06, Rocco the thistledown whippet, 04/29/93-10/14/08, Reko Zema (Mo Kick x Reko Princess), 8/16/98-4/18/10, the most beautiful girl in the whole USA, my good egg Joseph aka Won by a Nose (Oneco Cufflink x Buy Back), 09/22/2003-03/01/2013, and our gentle sweet Gidget (Digitizer, Dodgem by Design x Sobe Mulberry), 1/29/2006-11/22/2014, gone much too soon. Never forgetting CJC's Buckshot, 1/2/07-10/25/10.

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