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Weird Growling


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We have had Cozett since February. She is a fun, affectionate 3 year old girl. She loves to sit next to us on the couch.comes up on her own. She is very cuddly. BUT, occasionally, when we reach out to pet her..she is awake,...she will growl. I know about sleep aggression (she is my fourth grey). I am confused by this behavior. We dont want to ban her from sitting near us, but do not like having to think before we pet her. Most times she is very accepting of the pat. At this time, I am quietly saying NO when she growls and praising her when she is quiet. Yesterday I was on the couch all day..sick..she knew to lay next to me, like I needed the company. and was a perfect angel. Any suggestions on how to handle this?

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First of all, you really don't want to teach her that growling is bad. Imagine what would happen if she felt the need to warn you - or someone else, maybe a child - that they were pushing her beyond her limits. That's when you get a snap with no warning growl first. Things can escalate so easily from there to a serious bite with no warning.

 

Actually, there is ALWAYS a warning, even without a growl, but most people will miss the more subtle signs .. and I wonder if that's what is happening here? Could her warning signals be so subtle that you are missing them?

 

There is a wonderful checklist of warning signals here.

 

How are you reaching out to pet her? Is your hand high? I know you have had greyhounds before and are experienced, but it's possible that your previous dogs weren't shy, or anxious, and that this one is behaving a little differently.

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The plural of anecdote is not data

Brambleberry Greyhounds My Etsy Shop

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Are you absolutely sure that she is actually growling?

 

I ask because my boy Johnny is a "groaner" ....when he is happy and comfortable he does the most wonderful groans of pleasure :lol and, yes, I have sometimes mistaken them for a growl.

 

I am probably more wary than some because my angel Sadi was space aggressive and super growly in her early days with us, she continued to be growly all her life but she never actually followed it through....she used to do a wonderful nighttime routine with DH which I wish I had recorded because it had to be seen to be believed!

 

It may be that she is growling just like my Sadi, but more as a way of just communicating rather than as a threat.

<p>"One day I hope to be the person my dog thinks I am"Sadi's Pet Pages Sadi's Greyhound Data PageMulder1/9/95-21/3/04 Scully1/9/95-16/2/05Sadi 7/4/99 - 23/6/13 CroftviewRGT

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Good advice. Agree with Silverfish about not scolding for growling, etc.

 

Sleep startle is different from a dog protecting their personal "space".

 

Growling is a dog's safe way to communicate discomfort. In Cozette's case, about not wanting to be touched while she's trying to relax. Safest to respect her needs and not invade her personal space. If her early warnings are ignored (or scolded), her need to communicate heightens and her seriousness could result in a bite (in less than an instant). Understandably, many dogs dislike being touched when they are trying to rest, whether asleep or awake.

 

She sounds like a wonderful sweetie; however, as she becomes more comfortable in the home, helps to be aware that sofa sharing space concerns might escalate. After a quick snuggle (on her terms), she might feel better resting in her own personal space on a cushy dog bed on the floor instead of permanently sharing humans' furniture. :)

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I had this with Rudy and was really confused and thrown off by it as well. He would seek me out for attention but then would suddenly stiffen and growl at times in certain situations. I actually got kind of tense myself and felt a bit on eggshells with him. When he would growl I just would pull my hand away and turn my attention elsewhere. Sometimes he would even nudge me for attention again, but if he had just growled I would not go back to petting again. It wasn't really intended as a punishment, I just wanted him to know that if he growled that meant I was going to leave him alone then.

 

Then I carried handfuls of kibble in my pocket (he's very food/treat motivated) and I would pet him while feeding him random bits of kibble at times while he was lying down or sometimes randomly when standing and petting areas he had stiffened at before, i.e. the back of his neck, his shoulder blades, and reaching around him. This made us both relax as well as deepening our bond. With time he seemed to fully relax and he no longer gets nervous or stiffens up. I just think he wasn't used to so much close contact so often, and although he really wanted to be close and to have attention, sometimes he would just get uneasy and would voice that.

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Then I carried handfuls of kibble in my pocket (he's very food/treat motivated) and I would pet him while feeding him random bits of kibble at times while he was lying down or sometimes randomly when standing and petting areas he had stiffened at before, i.e. the back of his neck, his shoulder blades, and reaching around him. This made us both relax as well as deepening our bond. With time he seemed to fully relax and he no longer gets nervous or stiffens up. I just think he wasn't used to so much close contact so often, and although he really wanted to be close and to have attention, sometimes he would just get uneasy and would voice that.

 

I had this with two dogs. Jack would never growl, but he'd jump clean into the air and spin around and away, and if you weren't careful, you could get a bloody nose or a scratched up leg. Jeffie would growl, but he'd be pulling away. I did the same thing as you did with both dogs, plus I'd always put a hand on them while I carried their dinner to the stand and put it down. Never missed an opportunity to just touch them lightly in a non-threatening way as they passed me - just a quick, light touch from a standing position, no bending or keeping my hand on them. Eventually, they relaxed and became dogs I could do pretty much anything with. It's all about trust.

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The plural of anecdote is not data

Brambleberry Greyhounds My Etsy Shop

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I have a bit of the same issue--3 year old dog, had him a few months, 9 times out of 10 he adores getting pets and loved on, and then that 10th time he'll growl. I just say, "Ok, I hear you" and ignore him for a while.


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