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Growling on the sofa


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Hi, just wanted to check in on a behaviour we've experienced a couple of times.

One of our greyhounds (no medical problems) has just recently started to get on the sofa with us. She usually prefers her own space when she's sleeping. But she loves a snuggle and is super affectionate but after a while she will start viciously growling.

What we think is happening is that she's fallen asleep, forgotten where she is, and then woken up with someone in her space, and probably forgets it's us. 

Now I know that you shouldn't tell off growling but in this scenario she's chosen to get in our space - when she has an excellent dog bed (which she loves) and the option of another sofa. So my feeling is, 'no we're not going to jump off 'our' sofa heeding a warning to back off because she's started growling. So everytime it's happened we tell her sternly to 'get down'. And she does. 

Is this the right thing to do though? I understand that you shouldn't tell a dog off for growling because the growl is a warning and if she growled at me when i went up to her bed, I would back off because that's her bed. But when she's in our space - and this is the sofa that my husband and I always sit on, I feel it's right to say - 'you get down then'.

We don't say anything other than 'get down now'.

Would you mostly agree that, that is the right approach? Or is it detrimental?

She isn't in pain and doesn't have any medical issues. 

Thanks!

 

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15 hours ago, JustJamAA said:

What we think is happening is that she's fallen asleep, forgotten where she is, and then woken up with someone in her space, and probably forgets it's us.

Sounds like sleep startle. Let her snuggle for a bit but before she falls asleep tell her to get down. 

 

Grace (Ardera Coleen) born 18 June 2014
Raced at Monmore Green, Wolverhampton UK - 68 Races, 9 wins, 5 second places
Gotcha Day 10 June 2018 

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she has a dog bed, right? that's where she should lie. no privileges for a hound that growls on furniture- at least in MY house. a growl can turn into a snap. dogs like children need rules and limitations. this is how bounces are created, first a warning sign from the dog then a bite, then a return. 

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On 5/13/2019 at 1:14 PM, cleptogrey said:

she has a dog bed, right? that's where she should lie. no privileges for a hound that growls on furniture- at least in MY house. a growl can turn into a snap. dogs like children need rules and limitations. this is how bounces are created, first a warning sign from the dog then a bite, then a return. 

We aren't going to bounce her. She's a very loving dog. I think she just growls in her sleep. She did it to my other dog who clambered onto her bed. She was fine and we were watching her. She was drifting off and my other dog moved and she growled. He didn't do anything and she just fell back to sleep. 

 

On 5/13/2019 at 7:24 AM, HeyRunDog said:

Sounds like sleep startle. Let her snuggle for a bit but before she falls asleep tell her to get down. 

 

Yeah, I think it is sleep startle - just not sure if we're reacting the right way.

 

Thanks for responding though. Just wanted to check that telling her to get down when she does that is the right thing to do. 

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Let her snuggle for a bit but before she falls asleep tell her to get down.

This is what I do with Jeter, who has this problem.  Lots of petting while he's awake, and then tell him in a happy voice to get down, and praise him.  Much better for my nerves than being startled by growling or ferocious barking.  

 

 

 

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Ellen, with brindles Milo and Jeter, and the blonde ballerina, Gelsey

remembering Eve, Baz, Scout, Romie, and Nutmeg

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Yep, snuggle while she's awake and get her off the couch and onto her own bed. I'd personally opt for snuggling on the floor and then leaving her there rather than allowing her on the couch at all. 

Our first boy was space aggressive - very different than sleep startling. He was pretty darn scary about his space when he was lying down, and though he got better over time, we always respected his space and never pushed it. Our 2nd and 3rd boys (3rd one is still alive) both would get startled at times when asleep. We snuggle on the floor and when we see him falling asleep, we get up so it's a good encounter for all. Our first boy taught us to respect sleeping dogs! :)

 

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