How to Train Your Dog to Stop Growling

Hard
4-12 Weeks
Behavior

Introduction

You love your dog to pieces, but are considering putting him up for rehoming. Unfortunately, the dog recently growled when you tried to remove his food bowl. You have children, and it's just not acceptable to have an unreliable dog in the house. 

A friend advised you to make a point of removing the food bowl and to smack the dog if he growls. The friend said something about teaching the dog who's boss, but in all honesty, you're too scared of the dog to try this. What if it backfired?  You could get badly bitten.  Common sense tells you that it's best to respect the message the dog is sending out, rather than challenge him. 

Happily, you spoke to a knowledgeable trainer who uses reward-based training methods. They were horrified by the idea of removing the dog's bowl as a sort of test. Instead, they explained the complexity of why dogs growl and what to do about it, so that the flashpoint of food can be avoided and the dog can continue to live with you. 

Defining Tasks

Superficially, training a dog to stop growling is easy. But methods involving a punishment each time the dog growls are definitely NOT the way to go. Inhibiting the growling creates a more serious problem--a dog that bites without warning. 

Instead, it's essential to analyze why the dog is growling (is he in pain, stressed, possessive, or territorial?) and then correct the underlying problem. In the short term, how you react to the growling makes a big difference, so it's important to know what to do (and not to do) when faced with a growling dog. 

This is unlikely to be a quick fix, so be prepared to put time and effort into consistently retraining the dog, improving his co-operation, and helping him overcome deep-seated anxieties. 

Getting Started

Teaching a dog to stop growling isn't so much to do with special equipment, but represents a mental challenge. You need to think through why the dog is distressed (growling is, after all, a sign of inner conflict or tension) and diffuse the situation. 

Helpful items to have include: 

  • A muzzle
  • A longline
  • Treats
  • An understanding of why dogs growl. 
  • Patience
  • The help of an expert

The First Aid Method

Most Recommended
2 Votes
Step
1
Have a plan prepared
A growling dog is a short step away from biting. If your dog growls at you then it's important to know what to do next, so that accidents don't trigger an attack.
Step
2
Stop what you're doing
Stop in your tracks. Avoid making direct eye contact with the dog. Wait until he relaxes slightly, then slowly back away (so that you are rewarding his relaxed behavior.)
Step
3
Think about triggers
Now analyze what happened and what you were doing that made the dog growl. For example, where you about to remove his food bowl, move him from the couch, or put his lead on? This can give you valuable clues about the motivation for his behavior.
Step
4
Accomplish the task in another way
Rather than confront the dog, try to accomplish a task that can't be postponed by doing it differently. For example, if you need the dog to get off the sofa, try tossing a tasty treat on the floor so that he has to jump down to get it.
Step
5
Minimize threats and stress
If the sofa is a flash point, then think ahead about how to avoid a confrontation. Perhaps don't allow the dog in that room, or have him wear a longline in the house so that you can remove him from a distance.
Step
6
Call in the experts
Consult with a registered animal psychologist and behaviorist. They will watch your dog's behavior and put a plan in place to retrain the dog and remove triggers.
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The What NOT to Do Method

Effective
2 Votes
Step
1
Never punish a dog for growling
This sounds counterintuitive, after all the dog is doing a bad thing (growling) and should, therefore, be corrected. However, this is a dangerous route to take. Punishing a dog may inhibit the dog from growling because he is fearful of you, but it won't soothe his feelings of frustration. You now have an agitated dog who has learned not to growl, in effect removing an early warning sign that you are in danger. This is exactly how dogs get a reputation for biting without warning and should be avoided.
Step
2
Don't ignore the dog's warning
A growling dog is warning you he is outside his comfort zone. If pushed further, his next line of defense is to bite. Do not ignore the warning growl and continue to approach or force the dog to do something against his will. Instead, try to diffuse the situation by backing away, avoiding eye contact, and making appeasement signals such as yawning.
Step
3
Never leave children unsupervised with a dog
Children are poor at reading dog body language and often fail to respect warning signs such as growling. Many times, an anxious dog will feel threatened by the erratic movements of a child. If the dog growls and the child keep approaching, the dog is liable to feeling increasingly anxious, with the end result being a defensive bite. Adult supervision is essential in order to protect the child from the dog and vice versa.
Step
4
Never force a growling dog to face his fears
If a dog is growling because he is afraid, never force him to face those fears. This is known as 'flooding' and can do great psychological harm to the dog.
Step
5
Never confront a growling dog
Never try to intimidate a growling dog into backing down. This will end badly in one of two ways. Either the dog will feel forced to attack and bite, or the dog may back down but be even more conflicted internally and make him unpredictable.
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The Understand why Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Understand the idea
A growling dog, in his own way, is communicating something to you. Simply preventing a dog from making a physical growling noise does not address the underlying emotion that is driving the growl. The ideal scenario is to work out the cause of the dog's ruffled emotions and work on reversing his distress. Once the dog feels comfortable with the situation, his need to growl evaporates.
Step
2
Determine the cause: resources
A dog's resources such his food, toys, or bed are precious to him. If he feels these are under threat, he may become protective. As a first aid measure, avoid flash points by never trying to forcibly remove his toys or food. In a multi-dog household, make sure each dog has their own resources so these are not threatened by the others. In the longer term, work on obedience training with commands such as 'give', and retraining the dog to tolerate people near his food bowl.
Step
3
Determine the cause: pain
Problems such as a toothache, earache, or arthritis are painful. A dog may growl to warn a person off from approaching as he fears they will touch the painful area. If your dog is usually placid but starts to become short-tempered then ask yourself if he could be in pain. If you suspect the answer is yes, then get a vet checkup.
Step
4
Determine the cause: fear
A fearful dog has limited ways of protecting himself. One option is to flee but if he is prevented from running, such as when on the leash, then instinct tells him to protect himself. Do your best to avoid situations stressful to the dog, while he undergoes behavioral retraining. A slow, low-key exposure to the feared situation, where you reward his clam behavior, is a good way ahead. Be prepared to seek the help of a qualified behaviorist to do this.
Step
5
Determine the cause: territorial
The dog that growls at visitors may be afraid of them or he may be defending his territory. The same can happen when the dog is defending a favorite sleeping spot on the couch. This is potentially dangerous behavior so don't challenge the dog. If necessary, train the dog to wear a muzzle and seek the help of a behaviorist.
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Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Sugar
Australian Shepherd
7 Years
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Sugar
Australian Shepherd
7 Years

Sugar is a certified service dog. But when we take her to a restaurant she growls at people coming in. Also we live in a duplex and growls noises through the other wall. She is very very gross of but the growling does scare other people. I’m at a loss of what to do

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
394 Dog owners recommended

Hello Tony, In the United States there is no legal certification that qualifies a dog as a Service Dog. You might be located elsewhere though. There are tests to see if the dog is ready to become a Service Dog, but these tests are simply informational and not legal. According to the American's with Disabilities Act law what qualifies a dog as a Service Dog is: 1. The handler has a medical disability that qualifies them for a Service Dog. 2. The dog is well trained enough not to be a nuisance in public (Sugar disqualifies here by growling) 3. The dog has been taught at least one task that specifically assists the handler with the disability. An owner of a public location can request that a Service Dog leaves the property if the dog is disruptive. It is within their legal rights. I don't mean to scare you, but I wanted to make sure you are prepared for what is going on. With that said, is Sugar aggressive if approached by someone? What is her response to people coming up to her all the way? If the growling is a sign of nervousness or uncertainty but she is completely fine once the person is in front of her, I suggest joining a Canine Good Citizen class to work on her being approached by new people and handed off to others. I also suggest working on pairing the presence of people with treats given by the people - try to get as many friends, coworkers or family members that she does not know pretend to be strangers in public and reward her for laying down when she is being quiet. They should not pet her or reward her for doing anything that is not completely calm though, since you want her to stay close to you and not get excited by people either - calmness is the goal here. The Canine Good Citizen class will work on her being able to ignore people also through the help of the other classmates and the instructor - to practice around. Teach her a "Quiet" command by follow the "Quiet" method from the article linked below. Work on rewarding her quietness and re-focus on you in public. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark If her response has ever been aggressive when actually approached by a person, I suggest hiring a trainer who is very experienced in dealing with aggression and works at a facility with multiple trainers, so that all of the trainers can practice working with her to increase the amount of socialization that she gets. You need someone who understands that she needs to learn how to be calm around people and not simply make people really exciting in place of the aggression. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

hello i just rescued a small shitzhu/malteese. when we first got him he walked sometimes with my daughter and wife.I am the one who usually pays more attention to him in feeding him walking him combing his fur washing him. one month later his character changed he does't want to walk with any members of my family he only wants to walk with me. if i am not in the kitchen he will not eat. where ever i go he follows me if i am sitting on a chair he is usually under my chair and if a member of my family walks out of their room and come talk to me he first barks at them and then growls at them and jump on them. but what is even more weird is when i am not home during the day he tends to stay in my youngest daughters room with her until i get home. i am figuring this is territroial

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Lucy
Labrador Retriever
Eight Years
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Lucy
Labrador Retriever
Eight Years

When guests that she knows try to walk in the apartment, my dog gets aggressive: her hackles come up, and she barks and growls. What can I do to address this? She seems scared, but her behavior is unacceptable.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
394 Dog owners recommended

Hello Michelyne, Check out Jeff Gelhman from SolidK9Training's YouTube Channel. He is a specialist in aggression and has a lot of free resources to learn more about aggression. For aggression related to people, you need to hire a professional dog trainer in your area to help you. There needs to be someone with a lot of experience present when your dog is acting aggressive, who can point out your dog's body language, discover the underlying reason for the aggression and solve that, and correctly and safely show you how to manage the aggression in the moment. Aggressive behavior can be related to a number of things and the way to treat aggression depends on the type of aggression. Without being there in person or having a whole lot more information I cannot say exactly what is going on with your dog. You dog might have territorial aggression, fear-based aggression, a lack of socialization, protective aggression, dominance related aggression, or simply be expressing frustration and excitement in an inappropriate way. Not all trainers are experienced in dealing with aggression. Only use a trainer with extensive experience with aggression. This person should be able to give referrals if requested, should use positive reinforcement, clear communication, as well as fair corrections to interrupt behavior. Most aggression issues need both positive reinforcement and correction implemented in a fair, consistent, and well communicated way. Since I do not know what type of aggression you are dealing with it is best to find a trainer who deals with a variety of types of aggression. You can also start by getting your dog accustomed to wearing a soft silicone basket muzzle. You can fine one online. If your dog is comfortable wearing that, then it will be easier and likely quicker to make progress with a trainer because you will be able to safely do more with your dog. To get her used to wearing a muzzle, show her the muzzle and give her a treat. Practice that until she is relaxed and happy, then touch the muzzle to her and give her a treat. Repeat that until she is comfortable, then hold it onto her face and give her treats through the muzzle holes while you do that. Practice that until she is comfortable, then put the muzzle on her for a couple of minutes and feed her treats through the holes while it is on her. Gradually increase the amount of time that she wears the muzzle for while being rewarded until she is completely comfortable wearing the muzzle for up to an hour without treats. Expect this process to take at least two weeks. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Harlow
Lab mix
18 Months
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Harlow
Lab mix
18 Months

Just rescued her from humane society. She is very hyper and has had episodes where tears through the house and then starts snapping at us. Also met my daughters boyfriend yesterday and growled st him 3 seperate times. She is not leashed trained and seems to not have had much training st all besides sit and shake. We are going to start with trainer next week. Not sure of her past whether she was abused or not so don't want to do anything painful in training. What is your view of choke or punch collars? I am wary of these items if already having aggressive tendencies.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
394 Dog owners recommended

Hello Dottie, I never recommend choke collars that are made of one loop that can continuously tighten, opposed to martingale collars which only tighten enough to keep the collar from slipping off. Choke collars, because there is not a stopping point and because of the way they correct at the front of the throat, can potentially cause damage to the trachea, windpipe. It is also difficult to correct properly with a choke collar. The only time I would recommend one would be for a very large, strong dog, who does not pull, because these collars do tend to be strong, BUT if the dog does not pull, you would not need one then anyways. Pinch/prong collars I do recommend for some but not all dogs. They are often fitted and used wrongly though, and are ineffective and can be harmful if not put on and used incorrectly. Pinch collars are supposed to be worn high on the neck, right below the ears. They are supposed to be tight enough for all of the prongs to gently touch the dog's skin all the way around without poking into the dog at all between corrections. Fitting the collar this way creates an even correction, that distributes the pressure throughout the entire neck, not just the windpipe in the front. This even correction and the feeling of a pinch is typically far more effective at getting a dog's attention, using very little force. A good prong collar should have prongs that are at an angle and not straight down, so that the collar feels like a squeeze and does not actually poke the individual prongs into the dog's neck straight down. I always encourage people to put it on the fatest part of their own arm and feel it for themselves before they use it on their dog. You should never use a tool that you do not feel good about or understand. Also, when you are between sizes, go down in prong width, rather than up. You can always add more prong links. A good prong/pinch collar should also have prongs that are rounded on the ends. With all of that said, a dog who is behaving aggressively might need corrections, and sometimes an effective tool when used correctly can help you communicate better with your dog without having to be as close to your dog, putting yourself in harms way, and with less physical force. When it comes to aggression that is rooted in fear and not dominance, rudeness, learned behavior, genetic, or some other form of non-fear related aggression, then I would be very cautious using punishment too much. I would suggest using food rewards to get your dog used to the things that he is afraid of. Focus on changing his view of things from scary to pleasant to deal with the root cause of his aggression. You may need some corrections to interrupt him when he gets to aroused, to give you an opportunity create a different mindset for him to be open to learning, but corrections alone with him will not solve the problem. They are simply a management tool, the focus needs to be on positive reinforcement training mostly. Your main goal should be to deal with the underlying cause of his aggression, which is potentially fear and involves pairing the source of his fear with things that he loves like food. With that said, it is not black and white. Sometimes you need to use a very intentional amount of correction to stop an unwanted behavior long enough to have the opportunity to show the dog something different in a positive way. Like telling him no to one thing and yes to another thing. You should never use punishment alone, without communicating with a dog when he does something correctly also. Punishment's role is to create opportunities to teach a dog a good behavior by interrupting a bad one long enough for the dog to have the opportunity to learn, and to enforce a command that your dog already knows and is able to do but simply choosing not to. The punishment should be fair, understood, and for the purpose of teaching a dog something. The punishment does not have to be harsh, simply effective enough through consistency and by being paired with rewards for good behavior for a dog to be motivated to perform the good behavior instead of the unwanted behavior. The short answer to my very long post is that I cannot tell you whether or not you should use a prong collar for your specific dog. That is why it is very important to find a trainer that you trust. Ask questions about what the trainer is doing and why, with a desire to understand his training. A good trainer should be able to explain it and their answer should put you at ease, even if the training is hard. If their answer makes you feel uneasy or doesn't make sense, then look for another trainer or ask to do things differently. A skilled trainer should be able to train a dog in different ways, even if his first choice is the way he believes will work the fastest. Most dogs can be trained to do something two or three different ways, some ways are just more effective or much quicker or have more lasting results. Either way I do not recommend using choke collars because they can cause physical damage. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Willie
Mastiff German Shepherd
4 Years
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Willie
Mastiff German Shepherd
4 Years

I am adopting a dog from a rescue and he is currently in a foster home. I have not personally experienced him growling but when I was introduced to him I asked the foster parent and she said he has growled when looking at him under the table with a bone, when she tried to stop him from licking his paws too much, and another time when she felt she may have been too much in his space. How can I address these issues when I first bring him home?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
394 Dog owners recommended

Hello Bella, First, look into hiring a local trainer to come to your home and help you. Since this dog does not know you, is large, and is an adult, you need to take precautions to avoid possibly being bitten when you work on these issues. Get professional help so that you guys get off to the right start and he learns to trust and respect you before he gives you attitude. He likely needs a lot of structure and boundaries right off the bat to build his respect for you without you having to be overly confrontational. Structured obedience training and making him work for the things that he wants are good ways to do that. Check out the article that I have linked below and follow the "Obedience" and the "Working" methods under the supervision of a trainer. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you The next part of addressing his growling is to get him used to being handled. You will need a trainer to help you do this safely. Get Willie used to wearing a soft silicone basket muzzle when he arrives. Once he is comfortable wearing the basket muzzle, then practice gently touching him and giving him a treat every time you touch him. Do this while he is wearing the muzzle. A basket muzzle will let him open his mouth up and receive treats through the muzzle's holes still. You need to have him wear a muzzle at first because you do not know how he will react to every location you touch or how predictable his reactions will be. If done correctly this exercise should be pleasant for him, especially if the muzzle is introduced properly, which I will go over. The way this should work is to touch an ear and give him a treat, touch his paw and give him a treat, touch his tail and give him a treat, touch his belly and give him a treat, touch his muzzle and give him a treat. You will repeat this with his entire body, spending the most time on the areas he seems worried about. Be extra gentle with those areas though. You can also do this at meal times and feed him his entire dinner one piece at a time this way for a couple of months whenever you get the chance. To get him used to wearing a muzzle show him the muzzle and give him a treat. Practice that until he likes it. Next, touch it to him and give him a treat. Repeat that until he is comfortable with it. Next, hold it on his face and give him a treat. Repeat until he is comfortable with that. Next, hold it on his face for longer, and while you are holding it feed him treats through the muzzle's holes. Do that until he is comfortable with that. Finally, put it on him for a few minutes and give him treats while he is wearing it, then take it off again. Gradually increase how long he wears it for and space your treats further and further apart until you do not need treats anymore. Do not rush this process. You want him to become comfortable wearing it. Expect this to take a couple of weeks or longer if he is shy. Also, work on teaching him the "Drop It" and "Leave It" commands in a positive way. Once he understands those commands practice trading him one toy that he has for a more loved toy, or a bone for a treat that he likes better than the bone. You want to build his trust and teach him that giving you something of his will be pleasant for him. You essentially trade him his lesser item for your better item. That is going to be half of the picture. The other half will be building his respect for you. To effectively deal with possessive behavior, which is what the growling over the bone was, you need to build both trust and respect. Willie needs to know that you are in charge and everything belongs to you, but he needs to learn that you are a trustworthy leader also. Get a trainer to help you. Working on these issues with a trainer should also form a good foundation for your relationship together early on, since trust and respect are vital to other areas of your relationship too. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Jack
Patterdale Terrier
9 Years
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Jack
Patterdale Terrier
9 Years

Hi, jack has recently started growling at our little girl since she began walking, he is fine in the garden but in the house he growls anytime she is getting close to him and runs away so maybe its a fear issue, is there anyway of solving this problem?? Thanks, Tim!!!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
394 Dog owners recommended

Hello Tim, I would highly suggest hiring a local trainer with experience dealing with aggression and fear since this could potentially become a larger issue. It sounds like fear aggression and a need for more tolerance. Get Jack used to wearing a soft silicone basket muzzle. To do so show him the muzzle and give him a treat. Repeat this until he is comfortable with seeing it. Next, touch the muzzle to him and give him a treat when you do. Repeat this until he is relaxed and happy also. Next, hold the muzzle against his face and give him a treat. Repeat this as well. Next, hold the muzzle for longer and feed him treats through the muzzle's holes while it is against him. Finally, put the muzzle on him for a couple minutes and feed treats through the holes, then take it off again. Gradually increase how long he wear the muzzle for as he becomes more comfortable with it, also gradually space your treats further apart until he does not need them for as long. Expect all of this to take a couple of weeks practicing once per day. While you are getting him used to the muzzle also get him used to being touched and handled by yourself more. Do this by touching an area of his body and feeding him a treat everytime you touch. Touch his ear and feed a treat. Touch his tail and feed a treat. Touch a paw and feed a treat. Repeat this with his muzzle, his belly, his chest, his head, and everywhere else do this until he enjoys being touched in those places. Practice this with all of the older members of the household. When he can do it with all the older people, then put the muzzle on him and practice this with your son touching him. Guide his hands so that he will be gentle and either the one to feed the treats through the muzzle or help your son to. The idea is to help Jack associate your son's touch with pleasant things. Also, work on rewarding Jack whenever your son is around for being calm, in his presence, and tolerant. You can have your son toss treat if he can or help him feed it out of his hand, or toss it yourself until he is old enough to do it. As soon as your son leaves stop the treats so that it is associated just with him. Finally, do not let your son get in Jack's space, touch him when he does not want to be, or pester him. Teach Jack to leave the area or go some place where your son cannot get to him when your son won't leave him alone. They should both learn to leave each other alone with your supervision and help. Anytime you catch your son in his space, which you want to avoid but real life happens, if Jack is being tolerant then give him several treats and remove your son so that Jack does not feel like he has to do something about the situation. Discipline Jack with a stern but calm attitude when he act inappropriately toward your son. Jack needs to feel like you are handling the situation and make the rules so that he does not have to with your son. They both need boundaries and structured ways to play together as your son gets okder, like treat training and fetch, not chase or wrestking. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Apollo
Pit bull and German Shepherd
2 Years
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Apollo
Pit bull and German Shepherd
2 Years

Hi,every time I go to touch my dog or pet him or get in bed if he is in it he growls and starts shaking I don’t abuse my dogs but I do smack him on his but is he scared of me or what cause I dont want to have to get rid of him he is my best friend,Blake

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
394 Dog owners recommended

Hello Blake, You need to hire a professional trainer to help you. You are at risk of being bitten but there are things you can do. He needs to be desensitized to touch (and no more smacking on the butt or you might get bitten). He probably does have a bad association with being touched that needs to be improved through positive reinforcement and counter conditioning - where you pair what he doesn't like (touch) with some he does like (food) to change his feelings about it. He needs structure and boundaries around the house to build respect. It sounds like respect AND trust are the issue. Having him do a command before giving him the things he wants all day like a toy, meal, walk can help build respect without confrontation. You need to work on your relationship by spending time teaching him obedience commands using lures to get him to move into the correct position while he is learning and not moving him into the position by touching him - since he is not ready for touch right now. He needs to have a firm "Off" command to get off furniture when he is told, and a trainer needs to help you implement boundaries to keep him off of furniture right now while he is being possessive of it. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Violet
Coonhound
2 Years
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Violet
Coonhound
2 Years

Sometimes when Violet gets a hold of something she that is not hers or that she isn’t supposed to have, she growls. We want her to drop it and she occasionally does, but sometimes she gets aggressive and won’t give it up unless we use a treat to lure her away. We are not sure what to do.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
394 Dog owners recommended

Hello Bree, First, I recommend teaching her the "Drop It" command using the "Drop It" method from the article that I have linked below. https://wagwalking.com/training/not-guard-toys-1 Second, once Violet knows "Drop It", then instead of chasing her down with the item tell her to "Drop It". If she does, then reward her with one of her own toys or a treat or genuine affection and praise. If she disobeys at this point, now that she knows "Drop It", then correct her. When you correct her you want to avoid a potential bite so you need to be able to correct remotely. I highly suggest hiring a very experienced trainer who can train with electric collar stimulation or vibration if she will respond to just vibration. You can buy a high quality dogtra, garmin, e-collar technologies, or sportdog collar with a lot of stimulation levels and often vibration to choose from. Get a good quality collar that has at least fifty levels so that you can use the lowest level of fair correction that she will respond to. A qualified trainer should be able to help you with choosing a collar and stimulation level too. E-collar technologies mini educator or EZ-900 are a good general choices. The correction should be for clear disobedience though for something she has been taught and knows how to do, e.i. "Drop It". You do not want to simply start correcting her without teaching "Drop It" and rewarding obedience first or you can actually make the resource guarding worse. You should also continue to heavily praise and reward obedience in this area in the future, even if that reward is just one of her own toys. Be very careful addressing this on your own. I strongly advise hiring someone who can help you using electric collars. Check out this video on using corrections properly. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XpTeJRHqHVw Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Daisy
Chihuahua
3 Years
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Daisy
Chihuahua
3 Years

Daisy is good with dogs and cats but she growls whenever someone comes near her when she is laying down. Doesnt matter if she is on the couch or in the bed she growls. I have 2 children and a baby on the way so we want to try to figure out how to get her to stop and not act so aggressive. She has bitten my 6 yo daughter already but I think it was because she wouldn't let her go and was constantly trying to hold her. I am working with my daughter to teach her to not be so smothering with her. She is fine with her as long as she gets to make the decision of when she gets love. My husband doesnt want to have an unpredictable dog with a new baby so I'd like to fix it now. Do you think I need to get a professional trainer? Thanks for any advise.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
394 Dog owners recommended

Hello Courtney, I would absolutely recommend hiring a professional trainer who will come to your home and work with you, and incorporate the kids into the practice sessions. You want someone to show you how to desensitize Daisy to being touched, by practicing pairing treats with food. You can get Daisy used to wearing a soft silicone basket muzzle for this when you get ready to incorporate the kids. Done right, the muzzle shouldn't be a big deal for her to wear. A basket muzzle will let her open her mouth still and will have holes for you to pass treats through to her while the kids gently touch her one at a time. You want to find a trainer who will desensitize her with treats to being approached while she is laying down, so that she expects those interactions to be positive. You also want someone who will use fair corrections when needed, when she does try to control a situation through her aggression. Daisy needs structure and some new boundaries and respect training. Essentially you want someone who has successfully dealt with your type of issue and who will use a lot of positive reinforcement but also work on discipline and boundaries where needed. You want Daisy to learn that it is never acceptable to use aggression toward people, but also that if she is tolerant, then she can trust people and the experience will be pleasant when she cooperates. Both respect and trust need to be build. You need a professional there to teach you because of the delicate nature of the situation with the kids, and because someone needs to do this with you in real time where you can read Daisy's body language and learn how to physically get her used to being handled and approached, which requires demonstration. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Dakota
Siberian Husky
3 Years
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Dakota
Siberian Husky
3 Years

We rescued dakota about 3 days ago. She growls at our puppies that we've had for a while though when they're trying to play with her and just jump into bed with her. Were scared she might bite on of these days.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
394 Dog owners recommended

Hello Courtney, I suggest you hire a professional trainer who is experienced with evaluating aggression and have the trainer evaulate the dogs. The growling could be a harmless and controlled warning in response to the puppies being rude and not following canine etiquette for how to interact, it could be a play growl, or it could be something dangerous. I suspect part of the issue is the puppies' behavior too. In order to know for sure what needs to happen between the dogs someone experienced needs to watch them together. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Dakota
Australian Cattle Dog
3 Years
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Dakota
Australian Cattle Dog
3 Years

Hi my dog Dakota, has recently just shown signs of aggression. When we pet him he growls and sometimes even shows teeth. Then other times he is fine. Also, he just walked up to our other dog, and bit him out of nowhere yesterday. But then other times he’s fine. We had some service guys come into our house and he wasn’t phased by them at all. And when on walks or hikes he goes nuts if he sees other dogs. I just don’t know what to do because he’s not consistent.

Thank you!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
394 Dog owners recommended

Hello Tyler, First, it sounds like it could be an attitude issue - he lacks trust and respect for you so the biting may be related to him simply not feeling like being touched and thinking it's okay to use aggression to get you to stop. When he feels like being petted, he is okay with being touched so it doesn't show up - opposed to a different dog that's afraid of being touched all the time. He's biting because he is protesting something essentially. The aggression toward your other dog may have been a similar issue - the other dog did something subtle that your dog didn't approve of so he acted aggressively toward him (like got too close to something he wanted, was in his space, ect...) It could also be related to a medical issue, in which case I would recommend a trip to your vet to see if there is any pain, injury, hormone issue, mental issue, allergies, ect... leading to these outburst. In a lot of behavior cases (opposed to a medical cause that's recent) there will be subtle signs of attitude issues that are missed until they become bigger - like being pushy, a small growl here and there, shoving you, trying to control things, ect... I suggest working with a trainer who specializes in aggression for your case. It would be helpful having someone who can read subtle body language. Check out Jeff Gellman from solidK9Traiing and Sean O Shea from the Good Dog Training and Thomas from the Canine Educator online on places like Youtube to get an idea of what to look for in a trainer and how these types of cases are handled. If you do any of the work yourself, focus on structure, having him work for things, being calm and business-like instead of anxious or angry, boundaries and fair corrections paired with calm praise and positive reinforcement (both corrections and rewards used in training). If you are doing the training yourself I would have him wear a basket muzzle while working on an attitude adjustment because thus far he has learned he can use his mouth to control you and get what he wants - he needs that option taken away, at least at first. A basket muzzle will let him open his mouth and you slip treats through to reward still - unlike tight muzzles. Use his daily meal kibble to gradually introduce the muzzle and make it into a fun game of putting his face into it to reach treats inside it. Gradually working up to touching it more, wearing it for longer, and finally buckling it. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Bruno
Aussiedoodle
3 Years
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Bruno
Aussiedoodle
3 Years

Hello, Bruno is 5 months younger than his brother Rooney and turns 3 in November 2019 (same dad dog) and they are best friends and have been with each other since they were puppies. Recently Bruno has started growling when he eats and Rooney will run away. He will also Growl at us as well if we say anything to him regarding eating or being hungry. It seems to happen whenever he hasnt eaten for a while. Mind you they free feed so the food bowl is always available. More recently if it is time for bed and he hasn't ate or if we are laying in bed he will come in and out of the room (growling, go eat some food, coming back and growling and eating) I'm not sure why he feels like he needs to protect or show dominance all of a sudden. The growling wont stop until he is full.

Thank you for your advice!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
394 Dog owners recommended

Hello Ben, Crate train both dogs, feed them in separate locked crates. If they haven't touched the food in thirty minutes, let them out of the crate and remove the food when he is away from it again, then wait until dinner to give him another chance to eat again. When you feed him dinner, feed his dinner plus what wasn't eaten at breakfast. When first teaching this you can feed a lunch too to give more an additional time to eat if you wish. Feeding in crates prevents anxiety associated with food being stollen, it keeps the dog focused, prevents stealing of food, and is a calm location where the dog can feel more relaxed about eating. Feeding at designated times gives less to guard, allows you to use the crates for feeding, and is generally healthier. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Bentley
australian shepherd mix
2 Years
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Bentley
australian shepherd mix
2 Years

When Bentley is “sleeping” if you try to walk past or accidentally touch him with your foot he quickly jumps up and growls. This has gotten worse within the last few months. We have a 5 month old baby and are worried about him around her in that type of situation. How do you get an anxious dog to relax?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
394 Dog owners recommended

Hello Andrew, This may be worth hiring someone in person to help with this... I would first determine if he is truly afraid and reacting instinctively out of fear, or if he is mad about being woken up and protesting the intrusion - these are very different issues that need to be dealt with a bit differently. Is he quickly "repentant" afterwards or seem nervous, or does he stay angry and sensitive for a while once awake? A surprised dog is more likely to act submissive or avoid after, and an angry dog more likely to be touchy and mad for a bit - but that's only a guideline and there can be exceptions. How is his behavior in general? Does he listen well, allow touch, is generally tolerant? Is he pushy, demanding, or has other behavior issues? If he normally doesn't have any issues with pushiness, aggression, listening, guarding things, or tolerance, then it's more likely instinctual. If he is controlling, pushy, has other aggression issues, doesn't listen well, ect...then he may be doing it intentionally and is just extra sensitive while tired so more likely to get mad then - that's a respect and tolerance issues, instead of a startle issue. Assuming in your case this is a startle issue and he's just doing it in surprise, make yourself a fake arm using something like a long stick with a thick glove on the end, grab some treats, and wait until he falls asleep. Every once in a while (don't wake him up over and over though) call his name from a few feet away, and if he wakes up without a growl or lunge, toss a few treats at his paws and praise calmly, then walk away. Keep enough distance that the wake up is easy and gentle for him at first. When he starts to seem more relaxed and expectant of food when he wakes up, then gradually decrease the distance between him and you and call his name from closer. When he can handle you waking him up by calling his name next to him, then use your fake arm to touch the ground near his area so the movement carefully wakes him up - if he wakes up without aggression, toss treats as soon as he wakes up. Gradually work up to the hand being closer to him and making it create a little noise on it's own to wake him up without you calling his name, while tossing treats as soon as he wakes without aggression. When he does completely well with the hand being in his area and waking up that way, then gently touch him with it, like a tiny bump and toss treats if he does well then - he needs to be completely comfortable with it being in his space when he wakes up before moving to this stage though. Your end goal should be to be able to gentle stroke his back with the hand to wake him up, then give lots of treats. You want his sub-conscience to expect a wake up to be pleasant and not scary - which is why treat sprinkles when he wakes up is important. Doing this without treats could make things worse - the goal isn't just to wake him up a bunch. Use the fake hand so you don't accidentally get bitten. Teach kiddo not to bother pup unless your dog goes to him/her first from a young age too to help pup feel relaxed around them. Whenever you catch pup being tolerant in some way of baby later, give pup a couple of treats to help him associate the baby's crawling, crying, walking, moving close, ect...with good things, to help him relax more around them later. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Nova
Rottweiler/Labrador
2 Years
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Nova
Rottweiler/Labrador
2 Years

Hello, I have a beautiful Rottie/Lab mix. She will be 2 next month, my problem with her is that she steals items around the house and when I try to retrieve the item she growls. She’s a pretty big girl and it’s scary. I’m very surprised she growls at the hand that feeds her and shows her love. I don’t want her to get vicious with my parents or myself. Any advise, I would really appreciate. I’m at the end of my ropes and I don’t want to give up on her.

Sincerely,
Rose L.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
394 Dog owners recommended

Hello Rose, He probably needs an attitude bootcamp. To help with overall attitude you can practice the following: Place for 1-2 hours at a time: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Crate manners: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-the-crate/ Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Heel Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo Working method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you Resource guarding protocol: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=19RnH9dLip0&t=1120s Once the attitude improves when you deal with the resource guarding (which I would hire professional help with that), you can follow up the training by helping him associate people being near objects he used to guard as good, by practicing approaching him and tossing treats, approaching and tossing treats, holding one end of the object - giving a treat - then giving object back or give new object instead (don't be grabbing objects until the aggression has improved by doing other training though - this is follow up training to build trust after you have build respect). You want to make giving and taking things a fun game associated with rewards to build trust around things he wants as well - but the respect issues need to be dealt with before you can move onto the positive stuff that follows it up. The same goes for handling/touch. Once you have worked on him working for things, structure, boundaries and things to build respect, then you can build trust by pairing his daily kibble with touch. For example, gently touch an ear while you give a treat. Gently touch a paw - give a treat. Gently hold his collar - give a treat. Practice these types of touches with all areas of his body gently, using his entire meal, one piece of food at a time, as often at meal times as you can - put the food into a baggie you have and grab from there - don't stick your hand in his bowl of food to do this. Work on establishing respect first so he is less resistant though, and take precautions like a basket muzzle if you feel you may be bitten - a basket muzzle should let him open his mouth still and have holes to pass treats through if you get a good one. Look for a trainer who is very experienced with a variety of types of aggression - more than just fear-aggression, but also dominance/resource guarding/genetic/ect..., has good client reviews, is good at communicating, and uses both positive reinforcement and fair corrections balanced in training. Always take safety measure when dealing with aggression. I would also look into e-collar training via Jeff Gellman from SolidK9Training and hire someone who is very experienced to help you implement the training using a combination of positive reinforcement, structure, boundaries, calmness, and fair corrections, with safety measures in place to avoid bites. Check out Thomas from the Canine Educator on YouTube too.. Again take safety measure while training, like back tie leashes and muzzles just in case. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Bo
Boston Terrier
1 Year
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Bo
Boston Terrier
1 Year

He growls in bed and half the time my wife pats him

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
394 Dog owners recommended

Hello Frank, First, work on general respect by having him work for everything he gets and implementing the training from the videos linked below: Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Crate manners: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-the-crate/ Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Heel Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo Second, work on teaching the "Off" command - which means get off the furniture. Third, do NOT allow him on the bed right now. A dog is only allowed on the furniture if they get off when told and there are no possessiveness or aggression issues. Fourth, with the help of a trainer work on desensitizing him to touch, especially with your wife. You can do this by feeding him a piece of his meal kibble as you gently touch him with your other hand, one piece of food at a time until his food is finished. Measure his meal rations into a bag instead of putting your hand in his bowl. For example, touch his ear- give a treat, touch a leg - give a treat, touch his side - give a treat. Start with the areas he is most comfortable with and gradually work up to the areas he is more sensitive about as he improves. This can also be done while he is wearing a soft silicone basket muzzle - that type of muzzle allows him to open his mouth while wearing it so that you can pass a treat through the holes for him to eat without risking being bitten. If he needs a muzzle, you can get him used to wearing that by giving him a treat whenever he touches it, puts his face into it willingly to eat a treat, or holds his face inside the muzzle to eat several treats in a row that you pass through the holes. If he is really nervous about it at first, start by setting it on the ground and sprinkling his kibble around it. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Dex
Border Collie
6 Years
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Dex
Border Collie
6 Years

Hello, My dog is named Dex, he's a Border Collie. I got Dex from a shelter about 4 years ago. He is a great dog besides some of his aggressiveness. I have grown up with border collies my whole life and all of them have been very easy to train and all of them have been very loving. Dex is a different story, He is the first dog I have "rescued" from a shelter so I did not have him since he was a pup but when he was already 2 years old. The lady that owned the shelter told me that he came from a family where the father of the household was in the military or something like that and they had to move to Germany and could not take the dog with them. He is a good dog for the most part, right when I got him I could take him on walks and go to a park with him and take him off the leash and play ball and he would always come back when I called and everything. He is still this same way. When we are out of the house doing whatever, that is when he listens the best which is weird and opposite of any other dog I have had in the past. SO anyways, the problem I am facing is that when he comes to me for pets or anything in that nature he first accepts the pets and really likes them for about 20 seconds and then after that he'll start to growl. Same when he jumps up onto my bed and wants to lay with me, he'll only do it for about a minute or 2 and start to growl and get very upset, he cant just relax on the bed next to me.. Or if I were to move while laying on the bed and he is on there he will growl really loud and get up from the bed. I don't know exactly how he was treated in his first 2 years but it has to be from some trauma at an early age or something. I have only been loving to him since I have had him and he has no reason to be doing these things. He isnt hurt or anything, Its not from any pain that he has. He has been doing this since I got him. I have done these steps listed here for about 2 years. Nothing seems to work. He will also growl when you say "I love you" but he'll growl and wag his tail at the same time. Its a very confusing situation. Not sure what to do but any knowledge will help! Thank you - Jon

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
394 Dog owners recommended

Hello Jonathan, You need to hire a trainer who is very experienced with aggression. It sounds like a dominance issue and an issue with touch. When he growls and you move away or stop petting him he is rewarded for his behavior because you did what he told you - this can be complicated because if you simply continued he may have bitten you though. You need a trainer to show you how to change the structure around your home and the way you interact with your dog to build both his respect and trust for you without having to have head to head confrontations with him. This includes making him work for everything he gets, like food, walks, pets, ect...by having him obey a command first. Teaching boundary commands like Out (which means leave the area), leave it, off, sit, and down, and using the right tools like a basket muzzle or back tie leads during training to to keep you safe, in combination with rewards for tolerance and calmness to build trust. He may have some anxiety in addition to dominance issues but anxiety can also be treated with boundaries, structure, and building trust and respect. He needs to learn crate manners and things like Place. His issues need to be directly address instead of avoided but this needs to be done very carefully and with the right tools and environment where you have control to keep everyone safe. Check out the crate manners video below but hire a trainer to help you with it. https://youtu.be/mn5HTiryZN8 Check out the Place command video below but hire a trainer to help you with it. https://youtu.be/omg5DVPWIWo Get him used to wearing a soft silicone basket muzzle. Those types of muzzles are more comfortable but let the dog open this mouth while wearing it so that you can pass treats to them through the holes during training. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Boss
Staffordshire Bull Terrier
6 Weeks
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Boss
Staffordshire Bull Terrier
6 Weeks

I recently got a puppy and they get on great but ever since boss keeps wee'ing inside the house. Something he has never done.before and when i go to tell him off or get him in the kitchen he growls really bad at me to the point it scares me, he has never once growled at me for being told.off before the puppy came.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
394 Dog owners recommended

Hello Chelsea, It sounds like you need to work on respect while still avoiding too much physical confrontation. Check out the article that I have linked below. Pay special attention to the "Working" method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you If you feel unsafe working with him on yout own I suggest hiring a professional trainer to come to your home to assist you. For the pottying he is likely marking to try to establish dominance with the puppy or because he smells the puppy's accidentally. Make sure you are cleaning up and poop or pee with a pet safe cleaner that contains enzymes. The bottle should enzyme or enzymatic somewhere on it. Not all cleaners contain it so be sure to read. Some of the Nature's Miracle cleaners contain enzymes. I also suggest crate training him and crating him when he cannot be supervised. This is also good for adding some structure to his routine also. When the puppy enters a room and he is tolerant, reward him with a treat (don't reward while he and the puppy are beside each other - to avoid food fights). Make sure the puppy has a lot of structure too and is not allowed to go over to him when you are not facilitating the interaction. I suggest crate training the puppy and purchasing an exercise pen for the puppy to play in when you cannot supervise the dogs together. You want your older dog to feel like you are in charge and will handle interacts so that he doesn't feel like he needs to make and enforce the rules for everyone. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Odie
Morkie
1 Day
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Question
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Odie
Morkie
1 Day

Is being aggressive to my husband (if he is in my lap or close to me) if he comes near me

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
394 Dog owners recommended

Hello Betsy, Odie needs some strict house rules. By acting the way he is he is communicating that You belong to Him. This is not alright. First, every time that you give him anything that he wants: petting, affection, meals, treats, toys, walks, or anything else that he wants, make him do a command first, like Sit. Second, he is no longer allowed to touch you unless you initiate the interaction for now. If he tries to climb into your lap without being invited, stand up! When you are ready to invited him, then pat your lap or the spot next to you and give him a command, such as "Here". Work on teaching him the "Off" command using treats. During training sessions, encourage him onto the couch and tell him "Up". When he jumps up, give him the treat. Next, tell him "Off" and encourage him to jump onto the floor. When he does so, then praise him and give him a treat. After practicing this five times, only give him a treat during the "Off" command, not the "Up" command. Do this while he is wearing a four or six-foot leash and if he refuses to get off, use the leash to quickly and smoothly move him off the couch. He is likely claiming the furniture too, so be patient but very firm about him getting off. Have your husband practice the "Off" command with him and any other commands that he knows, to gently build respect for your husband too. Finally, teach him the "Out" command. To teach this, call him over to you with a large treat in your hand. Tell him "Out" and toss the treat a few feet away, in the direction where you would like him to go. Point your index finger with your throwing hand when you do this. Make the toss exaggerated and slow enough for him to see where the treat goes. If he misses it, then toss another. Practice this until he begins to anticipate you throwing a treat and goes to where the treat will be before you throw it. When he does this, praise him and toss several treats to him over there. After each repetition, tell him "Okay" to communicate that he can come back to you. This will be important later. Once he is anticipating the treats being thrown, then give him the command and make the same hand gesture, but wait until he moves at least part of the way there before you toss the treat to him. When he can do all of this, then start using "Out" in every day life. Whenever he is being pushy, being nasty toward you husband, trying to block your husband from getting to you, nudging you to be petting, climbing into your lap uninvited, or generally just acting like he is in charge, tell him "Out" to make him leave the room. When he disobeys your "Out" command at some point, then get in front of him, tell him "Ah Ah", and calmly but sternly walk toward him until he backs out of the room. Block him from getting around you until he gives up and leaves the area completely, sits, or lays down. He can do whatever he wants, he just can't go back to the area where you told him to leave, until you tell him "Okay". When he stops trying to get around you and you can walk away, if he follows you back into the area while you are leaving, then repeat walking toward him again. Do this as many times as it takes for him to stay out of the area until invited back in. Expect to repeat this a lot at first. You are completely changing the dynamics of your household, so he is likely to try to push the boundaries at first. Ultimately, all of these things should also help him to relax and be more tolerant in general though, so it's also for his benefit. Right now, he is likely constantly trying to control things, instead of trusting you. The goal is to gently but firmly build trust and respect for you and your husband and give him clear boundaries. If you are struggling to implement the training, then hire a trainer to come to your home. Ask a lot of questions to find out how they train and if they have experience with aggression. You want someone who knows how to also handle aggression that is not fear-based. Many trainers only know how to treat fear-based aggression and the treatment can be different for fear-based aggression vs. things like possessiveness. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Bailey
Boxer
10 Weeks
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Bailey
Boxer
10 Weeks

Yesterday she started growling when she wants something. Yesterday it was her toy, today at the dinner table she got really aggressive trying to get food, growling and snapping. We don't feed her people food and normally she will lay on the rug between the kitchen and living room. I filled her bowl with her puppy food at her normal feeding time but she was not interested in it.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
394 Dog owners recommended

Hello Trudie, I suggest a lot of boundaries for Bailey and a mini doggie bootcamp to work on building respect without being too confrontational. Check out the article linked below and follow the "Working" method. Also read the other methods for additional tips, but implement the "Working" method especially: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you Second, work on teaching commands that build respect and increase impulse control: Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Crate manners: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-the-crate/ Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Heel Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo Finally, give him a designated place to go during mealtimes and enforce it. I suggest working on the Place command from the video linked above for this. Work on teaching him to enjoy when you approach him while he is eating in general (don't feed him scraps for this purpose, but work with his own food and treats). Work on approaching him while he is eating and before he growls, while he is being tolerant, toss an even better treat into or next to his bowl. Gradually get close before you toss it as he improves and shows signs that he enjoys you approaching his food - because he expects something good when you approach. If you do not see improvement in his behavior doing the above training, consult a professional trainer who is very experienced in dealing with aggression, pushy behavior, and puppies. This is something you want to deal with early on instead of waiting for it to get worse. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Finch
dachshund Chihuahua mix
2 Years
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
Finch
dachshund Chihuahua mix
2 Years

My little guy growls at my husband Everytime he moves around the house. Leading to my husband getting mad and trying to "discipline" the dog. He is very protective of me and does not growls at me. But he does this to everyone else, family included. I'm kinda at my wit's end with both of them at this point. I'd really appreciate some guidance. Thank you in advance.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
394 Dog owners recommended

Hello Becka, I suggest a doggie boot-camp for Finch, where you work on commands to build respect and trust. Check out the articles and videos linked below for things to teach: Out command for pushiness and to make Finch leave the room when he behaves aggressively: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Crate manners: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-the-crate/ Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Heel Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo Working method and Consistency method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you Have your husband reward him (while Finch is on a back tie so cannot lung or bite) when he is calm and quiet. Do NOT reward when he is behaving aggressively. You can use daily meal kibble to do this also once he is calm enough to care about plain food (you may need something more exciting to start). If he is too tense around your husband or family members, have the family members practice this with more space between them and Finch at first. Aggression and rewards video: https://youtu.be/mgmRRYK1Z6A As hard as it is, your husband also needs to be calm because yelling will make the suspicion and aggression worse. That does not mean he cannot have house rules and fair consequence for behavior but these should be handled calmly and consistently instead of emotionally, and that can take practice too. He needs to gain Finch's respect and trust by rewarding good behavior and working on training him with consistency once he can get close enough. Commands like Place, Heel and Down tend to build respect, but there needs to be trust first. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Rome
German Shepherd
3 Years
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Rome
German Shepherd
3 Years

The boss's dog growls, lunges, nudges the back of my leg when I walk down the hall past the boss's office, when a client comes in the office, any time I move, and she sees me do so. The boss is convinced she will not bite me, and I am just as convinced she would. She rushes out of his office towards people coming in or seated waiting for the boss, growling, hair puffed up, and sometimes wagging. Then after he scolds her ineffectively, she turns and puts her feet up on my desk and looks for a treat. She does not look for a treat when she menaces me. I have to keep shutting his door, and if he is out in the rest of our building, I have to lock the front door. I cannot completely avoid her, she growls when I shut their door, and I have to keep taking things into his office. Any recommendations?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
394 Dog owners recommended

Hello Colleen, Unfortunately, since she is not your dog there are very few things you can do. She needs better obedience training, to build respect towards her owner (and ideally you) so that she feels less of a need to control situations, a lot of structure and boundaries so that she learns that she is not simply allowed to rush people, a solid Place command that she is not allowed to break - so that she stays on a bed in his office and only gets up with permission, and to be rewarded for calm, relaxed body language. Unless you are given permission to train her (which I would be hesitant to suggest because you don't want the liability) and he was consistent with what you were doing, there are not a lot of options. You might be able to suggest a tall baby gate with a door so that she at least cannot rush out the door. She may be able to easily jump the gate though if determined. Honestly, a couple of things you might be able to do are: 1. Whenever she is being calm, responsive to your direction, or relaxed, you can reward her with a treat - something like very small freeze dried meat treats so that they are healthy and she doesn't gain weight. I would make sure your boss is alright with you giving her treats though - it sounds like he likely would be if they were healthy. Do not reward her when she is acting aggressively or doing things like jumping - you want to condition her to automatically be calmer around you by rewarding calmer/relaxed body language. When she doesn't growl when you enter or move, at you toss a treat by her paws ( don't recommend getting closer than you have to or coaxing her over with treats - keep the treats where she cannot see them normally). When she is laying down quietly while you are in the room, toss a treat between her paws. When she calms back down, toss a treat. This will not fix her overall aggression but could help her relax more around you. Avoid taking too much responsibility for her for your own sake though. When she rushes you, try to act as calm as possible, avoid direct eye contact and remain calm until she relaxes. 2. Perhaps suggest to your boss that she has a bed away from the door in the room, where he drills an eye-hook into the baseboard by her bed, and uses a chew proof leash like VirChewLY to attach her to the wall while she lays on the bed, so that she cannot leave the bed unless he unleashes her. Your boss can still bring her to work but she cannot leave her spot without his control. This decreases his liability and employee discomfort - which increases work place moral. If anything does happen, I suggest documenting and reporting it so that it does not happen twice. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Bella
English Bulldog
7 Years
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Bella
English Bulldog
7 Years

Last week my son adopted an approximately 7 year old female English bulldog. We live in Maine and Bella had been rescued from a shelter in Georgia so no information was given. The shelter in Maine had experienced gentle behavior from Bella. The day Bella came home my son had to leave for a bit. Once he came back with 2 friends Bella growled and barked but we assumed that was acceptable since it was all new to her. The next couple of days I would stop at my sons and play with Bella and let her out while my son was at work. She does well most of the time and loves to play ball and go for car rides with me. Yesterday I was at my son’s house for about an hour (my son was at work) The first hour went fine and then she looked at me and started growling. I wasn’t close to her or reaching toward her. She continued to growl and I felt like she meant business. I didn’t look at her and just waited until she stopped growling and I felt safe enough to move to the door and leave. I went back later and she was fine. On another occasion I brought my 23 year old daughter with me. Bella growled at her too while she was standing in the doorway of my son’s room and Bella was lying on his bed. I’m not sure where it seems to be random why she is doing this. Do you have any advice or thoughts as to why she might do this? I was told at the shelter she may need more dental work and I have noticed her hip seems to be bothering. I’m trying to decide weather she is in pain or if this is more of a territorial issue. Any advice is greatly appreciated!
Thank you!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
394 Dog owners recommended

Hello J, I suggest starting with a visit to her vet. Random growling could be related to pain, especially if she believes people are suddenly causing her pain, or it could simply make her grouchy in general. It could also be related to poor eye sight or poor hearing, so she doesn't always recognize who is in the room with her and feels defensive when she suddenly looks over and someone seemingly unexpected is sitting there. It could also be related to mental decline - where she forgets who she knows or feels confused (like Alzheimers patients with people), or experiences mood swings. At her age it could be medical and a trip to the vet might be a good idea. If it's not medical, then it might be related to possessiveness. Perhaps there is a piece of furniture, a toy, food bowl, or room she is possessive of and is growling when she feels someone is too close to that thing. It could also be something related to fear, like a funny hat or pair of glasses you put on, or dim lights that made something look funny. Without knowing her history it is hard to tell what is normal behavior for her and not normal. You will have to play detective and notice if there are common denominators in the incidences. For example, were you and your daughter both near a dog toy or a certain piece of furniture when it happened? Were you both wearing hats or glasses? I suggest an evaluation by your vet and then an evaluation by a behaviorist or trainer if her vet determines that she is healthy. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Guinness
Old English Bulldogge and Labrador mix
20 Months
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Guinness
Old English Bulldogge and Labrador mix
20 Months

We have had the dog since he was three months old and have socialized him a lot. He was great everyone could pet him and play with him. All of a sudden now he growls at everyone, even people he has known since we got him. He even growls at our kids when they got home. If they are in the house he never growls, but if they go to work or school and come home he growls at them. It is very confusing because nothing has changed in our home or his enviornment. We don't know what to do to correct this issue.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
394 Dog owners recommended

Hello Tara, I highly suggest hiring a professional trainer who specializes in aggression to evaluate him and give you a better idea of what's going on. Since the aggression seems very sudden and unprovoked and potentially not associated with anything new, I would also suggest an examination by your veterinarian to see if there could be a mental, hormonal, or painful injury (including dental issue) going on. At two years many dogs will start displaying aggression in more obvious ways because hormonal and mental maturity effects protective instincts, dominance, territorial behavior, and a number of other temperament type behavior issues. Typically there are signs of these upcoming problems while the dog is younger though, but they do not become as obvious or full blown until mental maturity. You can think back and evaluate if more subtle forms of this aggression were present before or if the behavior is truly recent and sudden to help a trainer or vet figure out what's going on. How to treat the aggression depends partially on what is triggering it though. Since he is growling at those he knows once he has already seen that it is them (opposed to hearing them at the door and assuming they are strangers - which is different), then that seems to suggest something possibly more unusual, which is why I suggest potentially having your vet examine him too. Once you have an idea of what is going on by working with a trainer, behaviorist, or vet, if the behavior is found to be a training issue, or at least partially a training issue, then I suggest checking out Jeff Gellman from SolidK9Training on YouTube, or Sean O'Sea from the Good Dog on Youtube. They both have a number of free videos talking about different types of aggression, along with how to videos. Ideally, have a trainer who is very experienced with aggression help you implement the training though because when working with an aggressive dog there is always the risk of being bitten or doing it incorrectly. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Mozzie
German Shepherd
1 Year
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Mozzie
German Shepherd
1 Year

We just adopted Mozzie from the shelter a few days ago, he's a year and a half old. He didn't growl at all when we met him there. But now that he's home with us, he's bonded with me and follows me *everywhere*, but he sometimes growls at everyone else. He doesn't show his teeth, and his body language doesn't seem tense or aggressive. But if my Mom or Dad walk into the room, he will growl at them. Then after they sit down or stop moving, he'll go over to them to say hi, totally friendly, wagging his tail and licking their hands or face. Also, my Mom can walk up to him while he's growling and pet him gently, and then he growls less. I was really hoping to train him to be my service dog, but he's been growling more and more loudly at my Dad (but growling less at my Mom since he's spent some time bonding with her too.) He growled at our vet, and he growled at a neighbor's dog the other day. He's totally fine with my cat (and she's fine with him too, surprisingly.) Also he growled at my sister and niece the other day when they came over, but after we were all hanging out for a little while, he was totally fine, playing with my niece and me, snuggling with my sister on the couch. He was a stray for a while before going to the shelter, long enough to be extremely under weight, and I think he might have been hit by his previous owner because the first day he was with us, he ducked his head away from my hand a few times, but he's stopped doing that now. It seems like he's had some training previously, because he knows "Leave it" and has given me his paw very sweetly when he wants a treat. My question is, is there any hope that he could become a well behaved service dog? My mom is ready to take him back to the shelter. Thank you in advance.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
394 Dog owners recommended

Hello Isabelle, Honestly he may not be a good candidate for a Service Dog because the growling suggests a more nervous, reactive temperament, and a Service Dog needs to be very balanced, confident and calm to perform in public places. He might be able to make a great pet with the right help however. The growling sounds like it might be anxiety based, as a way for him to express nervous energy. Especially since your mom is able to pet him while he does it. Some dogs express built up, nervous energy through growling, but when that's the case, there are no other issues with aggression - no lunging, teeth baring, tense body language, staring, bites, nipping, body slamming, mounting, humping, or other aggressive displays. I suggest hiring a professional trainer who sees a lot of aggression to evaluate whether this is an aggression issue or a fear issue (a fearful dog can bite though so be careful still). Confidence building, building trust and respect, and continued socialization can help in the case of a nervous dog. If the issue is outright aggression, that will need more help, and I suggest hiring a professional trainer who is very experienced with aggression to help you. Without being there in person I cannot say for sure whether he could eventually make a good Service Dog. He may be able to overcome this specific tendency and make a fine pet, but his general temperament may not be suited for Service Dog work, since Service Dogs are put in a lot of situations that involve a lot of pressure and potentially scary things and new experiences (think airplane rides, a kid running over and hugging your dog when you are not looking, a bunch of pots crashing around the dog in a restaurant, an aggressive dog barking at your dog in public, a cat running past, and walking through crowded, loud places...these are only a few of the things that regularly happen to Service Dogs) - a nervous dog can be like a bomb waiting to go off as a Service Dog. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Gracie
American bully
1 Year
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Gracie
American bully
1 Year

Hi!I am 9 years old and I’m the owner of
Gracie!I would like to know “How to get-
a bone out of a growling dogs mouth?”
Thank you!You can contact me
at (512)-415-2329!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
394 Dog owners recommended

Hello Sydney, Have an adult in your family teach your dog to "Drop It" using less exciting toys first. I don't recommend you try taking the bone out of your dog's mouth; that can lead to a bite since your dog is likely resource guarding the bone. You can teach your dog to drop items in general when told to using treats, then distract your dog with something else fun once he has dropped the bone, before picking up the bone when he leaves the room. An adult should be the one responsible for teaching this. They are less likely to be bitten than you are. Your parents may even need to hire a professional trainer to help them with this and any other aggressive behaviors. Do NOT try to do this yourself or you may be bitten. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=stdnfuFbmUc https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JO2cxHgIzX0 Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Sam
Miniature Schnauzer
5 Years
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Sam
Miniature Schnauzer
5 Years

I recently moved to my college campus and my dog has been doing pretty well with the transition. Before now, he usually only came into contact with 4-5 people a day, and barked whenever anyone walked by the window. Since moving, he has stopped barking on walks, and through the window, and for the most part is calm and deals with the attention very well. However, he does occasionally growl, which can cause a problem if he doesn't stop. I'm trying to teach him that strangers aren't bad by having random passerby give him treats while we sit outside together. Is what I'm doing a good idea, or should I be tring something else?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
394 Dog owners recommended

Hello Brandi, Treats from strangers is good as long as the treats are being delivered while he is being calmer and not acting aggressive. If you reward him while he is displaying aggression you are actually rewarding the aggression. You can correct aggressive displays, but the corrections need to be timed with the aggression and done calmly, then he needs to be rewarded well for being calm instead. You are telling him essentially, don't respond that way - respond this way instead. At first you will simply be addressing the external behavior, but once he stops the external bad behavior long enough for him to be able to be rewarded for a better behavior lots, then you will also be addressing the fear or dislike of people as well. Structure is also really important for aggressive or fearful dogs. Check out the video linked below for an example of an aggressive dog being corrected for aggression, then rewarded for calmness. Notice how calmly things are done, the timing of corrections and rewards, the safety measures in place - using a back tie leash so the dog can't get to the person if he lunges, and a remote training device so the dog can be corrected more safely since it isn't as familiar with those training it at first. Aggression video: https://youtu.be/mgmRRYK1Z6A Structure - a focused heel is especially important. Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Crate manners: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-the-crate/ Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Heel Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo Finally, pay attention to when he is doing well and reward those times. If you pass by someone and he doesn't take notice, calmly praise and reward that behavior. If he hears a weird noise and doesn't react to it poorly, calmly praise and reward that behavior. Even if it seems like you aren't doing anything, you want to catch him during times of calmness around the things that could make him suspicious and take notice of him doing well and encourage him to continue to feel good about those things and do well around them. This can help with other-all tenseness around all the new things and make other interactions less difficult for him. If you feel overwhelmed or things start to get worse, don't wait to get help. Look for a trainer who will work one-on-one with you and has a lot of experience with aggression and behavior issues, plus comes well recommended by previous clients who had similar issues. Always take safety serious and don't assume your dog won't bite - all dogs can bite in the wrong situations and many dogs will redirect aggression if too aroused. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Gizmo
Shih Tzu
2 Years
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Gizmo
Shih Tzu
2 Years

I have had my dog for a while and he has never growled until a few months ago. about a week ago i had him neutered because he was being aggressive,but it seems as if hes even more aggressive. he growls at my family and sometimes me. when he growls at me it's when i'm to close to his food bowl or his spot on the couch. with my sister anytime my sister walks into the room he automatically starts growling. I don't know what to do please give me advice.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
394 Dog owners recommended

Hello Silvia, It sounds like he is resource guarding with you. Check out Jeff Gellman from SolidK9Training on Youtube. I suggest working on building respect while also using positive reinforcement to change his view of you being near his food bowl. Check out the Working method from the article linked below. Also read the Consistency method found in the same article for additional tips. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you Work on commands that build respect without being overly confrontational as well. Check out the links below on how to teach those commands. When you walk him ensure that he heels even if that means walking him in circles nor a square in a yard or cul-de-sac while teaching heel for a while - the number of steps he takes and having to focus on you should wear him out and stimulate him. Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Crate manners: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-the-crate/ Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Heel Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo With your sister, have a trainer help you with the protocol below, and have her do some of the above training with him once he is improved enough that she can also work with him - to build his trust and respect for her by stimulating him mentally and giving him structure. People aggression: https://youtu.be/mgmRRYK1Z6A For the food, work on associating you being near his food bowl with good things, to address any anxiety around food (in addition to dealing with respect with the above training as well). When you put his food down, have him do a command first, like Sit. Feed him his meals only a few pieces at a time. Create a fake arm by putting a glove on something long. When he finishes his pieces of food, tell him to "Back Up" then use the arm to block him from getting to you while you carefully reach down to pick up his bowl. Use this fake arm instead of your real arm to block him in case he behaves aggressively when you go to pick up the bowl. Put a few more pieces of food in his bowl when he is calm again (don't reward the aggression while he is being demanding or possessive, wait until he is calm so you are rewarding that instead). Have him do a command again, then place the food bowl down and tell him "Okay" to release him to eat the food. Repeat feeding in small portions until he finishes all of his meal kibble - a few pieces at a time. As he improves, you can work on standing closer to him while he eats (instead of putting the food down and backing up a bit), and dropping fun treats into his bowl while he is in the middle of eating (opposed to just after he finishes eating). You want him to look forward to you walking over to his bowl or reaching toward him because he believes you are going to give him something even better - instead of just feeling afraid that you will take the food away. For the couch, teach him an Off command, keep a drag leash on him while you are home, and do not let him on the couch while this is still an issue. Use the drag leash to move him off of the couch if he disobeys your off command. Reward him if he chooses to lay on a dog bed of his own instead of trying to get on the couch. He needs an entire attitude adjustment. He will benefit from gaining respect and trust by feeling more secure and less anxious. Have him work in life for a while by doing the above. Don't tolerate pushiness or him being demanding either. If he is pushy, make him leave the room or area. Be firm and consistent but also calm and patient. Gaining respect can be done in a calm and patient way as long as you are firm and willing to enforce the boundaries with him and stay consistent. Don't feel bad about making him work. He likely needs it. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Jake
Chesapeake Bay Retriever
2 Years
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Jake
Chesapeake Bay Retriever
2 Years

Jake is a dog with megaesophagus. This requires him to be fed in a bailey chair. Whenever he wants to be fed he will go to the chair and growl, snarl and bark. He continues this scary behavior until his bowl is placed in front of him. We can’t figure out why he would get so upset when he is getting what he wants.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
394 Dog owners recommended

Hello Valerie, It sounds like Jake might think he is in charge and he is demanding that you feed him. Is he pushy in other areas as well? Some aggressive dogs will demand to be given something and resort to aggression if you don't comply. This is likely a symptom of a bigger respect issue that needs to be addressed. I highly suggest hiring a professional trainer to help you with this because it is possible you could get bitten if you withheld the food without taking measures to restrain him with a back tie leash to something nearby first. It sounds like he needs a lot of structure and boundaries in general to build respect. Have him work for everything he gets for a while by having him perform a command first. For example, have him wait before you feed him, lay down before you pet him, look at you before you take him outside, ect.. If he nudges you, climbs into your lap uninvited, begs, or does anything else pushy, make him leave the room. Teach him a Place command and work on him staying on place for up to an hour, even when you walk into the other room for a minute. Practice crate manners. Work on teaching a structured Heel. Forget about getting places during a walk for a while right now, instead go somewhere open, like your front yard, a park, or culdesac and practice a heel where his nose does not go past your leg. You need to hire a trainer to help you with the aggression and you need someone who uses a lot of boundaries, positive reinforcement and fair discipline tactfully. Look for someone who is very experienced with aggression and different types of aggression - many trainers are only experienced with fear based aggression and you likely have some dominance- based or territorial aggression going on too, and they are treated a bit differently than fear. If he is displaying aggression in other arenas too, you likely need to have him wear a basket muzzle during the day while changing his attitude about life, so that he doesn't simply resort to biting you to get his way. A basket muzzle will let you feed him treats through the holes still and will be more comfortable than another muzzle. Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Crate manners: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-the-crate/ Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Heel Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo Dog Training Do’s https://www.solidk9training.com/sk9-blog/2016/09/08/the-ten-commandments-of-dog-training-and-ownership-do-2 Food guarding video - only do this with the assistance of a qualified trainer. You will have to modify the training to include the bailey chair also. https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-the-out-command/ Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Koda
Aussie heeler
2 Years
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Koda
Aussie heeler
2 Years

I've had my dog sincie he was 7 weeks old. Hes mostly been really sweet and smart and hyper. Occasionally he had growled when I tried to bathe him and when sitting near us on the bench and being touched. So we just made him get down. In the last month though he growls at us almost every day when touched. Even if he himself comes to us. We dont punish it further than usually making him go away. I'm learning that I dont know much because we keep trying things and it seems like nothing is working. Its VERY distressing and honestly depressing because i dont know what to do and i hate the thought of rehoming him.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
394 Dog owners recommended

Hello Lexi, It sounds like he needs to be desensitized to being touched by pairing touch with something good - like food (carefully), and also work on practicing a lot of structure, boundaries, consistency, and commands to build respect. He is likely a dog that needs you to earn his respect by teaching him mentally, opposed to being overly rough. I suggest working with a trainer who can help you introduce a basket muzzle to him, pair food with touch with each little touch he is given (while wearing the muzzle for safety), teach commands like a structured heel, long Place command, down stay, general manners and structure around the home, and him having to work for things for a while by doing a command he is told before he is given anything he wants - such as Sit before you take him on a walk, Down before you throw a ball, Wait before eating. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Harland
Welsh Springer Spaniel
2 Years
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Harland
Welsh Springer Spaniel
2 Years

Harland is a show dog and has just started to growl at the judge during exam. He has been always a very happy guy who like to jump on anyone to get pets and attention. He has been showing very successfully until now. Its during the exam of the judge that he does a low growl and his tail is wagging. Do I reprimand him, treat him( which I think would tell him it's ok to growl and I get rewarded). I believe he is hormonal and protecting mamma. I hate to stop showing him as he is at the top of sporting breeds. But not sure how to proceed. He will be getting a chiropractor treatment this weekend to see if there is a physical issue.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
394 Dog owners recommended

Hello, First, I suggest desensitizing him to being handled - starting with you. For as many meals as possible each week use his meal kibble, one piece at a time as rewards for tolerating touch. Feed him his entire meals this way whenever you can. For example, touch an ear and give a treat. Touch a paw and give a treat. Touch his tail and give a treat. Touch his back and give a treat. Focus the most on areas he doesn't like the judge to touch and reward those areas heavily. When he looks forward to doing this with you, have others he is comfortable with but knows less well practice this if he indicates it is safe to do so with him. Work up to people he knows less well doing this with him as he gets more and more comfortable - have him wear a basket muzzle during this exercise with other people if you feel he may bite. Go slow so that he learns to enjoy the touch before you make it harder for him by moving onto a new person. If you feel the aggression is not related to a dislike of being handled by the judge but related to the judge getting near you - his owner, then you are likely dealing with possessiveness and need to hire a professional trainer to help you with this in person to create a training protocol specific to him and his triggers. You are correct that you should NOT reward him while he is acting aggressively. Only reward him for tolerance or reward him before he shows any aggression, so that the treat and touch happen at the same time. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Gracie
American bully
1 Year
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Gracie
American bully
1 Year

Hi!I am 9 years old and I’m the owner of
Gracie!I would like to know “How to get-
a bone out of a growling dogs mouth?”
Thank you!You can contact me
at (512)-415-2329!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
394 Dog owners recommended

Hello Sydney, Have an adult in your family teach your dog to "Drop It" using less exciting toys first. I don't recommend you try taking the bone out of your dog's mouth; that can lead to a bite since your dog is likely resource guarding the bone. You can teach your dog to drop items in general when told to using treats, then distract your dog with something else fun once he has dropped the bone, before picking up the bone when he leaves the room. An adult should be the one responsible for teaching this. They are less likely to be bitten than you are. Your parents may even need to hire a professional trainer to help them with this and any other aggressive behaviors. Do NOT try to do this yourself or you may be bitten. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=stdnfuFbmUc https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JO2cxHgIzX0 Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Speckles
Border collie red healer
4 Months
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Speckles
Border collie red healer
4 Months

A month ago he started growling at it I can’t figure out why it’s only when he’s in his kennel sometimes I get after him and he runs to his kennel on his own if I walked by and look at it as a welcome by he won’t grow if I’m sitting on the couch and he’s in his kennel with the door open because sometimes she puts them something if I look over at him he will grow

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
394 Dog owners recommended

Hello Tara, I suggest hiring a trainer to help you determine what's going on. It may be that you are disciplining wrong and creating aggression, and he is getting defensive. He may be resource guarding the kennel. He could be play growling. This might be a dominance issue or a fear issue and he feels more confident or less confident while in the kennel so only displays it then, and there are probably other, more subtle signs of insecurity or dominance at other times that are missed because they don't involve growling. Whatever the reason, it needs to be evaluated and you need help addressing it right away. At four months old there is a good chance you can still change the behavior and prevent more serious issues - especially if it's early resource guarding, dominance related, or your discipline methods are creating aggression. Aggression gets a whole lot harder to address once a dog reaches adolescence and adult hood (6 months and beyond). Even taking a video of the behavior when it happens and sending it to a trainer and having a phone consultation could tell you a lot with the right trainer. A trainer needs to be able to ask a lot of questions and see body language to know exactly what's going on in cases like this. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Otis
terrier
4 Years
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Otis
terrier
4 Years

He was adopted from a shelter...previous owners put him on Craigslist at 7 months and a woman who knew this owner got him then took him to our local shelter as she was afraid of who may get him since he was listed as “free”. He got along well with our older labs..but strange dogs on walks..he becomes very aggressive...pulling, snapping...he also does something VERY strange...he will growl when my adult son even enters a room..but Otis loves him...Otis will growl when my son pets him..but cries and runs to him when my son walks away....he does the same to me at times...he will actually crawl onto my lap and start growling and showing his teeth! I will say “ no”, walk away and he cries. Its gotten to the point that we cant go for walks because he becomes aggressive...luckily he is inly 18 lbs......I have been trying to walk him, bring food, get him to sit and focus and he does...but have been working on this for a while, as we did go to a group series of training sessions....and he has shown minimal progress.. This growling for no reason has go to stop. Oh and he does not do this to my older, senior lab.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
394 Dog owners recommended

Hello Mary, Check out the article linked below. I suggest having the people in the house work on obedience commands with her that increase respect and calmness. Treat Lure training taught in most classes is great for teaching commands for the average dog but it doesn't always increase respect or help with behavior problems that are temperament based. A calmer, confident, firmer approach is often needed. Having the dog work for everything they get in life, have to learn impulse control and calmness by staying on a Place or in an open crate for longer periods of time, Heel on walks- where he is walking behind you and not leading the way. Dog Training Do’s https://www.solidk9training.com/sk9-blog/2016/09/08/the-ten-commandments-of-dog-training-and-ownership-do-2 Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Crate manners: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-the-crate/ Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Heel Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo Interrupting leash reactivity - after the aggressive state is interrupted, you can then follow up with calm reinforcement for heeling and focusing on you - but the dog needs to be in a calm state before being rewarded and any rewards and praise should be extremely calm. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bKToTCOwrKI You may want to hire a trainer to do this because anytime you are dealing with a highly aroused dog in a state of aggression there is always a chance of the dog redirecting aggression toward the owner. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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CB Radio
Dudley Lab Scent Hound Mix
9 Years
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CB Radio
Dudley Lab Scent Hound Mix
9 Years

CB is my husband's dog, but as a stay at home mom, I am with her most of the time. She has always been a good dog, and is not aggressive at all, but she growls. Constantly. I don't mean she gets amped up and excited, hackles raised, teeth bared, etc. I mean lazy old girl that she is, she just blobs out and grumbles at everything. We live in a rural area and there are lots of wild animals, so I know that she hears them and it stresses her out, but we're living in a yurt and it is a constant interruption in our sleep. She also growls at my son, but this is because she has arthritis and she's afraid he's going to snuggle her the wrong way and hurt her hips, and she has/would never bite someone, because she's a sweet old girl. She is otherwise very well trained, but the grumbling is driving us insane.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
394 Dog owners recommended

Hello Katie, It sounds like part of the issue is discomfort. I would first talk with your vet about her health and pain management. Although less common, there are more wholistic vets as well who may have some alternative methods to help with pain management. Once any pain or discomfort has been managed, then I suggest desensitizing her to the odd noises to help her like those noises better - this can sometimes change the chemicals in the brain and her overall feelings of stress. Check out the videos linked below on desensitization. Start paying attention to what types of noises irritate her and make a list, then work on desensitizing her to the most common sounds and triggers. Barking video 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jp_l9C1yT1g Barking video 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X5BjvNScFPs&list=PLXtcKXk-QWojGYcl1NCg5UA5geEnmpx4a&index=13 Barking video 3: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpzvqN9JNUA&list=PLXtcKXk-QWojGYcl1NCg5UA5geEnmpx4a&index=3 This trainer also has other additional videos on desensitizing to noises and objects on their Youtube channel. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Eli
Gordon Setter
1 Year
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Eli
Gordon Setter
1 Year

Eli is a VERY high energy and active dog. My husband and I have had Setters before and know this very well and went in with eyes wide open to prepare to raise a dog that requires ALOT of time and energy. My husband is home a lot and literally takes Eli for 3 walks/play sessions a day. We’re talking MAJOR heavy duty exercise not a casual stroll around the block. Sometimes hours at a time. He and I are extremely dedicated and responsible pet owners and our dogs needs are always met and usually exceeded.
Soooo... my biggest frustration and heartbreak is this: after a great long play or walk (or just when we need him to come inside with us as he isn’t unsupervised where he isn’t safe) he can growl and often does when he doesn’t want to do what he’s being told. It usually escalates with a yelling match and combativeness until my husband gets him to do what he wants. I know this isn’t the solution but am at a loss as to how to change this situation. I have to say the biggest roadblock is my husbands attitude and temperament; he just refuses to see his role in any of it and I just don’t know how to make him be open to change. My husband has NO patience and little insight but he DOES take extremely good care of Eli and plays, loves and snuggles with him, too. He’s a great, living Dog Dad otherwise. I’m just heartbroken as it’s ruining their relationship and putting a huge strain on our marriage. Eli’s been through obedience classes (did well) and we work with him all the time using mostly positive reinforcement. I’m torn in the middle; I certainly don’t think it’s ok for Eli to not do what he’s being told (ESPECIALLY after being thoroughly catered to) and his defiance and growling is just plain wrong. But at the same time I can’t control my husbands temper and response to Eli’s actions when he will NOT even attempt to listen to alternative methods. His response is always anger and storming off and not dealing with it. He threatens to get rid of him and says he doesn’t want to see him all day (always angrily and with lots of expletives). Sometimes it takes a whole day for him to calm down and I’m afraid with each episode of this happening he really IS going to distance himself forever from what otherwise is a mutually loving relationship. Is there somebody who could PLEASE help me; I’m such a wreck and don’t know what else I can do. I have to add that I’ve been injured and unable to physically do any type of intervention or help out in any way physically for a few months. Soon I’ll be back on my feet and desperately want this to work. I’ll do WHATEVER it takes to save all of our relationships. Thank you so much. 😢

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
394 Dog owners recommended

Hello Ruth, Look up Sean O'Shea from the Good Dog on YouTube. I suspect that a trainer like that is what you need. Someone who uses a lot of structure, boundaries, positive reinforcement but also fair corrections, and someone who is very calm. See if you can find a trainer with those things in common in your city. Ask a lot of questions when you talk to them. Look at reviews, and make sure they are very experienced with aggression and behavior issues. I feel like your husband needs to be shown alternative ways to deal with the issue that actually work, so that he feels like he has other options - it's easy to feel frustrated when you don't know how to deal with something to make improvements, and honestly some type of correction probably does need to happen in this case - but corrections work best with calmness and consistency. Positive Reinforcement is generally the best way to teach basic obedience, socialization, and tons of commands, but corrections are often needed in combination with positive reinforcement to deal with behavior issues. You could try to tackle the training yourself, but hiring someone experienced might be easier for you both in terms of learning how to train him and neither of you having to be the one to tell the other how to do it - have a professional your husband has already agreed to learn from be the one to teach and help you. If you do decide to tackle it yourself, likely an entire attitude shift needs to happen for Eli to earn his respect through structure, boundaries, and work. Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Crate manners: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-the-crate/ Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Heel Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo Working method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you Reel In method for Come: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-whippet-to-recall Finally, when you do let him outside to play, after having practiced the above commands to earn his respect, leave a fifty foot training line on him. When you get ready to bring him in, calmly walk over to the end of the long leash, pick up the end and walk back toward where you plan to call him inside from, and tell him "Inside". If he doesn't immediately come toward you, calmly reel him in with the long leash. When he gets to you, tell him "Okay! Outside" and let him go back outside. Repeat this a few times in a row. When he comes willingly when you call, then give a treat when he comes, let him go back outside one more time, then bring him inside for good. Practice this regularly until he comes without being reeled in and without growling. If he lunges when you start to reel in, don't do the training on your own, hire help. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Busta
Staffordshire Bull Terrier
9 Years
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Busta
Staffordshire Bull Terrier
9 Years

Busta came to us 18 months ago as his owner was moving abroad. he settled in well. We have a more chaotic house than he was used to. He has started recently growling at my daughter (18 years old) and also sometimes at me (I am his preferred owner most of the time ... he is most excited to see me ... I try not to indulge this too much). He often growls when in his bed, but he can approach my daughter seemingly looking for affection, but then growls (lips turned up ... no teeth on show) when she strokes him. He will happily lie next to her on the sofa etc though! This has been coming on for a few months and he recently snapped at her (little contact - more like a warning) when she stroked his bottom (which he likes) but it was while we were packing to go away which does make him anxious. Just not sure why he's singling her out. We live with my husband and my son (12 years). We have tried a calming collar - it hasn't had much affect. I'm going to try lavender from the garden!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
394 Dog owners recommended

Hello Clare, Because of his age and it being related to touch I suggest a trip to your vet. He may be in pain. If he respects her less than other members of the family he is more likely to snap at her when she causes him pain. He would still be in pain with others touching him but may be just enduring the pain more quietly because he knows it's not acceptable to snap at them. A spinal issue, certain locations of arthritis, inflammation, or other issues that cause pain could be to blame. When he feels anxious or bad he is even more likely to be less tolerant. If he has never displayed such behavior during the first 8 years of his life and not much else changed within this past year, I would look for a medical cause first. Pay attention to whether he groans while lying down or seems stiff or sore when he moves certain ways too - he could be in pain without these things but if there are signs of them that's even more reason for a trip to your vet. Doggie mental decline, eye problems, or ear problems could also be increasing his anxiety with age. If there is a medical cause, address that. If the issue was pain, then work on pairing touch with treats very gently once the pain is gone - to remove the negative associate with being touched that he may have now. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Rocky
Chorkie
14 Months
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Rocky
Chorkie
14 Months

I just adolted a dog from a lady who didn't seem to know why the dog was behaving badly everytime he sees someone. If we leave for a couple minutes than enter the room he's in again,(example: leave the room to go to the bathroom and come back)he starts to growl and bites if you approach him. He will growl and bark at any noise he hears even when it's kids playing. He barks and growls everytime he sees someone new. He will bite kids just for going near him and he seems anxious and nervous everytime anyone approaches him. One minute he will let us pet him and play's with us and than 5 minutes after he doesn't want us to touch him and bites and run away if we try to go near him. The lady who gave him away didn't say why he was aggresive and defensive. What could it be?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
394 Dog owners recommended

Hello Melissa, If you are new to him it could be fear aggressive. If you have established a great relationship with him, it could also be a respect issue. Honestly, it sounds like it is most likely genetic though - possibly made worse by a lack of socialization or a need for better boundaries and leadership. Looking for a trigger is important. Dogs that are fearful are often using aggression as a way to keep something scary away. Dogs with respect issues are often protesting you doing something they don't approve of, like touching them in a certain spot or walking toward something they are guarding. A dog that has a genetic issue with aggression can be timid and can be very dominant - but it can also look like an imbalance - where the dog is find one second and triggered the next without something specifically triggering the aggression, or with something that is usually fine but not always fine with the dog. I suggest hiring a trainer or behaviorist who specializes in behavior issues, including different types of aggression and has a lot of success working with aggression, to help you evaluate what's going on. Often there are subtle things that are clues to what is going on - and those subtle things can be very difficult for someone not familiar with aggression to notice. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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