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11 week old cocker spaniel growling

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by ImogenR3452, Jun 2, 2019.


  1. ImogenR3452

    ImogenR3452 PetForums Newbie

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    Hi there - I'm new to this and being a puppy owner! Any help would be appreciated...

    We picked up our cocker spaniel puppy last week. He has settled in pretty well. We have two older dogs; a Labrador and a Golden Retriever that are warming to the puppy. Ralph was a bit on the slim side when we got him and he didn't like his food from the breeder so we have changed his diet, he is now putting weight on as directed by the vet. Pup is now 11 weeks old but occasionally when you go to pick him up e.g move him out the car, he will turn and growl with a fixed stare. It is not a playful growl I don't think. He has been to one puppy class to begin his socialisation and has met some vaccinated dogs as he hasn't completed his vaccines yet. I want him to be a friendly and well adjusted puppy. How do I go about dealing with this behaviour? I have read online that they may not like being picked up in a certain way, however when we pick him up we are supporting his hind and abdomen - wouldn't pick him up under the arms! He was just taken out to the toilet by my mum and growled at her for stroking him. Again, any advice welcome.

    Thanks in advance!
     
    Kakite likes this.
  2. lullabydream

    lullabydream PetForums VIP

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    You need to stop the picking up and start to call him to you. He's obviously not content with picking up, and honestly it's far better in the long run if you don't even for toilet training.

    All touch should be positive, but if he's seeing it as when you touch him you may interrupt something he's doing or enjoying then he's going to escalate that all touch even a stroke might lead to being removed.

    If necessary use a houseline to manage his behaviour at times
     
  3. JoanneF

    JoanneF PetForums VIP

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    As well as the advice above, I would add to respect the growl as it is a valuable piece of communication.

    Dogs give a series of signals that they are unhappy, but unfortunately most people don't recognise them because they can be quite subtle. To begin with there is often wide eyes, lip licking and yawning. There is also muscular tension in the body. Then the ones we sometimes do see - growl, snarl, nip then bite. If the early signals are not seen (or, in the dog's view, ignored) he won't bother with them because us stupid humans pay no attention anyway; so he may go straight to the bite. So it's important never to ignore the early signals. As a friend says, she would rather be told verbally to sod off than be smacked in the face with no apparent warning.
     
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  4. Kakite

    Kakite PetForums Senior

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    Congrats on you puppy. Keep in mind that you puppy will need some time to adjust to your home and family. Even though they may seem like they fit in quickly, it takes a few weeks or even months until they get fully comfortable. Everything is new sounds, smells, people, other dogs in the house... as above, I’d respect the growl and not pick up your pup. Our puppy girl is 5months now and sometimes growled when she was picked up when we got her at 10.5 weeks, so I stopped doing it and just called her to me with a treat and now it doesn’t bother her at all to be picked up (I only pick her up if I need to put her into the car crate, as it’s too high to jump and I don’t want her hurting herself). She knows me now and trusts me and I respect if she growls she’s just saying she doesn’t like it.
     
  5. ImogenR3452

    ImogenR3452 PetForums Newbie

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    Thank you very much for your advice! Yes I do see from his perspective... I just worry that it will carry on into later life, let’s hope it’s just a phase and reducing picking him up. Thanks again :)
     
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  6. Burrowzig

    Burrowzig PetForums VIP

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    If your pup continues communicating with you into later life, that's a good thing. Also bear in mind that he's probably in one of the developmental fear periods at the moment.
    Heed him now, when he tells you in the only way he can that he doesn't like being picked up, and you're on your way to a bond of mutual trust.
     
    Lurcherlad likes this.
  7. lorilu

    lorilu PetForums VIP

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    You want your dog to communicate with you. All through his life. Including growling to tell you that you are doing something he doens't like. The idea is to pay attention. Learn his ways of communicating fix whatever is bothering him.
     
    Lurcherlad likes this.
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