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Malamute growling at a puppy

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by Richy7c, Oct 25, 2019.


  1. Richy7c

    Richy7c PetForums Newbie

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    I was wondering if anyone could shed some light on a behavioural issue I seem to be having with my malamute. He is just 1 year and very playful. He wants to be everyone’s friend and play with all dogs. As with most mals he has selective hearing and recall is scetchy when others are around but usually after making a pain of himself he comes back. He is a little in your face and has no concept of personal space but a loving dog. However there is a puppy that he encounters on our walks from time to time he has taken a disliking to. For some reason this puppy Rottweiler is cute and tiny and hides from my mal because as soon as he sees him he growls and gets all aggressive with him. I wouldn’t say aggressive but definitely funny with him. He has never bitten and only growls (playfully) with us at home, this is different though. He makes the growls like when I try and push him off the bed. Asserting dominance. Why this one puppy? I do have to work on his understanding of personal space as not to worry other dogs but generally he just wants to play. What can I do to remedy it. He’s not like this with any other. Obviously I try to keep him away from the other puppy but will it become more?
     
  2. Jamesgoeswalkies

    Jamesgoeswalkies PetForums VIP

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    This is not a breed specific behaviour - many (if not most) adolescent dogs, unless trained otherwise can become a pain towards other dogs in their 'I want to play' demands. His puppy licence has run out (adult dogs often give licence to rude behaviour from youngsters) so I would start to work on this immediately before he incurs the wrath of either another dog or (worse) an irate owner. You can't allow your dog to 'make a pain of himself'. Start to teach him the pleasure of walking with you - not leave him forever searching for playmates.:)

    The chances are your dogs behaviour towards the puppy is connected to this pushy behaviour as the puppy gives out different vibes which your dog cannot read and it is likely that this unnerves your dog. You say the puppy 'hides from your mal'? I'm not surprised. Well, the answer to that one is to pop your Mal on the lead the moment you see this pup in the park, walk away with him and take some control of the situation so he can't bully the pup.

    At a year old dogs often need more training that they do as a puppy to be honest - or at least it needs to have been ongoing. Maybe time to get to a class again or top it up for yourself.

    You say he growls when you try and push him off the bed. I'd keen an eye on this one. It isn't dominance by the way but it is your dog saying 'hey, I'm not happy with this' and is most likely a response to a human getting physical - perhaps teach him to get off the bed when asked.

    J
     
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  3. Lurcherlad

    Lurcherlad PetForums VIP

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    Firstly, your dog should not be approaching other dogs and “making a pain of himself”.

    You and he could fall foul of the Dog Law as he could be deemed out of control, especially if he is scaring other dogs and their owners and if he’s growling then that applies. Play growls can’t always be read by others. Keep him on a harness and long line until and unless he has a solid recall though Mals and Huskies often can’t be safely off leash in the open ime, and is something you should have been aware of when you researched the breed tbh.

    Stop pushing/pulling him off the bed, sofa, etc. Training an “off” using positive, reward based methods.

    If he’s growling he’s probably feeling threatened and grabbing him could push him further.

    Call him to you (from another room if necessary) and praise him when he responds.

    Look at kikopup, positively.com and thecanineconsultants.co.uk for tips on dog psyche and training.


    quote
    Out of control
    Your dog is considered dangerously out of control if it:
    • injures someone
    • makes someone worried that it might injure them
    A court could also decide that your dog is dangerously out of control if either of the following apply:
    • it attacks someone’s animal
    • the owner of an animal thinks they could be injured if they tried to stop your dog attacking their animal.
      Unquote.
     
    #3 Lurcherlad, Oct 25, 2019
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2019
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  4. Lurcherlad

    Lurcherlad PetForums VIP

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    This chart is useful:

    I prefer to replace the word aggression with anxiety though.

    It helps to understand a dog’s body Language and the subtle signs they give when anxious.

    Being grabbed by the collar, pushed or shouted at can all create anxiety.

    Training/management methods should avoid any Alpha/Pack Leader theories as they can ramp up anxiety.

    6BB101EA-955A-4258-A129-08B6BE5A23D8.jpeg
     
    #4 Lurcherlad, Oct 25, 2019
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2019
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  5. Richy7c

    Richy7c PetForums Newbie

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    Thank you guys, I appreciate this. He was doing a lot better at recall and staying, but when with his friend they both run around and in his excitement would go to others. His growl isn’t teeth neared and snarling more of a aggravating grumble however I don’t want to play it down as I want advice, and I’m sensible enough to realise this is still an aggressive communication. He is usually submissive when he approaches other dogs, tail wagging head tilted etc, but this one he is odd with. He is intact still. Would getting him “done” aid the issue? We do reward positively for good behaviour as suggested but when he’s laying down sleeping on my side of the bed there is no getting him up. I usually climb in to bed under him which is when I get the grumble.
    Thank you for the out of control feel. That is a fear we had. I’m 100% sure he’d not bite but it’s also others perseption.
     
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  6. JoanneF

    JoanneF PetForums VIP

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    Probably not. It's maybe not the case here but often, aggressive behaviour is rooted in anxiety - if a dog behaves aggressively he can scare off other dogs (and it works). But by removing his 'brave' testosterone you risk making him more anxious and therefore more aggressive.
     
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  7. Jamesgoeswalkies

    Jamesgoeswalkies PetForums VIP

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    Behaviours such as running up to other dogs or growling when being pushed out of bed have little do do with his hormones so having him 'done' is unlikely to change anything. I would leave things as they are in that area whilst you work on his training.

    Remember growling is a warning (as the ladder above suggests) so that if your dog is warning you not to push him around in bed then regardless of how much we love and trust our dogs this communication does have a chance of escalating. You have heard the phrase, let sleeping dogs lie - well it's said for a reason - unfortunately you can't do that or else you will find yourself sleeping on the dog bed on the floor :D Personally I would reassess where he sleeps if you really can't get him off the bed and shut the bedroom door for a while so that he doesn't have free access. I have six dogs and I really can't imagine sleeping on the floor because they want my bed.

    J
     
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  8. Ian246

    Ian246 PetForums Senior

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    I’m with J on this. I don’t like dogs sleeping in their owners’ beds for several reasons, but your experience is a key one. If your Malamute decides the bed is ‘his’ and that the resource is worth defending you will have a problem. It’s much better to set some boundaries now and get him used to it.
    Regarding his approach to other dogs, the whole dominance theory is discredited. Dogs’ relationships are much more fluid than a strict wolf pack-type hierarchy. So, things can change. As has been said, you really need to keep your dog under control, no matter whether he’s running with a ‘friend’ or not. Lots of people do not like dogs bounding up to them and their dogs (even more so two dogs bounding up!) If your dog has a go at the puppy (for whatever reason) you may ruin the puppy and could get yourself into trouble under the Dangerous Dogs Act (2014) - don’t let ‘Dangerous Dogs’ confuse; it is not simply about the classically ‘dangerous’ breeds, but puts serious burdens on all dog owners. Lurcherlad has provided a brief synopsis of the definition of ‘dangerous dog’ under the act - see above.
    I have a rescue Sprocker who can be very anxious and does not respond well to strange dogs. I control him, but I do get quite agitated when others don’t - usually shouting “it’s OK, he’s very friendly” as their dog comes hurtling towards mine, uninvited. It’s not helpful! Sorry to lecture, but I do feel quite strongly about this!
     
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  9. Richy7c

    Richy7c PetForums Newbie

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    Don’t feel your lecturing, I am after all asking for advice. I don’t feel he is defending the bed, he is the same is he is laying on the floor if you wake him. It’s more a grumble then a growl. He does however seem to have a little separation anxiety. We can’t leave him home alone( going back to anxiety). He will try to eat his way through whatever door we left through. As far as walking goes we have put him back on the lead and only comes off it when we are at the woods now where we very rarely encounter anyone.
     
  10. Ian246

    Ian246 PetForums Senior

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    Well, as has been said, it may escalate. It may be a 'grumble' at present, but whatever you call it he's demonstrating that he's not happy. There is a view that dogs weigh up how much they want something and whether or not it's worth fighting for (again weighing up whether or not they are likely to come off best or not). So, a dog may want to hold onto its toy, but may figure that the other dog is so much bigger, it just isn't worth the risk; equally, it might just not care that much about the toy. If, on the other hand, the dog really wants the toy and assesses it can take it back easily eough, it may fight for it. For 'toy' read anything the dog likes / wants. With time, your dog may decide that he doesn't want to be moved and that it is worth fighting for. That's the escalation we're talking about. You can ignore it now and see what happens, or you can do something about it. I know what I'd prefer, but at the end of the day, it's your call, clearly. I'm not actually saying you should move him out of the bedroom - you could just train him to sleep on a bed in your bedroom, for example, or just outside the bedroom with the door open, if that's what it takes. Likewise, if he's suffering seperation anxiety, it would be good to start training him to get used to being on his own - all these things have long term advantages.
     
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  11. Lurcherlad

    Lurcherlad PetForums VIP

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    With regard to the bed, etc. if you have any concerns of the intent behind his growl/grumble then I would avoid touching/moving him when he’s resting.

    Maybe consider making the bed/sofa out of bounds to avoid any issues?

    My lurcher Jack will often make a noise but it’s more of a groan. The same groan he makes when he’s enjoying being adored and stroked.

    He came from rescue as a 3 year old stray so no history on temperament, etc. Only in the very early days was I a bit unsure of his mood/intent so we exercised caution but it became very obvious very quickly that his groan was based on pleasure and contentment. I have no qualms about touching/moving him and he never feels like he’s being mishandled.

    Even with a trusted dog it’s sensible to speak to let them know you’re nearby when they are resting/sleeping to avoid startling them.
     
  12. Ian246

    Ian246 PetForums Senior

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    Yes, I agree, that's somewhat different - the two Labs I have had in my time did/do make a groan when they're having their heads just behind their ears scratched (pummelled eventually - they both pressed their heads so hard against you, you felt you'd lose your finger in the 'gap' behind the jaw bone/ear!) I've always thought of that as a pleasure groan - seems to me that if they didn't like it, they'd not have pushed back the way they did.
     
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