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 Growling and showing teeth

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MirkoS
Newborn
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Join date : 2014-03-18

PostSubject: Growling and showing teeth   Tue Mar 18, 2014 6:30 pm

Hello everyone,

I have 5.5 months old husky girl. She's an adorable puppy, well behaved around other people, kids, other puppies and older dogs. However, she growls. She growls when petted by my mom and at first she just growled, you could barely hear the growl. However, the volume of the growl increased slowly over time and now she even shows her teeth at her. This is becoming an issue, I believe that she only does this when I'm around. She allows only myself to pet her when I am home; I can even roll her around, push her, or whatever and she almost never growls at me and when she does, it almost sounds as if she's wining. Now, I had a bit of problem when it comes to food. She is not food aggressive, I can stick my hand in her bowl, hell -- I can even stick my head in her bowl, I can take food pieces of food from the bowl and she does nothing. It's only when I start petting her she starts eating like a maniac, if I pet her too much she makes a growling sound that you could barely hear. She's overall well behaved, listens 80% of the time, she patiently waits for me to exit the room before she proceeds, when I use the cue, she usually listens to me if she's no too distracted. I've been training her, mostly obedience cues, such as sit, lay down, stay, come here, let's go and roll over (just wanted her to know at least one trick Very Happy). So she's on the right track, but I REALLY get mad when she growls or shows teeth at my mom. I don't know what to do, I don't really want to use NO in this kind of situations because I don't want to teach her to instead bite right away, without a warning. So far she never bit anyone, never tried to, she learned relatively quickly not to bite hands, sometimes she does it, but usually she bites and chews on her toys. I also noticed that she growls when you pet her or annoy her when she's sleeping or is sleepy (for example, after a walk or a play session).

I am doing my best to raise a good, well behaved dog. I play with her daily, train her daily. I even chase people with other dogs so she can play and socialize. Only mistake that I made with her is that I only recently started crate training her, but it really didn't took that long for her to settle down. It probably took 2-3 days of howling and wining for her to learn that it is not a bad thing to be in a crate. My opinion is that she's spoiled. Everyone I know and every time I walk her strangers on street stop to pet her or to play with her. And I really don't mind the fact that she's spoiled, I just fear that her growling might turn into something more serious.

So, any help would be appreciated.
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Rigbyjek
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Join date : 2012-12-18

PostSubject: Re: Growling and showing teeth   Tue Mar 18, 2014 7:44 pm

What does your mom do for the dog? I wouldn't recommend discouraging the growling- as you mentioned she's actually doing a GOOD thing. Obviously, people don't want there dog to growl- and that will be your eventual goal... but she is CLEARLY telling you she's uncomfortable- I'd rather have a dog give me a warning growl any day than a dog that's "silent but deadly"-literally. First you need to figure out WHY she's growling.. is she uncomfortable with your mom? Is your mom uncomfortable with her? <- nervous maybe? Is it because you're there? Does she still growl if your moms there and you're not? Once you figure out the why, it's easier to solve the true problem at hand. Aggression (in this case growling) is the result of an underlying issue- fear, nervousness, overexcitement, etc. For now, I would recommend your mom taking her for walks, have your mom ask her to sit and then feed her. This will allow her to bond with your mom. I wouldn't recommend petting her while she's eating. It's great that she allows you near her food bowl- don't give her a reason to guard it. Instead walk over and put cheese or something she doesn't normally get in her bowl while she's eating, she will see your presence while she eats as a good thing. Think of it this way... would you like me to brush your hair or poke you while you're trying to eat a meal? .. It will only be a matter of time before that warning growl isn't enough and she's had it and really lets you know what she thinks about you petting her while she's eating Smile Overall, you're on the right track- just have your mom get more involved and the issues should resolve Very Happy
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MirkoS
Newborn
Newborn


Join date : 2014-03-18

PostSubject: Re: Growling and showing teeth   Wed Mar 19, 2014 4:19 am

Well, while I am in school (which is usually around 6 hours every day) she walks her, sometimes feeds her, plays with her. It's as if the puppy sees her as a lesser pack member, somebody below her that shouldn't bother her when she doesn't wish to be bothered. My mom is not uncomfortable or nervous around the puppy at all, she doesn't mind the growling either and thinks that it's nothing, but I am not so sure about that. I thought, perhaps I could ask my mom to hand feed the puppy, train her a bit and see how that goes. I know I removed most of her behavior issues like resource guarding by training her and playing with her.

As for feeding time, I don't get why she starts eating like a maniac if petted -- I am not doing it to annoy or provoke her, I am just testing her to see if she would  do anything, i.e. growl. Thanks for the tips though, really appreciate it.
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djannitto
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Male Join date : 2012-04-18
Location : New England

PostSubject: Re: Growling and showing teeth   Wed Mar 19, 2014 10:23 am

My puppy is now just over 2 years old, and I can still say for certain that I am no expert at all on any subject Husky! We had a lot of ups and downs with him as a puppy, but one of the best pieces of advice we got from this website and our personal dog trainer, was to start hand feeding him. We did it for almost 4-5 months. He learned to sit and wait for his food and to not eat unless he was told it was ok. Since then, my dog sits and waits like a cute little angelic choir boy with a full bowl of food right in front of him until we give him the go-ahead to dig in. It wasn't a cure all for all puppy issues, but I think it was a great foundation for instilling respect. And I have to say, it was also a nice bonding experience for us.
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MirkoS
Newborn
Newborn


Join date : 2014-03-18

PostSubject: Re: Growling and showing teeth   Wed Mar 19, 2014 10:28 am

I also make her wait for her food, most of the time I hand feed her. However, I sometimes simply put the bowl on the floor, give her the command that it is okay to eat and proceed to see if she would growl or react in any undesirable way by petting her and she doesn't, but she starts eating like a maniac. You wouldn't believe how fast she can empty out the bowl if somebody tries to pet her, as if she fears that if she's not fast enough, she won't get to eat. The source of this behavior, in my opinion, might come from her kennel days when she really had to "fight" for her food, if she wasn't fast enough, she might not get to eat as much or to eat at all.
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wpskier222
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Female Join date : 2013-02-11
Location : NYC

PostSubject: Re: Growling and showing teeth   Wed Mar 19, 2014 11:39 am

Making her wait for her food can make food aggression worse. Why do you need to pet her when she's eating?
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wpskier222
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Female Join date : 2013-02-11
Location : NYC

PostSubject: Re: Growling and showing teeth   Wed Mar 19, 2014 12:03 pm

@MirkoS wrote:
As for feeding time, I don't get why she starts eating like a maniac if petted -- I am not doing it to annoy or provoke her, I am just testing her to see if she would  do anything, i.e. growl. Thanks for the tips though, really appreciate it.

She starts eating like a maniac if petted because she thinks you are going to steal her food. She is a dog. She doesn't understand your INTENTIONS. You may not mean to provoke her, but that is exactly what you are doing. You are setting her up to fail and creating a big issue.

Imagine this: you have a little sister. You know you are not supposed to hit your little sister, and she knows it too. She's a bit of a brat and decides that she's going to kick you in the shins. For the first few times you simply yell at her and tell her to stop (puppy growling). For some reason, this is ineffective and your sister continues to kick you in the shins. Eventually your shins start to really hurt and one day when she's about to kick you, you punch her in the arm.

This is what you are doing to your puppy. Let her eat in peace and build trust with her, otherwise you will have a serious aggression problem down the road.
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MirkoS
Newborn
Newborn


Join date : 2014-03-18

PostSubject: Re: Growling and showing teeth   Wed Mar 19, 2014 12:51 pm

@wpskier222 wrote:
Making her wait for her food can make food aggression worse. Why do you need to pet her when she's eating?


I want to see if she would react the way she does, if she would start eating like crazy or growl.


@wpskier222 wrote:


@MirkoS wrote:
As for feeding time, I don't get why she starts eating like a maniac if petted -- I am not doing it to annoy or provoke her, I am just testing her to see if she would  do anything, i.e. growl. Thanks for the tips though, really appreciate it.



She starts eating like a maniac if petted because she thinks you are going to steal her food. She is a dog. She doesn't understand your INTENTIONS. You may not mean to provoke her, but that is exactly what you are doing. You are setting her up to fail and creating a big issue.

Imagine this: you have a little sister. You know you are not supposed to hit your little sister, and she knows it too. She's a bit of a brat and decides that she's going to kick you in the shins. For the first few times you simply yell at her and tell her to stop (puppy growling). For some reason, this is ineffective and your sister continues to kick you in the shins. Eventually your shins start to really hurt and one day when she's about to kick you, you punch her in the arm.

This is what you are doing to your puppy. Let her eat in peace and build trust with her, otherwise you will have a serious aggression problem down the road.


Alright, so what do you propose? Should I hand feed her and when I allow her to eat from the bowl on the floor perhaps put a treat in the bowl as she eats, i.e. cheese or some kind of meat?
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wpskier222
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Female Join date : 2013-02-11
Location : NYC

PostSubject: Re: Growling and showing teeth   Wed Mar 19, 2014 1:01 pm

For a while, just put the food in the bowl, put the bowl down in a quiet, private place and walk away. For some it's a crate, for some it's a different room. We have our alcove gated off for Diz when we are away from home, so I feed him in there.

Eventually dropping cheese and meat in the bowl as she's eating is a great suggestion, but I would wait for a few weeks before you start that. Let her realize that when you feed her, nobody is going to bother her in any way. Hand feeding is good, but if you hand feed, you need to hold the bowl and feed her, but this won't actually solve the problem of her protecting the bowl.

Dizzy used to guard pig ears so for this, I started giving him one, sitting next to him and then tossing food and treats to him. Eventually his body language changed and he would wait for the treats. Then I progressed to having him take the treats from my hand, and then touching the pig ear while giving him treats, then taking the pig ear, giving him a treat and giving it back. Smile

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MirkoS
Newborn
Newborn


Join date : 2014-03-18

PostSubject: Re: Growling and showing teeth   Wed Mar 19, 2014 1:54 pm

She also guards pig ears. I gave her one today and as she was eating I tossed around some cheese. I did that few times and few minutes later, as I was approaching her she dropped the ear and looked me expecting a treat, basically allowed me to take a pig ear.

As for my mom, she walks her, plays wit her like I already said, but when the puppy is tired and when somebody comes to pet her she starts to growl. She is also grumpy when tired, not really sure how to fix this.

The reason why I'm a bit confused is because I did a lot of research on the subject, I educated myself well before even getting a puppy, spent months reading about huskies, training etc. only to find out that most of the tips don't work that well. I am being consistent when teaching her, but there are a lot of contradicting information on the Internet.
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wpskier222
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Female Join date : 2013-02-11
Location : NYC

PostSubject: Re: Growling and showing teeth   Wed Mar 19, 2014 2:10 pm

@MirkoS wrote:
She also guards pig ears. I gave her one today and as she was eating I tossed around some cheese. I did that few times and few minutes later, as I was approaching her she dropped the ear and looked me expecting a treat, basically allowed me to take a pig ear.

As for my mom, she walks her, plays wit her like I already said, but when the puppy is tired and when somebody comes to pet her she starts to growl. She is also grumpy when tired, not really sure how to fix this.

The reason why I'm a bit confused is because I did a lot of research on the subject, I educated myself well before even getting a puppy, spent months reading about huskies, training etc. only to find out that most of the tips don't work that well. I am being consistent when teaching her, but there are a lot of contradicting information on the Internet.

That's perfect! What you did with the pig ear is exactly right! I totally understand what you mean about conflicting information. I run into that a lot too and it's really frustrating. So was the petting when eating thing something you read you should do to desensitize her in some way? What do YOU personally think about that technique?

With your mom, it's possible that it's not all growling, huskies are very vocal. Dizzy makes the growl/howl noise that sounds awful, but eventually I figured out he's just talking, I'll link to a video when I can track it down. She will outgrow the grumpy when tired thing, remember she's like a 2 year old human right now.

Just realize that they go through a lot of annoying phases and that not every new or obnoxious thing she does is a problem, nor do these phases mean you have done something wrong. It could be just some developmental thing she's going through that will pass. I think your last sentence is the best and most important thing you can do. Be consistent, be patient, be firm but gentle and she'll turn out okay.

When in doubt, don't push her buttons, put her in time out.
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wpskier222
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Female Join date : 2013-02-11
Location : NYC

PostSubject: Re: Growling and showing teeth   Wed Mar 19, 2014 2:13 pm



He's trying to make friends with the cat.  Rolling Eyes 
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MirkoS
Newborn
Newborn


Join date : 2014-03-18

PostSubject: Re: Growling and showing teeth   Wed Mar 19, 2014 2:23 pm

Yeah I see what you mean. But I am sure that she growls, I can even see it in her body language. She drops whatever is that she is doing and starts growling. It's not an aggressive growl, but it indeed is a growl. I will try to use similar solution to what I was using with pig ears, perhaps that will give her idea that she doesn't need to guard or feel uncomfortable in situations that she's usually uncomfortable because she'll get a bonus if she behaves.
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wpskier222
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Female Join date : 2013-02-11
Location : NYC

PostSubject: Re: Growling and showing teeth   Wed Mar 19, 2014 2:27 pm

Heres a similar thread that was posted over the weekend with some great advice:

http://www.itsahuskything.com/t12600-food-agression

Also I think the goal should not be to make her behave when you cause her to be uncomfortable, I think the goal should be for her to feel safe and comfortable. Stop making her uncomfortable. Period. Smile
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MirkoS
Newborn
Newborn


Join date : 2014-03-18

PostSubject: Re: Growling and showing teeth   Wed Mar 19, 2014 4:03 pm

Okay, I didn't know that I was causing stress to her when doing that. I, like the person from the thread you linked, am trying to make her more comfortable around other people while eating. I will try a different approach, like you suggested, I will randomly add some treats in her bowl while eating so that she knows that my intention is not to steal her food. I've actually been doing that for some time, only instead of using treats I used her food. I'd first take some food from the food container and put it in my pockets, then fill the bowl and give her the bowl. I would then sporadically add more food from my pockets as she was eating, not sure if this was an effective way but that is what I did.
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