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 Growling from time to time

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pseud
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Male Join date : 2015-04-10
Location : Newcastle, England (United Kingdom)

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PostSubject: Growling from time to time   Growling from time to time EmptyMon Aug 31, 2015 4:44 pm

Hey all! We've had a tiny problem with growling recently, with Saska the 4 and a half year old Siberian Husky! She's never growled before and has only done so a couple of times in the past few days but here are the situations:

1. When we were playing with her and she had a bone thing that she was chewing; my girlfriend kept playing with her and trying to take the bone away while she was trying to eat it and eventually she got growled at. I told her that this is normal but it seems to have started something off because she's also growled at us in the following circumstance:

2. We were lying in bed and our dog came up to us, shortly after we got in to bed, and waited (as she occasionally does) to be invited on to the bed. We ignored her as we don't always invite her up - nor do we tell her to go away. She growled at us a couple of times and then I, not knowing what else to do, told her to "go away" (which she understands) and so she did. She went to her usual sleeping area on the floor and went to sleep.

3. My girlfriend was giving her a bit of a rough petting session which she usually seems to enjoy, including the area above her tail, and about 15 seconds in she growled at her. Cam then stopped stroking her and we carried on doing what we were doing.

My question:

What can we do to stop this growling, and is it likely to become a problem?

Also, an extra note: She does "play-growl" when we're playing tug-of-war with her. I'm not sure if that's relevant but perhaps she's just seeing growling as a fun thing?
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MiyasMomma
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MiyasMomma

Female Join date : 2014-06-26
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PostSubject: Re: Growling from time to time   Growling from time to time EmptyMon Aug 31, 2015 5:01 pm

Chris, you never want to fix a growl, in that a growl is a warning next step tends to be a bite. So never correct a dog if they are growling, ignoring like you did I think was a sound choice. To stop the growl will, if excited or showing signs of aggression, the bite will come with no warning. I also would/will never play any game where food is part of the game. This invokes possession and excitement in a dog. so if she is eating whether it's food, chew, bone, etc, don't start a game. You have to learn to read your dog. Miya does the play growl, so I know what her body language and her grumblings looks and sounds like. I do play rough with Miya, but I do know she is playing, I never worry about her snapping, or biting. What I think you need to assess is, is she playing or serious. keeping calm and ignoring are what I would do, since if she is seriously growling getting nervous just escalates the situation more.

If I remember correctly your girl is a rescue, they do many temperament tests on rescues, to ensure safety of the new owner. So I am going to ask.....have either of you had huskies before? What about medium to large breed dogs? What type of background in general do you both have with dogs? My questions may seem intrusive, and I apologize, however, the one thing I have noticed here, and out in the world, is that inexperienced husky/dog owners, have a hard time reading a husky/bigger dogs.
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seattlesibe
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seattlesibe

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PostSubject: Re: Growling from time to time   Growling from time to time EmptyMon Aug 31, 2015 5:27 pm

Chris,

how long have you had her?
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Male Join date : 2015-04-10
Location : Newcastle, England (United Kingdom)

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PostSubject: Re: Growling from time to time   Growling from time to time EmptyMon Aug 31, 2015 6:03 pm

Renee,

She's our first husky however she's not a rescue, We had a German Shepherd and she was a rescue but she was very aggressive with children so we had to give her back and she ended up being put down unfortunately, although she was a lovely dog.

Jeff,

We've had her for about 6 months or so, roughly.
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MiyasMomma
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PostSubject: Re: Growling from time to time   Growling from time to time EmptyMon Aug 31, 2015 6:30 pm

Thanks for clarifying Chris. How was she at her previous owners? Did she have any issues there? Refreshing our memories a little will help us in giving better advice for your particular situation. I want to say that she is just playing, huskies tend to be very vocal, and can make noises that seem like a growl. However, when it comes to food, some can be very food possessive, and it is a real growl. There are many reasons why a dog will growl, they may have an injury and when you touch may hurt (this maybe the issue at the rough petting and or some dogs don't like their tail being bothered). The food possessiveness, as far as the playing with the food. Lack of exercise and proper obedience training, so more of a whining, or just not being obedient, with too much excitement, not knowing how to be calm. So each instance that you mention above, may indeed be different expressions for Saska, but you "see" it as the same. I do apologize for asking for more info, but truly with this breed it can mean so many different things, that one answer may not apply to all the scenarios you mentioned.
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pseud
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PostSubject: Re: Growling from time to time   Growling from time to time EmptyMon Aug 31, 2015 7:48 pm

Thanks for your responses Renee, and it's no problem, you've not been intrusive or bothersome at all! You've been incredibly helpful, and I appreciate it Smile

Her previous owners had a second dog, and children including a newborn and they were completely relaxed with her being around the kids so that leads me to believe that they had no issues whatsoever.

Do you think pregnancy would invoke a change in behaviour like this? There was a moment just over a month ago where she was left with our uncle who forgot that she's not spayed. He told us that she had a "bit of fun" with another dog but I don't know how much time that usually takes because it was only a short while that they were messing about. We thought nothing of it until now, and her belly seems to be a bit ... expanded (I think a month is about the time-scale for that to happen)

She's a lot broader around her stomach, that's all. I guess we'll take her to the vets for a check-up to make sure anyway.
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aljones
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aljones

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PostSubject: Re: Growling from time to time   Growling from time to time EmptyMon Aug 31, 2015 7:52 pm

Chris, I'd like you to clarify a comment "my girlfriend kept playing with her and trying to take the bone away". While in the best of cases, you want to be able to take anything away from your dog, it's not always possible. I have to take exception to the phrasing that your girl friend was playing - if you'd given Saska the bone and then had to, for whatever reason, take it back the "drop it" is the proper command. If your girlfriend was playing with Saska after having given her the bone, then the growl was "You gave it to me, now go away and let me enjoy it!" I won't say that the growl was appropriate, but if your girlfriend was indeed playing, then the growl was reasonable.

I also heartily agree with Renee, you do NOT want to try to teach a dog not to growl, it's simply one of the many ways that a dog has to "talk" to you, in this case she's expressing displeasure and it's up to you to take the proper correction. Teaching her that growling isn't appropriate is NOT the proper correction. If she is successfully taught not to growl, then she won't give warning, she'll act - which is normally a bite.

Also, I'll have to ask you to explain "we've had her for about six months", "she's four and a half" and "she's not a rescue"; sorry, in my mind those statements don't go together unless she had been returned to a breeder from whom you bought her, in which case Renee's second set of questions applies - how was she with her previous owners.

Also, seconding Renee's comment that people who have never had a larger dog often can't read the body language.

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Growling from time to time GY3Hm5 Growling from time to time REEum5 Growling from time to time 2zERm5

“Properly trained, a man can be dog’s best friend.”

Corey Ford
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PostSubject: Re: Growling from time to time   Growling from time to time EmptyMon Aug 31, 2015 8:33 pm

Hi Al, thanks for the response.

We got Saska from a family. They had to get rid of her because they were both going back in to full time work after having a child (maternity leave) and couldn't leave her at home all day because she's quite a demanding dog compared to their other one. So she's not a rescue, she'd been with that family for a while after being sold to them by another family in a similar position.

The owners before the ones that we bought her from - we have no idea. The owners before us are the ones I explained above though. They'd had Saska for about a year if I recall.
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aljones
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PostSubject: Re: Growling from time to time   Growling from time to time EmptyMon Aug 31, 2015 10:03 pm

Hmmm ... gestation for a dog is 63 days (or so Wikipedia tells me) so if her "little bit of fun" resulted in her being pregnant then you're about half way through.

Just in case you haven't gotten there yet with your girlfriend, let me tell you that when the female of the species (any species) is at about the half way mark, all bets about how they're going to behave are off!! If she's looking a little thick around the belly, yep, it's time for a vet visit.

By my reckoning. you are at least her third home and that little girl deserves to know that you're her permanent home.

I'm going to press the issue of what your girlfriend was doing with Saska in your first item above... if your girlfriend was playing with Saska while Saska had a bone, then I don't particularly blame Saska for being a bit upset ( growl - leave me alone, please ). As I said earlier, if there was a reason for the GF for wanting to get the bone back then someone needs to work on "drop it, leave it"
You want the dog to surrender it willingly ( or as willingly as possible ) I have a rescue and we're still working on "leave it" because she has bitten me as we've gotten her possession under control (I seriously hope!)

Since it's shortly after midnight your time, I won't expect to see anything till later tomorrow....

_________________
Growling from time to time GY3Hm5 Growling from time to time REEum5 Growling from time to time 2zERm5

“Properly trained, a man can be dog’s best friend.”

Corey Ford
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PostSubject: Re: Growling from time to time   Growling from time to time EmptyTue Sep 01, 2015 2:34 pm

We'll be going to the vets soon then, definitely!

We're working on drop it, and surprisingly she's very good with it outside. If she picks something up and we tell her to drop it, then as long as we're quick enough, she'll drop it instantly. Even with things like chewing gum, this has been successful, and she's managed to swallow some of that before. Hopefully if we ever need to take something off her, this will work too.

Yeah, my girlfriend was stroking her and stuff while she was playing with the toy, and I did tell her to expect a growl so it was definitely expected, but the one when we were laying in bed was a little .. unusual. I think it was similar to the one she does in the morning after her yawns though.

By that I mean: In the morning when she wants a walk and comes to the bed to wake us up, she yawns and then does a strange speaking kind of sound after her yawn that sounds like a higher pitched growl. She says something like "yayayaya", but with smaller yawns it just sounds like a growl. It was dark and we couldn't see if she'd just yawned or not, but when told to go to bed, she did.

I've taken a couple of pictures recently, and will take some more soon and make a scrapbook out of them so you can see her as it's just hit me that I've not done that yet!

Thanks to all of you for your replies, you rock!

Chris.
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MiyasMomma
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PostSubject: Re: Growling from time to time   Growling from time to time EmptyTue Sep 01, 2015 2:57 pm

Chris, Long story sort of short, haha, Miya had what is considered a bad spay, in that she can't have puppies but does go into heat. Back in January, she went into heat and then went into a false pregnancy, although she wasn't ",mean" or aggressive, she certainly had her own agenda, and was more on the "touchy" side. So if she is nesting, as in rearranging her bedding, and sluggish, she may be pregnant. Vet visit is needed. The morning growl, lol, I wish that I could figure out videos, Miya has a huge vocabulary, and with the untrained ear half of her noises would resemble a growl. Some things to notice, if it really is a growl hackles would probably be up and teeth would be showing, as in a snarl. I really want to say she is just talking back at you, vs being aggressive.

I also wanted to mention, since now I understand a few things.......you being the third home, will most certainly be difficult on her. Every household had different routines and training. Being consistent, patient, and engaging is very important to your husky. Having routines, and understanding that huskies have a hard time adjusting to change. Huskies tend to have huge vocabularies, and they also have a huge capacity for learning. One of the easiest ways for you and your girlfriend can form a more solid bond is to hand feed, although she may be fine at taking food away, or you can grab her bowl, by hand feeding you are building trust and a bond. She may not exactly trust you, in that she may have a "fear" of moving on to another home. I do think rough play is appropriate, since huskies tend to have a huge prey drive, just play with an appropriate toy and not food when doing so, this also gives you the opportunity to teach and reinforce drop it and leave it.
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