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Old 02-19-2014, 01:54 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Growling at night and in the morning. help

My gsd Romeo is almost 2 he's an awesome dog responds well when we are training and playing and just sitting around the house just wants to be outside training and playing.

But I have a serious issue with him. He comes and lays with my wife and I at night when I go to bed. I tell him its ok to come up. He lays next to me for some cuddle time and will whine and groan which is comical. But lately he's been growling while he comes up in the bed. He does this even to me as I'm petting him which is odd because he has the choice to come onto the bed or not.

If my wife try's to pet him he growls at her also. He snipped at my wife about two months ago but didn't bite her. (when she was laying on the couch and over loving him he warned her by growling but she continued anyways since he usually just stops after a few seconds.) when he did this I basically tackled him and pinned him on his back while yelling at him.

He hasn't snipped since but still growls all the time. He will also do this in the morning if I go to give him a kiss before I leave for work. It seems to be only when he's in a "tired state" During the day he could care less what you do to him. Whenever he growls he always drops his head and knows I don't like it.

Seems more fearful then aggressive. I really need to nip this behavior before it gets worse. live in by Milwaukee if any good gsd behaviorist are nearby.

Any advice would be helpful
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Old 02-19-2014, 02:48 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Have you taken him to the vet? If this is very much unlike him, he might be in some sort of pain.
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Old 02-19-2014, 02:50 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Also, some dogs are more receptive to "affection" than others. Hugging a dog, leaning over him, etc. can be seen as an aggressive position, and many dogs just don't welcome it. I'd not force him to put up with something he's uncomfortable with. Human signs of love don't translate the same to a dog.
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Old 02-19-2014, 03:59 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I have a growler. He speaks sometimes in Growl. It has taken sometime to understand what is a real warning and what is his way of talking/grumbling. It is a very touchy subject and behaviorist may very well be in order. My dog has a zone around his body sometimes and he does not want it crossed into. He will tolerate most manipulation and handling then he says that's enough for now. I either just leave him alone (ignore and walk away) or may redirect him into play or obedience with a ball/toy.

The one thing that you need to be very careful about is how hard you correct him. You do not want him to lose the growl as it is a warning and you do not want him to go straight to a nip or bite if you correct the growl out of him. The other concern would be that if over correction occurs, he may decide to take on that fight. That is just not what you want if your lying in bed and he is hackled up over you.

I have a very strong confident dog and he is great with new people, very social, but there is clearly a lot of rank drive in him and we have found a happy place after just understanding who he is.

Good luck.
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Old 02-19-2014, 04:51 PM   #5 (permalink)
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If there are no medical issues and he is not just being a noisy talker, I find that the "Nothing in Life is Free" method works wonders.
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Old 02-19-2014, 04:57 PM   #6 (permalink)
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My 4 year old boy growls alot. There are no teeth involved, no lip curling. Never any snapping or snipping. But he does grumble, moan and growl. Always when he's being loved on.

A trainer or behaviorist will be able to recognize the difference between a vocal GSD and one that is providing a warning.
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Old 02-19-2014, 05:00 PM   #7 (permalink)
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A real growl from a German is not something you just brush off. The sound will light up parts of your brain that remember we humans are tree-dwelling prey types that don't like big fanged predator types.
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Old 02-19-2014, 05:03 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Nothing says "I love you, let me show my affection" quite like a handful of treats.
Just don't be greedy, I will fight you if you crowd me, that space is reserved for me, air, and anyone close to me, and only if I'm in the right mood. Nothing makes me angrier.
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Old 02-19-2014, 05:08 PM   #9 (permalink)
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A long shot here.....but many years ago....my first dog was allowed to sleep in the bed from the get go....my other 3 dogs since have been allowed to as well.....but with a different set of "rules" which I applied due to the "education" I was given by my first dog.

My observations would seem to indicate...certain places in the house "belonged" to my first dog...it was simply his and if we shared any of the same places, I came to understand after a year or two that the dog was sharing his place with me....The dog exhibited right of ownership of a couple specific places in the house...the bed being one of these places. I can remember on one occasion that my first dog was already in our bed when I came into the bedroom to lay down...the dog was where I would normally lay in the bed...when I moved the dog, the dog growled and truly looked like he meant business...it really took me by surprise and made me stop moving the dog. I waited a bit and continued the process and the dog repeated the growl and posturing....well, I took control and introduced the dog to the idea that I am sharing MY bed with YOU....not the other way around....it was fairly tense for a short bit but I wasn't about to lose this standoff as I like to sleep in my own bed where I choose...

Anyway, is there any possibility that your dog feels ownership to the bed and couch where he has exhibited this undesirable behavior? If not, sorry to waste your time.

Good luck as I am sure you will figure out the change in behavior.

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Old 02-19-2014, 05:10 PM   #10 (permalink)
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You can never go wrong consulting a qualified behaviourist! But...there is a differance between a play growl and a get out of my space growl!

I have only heard Rocky's, get out of my space growl twice in 7 years, the first time in 2007 as a 10 month old puppy, when he made it clear that he was not happy with company! And the second time when he deterred a charging dog when I slipped on ice while protecting him!

So for me that's twice in 7 years don't know about other's GSD's but if mine growls he means business!

So by all means consult a therapist but in the mean time...get him off the bed, it's a privilege not a right!
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