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  Topic Review (Newest First)
03-05-2014 12:44 PM
RubyTuesday You should consult a knowledgeable trainer or behavioralist in your area to determine what is really going on. For a 3 yr old dog to suddenly start growling at his family is just too bizarre to ignore. These are large, powerful dogs & if the behaviour escalates everyone, especially the dog, is in danger.

That it's a submissive, fearful growl is not better. More dog bites originate from fear than 'anger'. Some 3 yr old dogs are still maturing. It's possible it wasn't seen previously b/c he hadn't matured to that point. I've known numerous owners who are surprised that a very, sweet yr old dog shows inappropriate aggression in the 2nd or even 3rd year. In many of these cases, the fear & lack of confidence presented earlier but weren't seriously addressed, b/c the dog didn't actively aggress. It does sound as though your dog lacks confidence.

For his sake & yours, please have him professionally evaluated. Considering medical possibilities is an excellent idea. Do be sure a thyroid panel is done as some dogs with thyroid problems behave aggressively.

I wish you luck with this. Kudos for taking it seriously before the problem becomes worse.
03-03-2014 03:05 PM
selzer Two issues I see. One is that you moved out of the country, so a move took place in the last year, and I would question if the dog had all the vaccinations up to date. Some countries have more of a problem than others with some issues, and I think we all have problems that are common in our area, that an outside (one not from the area) might be more susceptible.

Ruling that out, you were gone for ten days, and left the dog in the care of a friend. Now your dog is acting fearfully submissive to the point of being somewhat aggressive. Your caregiver may have done nothing wrong, and just the simple abandonment and change of routine caused this, but maybe your caregiver was harsh and abusive to the dog.

You may never know. I think though, if I had to go somewhere again, I would not use that person to care for the dog. It doesn't seem to be a good match.
03-03-2014 11:57 AM
Traveler's Mom
Originally Posted by nikon22shooter View Post
I would try growling back


Even though he gets tons of exercise, he has NO job. They need a job. Maybe work on some tracking, since you live in the country now. You have plenty of land, start working him.

As for the growling. I'm not the best one to answer this, I've never had one of my dogs growl at me. From the sounds of it, you know exactly whats going on. He's afraid your going to punish him. Maybe coax him out of this state of mind. "Its okay boy, come here." Show a open palm up hand. (Be careful not to approach him, let him come to you).

I'm a huge fan of exercise. If my dogs don't pass out by the end of the night, I didn't give them enough exercise, whether its mentally or physically.

This! I had exactly the same problem. Mine always came to work with me but for 2 weeks, I wasn't able to bring him.
When I came home from work, he would be looking out the window for me and greet me at the door then BAM! a total abrupt instantaneous personality change. He would growl and run away and hide from me. It would take a half hour to an hour before he'd come up to me.

I took him to my vet who basically said the same thing as Nikon.....he has no job. His job was to go to work with you. Of course, I thought the vet was nuts. I mean, the dog sleeps under my desk, hardly what I'd call a job.

Long story short. That was exactly the problem. Now I know that if I don't bring him to work, I get the low growl and cold shoulder when I get home. I just ignore him and eventually he comes around.

You're might take a little longer. Don't force the issue. I tried that and that just made it worse but I did employ NILIF for food and outside. Yours will come around eventually.
02-28-2014 10:33 AM
Sunflowers When things go wrong, look to the last thing that changed.
That caretaker will probably never confess what he did, but I would look to him for the answer.
02-28-2014 09:42 AM
Sp00ks My first thought when reading the title was that he is sick and you should see the vet. If he never growled prior to your trip, I would agree to question the caretaker.

I'm not insinuating the caretaker did anything wrong but maybe something happened.

We had a husky that acted this way, no growling but acted like she had been abused. She was a sensitive dog and we trained appropriately. Never laid a hand on the dog but you sure couldn't tell it by looking at her when she got nervous.
02-28-2014 09:16 AM
Originally Posted by Twyla View Post
I would be asking questions of what happened while he was staying with the friend. Then compare it to what was occurring at the time he growled at you.
This would seem to be the logical place to go. Maybe the friend used other than positive and your dog is confused, and not sure how to act now.
02-28-2014 08:55 AM
Baillif Yeah probably a good way to go
02-28-2014 08:39 AM
Twyla I would be asking questions of what happened while he was staying with the friend. Then compare it to what was occurring at the time he growled at you.
02-28-2014 08:33 AM
Baillif Why would he be afraid of punishment if all you use is positive reinforcement?
02-28-2014 08:28 AM
llombardo Just a left him for 10 days and it stressed him out. I had a dog I boarded once and he growled at me when I went to get him and it took a little bit for him to get back to normal, I have never left my dogs behind again. You need to spend time with him, reassure him, and build up the confidence. He probably felt confused and abandoned when you left him. He wasn't with the family he loves, I don't care if he knows the friend, it's not his family.
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