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Hi..first time posting I've been reading these posts since I decided to get my Thor.

Have a 18month old male GSD...I've raised him since he was 6 months old. He is my shadow and is a very sweet playful puppy.Ihe goes with me everywhere and loves people and other dogs...I don't make a move without him following along. He's never been aggressive until now...with his dog bones and if he gets ahold of something he knows hes not supposed to have.... if I even look at him while he's chewing one... he growls...he's been obedience trained and he is a very good dog..

I don't really understand this...he doesn't have food aggression..I can put my hand in his bowl if I like....I've never taken his bones or toys away.. he's 82 lbs now and it's pretty frightening when he does this.

Than today he was laying on the floor and I was petting him..:cry: like we always do..I rubbed under his chin...he started growling a lot.:cry:

So far my response has been to call him away from the toy/object...I tell him to go in down stay and remove the bone from the room.. I usually wait a few hours and give the bone /toy back...:
Any suggestions or what I'm doing wrong..or the cause?? Thanks!
 

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First I thought resource guarding, but maybe not, it seems your Thor is uncomfortable with the under the chin rubbing - the closeness. I suggest you look up threads on resource guarding as you know your dog best. Also, I would stop the chin rubbing since that makes him uncomfortable. He could have a bug bite also. For what you are doing, I think that has backfired and Thor has gotten the idea that this is a new game. He growls - you call him away - he goes on down/stay - bone is taken away - then comes back - then he growls again and you go thru the routine. I would ignore him and growling and bone. But I would play tug with him and encourage him to growl, and after a struggle, he ends up winning. I would increase his exercise. Stop the cuddles. And have a daily obedience practice session with the reward being tug.
 

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Could be a couple things:

1) normal, male dog coming into their "own" at about 2 yrs old
2) medical issue

So, go to the vet's and make sure he has a physical. Neuter him if you haven't already done so.

If everything is okay, then read up on and incorporate NILIF (you can google that acronym if you don't know what it is). Your "baby" cannot be coddled anymore for a while until he is reminded again of his place. This WILL work. Study it, learn it, incorporate it. If you find that you don't have the "heart" for it, then you have identified your problem: he is in charge and he knows it. Time for NILIF (Nothing In Life Is Free). Again, it will work. :)

Also, just to be sure...does he bare his teeth at you and look you in the eye while he does so? That's aggression. If he keeps on doing what he's doing, not looking at you and letting out a big boy grumble growl, that's just him "talking back".

And what do YOU do when he growls at you? Do you retreat? Do you talk to him babyish? Coddle? Have a look of fear on your face? Trembling in your voice? He is an expert on what you feel, so be sure you are confident. Remember, this is your baby. He's being a willful teenager. Handled right, this too shall pass...

Best wishes :hug:
 

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Thanks so much.. I dont think it's physical.. he was at the vet for the last week while I was on vacation and I asked him give him a look over while he was there....he's fine.. he said he never growled and was perfect sweet puppy..

I've read a little of the NILIF...I'll read up on it again..

No he never has shown his teeth to me .. and he' doesn't look directly at me he averts his eyes.....and when he growls I dont retreat.. I'm neverusually even moving towards him. I usually stand up... and call him to me.. he comes growling.. but minds... he sits still growling... but hes still obedient..

Thanks so much for the replies!
 

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Thanks so much.. I dont think it's physical.. he was at the vet for the last week while I was on vacation and I asked him give him a look over while he was there....he's fine.. he said he never growled and was perfect sweet puppy..

I've read a little of the NILIF...I'll read up on it again..

No he never has shown his teeth to me .. and he' doesn't look directly at me he averts his eyes.....and when he growls I dont retreat.. I'm neverusually even moving towards him. I usually stand up... and call him to me.. he comes growling.. but minds... he sits still growling... but hes still obedient..

Thanks so much for the replies!
Sounds to me like he's coming of age and just grumbling his macho self.:p Good for him to come to you! Good response of yours, too. Just redirect his attention into something YOU WANT him to do, using it as a training/reward opportunity.

Aw....good boy :wub: It's a stage.
 

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He's just talking to you. I would SERIOUSLY doubt he would bite you. If the growling is really bothering you, then make sure he knows who's the king ding-a-ling. otherwise, let it go b/c its not aggression. Most of my shepherds had something they would growl about. i thought it was cute. I never had an accident of any sort with them. (as far as them biting me).
 

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I have a growler and I do mean a growler. He is almost 2 1/2 male and there are a number of reasons he growls. Sometimes it is because he wants to make a decision and tell him no. Sometimes it's because he just gets in a mood where he does not want me invading his personal space. If I correct him in training and he thinks that it was too much of a correction he lets me know. Sometimes he just talks by growling. I have to pay attention to his body language and what his eyes are telling me. Most times he does not show a posture that tells me he is being assertive. When he gets stiff and looks me right in the eye, he is trying to assert himself. Most of the time I redirect to a favorite toy and get him in a play mode. Sometimes if I am standing I will pressure him to move by kinda walking into him and acting like "just get out of my way". Sometimes I completely ignore it and walk away leaving him confused as why I am not giving him the attention he thinks he should be getting.

My dog comes from very strong working lines and is a pushy dominant dog. I do spend a lot of time training, as he loves it, as well as making sure he tired from enough exercise. Although I am not one of the "alpha" theory types, I do believe that in those moments he needs to know that I make the rules. Depending on situation and body language, I will determine what to do. Without observation it's hard to tell exactly why your guy is growling, but whatever you do, try and figure out what the triggers are. If unsure find a trainer that can help put the behavior in perspective.
 

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He is getting older, it's when sons challenge their fathers (try to remember yourself, that sweet adolescent!), your dog tests you. This sort of behaviour is typical for males, but many females show it as well. What he is actually saying to you by growling - "Only try to come close, and you will see, that I'm quite capable to shoo you away". To shoo away the others is a peviledge of the stronger.
Always place the bone in the middle of your kitchen, walk around in the kitchen and do whatever you do intentionally touching him with your feet on the way. Demonstrate to him that his growls don't mean much to you, don't say anything to him, just ignore him. You can grab your dog if he growls at you menacingly with both hands by the skin of this spine and shake him strongly showing him your dominance. But, such strong measure might be not necessary. But, if you find it necessary do it, and leave the room immediately, most likely he will run after you and will forget his bone. Return and handfeed him with something else, let him ask you for those bits, thus reestablishing your old order of father and son. Avoid giving any commands.
2) Start feeding him by hand first. You can mouthfeed him couple of cheese pieces at the beginning of feeding, the rest of his meal place bit by bit into his plate on the floor from the table. Watch him as your hand moves from the table to his plate. If he growls - walk away with his food. Practically start putting your fingers into his mouth - brush his teeth, feed him vitamin tablets by pushing them into his throat. Playing the ball is important, he must place the ball into your hand by command. Play "war-of-tug" with him, he must learn to out the rope if you ask.
 

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He is not talking to you but growling at you; it is a serious warning and should not be sugar coated. If you punish him for warning he will learn to immediately bite. So when he has something of value, according to himself, come up with a good treat, call his name, wait for eye contact, happy voice and give it to him without challenging his toy. This way he learns that you are not a threat. When he get better, touch the toy and treat. Then take the toy, treat and give the toy back. Waiting a few hours only teaches him that you take away stuff.
I would try everything in NILIFF before neutering. Neutering is not a fix-all.
 

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Hmm I would try and fix this asap...with my 15 week old I have already started taking her bones away regularly just to prove to her I CAN take this away whenever I like do not even think of getting snappy over it lol. She gave me one growl the first time and I gave a quick and sharp No! Took it away and put her on her back belly up (submissive). Not everyone will agree with this and granted I would only do this with a puppy not a full grown dog (no way) but it does work she now understands that I am giving her something and I can take it away too and she is not bothered at all, she just accepts this is how things are run in this house.
 

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Hmm I would try and fix this asap...with my 15 week old I have already started taking her bones away regularly just to prove to her I CAN take this away whenever I like do not even think of getting snappy over it lol. She gave me one growl the first time and I gave a quick and sharp No! Took it away and put her on her back belly up (submissive). Not everyone will agree with this and granted I would only do this with a puppy not a full grown dog (no way) but it does work she now understands that I am giving her something and I can take it away too and she is not bothered at all, she just accepts this is how things are run in this house.
Putting your dog in a belly up position is not at all submissive. You're just man-handling your dog because she's small enough to do it. Submissive dogs put themselves belly up, to show how little a threat they are. You're asking for trouble doing this.
 

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Always place the bone in the middle of your kitchen, walk around in the kitchen and do whatever you do intentionally touching him with your feet on the way. Demonstrate to him that his growls don't mean much to you, don't say anything to him, just ignore him. You can grab your dog if he growls at you menacingly with both hands by the skin of this spine and shake him strongly showing him your dominance. But, such strong measure might be not necessary. But, if you find it necessary do it, and leave the room immediately, most likely he will run after you and will forget his bone. Return and handfeed him with something else, let him ask you for those bits, thus reestablishing your old order of father and son. Avoid giving any commands.
Please, please! Anyone reading this: Do NOT follow the above quoted advice. This is a surefire way to get bitten and to make any possible problem much, much worse.
Sheilah
 

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Hmm I would try and fix this asap...with my 15 week old I have already started taking her bones away regularly just to prove to her I CAN take this away whenever I like do not even think of getting snappy over it lol. She gave me one growl the first time and I gave a quick and sharp No! Took it away and put her on her back belly up (submissive). Not everyone will agree with this and granted I would only do this with a puppy not a full grown dog (no way) but it does work she now understands that I am giving her something and I can take it away too and she is not bothered at all, she just accepts this is how things are run in this house.
Why? I think the arbitrary nature of the give-it-and-take-it-away-alpha-role method creates more problems than it solves. I have seen so many owners create the very problem they were trying to avoid by using this method.
Sheilah
 

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Why? I think the arbitrary nature of the give-it-and-take-it-away-alpha-role method creates more problems than it solves. I have seen so many owners create the very problem they were trying to avoid by using this method.
Sheilah
I agree, this can create a resource guarder. If a dog feels that you are randomly talking their food for no reason, they can become protective of it.
 

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Hmm I would try and fix this asap...with my 15 week old I have already started taking her bones away regularly just to prove to her I CAN take this away whenever I like do not even think of getting snappy over it lol. She gave me one growl the first time and I gave a quick and sharp No! Took it away and put her on her back belly up (submissive). Not everyone will agree with this and granted I would only do this with a puppy not a full grown dog (no way) but it does work she now understands that I am giving her something and I can take it away too and she is not bothered at all, she just accepts this is how things are run in this house.
At one point your dog will be full grown and no longer accept this kind of "training". You are setting her up from problems in your relationship.
 

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Hmm I would try and fix this asap...with my 15 week old I have already started taking her bones away regularly just to prove to her I CAN take this away whenever I like do not even think of getting snappy over it lol. She gave me one growl the first time and I gave a quick and sharp No! Took it away and put her on her back belly up (submissive). Not everyone will agree with this and granted I would only do this with a puppy not a full grown dog (no way) but it does work she now understands that I am giving her something and I can take it away too and she is not bothered at all, she just accepts this is how things are run in this house.
Putting her on her back is not submission. Submission is offered, not forced. If I walk up to any of my dogs visibly angry, they go on their back and offer submission, thus acknowledging my dominance... taking her bones away regularly is just being a bully. I never take food that has already been given. I have highly dominant dogs and have yet to have an issue.
 

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Putting her on her back is not submission. Submission is offered, not forced. If I walk up to any of my dogs visibly angry, they go on their back and offer submission, thus acknowledging my dominance... taking her bones away regularly is just being a bully. I never take food that has already been given. I have highly dominant dogs and have yet to have an issue.
I have to agree that taking away food that is given is just asking to start a possible problem down the road. If for some reason you have to take something away, say to move a new marrow bone so it doesn't make a mess. I ask him to drop it, redirect him to the new location, give a down command and then go and get it and use it as a reward for listening. No confrontation or conflict with the bone or food.
 

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You don't think there's anything wrong with his teeth do you? He growls when he's chewing a bone and when you rub him under the chin.Maybe he hurt himself at the vet kennels.I had a German shepherd years ago that used to chew at the chain link.


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