Your Growling Dog is Not Love - Jim Burwell's Petiquette

A Growling Dog is Not Cute Either

Dog behavior Houston, Jim Burwell

Susan thought her dog’s growling  at people was a sure sign that her dog loved her.

That is, until her Chihuahua Jupee nailed her brother.

Now Susan avoids having anyone over at all. She’s afraid of a repeat offense.

Listen, I’ve heard it many times before. One dog owner said it like this: “There’s nothing wrong with my dog, he’s just particular about who he lets in the house!”  I don’t mind my growling dog protecting me at all.

Call your growling dog, territorial aggression or being over-protective,  but don’t call it cute.

These were serious issues going on with Susan and her dog.

She avoided dealing with it, but she finally realized her problem began with her – not her dog.

Susan got her dog to love on. In doing so she never provided Jupee with structure or leadership.

Jupee discovered how to control the relationship with Susan.

Over time, Jupee began to assume the leadership role herself.

The love and affection Jupee got from Susan became a valued possession she did not want to share with anyone.

She would do anything, including biting, to keep everyone away from Susan.

Here’s how we tackled Susan’s dog behavior problem.

Where There Wasn’t Structure – We Added Structure

We immediately put Jupee on a learn-to-earn program where she had to sit for everything.

With no previous training, we had to go back to the beginning and teach her to do the elementary commands of sit and down.

This allowed Susan to begin the process of adding structure to address her growling dog.

Funny thing about Susan’s obedience training.

Susan noticed that Jupee actually looked forward to the training sessions and she also seemed calmer.

Where There Wasn’t Exercise – We Added Exercise

Susan began to walk Jupee twice daily. The longest walk was in the evening after work. Exercise helped to manage her stress and Jupee’s stress better.

Structuring the walks helped to keep the message of control consistent.

The first and last third of the walk Susan required Jupee to stay by her side.

The middle of the walk Susan released Jupee to snif, pee/poop and explore with her nose but only after she did a sit.

Where There Weren’t Limitations on Affection – We Added Limitations

Susan began to limit how much she doted on Jupee and only petted her or showed affection when Jupee did her sits and downs first.

Brief petting was okay.

Susan also took my recommendation of keeping Jupee off the couch and giving Jupee her own bed for the living room and to sleep on at night.

The Final Touch for the Growling Dog

After 6 weeks of work, she began the last part of the training.

Susan invited good friends over to test Jupee’s obedience and good behavior.

She did this before she could get up the nerve to invite her brother over again.

We set up controlled exercises. i.e. sit at the door on leash to greet and laying down by Susan’s feet (with a Kong toy) while she visited with her friends.

Finally with renewed confidence, Susan convinced her brother to visit again with her and Jupee.

This time everything was under control with Jupee on leash just as she had practiced.

Greeting at the door was on leash and Jupee stayed on the floor by her side in a down with a Kong toy while they talked.

This was a significant improvement over the trauma of the previous visit.

Jupee’s life has changed for the better and at last report she seems relieved to have Susan take over the leadership role.

Together We Can Raise A Happy and Obedient Dog

You got your dog for a reason. You wanted to share your life with a happy and loving dog. But now, your dog has big problems and life is not happy.
I can help you get that happy, well behaved dog back no matter where you live. We’ll do private lesson in your home OR we can do private video lessons where geography is no longer a roadblock.