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    1. #1
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      cbaywolf's Avatar
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      15 week old puppy is nervous and sometimes growling now

      Since we got our puppy at about 10 weeks old, he has not liked going for walks- Originally I thought he just didn't like walking on the leash, but now I'm thinking it has more to do with the fact that he's scared of strangers (people). He has been walking every day for at least 3 weeks, but still doesn't like to leave the yard, and he picks up the pace much more when he knows he's heading in the direction of home.

      When he sees most strangers approaching he either whimpers a little, and has recently started to do a low growl in the last few weeks. He hasn't really had any negative experiences, and we've been taking him out as much as possible, but frankly the growling has me concerned that he could progress to snapping if something isn't done. We've asked as many people as possible to hand him training treats as they approach him, and this generally seems to work- but he's still afraid of just about every person he meets- unless you have a dog with you. Then he will walk right up to the dog and attempt to play.

      Overall he is EXTREMELY laid back, and just likes to lay around a lot (unless he is playing with another dog). Any suggestions on what else to do to get him socialized correctly? It's hard walking around the park when your dog wants to pull off the trail every 50 feet.

    2. #2
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      Charlotte K.'s Avatar
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      It is hard to say what is going on overall except that this is a normal age for a fear period. Are you going to puppy classes? Can your instructor give advice? Also, how long are the walks and what specifically does he wear? How hot is the pavement? What are your expectations? Thanks!

    3. #3
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      Does he exhibit this behavior anywhere you walk him or is it when you walk him on a certain path/at a certain park? Does it matter who is walking him? Has he ever showed any other signs of dislike of strangers for example with guests in the home or at the vets office?

    4. #4
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      Quote Originally Posted by Charlotte K. View Post
      It is hard to say what is going on overall except that this is a normal age for a fear period. Are you going to puppy classes? Can your instructor give advice? Also, how long are the walks and what specifically does he wear? How hot is the pavement? What are your expectations? Thanks!
      We are not doing puppy classes right now as his home training was going so well (perfectly crate trained after a few days, sit, down, stay, and almost heel have all been easy). He is walking anywhere between a half mile to 1.5 miles- but doesn't seem to mind walking as much as 3 weeks ago. Our sidewalks are almost all shaded- and he has only a standard collar and 6 foot leash. My expectations are that he doesn't growl or groan when passing every stranger, or retreat if they get close by. Ultimately I'm worried that he will begin to snap to keep people away as he has just progressed to a few growls.

      zd262: His behavior is typical for just about wherever we are. If we sit down in a more crowded place, he eventually stops making noises, and just watches. He doesn't have a problem with joggers who seem to go by quickly- just people who slowly approach. If you have a dog, he will go up to the dog, and most times allow the owner to pet him as well.

      Yes, he will groan at new people who come into our house until he really knows them, and he will make noises/small growls at the vet now as well- it's anyplace new people are around.

    5. #5
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      I would say get him into a puppy class as soon as you can. Puppy classes don't just help with the basics, but they also provide really important socialization. He'll interact with other puppies, but also their owners and the instructor. Plus the instructor will be able to give you pointed advice after watching his interactions.

      It's best to get help for this now while he's still so young!

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    7. #6
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      Quote Originally Posted by zd262 View Post
      I would say get him into a puppy class as soon as you can. Puppy classes don't just help with the basics, but they also provide really important socialization. He'll interact with other puppies, but also their owners and the instructor. Plus the instructor will be able to give you pointed advice after watching his interactions.

      It's best to get help for this now while he's still so young!
      YES! It is a stage, but it is good to look for a positive trainer experienced with puppies.

    8. #7
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      My 4mo old growled 3x to 3 different people and all happened in the last week or so.
      I also got her when she was 10mo old.

      At first, I didn't catch it because I thought she burped - and boy does she burp loudly!
      the second occurrence was when I wasn't home; my mom and dad told me about it.
      she growled upon meeting my nephew who came to visit last Thursday.
      The third time, she growled when I was around, and I "psstt" and "no" at her right away.
      She hasn't growled at any stranger yet.
      I took her for screening at a local K9 social club (dog day car service) and she was fine with the handler there.
      I left her at the daycare the following day for a whole day.

      I am taking her to get my car serviced tomorrow and we'll see how she does.

      I think she just needs to be corrected/told that it is not acceptable to growl.
      And get her socialized and meet a lot of new strangers - enroll her in the dog daycare.
      dog parks are a great place to get her to meet new people.

      HTH.

      T.

    9. #8
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      Quote Originally Posted by theiss View Post
      My 4mo old growled 3x to 3 different people and all happened in the last week or so.
      I also got her when she was 10mo old.

      At first, I didn't catch it because I thought she burped - and boy does she burp loudly!
      the second occurrence was when I wasn't home; my mom and dad told me about it.
      she growled upon meeting my nephew who came to visit last Thursday.
      The third time, she growled when I was around, and I "psstt" and "no" at her right away.
      She hasn't growled at any stranger yet.

      I took her for screening at a local K9 social club (dog day car service) and she was fine with the handler there.
      I left her at the daycare the following day for a whole day.

      I am taking her to get my car serviced tomorrow and we'll see how she does.

      I think she just needs to be corrected/told that it is not acceptable to growl.
      And get her socialized and meet a lot of new strangers - enroll her in the dog daycare.
      dog parks are a great place to get her to meet new people.

      HTH.

      T.
      please do not correct the growl. it is in fact the wrong thing to do. the growl is your puppy saying they are fearful and unsure and need space/to not be where they are. It's TOTALLY OK AND APPROPRIATE for them to be able to communicate this information for you and for dogs, that is often via a growl.

      Remove the growl and you remove a method of communication and the dog may learn to up the anti and move down the line of communication methods (airs snaps, actual snaps).

      Instead, try to see what has caused the puppy to growl. is it strangers in their space? something about location? really sorta analyze the situation. then start to slowly (VERY SLOWLY) make those things a good thing by treating an rewarding (start slow). I HIGHLY recommend talking to a trainer ASAP.

      Are you taking puppy classes at all?

      Lastly - remember it's not just MEETING people she needs, but to meet them in a happy comfortable way. positive association. FORCED interactions faster than the dog si ready just makes things worse. if she needs some time and to be allowed to approach the person on her own - let her. encourage (force) people to not reach down from above (a body position that is threatening to a dog) but to crouch down arms tot heir side low and let the puppy go to them. sometimes first step is not even having people get near the puppy but walk by and throw a treat then ignore the puppy. depends on the dog and where their comfort level is.
      Last edited by Tanya; 08-28-2015 at 08:31 AM.

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    11. #9
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      Yes, please DO NOT correct a growl. That is one of the worst things you can do when raising a dog. When you take away that form of communication, it can lead to a dog who will bite without any warning. Growling is an important tool of dog communication. Your job as the owner is to figure out why the dog is growling, and how to make the dog feel more comfortable with the situation, or perhaps even remove them from the situation that is causing them stress.

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    13. #10
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      Hi Tanya,

      Yes, I took puppy kindergarten and will be taking level I soon.
      But the level I will be for my wife as the primary handler.

      The growling happens when we were at home.
      She was not on the leash, and my nephew was just coming into the house from the front door.
      No hands was stretched.
      And Ellie (pup), was 1m away from him.

      When i take her for a walk, and if she doesn't want to meet people (who are keeners to pat her), she would hide behind me or between my legs.
      never growled.

      That time, it was unprovoked, and she growled.
      I taught her to "speak" on command - but most of the time she doesn't bark or growl.
      except if she really needs to go out to potty - and we miss the bell ringing (she rings the bell to go out the backyard).

      But she burps very loudly after meal - and that can sound like a growl - but usually only right after meal.

      T

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