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Why does my dog growl at me?

Started 1353038728.153 in Pet Lovers | Last reply 1353546859.707 by lizzief
He's a 9 yr old Dalmatian. It's almost like a cat purring when I pet him. He wags his tail and is happy, but he makes this crazy, loud, rumbling noise in his throat. I think it's some sort of doggie dominance thing. I laugh at him, pet him more, and the noise gets louder. It's like a game we play every night. What do you think? Ever hear of anything like this?

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CaneCorsoM­om1353040380.4428 PostsRegistered 6/16/2006

Maybe the grumble is just because it feels good - doesnt seem dominant to me - is he in a dominant position or just laying down relaxed with his belly exposed?

Never let a dog be dominant - ever

Agree to disagree...

3blackdogs1353044972.437746 PostsRegistered 3/19/2006

Maybe just "chatting" ...my dog gives a small play bow and then just carries on and on about who knows what when I first get home. One of my older dogs used to smile....but it took me a couple times to figure out that was what she was doing.

HappyDaze1353050718.0116125 PostsRegistered 6/13/2012

Has he always done this or is this a farily recent development? It is hard to say if he is actually growling, if it just feels good, or just being playful based on your post. My boy little moaning noises when I rub his ears because he enjoys it. So it is hard to say based on the little bit of information you have provided.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery...but becomes something entirely different when someone STEALS your ideas and claims the credit for themselves.

“Only those with no memory insist on their originality.” -Coco Chanel

candys mine1353067726.473413 PostsRegistered 8/20/2012

Most times it IS cause the rubs feel good. Look in his ears if he moans when you rub them, just to make sure they aren't red or smelly or have gunk in them. Since you brought up the dominance issue, I second CaneCorsoMom. DON'T ALLOW HIM to be dominant over you.

gardenman1353073999.45316985 PostsRegistered 6/30/2005Southern New Jersey

I sagree with CaneCorsoMom and candy mine that you should never let a dog assume a dominant position. The humans have to be the alphas in the family and not the dog. We had a German Shepherd who would try to assert his role from time to time and if I'd given in to him, he would have ruled the house. Instead whenever he'd try to assert his dominance, you have to remind him who the boss really is. That means you give commands and he obeys. My shepherd was obedience trained and whenever he'd start feeling a bit uppity, out would come the leash and I'd put him through his paces and remind him who holds the leash and things would calm down quickly. Dogs have a natural tendency to test their status in the pack and when they do you have to make it clear that the humans are atop the status pyramid. If you cede that position to the dog then you're making a terrible mistake.

Fly! Eagles! Fly!

lizzief1353086326.332505 PostsRegistered 9/27/2011
No, no, when I mentioned dominance, I was just thinking that he may be trying to assert dominance over me, or intimidate, since the female Dal in the house rules his roost - it's so funny, he has 20 lbs on her yet she calls the shots between them. My DH is really the alpha, and I am when he is not there. So the poor boy is last in line! We definitely let them know who's boss. But this dog is clearly enjoying himself when I am petting him - it's just a strange noise, and I've never had a dog that did that before! Was just wondering if anyone else did. Thanks for your comments!

KateChopin1353206731.5274075 PostsRegistered 1/17/2010

They play that way! And I love when they do the "play bow"---Sometimes growls to say "thanks" or when she wants attention or to play---or wants to alert us that it is time for her to go out. Love my doggie!

mistriTsqu­irrel1353225409.55710639 PostsRegistered 7/17/2010Purgatory, USA

It does sound like he is trying to intimidate you and express dominance. I would try being firm with him, rather than laughing and petting him more...it just encourages him to continue his efforts to be the boss.

Heartburn Can Cause Cancer -- www.ecan.org

BigBro61353261476.092745 PostsRegistered 11/15/2007Lafayette New Jersey

My Otis growls at me at night ! He is a beagle/sheltie mix with his brother Calvin. We got both at 8 months from a shelter. When he is on the sofa at night and I move toward him to pet him, he starts growling. I say no, but he continues. Otis stops when I do not put my face near his to kiss him. I know weird dog, but I love him !

Moonlady1353267774.0514388 PostsRegistered 8/2/2007Upstate NY

Maybe he's not really growling (I'm not sure from your post if this is a new development). With a young dog you need to nip this in the bud immediately, as one other poster mentioned.

I'd never allow a dog to growl at me.

__
I have all the money I'll ever need if I die by 4 o'clock.
--Henny Youngman

Rooney11353270679.1575825 PostsRegistered 9/5/2007White Mountains - Northeastern Arizona

lizz,

Don't mean to be an alarmist, but that just doesn't sound good. Dogs growl for a reason, which it typically to communicate to you. Perhaps he is telling you he doesn't like it, and one of these days he will take a chunk out of you. And, yes - this does happen. More than once I have heard of a dog - that never showed any aggression what-so-ever turn on their owner. Personally, I would take this growling very seriously.

I would take him to the vet and have him check out to make sure that there is nothing physically wrong. Maybe the petting is painful.

I would just be careful and please don't just laugh this off. You obviously have some concern or you wouldn't have posted this question.

HappyDaze1353288592.05316125 PostsRegistered 6/13/2012

OP, you never did say if this is a new thing of if he's done this for 9 years since you've had him?

Bigbro6, that is not okay for your dog to continue to growl at you when you walk towards him and you really should never put your face near him when he is growling, even though he stops. You really need to stop the behaviour now before something happens. What if another person at your home did this and the dog didn't stop growling and ended up hurting that person? What if that person was a child?

We all love our pets but they are still animals with animal instincts and behaviours so we can't let our guard down, especially when they are exhibiting dominance behaviours or showing signs of aggression or agitation towards us.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery...but becomes something entirely different when someone STEALS your ideas and claims the credit for themselves.

“Only those with no memory insist on their originality.” -Coco Chanel

CindyinNC1353330989.543361 PostsRegistered 10/5/2012

To BigBro6 - in dog language, looking a dog directly in the face is meant as a challenge. With humans, it is called good communication - think of new mothers and eye contact with infants. That's how a lot of kids get bit - putting their face in the dog's face.

There is a good, inexpensive book (probably one of many) called "On Talking Terms with Dogs: Calming Signals" by Turid Rugaas.

I've had many dogs thru the years, and the one that bamboozled me was my greyhound. His behavior was so much closer to a pack animal simply because he was not raised in a home from being a pup but was raised at the racetrack.

Another one that I love is called Second Hand Dog by Carol Benjamin. A twenty minute read.

Spunkyspou­ts1353391733.8177159 PostsRegistered 11/19/2008miami

My SHi-tzu does this to me, its very funny. He comes up to me and looks dead at me, wont flinch and makes a very low growl. It translates, pick me up now, or give me a cookie now, due demand is made!

In fact it is a bit of a joke in our house about how he can stare anybody down, even strangers have laughed about his direct looking. My bed is about 4 feet high, hecant jump up on it, so he comes to the side of the bed and makes a little low rumble growl when he wants up. It is bossy for sure but I have many times put him back in place so he knows the line.He is my rescue so I dont know what befell him in times past.

Now one of my other dogs who is older actually will growl, very meanly to anybody in the family under certain conditions. because of his age I excuse it, but I have on certain days questioned my wisdom on this. The options are what? Put him down basically.

Last edited on 11/20/2012

Last edited on 11/20/2012

gardenman1353418571.9516985 PostsRegistered 6/30/2005Southern New Jersey

"The options are what? Put him down basically."

Obedience training is always a good option even with an older dog. Done properly it makes it very clear who the lead animal is. You're walking the dog and giving it commands and it's obeying. There's no question as to who's in control. (Or there shouldn't be anyway.) Like I said previously when our old German Shepherd would decide to test the hierarchy, I'd pull out the leash and put him through his obedience lessons and he'd quickly settle back down and realize his place in the pecking order.

Now if you let the dog pull you everywhere on the leash and disobey commands, you're telling the dog it's in control and that's no good, but good obedience training can let a dog know its place in the hierarchy and be used to reinforce that knowledge. You're achieving multiple things with obedience training. You're bonding closer with your dog, you're pushing it to learn more which can keep it sharper and healthier, you're reminding it of its place in the household hierarchy, and you're making it into a better all around citizen. There's really no downside to obedience training of a dog. It takes a bit of time and patience and good coaching, but with many/most communities offering dog obedience training in some form, it's silly not to do it.

Fly! Eagles! Fly!

Rooney11353526013.6435825 PostsRegistered 9/5/2007White Mountains - Northeastern Arizona
On 11/20/2012 gardenman said:

"The options are what? Put him down basically."

Obedience training is always a good option even with an older dog. Done properly it makes it very clear who the lead animal is. You're walking the dog and giving it commands and it's obeying. There's no question as to who's in control. (Or there shouldn't be anyway.) Like I said previously when our old German Shepherd would decide to test the hierarchy, I'd pull out the leash and put him through his obedience lessons and he'd quickly settle back down and realize his place in the pecking order.

Now if you let the dog pull you everywhere on the leash and disobey commands, you're telling the dog it's in control and that's no good, but good obedience training can let a dog know its place in the hierarchy and be used to reinforce that knowledge. You're achieving multiple things with obedience training. You're bonding closer with your dog, you're pushing it to learn more which can keep it sharper and healthier, you're reminding it of its place in the household hierarchy, and you're making it into a better all around citizen. There's really no downside to obedience training of a dog. It takes a bit of time and patience and good coaching, but with many/most communities offering dog obedience training in some form, it's silly not to do it.

Question? Who said anything about putting the dog down? Guess I missed that comment...

gardenman1353535170.4316985 PostsRegistered 6/30/2005Southern New Jersey
On 11/21/2012 Rooney1 said:
On 11/20/2012 gardenman said:

"The options are what? Put him down basically."

Obedience training is always a good option even with an older dog. Done properly it makes it very clear who the lead animal is. You're walking the dog and giving it commands and it's obeying. There's no question as to who's in control. (Or there shouldn't be anyway.) Like I said previously when our old German Shepherd would decide to test the hierarchy, I'd pull out the leash and put him through his obedience lessons and he'd quickly settle back down and realize his place in the pecking order.

Now if you let the dog pull you everywhere on the leash and disobey commands, you're telling the dog it's in control and that's no good, but good obedience training can let a dog know its place in the hierarchy and be used to reinforce that knowledge. You're achieving multiple things with obedience training. You're bonding closer with your dog, you're pushing it to learn more which can keep it sharper and healthier, you're reminding it of its place in the household hierarchy, and you're making it into a better all around citizen. There's really no downside to obedience training of a dog. It takes a bit of time and patience and good coaching, but with many/most communities offering dog obedience training in some form, it's silly not to do it.

Question? Who said anything about putting the dog down? Guess I missed that comment...

The post directly above mine by angelsareout (post #14) ends with that exact quote. That's what I was replying to.

Fly! Eagles! Fly!

lizzief1353546859.7072505 PostsRegistered 9/27/2011
Thanks for your responses and suggestions. I did a little more Internet research. Turns out there CAN be a sort of "play growl." Sorry if I confused you,my pup has been doing this his entire life. I know he's playing a game with me, I'm not concerned. He knows who's boss. It's just such a strange noise, I wondered if anyone else's dog did this.

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