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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My girl is 15 months old and she growled at me for the first time today and it was hilarious, yes I said hilarious. We were playing keep away/tag and her and her toy were positioned on my bed with me on the outside of it telling her "I'm gonna get it". She would move and I would reach for the toy, so she would move again, the whole time her head is down and her butt's up in the air. Play was getting pretty intense and she started growling. My girlfriend was in the other room and could hear her. She was only playing, so I am not concerned at all, there was absolutely no aggression in the growl. Just to prove to her that the toy was "mine" I did reach in there through the growls and grabbed it and I didn't even have to tell her to drop it, she just gave it to me, so I gave it right back to her. She is such a nut and keeps me laughing.
 

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Dogs can be real characters! My mutt boy is very vocal during playtime, growling and barking, and sounds like a grizzly bear. As long as you can differentiate between playtime and serious, you're good. When my boy is serious, he sounds like a much bigger dog than he really is. Example, I got up this morning to get the kids up for school, and didn't think to turn on any lights. He didn't hear or see me til I set my phone and cigarettes down on the table next to the couch. I turned around him creeping up out of the kitchen, posture low, tail down, ears flat and eyes fixed on me, growling real low and deep. I turned the light on and said his name "Rolls!", and he stopped growling and his whole posture changed, lifted his head, laid his ears back and started wagging his tail. I patted his head and told him he was a good boy. Now, some people may not approve of my way of handling my dog's reaction, but I know dogs don't see as well in the dark as they do in the light, and I also know that I have a neighbor/tennant (I'm the apartment manager) who is very suspicious and dangerous (unfortunately, legal proceedings are holding me up from making him leave the property). So, I gladly accept my dog being protective of the family and house. I don't "sick" him on anybody, but I do reinforce the desired behavior by praising him when he does his job. He's a mix of unknown origin, but his paperwork from shelter & previous owner say lab mix, my vet labeled him a rottie mix, but he looks to be lab/shephard mix at best guess. Anyway, I'm rambling... The point I'm making here, is I'm glad you get a kick out of playing with your pup, and hope you know your pup well enough to tell the difference between play and protectiveness or possible aggression. It can make a huge difference in your life and your pup's in the long run.
 

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Personally I don't let my dog growl at me during play time. If she does I end it quickly and let her know its not ok.....

Always thought that if she thinks she can growl at me during play time, then she will think its ok to growl at me if I step on her tail by mistake or she is in a bad mood.

Maybe been a bit strict but as I said, its just a personal decision :)
 

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I agree, they are just communicating. My pup sounds like a whiny baby when he is on the spring pole. I just block it out and feel bad for the neighbors for about 10 minutes or so. He doesn't do it all the time just when he first starts, lol.
 

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It took me a little while to build up my current dogs confidence to the point where he would cut loose and play all out, complete with growls. It's likely he was discouraged at any early age from this behavior, but play like this is a huge motivator/reward for dogs, as well as a bonding experience. I do a lot of rile/recovery work with my dogs, getting them all revved up, then asking for a down/stay or a sit stay, then launch the game again. It helps teach the dog to listen/process/obey in high stress/distraction situations, no matter what the adrenaline level is. If the dog never deals with highly charged situations, it has no default behaviors and no means to deal with the emotions that come with it. That is when you end up with the "But he's never done that before" situations that are all too common.
 

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It took me a little while to build up my current dogs confidence to the point where he would cut loose and play all out, complete with growls. It's likely he was discouraged at any early age from this behavior, but play like this is a huge motivator/reward for dogs, as well as a bonding experience. I do a lot of rile/recovery work with my dogs, getting them all revved up, then asking for a down/stay or a sit stay, then launch the game again. It helps teach the dog to listen/process/obey in high stress/distraction situations, no matter what the adrenaline level is. If the dog never deals with highly charged situations, it has no default behaviors and no means to deal with the emotions that come with it. That is when you end up with the "But he's never done that before" situations that are all too common.
I gotta spread the love before I can rep you for this post, but I'll be back, I promise! But, you are so right on maintaining control during intense situations.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
It took me a little while to build up my current dogs confidence to the point where he would cut loose and play all out, complete with growls. It's likely he was discouraged at any early age from this behavior, but play like this is a huge motivator/reward for dogs, as well as a bonding experience. I do a lot of rile/recovery work with my dogs, getting them all revved up, then asking for a down/stay or a sit stay, then launch the game again. It helps teach the dog to listen/process/obey in high stress/distraction situations, no matter what the adrenaline level is. If the dog never deals with highly charged situations, it has no default behaviors and no means to deal with the emotions that come with it. That is when you end up with the "But he's never done that before" situations that are all too common.
I agree with this totally. Thats part of the reason why I reached in there and grabbed the toy away from her during the heat of the play. Even though I know she really wanted the toy at that time I need to be able to reach in there get the toy and still pull back my hand with all the fingers still attached. When I was done I said "Ok that's it" and it was like I turned off a light switch. She calmed right down and even in a sarcastic voice I told her "Get off that bed" and she jumped right off and followed me out of the room with her toy in her mouth. She is a great girl and I'm glad that her and I can play that way and we both know its just play, like when little kids play fight. There is no aggression in that even though they are acting out a violent act. It's all in good fun.
 
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