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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My Am. Bulldog occasionally growls at my 18 month old daughter when he does not want to play. Its not all the time and he never actually raises his lips or show any other signs of aggression. Its really more like an annoyed "leave me alone" growl.
I always immediately correct him by putting him in the submissive position, but I keep hearing that technique is out of date. What methods of correction do you all use when your pups act out of line.
Just so you know, I never leave them alone or unsupervised and I am teaching my daughter to be "gentle" with him and not climb all over him, but she is 18 months, so it is a learning process.
 

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I'm the blue dragon!
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i tend to flick my boys nose. not sure if thats a good habit to be in. but i have also heard something noisey is good too.
 

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growling is just a form of communication. If he growls and lunges and attempts to bite I could see correcting it, but I think its just your dogs way of communicating he isn't in the mood. I would not correct that, but I am not there. What do you mean by submissive position? Do you roll your dog? I am not a fan of that at all if that's what you mean.

I live in a city. My pup would bark at everyone walking by on the sidewalk. They have a right to walk down the street without being barked at. I would tell him NO BARK and if he barked again, I would bring him to the other side of my apartment in the kitchen with windows he cant see out, no toys and make him wait a bit and the release him. It took about a year of constant reinforcing but he slowly learned he didn't want to be alone in the kitchen and no bark meant shut the heck up or you will be alone in the kitchen. (in the beginning he lived in the kitchen lol...)

I also think you need to train your daughter to stay away from the dog more than the dog to not give a warning since that's how they communicate but I don't know much about kids, just my 2 cents, lol.
 
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Great post Ames. Growling is a form of communication, albeit a warning. Personally, a dog who uses communication appropriately (hey, I don't like that, please stop) is much preferable to a dog who skips this warning because he has been punished for it or learned that the warning is ignored in other ways.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the responses, I am working on my daughter, at that age, she doesn't understand people and animals wanting their personal space, its coming to her, but it will take time. My dog and her get along 95% of the time, they chase each other around and play, but its just that 5%. I also have been teaching him to get up and walk away when I can tell he is getting uncomfortable with my daughter, I don't know if that is a good thing or not.
I understand the communication aspect, but I don't agree with letting him growl at my daughter. He knows not to growl at me, but I think he has not accepted her as above him in the pecking order. I think once my daughter can communicate more effectively and I can include her in my dogs basic obedience, it will help.
 

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I also have been teaching him to get up and walk away when I can tell he is getting uncomfortable with my daughter, I don't know if that is a good thing or not.
That's an EXCELLENT thing. You are teaching him an appropriate (to us) response to use when he is uncomfortable with a situation.
We tend to get hung up on very linear pictures of 'pack order', which our dogs may not understand. Dogs are opportunistic scavengers, which isn't nearly so sexy as envisioning them as a barely tamed wolf. We like to remember the wolf part and skip over the whole evolutionary chain that first led to them skulking around our trash heaps. During this stage, other dogs were competition for food, not ally's and dogs seldom formed large packs. Two, maybe three and rank was often pretty free flowing. They do what works for them and what gets them what they want. They are masters at figuring this out.
You're are absolutely spot on that once your daughter learns to communicate better with him, things should smooth out.
This probably explains it better than I can
The Dominance Controversy | Philosophy | Dr. Sophia Yin, DVM, MS
 

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Personally turn it into a game, teach your daughter that every time he growls to walk over to you and give you a kiss. It would be fun for her and you also it would remove her from the situation with your dog.

But teaching your dog to move is great till she backs him into a corner, and she will my daughter tired that once with my dog. Granted my daughter is older, and I punished her accordingly.
 

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I used to correct my first dog when she growled. She sure stopped growling. Now she just bites. Atleast her eye movements are consistent so I know when it's going to happen, but in general teaching alternative behavior > correcting growling.

Just my shiny two pennies
 

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I used to correct my first dog when she growled. She sure stopped growling. Now she just bites. Atleast her eye movements are consistent so I know when it's going to happen, but in general teaching alternative behavior > correcting growling.

Just my shiny two pennies
When is your dog biting?
 

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I agree that the growling isn't the problem. Growling is the dog communicating that it is not comfortable with a situation and that if left unchecked it could escalate ito a bite.

Personally I would rather my dog warn me if we were headed into that territory instead of just going straight for the bite. In my mind, growling is the symptom of some underlying problem that needs to be identified and addressed.

I think teaching the dog to get up and move when it is uncomfortable is a brilliant idea. Also, even though the baby is only 18 months old, she can still be prevented from climbing on the dog (in much the same way that she is prevented from doing other things that would be deemed dangerous) if that is what is making the dog uncomfortable...that I think would be wise management and bite prevention.
 

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When is your dog biting?
Pippy used to snap at everything. I laugh at how naive I was when My girlfriend first got her. She was the first dog I raised. She was my live with girlfriend's. She got her when she was 8 weeks old. The first thing she did when she got home was to hump me. She used to growl and snap on other dogs when they came close to me. I was thinking that she was "protecting me" and so I would pet her. Hah! After reading every dog book I could get my hands on I came to the conclusion that her behavior was in fact not being protective. I began to correct her for growling. She then just skipped the whole growling thing and snapped. She no longer guards me like a bone. Now she is with my girlfriend's father most of the time, and she guards him. For some reason, he is convinced she is being protective. Even though myself, and others have told him she is guarding him, not being protective, he still acts like he is correct. She also humps him everyday, which is to him, Pippy showing affection. O well, what can a person do? On the upside she has never ever growled or snapped on a human. Also, she has never been in a fight. I try to look at the bright side. Without my experience with her I would not have the knowledge about dog body language that I do now.
 

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My Dog snow has two different types of growling. They sound the same to my husband, but to me they sound completely different. She has her 'i'm playing with you!!! <3" Growl and her 'I want you -or- that away from me -or- this is mine' growl. If your child is making your dog uncomfortable enough to growl, then you need to, for one, not allow your child around the dog until she is older and understands. This is how many children get bitten. And it doesn't matter if you are supervising or not, it only takes a split second for a dog to bite and leave serious damage.

I have Snow Kennel trained. When she growls in a manner I find inappropriate, like at Jud or Fat dog; I tell her to Kennel. She goes into the kennel and it is locked. I like this method in particular because I am not popping or tapping or flicking my dog for growling, chancing getting bit my self. This is a safety measure, keeps my other dogs safe and keeps my family safe.
 
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