8 month old growling

Discussion in 'Dog Chat' started by Janet Carter, Feb 16, 2018.

  1. Janet Carter

    Janet Carter Registered Users

    Feb 16, 2018
    My 8 month old male lab has been growling for months........if I pick up a newspaper and swat my hand with it to show him his behavior was wrong...he circles up and growls at me. I thought this would go away as he grew...but he is still doing it. He has not actually made the attempt to bite but I have to say I am a little fearful he might. Any suggestions ? My vet says a shock collar...but I am not a big fan of that. I have three other labs and never experienced this.
  2. snowbunny

    snowbunny Registered Users

    Aug 27, 2014
    Andorra and Spain
    Hi Janet, you should never admonish or punish your dog for growling - he is communicating to you that he is unhappy about something. It is your job to find out what he is unhappy about and fix it - either by adjusting your behaviour or changing his emotional response. In what situations does he growl?

    If he is punished for growling without addressing why he is growling, then he will learn not to growl - but if he continues to feel threatened, he will have no choice but to escalate to the next level of severity, which might be an air-snap or worse.

    There's a saying that punishing a dog for growling is like removing the batteries from a smoke alarm. You won't find out something's wrong until it's really wrong - and you won't like how you find it out.

    A shock collar for growling? Ditch your vet, that's obscene.
    Joy, Pilatelover and Karen like this.
  3. Karen

    Karen Registered Users

    May 24, 2012
    Hi Janet, I echo what snowbunny has said, and I would also add that it is probably causing your dog worry and stress when you swat with the newspaper. Positive reinforcement will get your further than admonishing him will.

    That is really awful that your vet recommended a shock collar, and especially so for a puppy who is growling. I am horrified. Change your vet, as soon as you can.
    Joy likes this.
  4. Naya

    Naya Registered Users

    Sep 14, 2013
    Bristol, UK
    I agree with both of the above. How does your dog know what behaviour you want if you aren’t showing him. By hitting the newspaper with your hand isn’t teaching him anything apart to be more afraid of you. I would definitely ditch your vet as suggesting a shock collar is awful - how will that help?
  5. SwampDonkey

    SwampDonkey Registered Users

    Jun 16, 2015
    leicestershire uk
    Dogs growl for many reasons and some are more vocal than others. He's only young and just learning about the world he may growl but you need instead if reacting think and look what's really going on. Forget dogs growl when they are being aggressive it's just a communication he maybe saying I don't like this I'm unsure I'm scared he's talking to you he's trusting you to listen. My youngest is a growly squeaky loud vocal lab he's unsure and not so confident so Ive just worked on this the only time he growls now is when we are playing and he makes that lovely deep rumbly pretend growl. I lovely that it's a sound that means a happy playful dog.

    You are very wise to discount a shock collar it would hurt you pup. He would end up being traumatised and even more frightened and unsure.
    A lot of vets aren't behaviourists if you are worried you could always find a good positive methods only behaviourist who could help you work through this.
    Karen likes this.
  6. Aitch

    Aitch Registered Users

    Sep 30, 2017
    Ditch your vet!

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