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Spinoff: how do you think dogs should communicate

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  • #41
    Originally posted by threedogpack View Post
    perhaps to attract attention for a game of some sort? Have you never seen a dog with their forequarters low and the hindquarters high, growl and shake a toy to entice another dog into a game of chase?

    edit: my dogs have done this with me as well. They are growling AT me to get me to play.
    I consider that vocalizing more so than growling, also body language comes into play a lot as well.
    I LOVE my Chickens!


    • #42
      I think of a growl as a dog's way of saying, "Hey." Just like with a human, it means different things depending on the context, tone of voice, and body language.

      Hey bro, where you been buddy.
      Hey baby, ooh, ain't you a sweet thang.
      Hey douche, get outta my chair.
      Hey kid, knock it off.
      Hey, nyah nyah, look what I got and you don't.
      Hey, who the hell are you and why are you in my house?

      The only growl I will normally discipline my dogs for is one triggered by resource guarding. My guys don't normally have issues with guarding stuff. They are pretty secure emotionally. They don't have weird psychological needs to have and hoard things. There was one time someone gave the pair a single smoked bone, and they got snippy with it. Clearly they considered a smoked bone a very high value item, and there was only one bone. Bone went bye bye; end of problem. One of them will also get snippy with other dogs if he thinks they are attracting my attention. Nope, he doesn't get to dictate my social interactions. I'll tell him no, push him away, and put myself between him and the other dog. When he corrects his attitude I'll then give him lots of attention.


      • #43
        "hypothetical situation: Dog has an illegal item (childs sock), you approach dog to take the sock away, dog growls at you when you are about 5 feet away. As you get closer, dog growls louder, and as you approach the 1-2 feet point, he tucks the sock back against his chest and hovers over the sock.

        how do you handle that, do you take the sock because you can and what do you think this teaches the dog?

        What is long term learning from this?

        Do you discipline the dog for growling here? If so, what do you think the dog learns from being disciplined? "

        My dogs in particular? The older dog, I'd likely go get a treat and swap her. No reprimanding, lots of work later on her "drop it" and "leave it" cues, with rewards. Given that she's never touched anything that wasn't hers, it's hard to say.

        My younger dog has never resource guarded, but is big on grabbing something and playing keep away. He's had a great "gimme", so 90% of the time he can drop whatever he's got when given the command. The rest of the time, his reliable "down" gets him staying still so I can go get what is in his mouth. If it turned into actual guarding - same deal. Lots of work on drop it, rewarded with food or a toy, which he considers rewarding even if the older dog doesn't.
        "Well, my days of not taking you seriously are certainly coming to a middle." ~Mal, Firefly


        • Original Poster

          for the most part, the answers to my questions here have made me issue a huge sigh of relief.

          Few here would punish a dog for having an illegal item.

          Taking things away from a dog who is already worried about you taking their things, seems like a perfect recipe for teaching a dog to distrust people ... and increasing the chance of becoming a r/g.

          again, I thank each of you for your responses, and the civility that has attended them.


          • #45
            Others have articulated what I was trying to say much more succinctly. As the owner of a giant breed confirmed born-n-bred resource guarder, I also really appreciate the thoughtful, knowledgable responses. At 9 weeks, this dog would go from zero to batsh*t in the blink of an eye over a high value item. Seven years later, what qualifies as "high value" has changed dramatically, and we do not go batshi*t any longer. He trusts me, I trust him, and we communicate. I am grateful that I had enough experience to handle him from the get go but have often shuddered at the thought of what would have happened to him if he'd ended up somewhere where he was punished or handled roughly for those early episodes. I have also thought that were a situation to arise where I simply could not keep him, I would likely have him euthed- he's just capable of doing too much damage under the wrong circumstances. This thread gives me hope for dog owners and dogs nationwide.

            No worries, the dog isn't going anywhere. Thanks for the thoughtful post & follow ups, three dog, and thoughtful replies everyone else!
            bar.ka think u al.l. susp.ect
            free bar.ka and tidy rabbit