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Thread: Puppy growling when picked up or patted

  1. #1
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    Default Puppy growling when picked up or patted

    Hi everyone

    My partner and I have a 7.5 week old cavy x maltese pup.

    We have being doing research online to ensure he doesn't get separation anxiety and to make toilet training easy. So far so good with those things. He is responding well and is pretty well behaved.

    My partner has spent more time with him the last week than me as we have only had him one week and he's FIFO so he's been home during the day. I feed him in the morning and evening and my partner feeds him at lunch time.

    One thing we have noticed is he growls sometimes when patted or picked up. It's usually the latter. Not all the time and mostly with me, not my partner - but he has done it to him a couple of times as well.

    Last night he not only growled at me be also bit my chin. I'm not talking about the kind of biting they try to do to your hand or a toy.

    I read that puppy growling is normal and to let them do it but, this doesn't seem ok to me.
    Can anyone advise on how to deal with that?

    I thought a 'no' and then put him in the bathroom for a while (isolation from pack).

    But I don't think it's working or if that is the action I should be taking.

    I am trying to figure out why he growls sometimes and not others..
    I would understand if I might have hurt him by accident but it's not that.

    I really want to do the right thing and give him the training he needs.

    Can anyone suggest anything?

    Kind regards
    Hope

  2. #2

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    Hi 'hopeandandy' and to the forum ! There are heaps of really informative threads here – so have a good look around and I hope that you enjoy being a member here.

    So - first up - you need to take your pup to the vet for a total checkup - to make sure there is nothing physically wrong with him. You also need the vet to give you information and advice regarding worming and vaccinations for your pup.

    Pups growling and particularly biting their human owners - especially at this age is a worry. The only time I have ever encountered a pup growling at me was when a pup of mine had been in severe pain – never bit me – but growled - softly.

    Most pups don't like their heads patted - unless you train them to accept it - and if you are not careful in picking them up - then yes you could be hurting him.

    I notice that your pup is only 7.5 weeks and you have had him for ~ 1 week. I am not going to ask you where you got him from ..... or heaps of other questions ! But I just wonder how much socialisation he has had with people.

    So – vet visit first - and Good Luck !

  3. #3
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    He was very tiny when you got him and has missed important time feeling safe and warm tumbling around with his litter mates learning some manners.
    He really needs a vet check, he is a baby and you need some good advice, he should still be with his Mother.

  4. #4
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    Though he should still be with his mother, he's not, and you need to nip this in the bud before it progresses. Puppy growling kind of can seem cute when they're small, but even at 12 weeks the cuteness starts to wear thin. If it's not physical, then he needs some training - trouble with small breeds, they're always aggro.

  5. #5
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    7.5 week old cavy x maltese pup.

    Growling and biting when you pick him up. Probably for some reason he doesn't want you picking him up and putting him back down gets him what he wants - so he will do it more...

    I like what Riley said about getting the "some reason" checked out - because I don't think it's normal for a puppy to be aggressive to the people that feed them.

    But there are a whole lot of things that people who aren't very familiar with dog body language do that upset them. Or take a while for a puppy to get used to.

    Especially one that has been taken from its own litter a tad before it's done figuring out appropriate social skills - at least with the other litter mates. This behaviour also suggests this puppy has not spent enough time being handled (gently) by humans.

    ANKC and RSPCA recommend a puppy doesn't leave its litter until it is at least 8 weeks old. Even a few weeks older for a small breed puppy. And it gets as much social time with humans while it is a puppy before and after it is homed/sold.

    Attending a puppy pre school supervised by a vet - ASAP will help you understand what your puppy needs and help sort out the disadvantages of a taking home a puppy too young and not well socialised.

    So if it was my puppy, I would not be holding its face near my face. It would have zero opportunity to bite my face in play or anger. I'd maintain this until the puppy has good "bite inhibition".

    Bite inhibition - or how to bite gently - is something a puppy learns with its other litter mates and its mum. Puppies do use their mouths a lot like we use hands, but they need to learn to be gentle.

    Patting and picking up - are things I'd do slowly and as part of play. I'd build up to surprise grabs - by starting with gentle and slow movement and gradually increasing speed... and incorporate that in fun play with the dog. There are times when a surprise grab is going to happen but make sure you grab the puppy in a way that is safe and secure for the puppy and minimises the opportunity for it to bite you.

    Ideally you pick up with good support under the puppy's chest and bum. Dangling a puppy from its arm pits is not a good way to go. Neither is a hand under its stomach - especially if it has just eaten or had a drink. And for some reason - puppy's mum gets away with the back of the neck grab - but I never have.

    Dogs - as a rule aren't fond of pats on the head, or being hugged. If you want to do this, you have to build up to it being acceptable to the puppy - otherwise they find it quite threatening and react accordingly (fight, flight, freeze, wet themselves). start with slow hand movements and lots of treats and praise for doing what you want.

    Treats - should be included as part of the dog's regular food intake - most of my dog's treats are her dinner kibble, with some yummier stuff for best performance of task or learning new tasks. Her dinner portion is adjusted according to how much treat/training time we've been doing on any given day.

    Try to remember he is a puppy, he hasn't been home with you for very long, he has a lot of adjustments to make in his new life. He has to learn a whole new language - yours. Imagine you've been kidnapped and put in a house with a whole lot of people who are a lot bigger than you, and don't speak your language, and frequently swat you on your head, or chuck you over their shoulder and carry you round. Try to imagine how you'd like your kidnappers to be treating you while you figure out what is and isn't ok in that new place and deal with missing your family.

    I think for now, you should do your best to limit your puppy's opportunity to make bad choices (like biting you on the face) and make plenty of opportunites for puppy to do the right things around you. This will mean being super vigilant about toilet training, and lots of play and treats...

    Then hopefully "pack time" will become important to the puppy and you can incorporate that into the puppy good behaviour reward system.

    My favourite site for all round Puppy Training is Ian Dunbar's Dog Star Daily. They've recently required people to set up a login id to use the site but I think it is well worth for the info you get.
    Dog Star Daily
    Last edited by Hyacinth; 07-07-2013 at 09:48 PM.

  6. #6
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    Oh I actually did a big long reply to this and then I had to log in again and I lost what I'd wrote! sook sook!
    Thanks for your replies, will respond (again) tonight hopefully! LOL

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by hopeandandy View Post
    Oh I actually did a big long reply to this and then I had to log in again and I lost what I'd wrote! sook sook!
    Thanks for your replies, will respond (again) tonight hopefully! LOL
    'hopeandandy' - sometimes if you get logged out or leave - when you came back in - go advanced as if you are doing a post - and sometimes there is a message on the LH bottom of the box - saying restore.......

    Maybe give that a go - or do what I do and do it in Word and do a cut and paste

    Hope everything is going OK with the pup and looking forward to an update !

  8. #8
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    I sometimes type my long posts into notepad or some other text editor and cut and paste them in. I've got a newer gutsier computer now which copes better with typing directly but sometimes, if it's going to be long...

    It also makes it easier to see what I'm responding to - because I can scroll up and down the comments and type my answers in the text doc next to my browser window.

    Do love an update. Are you getting anywhere?

  9. #9
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    Hopefully things are going well. It is not really normal behaviour for a puppy and I would be on to it straight away. Yes at 7.5 weeks he should be with his litter but I have had a few pups many years ago at 6 weeks old and they most definitely did not do this sort of thing. When choosing my working pups I like to pick them up as pups and see what they do. I like a calm pup that will make eye contact. I would most certainly reject anything that snapped or growled at me. However you have this little one so you need to start working through this issue.

    Did you view and spend time with his parents? this can sometimes give clues. I always do a lot of gentle handling with my pups early, paws and all so it reduces the chances of problems later. I definitely do not tolerate aggressive behaviour even at a very young age.

  10. #10
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    When you log in tick remember me. I then save link to bookmarks and come in that way all the time and never have to log in again till I run CC cleaner and it deletes my cookies, lol.

    Any posts made under the name of Di_dee1 one can be used by anyone as I do not give a rats.

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