We have a 5-month old cocker spaniel - we have had him for about a month and a half. Our last dog was also a cocker and lived to be 12. He was such a sweet dog.
This little guy is extremely smart but growls if you go to pet him, try to move him, and when he eats. He is mainly like this with me and seldom does it when my husband is around.
He also growls at my daughters.
I have tried feeding him, time outs, rewarding good behaviour, etc. Does this mean he is going to be an aggressive dog? Or is it common puppy behaviour?
Thanks for your time!
Reply from Pauline (Web Owner)
When a dog growls at you, he's trying to communicate with you. It's his way of letting you know that he's in pain, is frightened (fear aggression), is guarding his food or toys (resource guarding), or his growling may be territorial.
Growling is a warning, so it's important to take note of it.
It's a warning that a bite may follow. You may receive a couple of additional warnings before the bite, such as a snarl and/or a snap.
I don't recommend that you discipline your puppy for growling as this may only serve to cut out the warnings; he may go straight to bite mode. A simple loud and firm 'NO' should suffice just to let him know that it's not acceptable and then walk away from him so that the situation doesn't escalate.
In order to deal with growling, you first need to try to understand exactly why your dog is growling at you. Give yourself some time to consider the circumstances. What were you doing at the time? For example:
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