Puppy growling/nipping

Posted by dvadallas
Jan 8, 2008
We have a new 8 week puppy (Aussie mix), and we have been using the techniques from the Sit/Stay series. Our family all eat before she does, and often "out of her bowl" before her, and we do a number of the other exercises as well (ignoring her when we come home for a while, etc.). For the most part she is doing really well - she generally behaves calmly and non-dominant. However, she tends to growl and snap when we pick her up or move her from a place where she is comfortable, like under the bed. When she does, we say "no" and put her in her crate for a few minutes, but it doesn't seem to be helping. She is especially bad with the kids (5 and 9), but even does it with me and my husband sometimes. She does not display other alpha behavior (that I am aware of) - we've been very careful. She comes when called, does not ignore us, follows direction, etc. This growling is the only issue, but it really concerns me, since she will snap as well. Any thoughts?
Posted by Todd
Jan 8, 2008
Hi there
Thank you for your questions.

The alpha training is very important to any dog and it is great that she knows her place in the household. Remember everyone in the house is the alpha including the children (as long as you are happy that they understand what it means).

I always mention this as it can cause problems but never tell your children off around the dog as because you are a 'pack' the dog can get very confused and then think they are dominant over the child.

Make sure that you are also practicing moving her away from lying in hallways etc when you pass as this also asserts your position. Is she allowed on beds or couches? If she is i would stop her being able to do this as it can lead to a whole heap of problems.

Whenever she does misbehave you must reprimand her as you have been doing. I like to use a loud GRRRR or AHHHHH to get their attention. If you can try and use a water pistol or a blanket to help, this can often diffuse the situation quite well.
Instead of pulling her out from somewhere comfortable try and make her come from there. That way it is on her terms. After a while of this you may want to try lifting her again. Always check she is awake before touching her as frightened dogs can react violently.

If she is still doing this you may want to consider blocking off areas where she has acted in this way. Either by shutting the door or by putting boards around the bottom of the bed's etc. If she can't get to these areas then the problem may very well go away.

If you are moving her make sure you do it slowly. Pet her first then maybe try and move her, she may be more inclined to cooperate this way.

Please be careful as i don't want anyone to get hurt. Be patient and with time i am sure she will get over this little hiccup. Good luck and please let me know how things go.

Kind Regards
Todd Field