sudden grumbling to my mothers dog over food

Posted by Paula-D
Aug 3, 2011
This is Paula, I have a chocolate lab Louie who just turned 2 and I have never had any problems with him with food aggression. I can take anything out of his mouth including any bones. He has eaten with other dogs, I give him cookies around other dogs etc. A couple of weeks ago we were at my parents for a cookout and eating on the deck and it had been a long day and he hadn't eaten yet and I handed him a little piece of chicken a couple times (I know I prob shouldnt have done that and don't often) and my mothers little pekingese walked over and Louie growled and went after him. I couldn't believe it once he had never done that. I grabbed him by the collar, thankfully he didn't bite him it was just loud. So I made him go lay out in the yard while we finished and he is trained so he stayed there. A week later we had a cookout. While we ate I again made him lay in yard while we ate and everything was fine. Yesterday we were by the pool all day dogs playing together all day. We were sitting on deck before left not eating and I gave Louie a cookie. 5 min later my mothers dog came over Louie was just laying there and he grumbled at him. He just left nothing happened. He has never done this anywhere else should I be concerned and what should I do. Sorry so long but wanted to explain it all
Posted by MaxHollyNoah
Aug 5, 2011
Hi Paula,

In my opinion, growling or grumbling is just a way of dog communication telling "stay away" "leave me alone" or "this belongs to me so don't take it" etc. and I am not so concerned, unless it is too aggressive by showing his teeth, or getting his hackles up. Especially between Louie and your parents' dog since they play alot and they are good buddies.

You can just correct his behavior by saying "Uh-un" or "be nice, Louie", etc.

Also, I as read your post carefully, both times were after playing a lot so Louie was either hungry or tired. You might want to keep a journal of these behaviors so that you will see some patterns. You can try to avoid those situations in the future.

Good luck
Posted by KOPCaroline
Aug 6, 2011
Hey Paula,

I agree with MHN, dogs just grumble at each other, especially where their own things are concerned, and they are tired or hungry or even just excited.

My dog, Jackson, grew up with my best friends dog Daxter - they are the best of friends and pretty much inseperable. But, when we play with Daxters frisbee at the river, and Jackson gets ahead of Daxter when going for it, Dax raises such a fuss! Growling and barking and generally sounding unfriendly! But it doesnt mean anything, its just grumbling about "thats mine".

I wouldnt be worried over it, especially (as MHN says) if theres no other signs of outward aggression like snapping or lunging. Just give a "no" command and ignore it - if you pay a lot of attention to this behaviour then you're kind of reinforcing it, so just be blunt about it with your dog

Let us know if it doesnt sort out - good luck!
Posted by Paula-D
Aug 6, 2011
Thanks guys that makes me feel better and I thought so but wasn't sure. Also he goes to daycare once a week where he was trained and I asked his trainer about it and she told me that when he is laying down he doesn't like dogs in his space and he has done that there but has never followed through on anything so she says its ok. It may be more a matter of the space than an object.