Dog Growls at Everyone except Me!

Posted by TxGrams
Dec 6, 2008
My husband and I adopted a dog after the owner, a family member, became ill and then passed away. The owner was an elderly woman with hearing problems that spoke very roughly and loudly. Georgia, a 5-yr-old lab mix was not allowed much freedom in the mobile home where she lived. Most of her time was spent in a crate! When we adopted her, Georgia was not use to being around other dogs or people. She immediately became attached to me. Now, after 2+ years of living with my husband and I, Georgia still growls at everyone except me! She growls at my husband when he enters a room I am in. She growls at every visitor and dog that enter our home. She growls at my grandchildren, work men, my mother, my adult children, my daughter's dogs that Georgia would visit often, etc. However, she doesn't growl at anyone if I am not home or in the house! She is very sweet and wants everyone to pet her! I tell her "No," "Stop," "Bad Dog," when she growls, but nothing stops her growling. She will growl at my husband/visitors and then go over to them and want them to pet her! We don't know what else to try. I tried using an ultra sonic device for dogs, but I can't always have it with me when she growls. She doesn't like the device and will quit growling when she sees me pick it up, but she will growl within minutes after using the device if someone else comes around her or me. What can I do to stop this growling? She has never snapped at anyone, and does let some people pet her after growling at them. She is not vicious, just not very good at communicating.
Posted by MaxHollyNoah
Dec 20, 2008
Hi TxGrams,

You and your husband did a great thing to adopt Georgia. It sounds as though she didn't have much of socialization when she lived with her former owner. Although she didn't have much of freedom, I am sure she was very much attached to her former owner. It is sad that she passed away...

And now, Georgia has found someone she loves so much - YOU! You are the one she wants to protect from anybody who gets close to you. I think her growling is a sign of resource guarding.

I would suggest this: When she starts growling, just take off. I would not suggest this if your dog was aggressive and if there was a concern that she might snap, nip, or bite people or dogs but you said she is not vicious. When someone, even your husband, gets closer to you and Georgia, and she starts growling, just leave her and move to another room. She would stop growling at your husband and start following you, because her resource to guard has disappeared so there is nothing for her to protect. When she follows you to another room, YOU will go back to your husband while she follows. This makes the situation a little different. YOU are the one who gets close to your husband, so Georgia cannot guard YOU, her precious resource in this situation.

Repeat this every time she growls. Pretty soon, she will stop growling, I hope. Good luck