My dog is very "growly" and "snappy"! :(

Go Back   Dog Forum > Keeping and Caring for Dogs > Dog Training and Behavior

My dog is very "growly" and "snappy"! :(

This is a discussion on My dog is very "growly" and "snappy"! :( within the Dog Training and Behavior forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; My dog Spunky is a westie and is 6 years old. He has always been a mamas boy and has been with me since he ...

User Tag List

 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 11-15-2011, 11:57 PM
  #1
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Tucson AZ
Posts: 1
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
My dog is very "growly" and "snappy"! :(

My dog Spunky is a westie and is 6 years old. He has always been a mamas boy and has been with me since he was 4 months old. He is my sweet little angel boo and is my everything. I do have one problem with him and I dont know what to do about it. He is SO snappy at bed time mostly, and is even food agressive now...with me and with my 1 year old jack russel. Spunky started being snappy at bed time when my mom met my step dad back in 2006. When my mom and step dad would go to bed, Spunky would sleep with them and started to nip at my step dads toes moving under the covers....ever since then, if I even take a deep breath or BARELY move my toe in my bed Spunky will literally FLIP out. He snaps, he barks, he snaps its VERY annoying and he does it so much....If I say Spunky NO! Go to your bed bed! (His bed on the floor) He snaps and barks and snarls some more and goes to his bed.....he gets so angry...like just now, he was laying by my desk chair....I moved my desk chair in a swivel just BARELY and he JUST walked away and is now as we speak growling....he is so paranoid and I have no idea why......I love him I never hit my dog, or make him feel bad he is like my child I love him so much. And now he even gets food agressive with me and with Rusty my little 1 year old Jack Russel. I dont know what to do about this I really need some help or advice so all 3 of us can sleep well and move around our bed and house!.....
SpunkyRusty44 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-16-2011, 01:18 AM
  #2
Member
 
hypers987's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: California
Posts: 44
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Does he work for anything he has? ie. food, attention, the privilege to lay on the bed, treats, toys. Or does he always get his way?
hypers987 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-16-2011, 03:17 AM
  #3
Junior Member
 
Sherri's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Oahu, Hawaii
Posts: 24
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
It sounds like Spunky may have been accidentally kicked by step-dad and now he is terrified of movement when he sleeps. Like now he was sleeping and you moved your chair and it startled him awake. He freaked out because he is scared.

Dogs are most likely to bite when they are scared, sleeping, or around food. You have 2 of the 3 things when in bed. If he is crate trained, put him in the crate at night so he can sleep peaceably

As far as other times, you will need to ignore the startled snapping as yelling will only make him hide is fear. What you need to do is have treats ready at your desk. When you move your chair and Spunky does not growl or snap. Give him food. Again, this will desensitize him and make him associate movement with good things instead of bad.
Sherri is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-16-2011, 08:04 AM
  #4
Senior Member
 
sheep's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 471
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Food resource guard can be a dangerous thing, coz one day an owner might need to take something away from a dog that can be very dangerous to the dog, and an owner must be able to do it. That doesn't mean we should resort to confrontation in this kind of situation, as it only worsens the situation and make his instinct to resource guard away from you even worse.
It's better to get him used to you handling his resources bit by bit, so that he gets used to it. I agree with having him work for anything, I make my pup sit and wait to get his food. Try to take stuffs away from him by trading something he likes more (but don't do it too often), so that he will get used to giving you stuffs since it's good for him. Also, teach him "drop it"/"leave it" if he doesn't know those commands, or train him again with treats and encouragement to reinforce him feeling good about you commanding him to drop/leave stuffs.
This training has to be gradual, and personally I believe that it's very important that an owner can handle a dog that won't react aggressively, coz of the reason I've mentioned.

But this sudden change of behaviour must have a reason, maybe the presence of your step father is stressing him somehow. Also, is your other dog new?
Sometimes, dogs can get frustrated too if they don't have enough exercise/stimulation, but I guess that this shouldn't be the case.

In any ways, I'm not a professional trainer nor have much experience with dogs yet, but I feel that ignoring/tolerating any kind of aggressiveness from a dog can make it escalate as well, since it can be in some cases rewarding (i.e. when an owner leaves a bed when he comes all snappy and growling). Again, confrontation is a bad idea as it also escalates, so it's better to correct a behaviour with as less confrontation as possible. Maybe if he doesn't listen to "no" and doesn't give up even if you distance yourself, you can put him into time-out through a leash (take away his freedom and interaction with family and not allowing him to have any kind of fun and being ignored).

My pup has been kinda like this too, he would sometimes bite and growl when he gets frustrated (for us not letting him destroy certain things) or suddenly wants to play hard. He sometimes goes into our bed and starts to madly bite us, without knowing to back off or stop! But I feel that this is coz he can't have walks yet so that he has excess energy that leads to frustration, I'm currently hoping that his behaviour will be better after.
sheep is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-16-2011, 08:05 AM
  #5
Senior Member
 
Tess's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: New Hampshire
Posts: 13,236
Mentioned: 54 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
A couple of suggestions.
First, your dog may be displaying Resource Guarding behaviors. Read this sticky.

Second, I'd recommend you get your dog's thyroid hormone level checked. Hypothyroidism is quite common and can aggravate problematic behaviors.

Third, I think it makes sense for your dog to have a different sleeping arrangement. If you want him on his own bed at night, one thing you can do is tether him to your dresser by his bed, with a leash. Make this a pleasant night time ritual of "tucking him in" with a little treat and some love.

Fourth. I think the source of the bed-time snapping is not going to be fixed with punishments or reprimands. What's going on for him is not happening in the "thinking" part of his brain. It is more reflex. I suspect the punishments are only making him more tense and stressed, and therefore more prone to this reflex-aggression.

Fifth. Try getting your dog out for more exercise each day. This can blow off stress. Stress can be a factor in these sorts of behaviors. Get him out for a minimum of 30 minutes of vigorous exercise per day. An hour is better. I don't mean a little walk on a leash around the block. He needs to RUN... jog with you, run alongside your bike, go to the dog park (if that is safe) or go hiking off-leash. A terrier is an active breed with a lot of prey drive that must be released regularly.

Sixth. You can go on a program of regular Positive Reinforcement training. Do just a couple of very short sessions a day, that's like 5 minutes. This will greatly improve your relationship with him, his trust, his obedience and his general attitude. Go here for how to train this way. Its easy and fun!
kikopup's Channel - YouTube

Last edited by Tess; 11-16-2011 at 08:07 AM.
Tess is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 11-16-2011, 08:10 AM
  #6
Senior Member
 
Tess's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: New Hampshire
Posts: 13,236
Mentioned: 54 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sherri View Post
It sounds like Spunky may have been accidentally kicked by step-dad and now he is terrified of movement when he sleeps. Like now he was sleeping and you moved your chair and it startled him awake. He freaked out because he is scared.

Dogs are most likely to bite when they are scared, sleeping, or around food. You have 2 of the 3 things when in bed. If he is crate trained, put him in the crate at night so he can sleep peaceably

As far as other times, you will need to ignore the startled snapping as yelling will only make him hide is fear. What you need to do is have treats ready at your desk. When you move your chair and Spunky does not growl or snap. Give him food. Again, this will desensitize him and make him associate movement with good things instead of bad.
This is good advice. Although I would add that you should give treats also when he is aggressive. I know that sounds counter-intuitive, but the goal here is to change his EMOTIONS from "fearful-defensive" to "oh, this is good!" Once you change the emotions, the problematic behavior stops.

Watch this..

Tess is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 11-16-2011, 09:44 AM
  #7
Junior Member
 
brenna's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan
Posts: 27
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
I am in the midst of overcoming a behavioral issue with my pooch and exercise was suggested/recommended. I've given her a huge increase in exercise since Monday 11/14 and I'm already seeing the results with that. Exercise will help to relieve a good amount of stress your westie may be feeling, and in turn, help with the stress he's feeling at night.

Also, with the food aggression...our dog is not allowed to eat her food until we say, "ok eat your food". There have been instances where I forgot to tell her and she won't touch her food. This helps her to understand that it's my food and I'm letting her have it. This way when I go to put my hand in her bowl or take something away from her that she shouldn't have she knows that she has to give it up and is quite happy to do so.

We began training her for that by having her sit a few feet away from where her food goes and setting her bowl down. If she got up we'd pick up the bowl and tell her to sit. Only after we set the food down and she stayed seated looking at me would we say, "ok eat your food" and then she could get up to go eat. It works like a charm!
brenna is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-16-2011, 10:05 AM
  #8
Senior Member
 
Tess's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: New Hampshire
Posts: 13,236
Mentioned: 54 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
You know what also works REALLY well for food aggression? HAND FEED your dog all his meals for a while.

He will come to associate you as a source of food, not a threat to his food bowl.

I promise, it works!
Tess is online now   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
agression, behavior, food agression, protective, stress

Thread Tools
Display Modes


Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 06:32 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.7.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
SEO by vBSEO 3.6.0 PL2
User Alert System provided by Advanced User Tagging v3.1.0 (Lite) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2014 DragonByte Technologies Ltd. Runs best on HiVelocity Hosting.