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I walk the dog , feed the dog and hang out with him most the time. She does let him out once before work. He does sleep in our bed and we let him sit on the couch we are on(but my fiance is having him sit on another couch while we are both home with the dog.)

Well sometimes when hes in our bed he gets a little clingy and crowds us. I can move him no problem but he will growl at her if shes tries.. She thinks its because our dog is thinking he is equal and she suggested we should take away him sleeping with us and have him sleep on the floor.

While I do enjoy him sleeping with us I don't disagree. But I also wonder if its other contributing factors.

I for one have tried to be stricter on walks. I keep him at heel if he strays and make sure he never leads. While I believe she lets him walk around non nonchalantly. Could this be contributing to him thinking he is equal to her?
 

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It's highly unlikely (even impossible) that your dog is growling because he thinks he's equal to you or your fiance. Dogs just don't think like that (Dominance in dogs). It's possible that he is generally uncomfortable with your fiance for some reason or that he's resource guarding you or the space.

Does he growl at her in other situations? How does he act when he is near you and she approaches? What is her training style and how does she interact with him?

Changing your walks is unlikely to change his behavior towards your fiance.

These threads should offer some suggestions:
Growling...
Resource Guarding, causes, prevention and modification
Calming Signals

And, I'm sure more knowledgeable folks will be along with more (and better) insight.
 

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It is not uncommon for dogs to growl when they're sleeping and someone tries to move them, especially if it's someone they're not comfortable w/. Your dog is probably just not particularly comfortable w/ your fiancee. Does he growl at her any other time?
It is NOT a dominance thing and has nothing to do w/ what position your fiancee allows your dog to take on walks, I can say that w/ almost 100% certainty. Dogs just don't operate that way.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
He has growled on rare occasion when touched him while they were both on the couch but that hasnt happened in a couple weeks now. Thanks for the replies and I will keep working with Ruger
 

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^ Like was said, he probably just doesn't feel all that comfortable w/ her for whatever reason. Try to have her build a better relationship w/ him by spending more time w/ him and working w/ him. It's also possible he is resource guarding you. There are some materials on resource guarding available for reading, such as the book Mine! by Jean Donaldson.
 

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^ Like was said, he probably just doesn't feel all that comfortable w/ her for whatever reason. Try to have her build a better relationship w/ him by spending more time w/ him and working w/ him. It's also possible he is resource guarding you. There are some materials on resource guarding available for reading, such as the book Mine! by Jean Donaldson.
I've started looking into resource guarding as mentioned above. One site gave some good pointers on it. This site also said a dog should never be on any furniture. Does this statement have merit?
 

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I've started looking into resource guarding as mentioned above. One site gave some good pointers on it. This site also said a dog should never be on any furniture. Does this statement have merit?
Can you share the site you found?

If the dog is resource guarding furniture, or space on the furniture, or people on the furniture, restricting access is reasonable. If the dog is resource guarding food or toys, restricting access is unlikely to help.

There's a sticky for RG: Resource Guarding, causes, prevention and modification
 

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I've started looking into resource guarding as mentioned above. One site gave some good pointers on it. This site also said a dog should never be on any furniture. Does this statement have merit?
No, that statement has no merit. Dogs who are kept off the furniture are just as likely to growl when they're uncomfortable as dogs who are allowed on the furniture.

The thing is that growling is a dog's second or third 'coping' mechanism to let us know that they're uncomfortable - and the next coping mechanism can be biting. Not saying your dog will bite, but that he growls is something to take seriously. It's important to address the dog's discomfort, rather than project human constructs such as 'dominance' or 'equality' onto a dog. Dogs are, by nature, designed to cooperate to the best of their ability, not try to take over. If you consider the historical context of dogs, "taking over" would not have been a winning strategy, since rather than welcoming dogs (or at least tolerating them), we would have exterminated them.

It does sound to me as if he's not 100% ok with your fiance. Have you had the dog longer than the fiance?

I think it would be a good idea to have a positive behaviorist assess the situation. It's hard to get a sense of what is going on with your pup and fiance over the internet. A behaviorist has specialized training and the experience to see things you may be missing. Even a single session can go a long way to identifying the issue and developing a plan to address it properly.
 

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I agree with Dia's recommendation about bringing in a behaviorist to observe what's actually happening. Something about your fiancee, or maybe just people in general, is making your dog uncomfortable. We can only guess from behind our computer screens.

Please look for one who practices positive reinforcement training. Reject any who parrots the Cesar Milan talk of dominance and pack leaders. That's going to make your situation worse.

Good luck and please keep us updated!
 

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I would highly recommend that you not let the dog on the bed, better yet not even in the bedroom. For some reason, beds and other sleeping areas are prime areas for dogs to practice human resource guarding. Couches can be similar. If there is any tension between your fiance and the dog, it is going to come out in these areas. Better to not push the situation.

Can you get her to feed the dog and give it some positive-reinforcement based training? The more positive interaction she has with the dog, the less distrust it will have of her. Playing with the dog is VERY helpful in building a relationship, even just a few minutes a day, or a few minutes whenever she first comes in the house. Her walking the dog is great, doesn't matter if she's not keeping a tight heel.

Respect the growl and don't take it personally, it's just a dog's way of saying "I am really uncomfortable right now, please back off".

If you can find a good positive-reinforcement based trainer, that would be very helpful. If only to explain these dynamics to your fiance, so she can develop a better relationship and not feel like the dog dislikes her.
 
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