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Discussion Starter #1
So one of my lovely pups, a 2 year old rottweiler, has started a weird habit. She growls when people walk in. Immediate sign that she is agitated or bothered right? Well the problem is that she is super happy while doing this. She stays in her down stay but her nub is going crazy, she whines, growls and gets super excited. It kills her to stay in a down stay when people come in. She holds her obedience though. When she is released she runs up to them still making rumbling noises and grabs a toy on her way. Once she is to them she is still growling shoving t he toy in their hands leaning against them licking them. She just wants to see them and she really wants them to throw her toy. Everyone who knows her says she is just talking and excited to see them. There is never teeth showing no hackles no tongue flicks and no crouching or tenseness. Her entire behavior says she is just super happy...except the growl. She constantly makes growling noises, during play, during sleep, when she wants attention (which never works she is ignored until she is polite). How do I stop this growling at people when she sees them? With the bad breed reputation, I worry she will do that and someone will flip out.

I have tried having her outside when company comes over then letting inside (still growls in happiness), Having guest completely ignore her, Leaving her in a down stay during the entire visit (she whines and cries and growls the entire time). I have also tried just kenneling her in the basement (which I do not like because I want her socialized).

I feel like there has to be a way to stop her from being vocal with people, but I do not want to change her either. She never barks only uses growls, yawns, shrieks, and whining to communicate. I do not know if I have ever heard her bark. Any ideas?
 

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It will be impossible for us to give sound advice without a video. Sometimes dogs grumble and make noises that are not growling and we misinterpret. I have (and had) dogs that are vocal when happy. I just leave them the way they are since they are happy dogs and see no reason to change their ways of expressing it as it's causing absolutely no harm.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I am aware it isn't a guarantee bad, I also know a happy tail doesn't mean good. I train service dogs for three years and have trained dogs for years before . I can easily read body language and hers is not stressed nor agitated. Her body language says she is happy. Her demeanor is happy. Everything says she is happy just excited and wants to play. What I need is a way to teach her to not growl, with out making her associate guests in a bad way. I could easily give her corrections, but she is a submissive dog. She would start to associate the negative correction with guests. I was looking for a way to teach her to be quiet and not growl at guests without changing her excitement and happiness into fear and avoidance.
 

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I guess if it bothers you that much you can teach the "speak" command then teach the "quiet" command when she's grumbling/growling. I haven't done it myself but have heard it workes quite well for many other people and their dogs.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Timber,

I am certain it is happy growling. I have heard her pissed off growl and her back off growl when we were in a situation that was not good. In that situation it is deep angry and teeth show. This is a softer happier playful sound. I just worry because of her breed that someone will take it the wrong way. Which is why I was looking for training solutions I hadn't thought of. My training instructor has passed away, and I have yet to find anyone to bounce ideas off on the occasion that I am stuck with something I do not know.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I could try that. I use that for the service dogs so I am not sure why it didn't cross my mind to use it for growling not just barking.
 

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I understand your concern, but we can't make everyone else happy all the time. Sometimes we can set those things on the backburner and let our dogs be themselves. :)
 

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Please understand that a wagging tail does not equal happiness, nor is growling something that is inherently bad. I wont "diagnose" her behavior, but that's my two cents.

http://www.dogforum.com/training-behavior-stickies/growling-86338/
While I agree with this, Cosmo does what's being described and picking up a toy in the way to shove into my hands is a pretty good of indicator of a playful gesture. Cosmo directs his energy into toys and makes rumble growling noises at me when I come home every day and I know he doesn't want to rip my face off he's just vocally excited to see me.
 

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But to op - I have had very little luck in getting him to stop doing this unfortunately. He used to flat out bark at me when I came home out of sheer excitement but I ignored him completely when he did that until he settled down. He now doesn't bark but his growling and rumbling and whining still happens. You could try to ignore until he's quiet though, just give no attention (no eye contact no vocal contact no gestures nothing) until he's quiet. When he is give him pets and love but if he growls again immediately walk away and ignore until he is calm.
 

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Having our dog hold a toy everytime someone came in was the only way to get him to be quiet! LOL. He has a playful growl as well, he uses it all the time when playing with his sister or me. Some dogs are just really vocal with their happiness!
 
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