Dog growled at me

Posted by jeff-cilione
Dec 28, 2013
I've read several "growls" threads and I'm not understanding my situation. This is a bit long so as you can understand the situation.

Rico, our 13 month old chihuahua (mix?), was found tied to a post late at night about 2 months ago near our home. My husband (Gustavo) discovered him there and brought him home. Now he is ours. Yes, he was a real mess for a bit, but he slowly opened up. He took to Gustavo very quickly (the alpha who brought him into our pack I suppose) and warmed up to me a couple of days later. He's very happy and loves us both but Gustavo is human #1.

As Rico usually sleeps in bed till Gustavo gets up, I wake him up in the morning to go for his 1st walk. No problem; a lil petting and scratching, pick him up outta the bed (he sleeps with us) and out we go. Yesterday something new developed.

I got him up as usual and we went out. He piddled and wanted to go back in. We entered the garage and I decided to see if he needed to poop, so back out we went. We stood out side for a couple of minutes and nuthin' so back in we came. He went back to the bed with Gustavo and I started packing up to go to work.

A few minutes later I went into the bedroom to say goodby to Gustavo and give Rico a pet. As I bent over the bed Rico growled at me. I thought it was Gustavo snoring as I realized what he had done and bent down a lil further he growled again.

Now I know that the growl was his way if saying "I'm NOT going out again!!" He has never growled at us before (except in tug o' war which we are stopping immediately), and is not protective of Gustavo. I'm sure it was his thinkin I'm gonna drag him outside again.

I was of course very P.O'd at his growling and yelled no and gave him a slight whack on his butt (believe me, I DON'T hit dogs), took him off the bed and we proceeded to ignore him for the rest of the day - with me for the first hour and then the last couple of hours. Gustavo for the entire time. No sitting or laying with us. No talking to him and not even looking at him. He was fed and walked but no other contact was given for the rest of the day and part of the evening.

He was brought back into the pack later that evening by me, then Gustavo. He was then set to redoing all his commands for a while and not allowed to jump up with us unless invited. All seemed well. Until this morning.

I went to the bedroom, petted him and went to pick him up and he growled again.

What can we do? We're at a loss. Thanx in advance for your suggestions. -- Jeff
Posted by Preethi KOP
Dec 30, 2013
Hi Jeff,

Thank you for writing in with that descriptive message, it is much appreciated as it will make my job much easier.

Firstly congratulations on your new pet, it is great that Rico has found a happy home and has settled well into your pack.

You two seem to know what you are doing in terms of behaviour training and I suggest you continue the same. It does seem like he is competing with you for a higher status in the pack so alpha training would be the best way to show him that you are superior.

What you do immediately after an event of growling will have the most impact on Rico's behaviour so I suggest that you give him a deep, throaty "NO" and take him off the bed right away. I also suggest that you start feeding/walking him etc. Make sure that you make him show his obedience before you feed/walk him. Make sure he 'heels' when doing the latter. Also, make sure you walk in and out of doors with him following you, not the other way around.

It may take a few weeks to fully establish dominance but be consistent and persistent and you will surely see the results you desire.

Do keep us posted on your progress. All the best!

Kind regards,