Puppy growling

Posted by dtismv
Feb 26, 2012
Hi again! Ruby, our new 4.5 month Manchester Terrier mix rescue is doing great -- showing lots of progress with her stranger anxiety and seems to be adjusting to family life and alpha dog training well. My latest question has to do with something that has happened twice now. She has now on 2 occasions she has given a soft low grumbly growl at my 9 year old. Both times Ruby was dozing in her crate and my daughter was trying to reach in and either get her to play or pet her. Ruby's body language was just very sleepy: I didn't detect aggressive body language. The kids have actually done this a number of times with no reaction from Ruby. She is also incredibly tolerant of having toys and food taken away. Still I've been working hard to teach the kids not to bother Ruby in her crate. On these 2 growl incidents I found myself saying "see kids, leave her alone in the crate," but I was unsure whether I should have corrected Ruby and if so how. What would you all suggest? Am I being overly neurotic?
Thank you!!!
Posted by KOPCaroline
Feb 28, 2012
Hey Dtis,

Glad things are continually improving! Go Ruby!

As far as the grumbling goes - as you hinted, its understandable for Ruby to be less than enthusiastic about your kids waking her up for no reason. And in all honesty, it probably isn't aggression, but just a "go away" or "please stop" kind of response.

If you're trying to make Ruby's crate her safe place, where she can go if she's not in the mood for company - then keep telling your kids to please leave her alone when she's in there. This sort of situation isn't something you want to punish the dog for, because she's in "her space".

If Ruby were to start growling at your kids outside of her crate - then correct Ruby, especially if its more aggressive than passive.

If I were you, though, from the sounds of it its not something you should worry too much over. So I'd just keep doing what you've been doing
Posted by dtismv
Feb 29, 2012
Thanks for the advice on that! Its felt a bit challenging for me to strike the right balance and make the right choices at the right time among positive reinforcement, ignoring, and correction. I'm probably getting a bit too uptight about me and the kids doing everything "right." (I should know by now from my parenting that there's no such thing -- in my experience anyway!)
I think Ruby is doing well. She's maybe challenging or testing boundaries a bit now as she continues to come out of her shell and feel more comfortable, but just trying to remain consistent and patient and keep up our alpha work without being a killjoy about it all. Its a bit of two steps forward, one step back with her too: for example one day she'll be really relaxed on the lead and the next she bites the lead and jumps on us, the next she'll act really fearful again and not want to take 2 steps away from the house. She seems fearful of trucks, and sometimes i wonder if she hears a truck or something else scary in the distance that I can't hear.
Anyway, she's a great girl and I'm sure will be a real blessing to our little family! I'll post a pic soon if I can figure out how.
Thanks again for your help: this has been a great resource!
Posted by KOPCaroline
Mar 2, 2012
Hey DTis,

If its any reassurance, from the sounds of it I think you're doing a wonderful job! Of course a new dog with kids is going to be challenging some days - but it seems like youre handling it really appropriately and just how I would advise someone to. So try not to stress too much over decisions youre making

Please keep us posted - hope the good times continue with Ruby!