Young dog growls and snarls when he doesn’t want to be approached or touched
8-month old Meeko, a mix of Staffordshire Bull Terrier, German Shepherd and Lurcher, is becoming increasingly bad-tempered when someone approaches him.
The other day he snapped at the thirteen-year-old daughter and caught her face. He was lying on the sofa with her sister and she was sitting on the floor in front of him.
The girl turned to touch him. He didn’t want to be touched. He snapped.
Meeko growls and snarls
He growls and snarls when someone gets too close when he is sleeping or resting.
He lies in doorways and growls and snarls when the father in particular approaches to go through.
He also growls and snarls when he has something ‘he shouldn’t have’.
It’s very tempting when a dog reacts aggressively with something to ‘stand no nonsense’, but this can make things much worse. If we become confrontational the dog is very likely to respond aggressively.
The dog has the teeth!
Meeko is a testosterone-filled teenager and prone, with the help of the family of three young daughters, to become over-excited. He then can’t control himself.
Meeko at other times is an affectionate and friendly boy.
Diffusing a situation that is gradually escalating.
If Meeko is occupying a doorway, they can call him away – and thank him with food.
If they need to walk past him when he’s resting, they could drop a couple of bits of kibble in passing.
Instead of thinking that all is warning signs are going to be ignored, resulting in growls and snarls to stop someone touching him, he will learn to welcome a passing person.
If they want to fuss him, they will invite him over to them. He then has a choice.
Give and Take
They will now keep his arousal levels down with less intensive ball play and no more mugging them as they sit on the sofa. He’s a big dog after all. After his snapping at the daughter, they have been keeping him out of the living room altogether for now.
As I write, one day has gone by without and growls and snarls.
There is a lot more to it than described here in the story. I have a ‘recipe’ for guarding behaviours that I can adapt to a particular client and dog that I am helping.
NB. For the sake of the story and for confidentiality also, this isn’t a complete ‘report’ and is always written with permission of the client. If you listen to ‘other people’ or find instructions on the internet or TV that are not tailored to your own dog it can do more harm than good. Click here for help