Jump to content
BC Boards

warning growl?

Recommended Posts

Hi Folks!


I've had my BC, Emmie, for a week now and she's been really great. She's about 19-20 months old and was adopted from a working situation, where she wasn't doing a good job herding the cattle.


Things have been going great, much better than I expected, really. She's very affectionate and well behaved, we still haven't heard her bark, and seems to be settling in very nicely. but she did something this morning that has me a little concerned.


First, I've been letting the dog sleep in the bed. That's probably a mistake, huh? Anyway, my daughter (age 10) woke up earlier than normal, and knowing that we we were still sleeping, she nudged open the door and was just standing in the open doorway, looking a bit like the girl from 'the grudge'. Emmie lifted her head and gave a deep growl. We told her no, but she did it again (my daughter reacted to the growl by basically just standing there), so me more firmly scolded her and she stopped. We had my daugher come in and lay down with us, and after that everything was fine, dog was acting her normal, affectionate self, but it made my daughte nervous.


I suspect Emmie was just unsure of who/what was coming in and was warning it. We were all asleep, so maybe she was a bit disoriented? It's possible she didn't recognize my daughter, as she has spent less time with the dog than my wife and I, and her sudden presence as we were all sleeping set off some kind of gaurding instinct. I also had a fan on, that would have been blowing away from us, so maybe she couldn't catch her scent. She hasn't shown any fear or unease around my 3 kids during normal waking hours, they've been petting her and interacting with her and there's been no concerns.


Anyway, I plan on handling this by not having Emmie sleep in our bed (she'll sleep in the crate next to our bed) and having my daughter socialize with her more. I also wonder if it was a mistake to scold Emmie for growling, as it wasn't really aggressive, and she was pretty obviously communicating some kind of unease vs. aggression.


Anyway, any thoughts?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd say it was probably a nervous/I'm scared growl. I'm new to the BC world but my old dogs would do that occasionally and once the person came up and said hey good boy etc he was perfectly fine but I never suggested to reach. I'd always tell them to let him smell them first. My new boy Rocky, I caught him growling today because my neighbor pulled in but it was just a millisecond kind of protective growl. The other day he was playing with his food dispenser toy and had his head buried in a corner of two couches where he couldn't see who was coming up on him. My wife came up behind him and tried to reach for the toy and he growled some. I told him no, and took it then gave it back a minute later. I told her to try to take it again but make sure she talks or pets him first and he was fine. He isn't food aggressive or toy aggressive, I'm thinking it was because she didn't make herself known and all he knew was someone was taking his toy.



I'd suggest having your daughter play a little more with her and talk to her and praise her a lot during that time to get her used to her being around whenever. Because even if she looks different or whatever the dog should still be able to tell her scent and know its someone nice.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Also people who stand and stare are kind of threatening in the dogs perspective...a dog who stands and stares at another dog is being deliberately forward and not usually in a nice way. Tell your daughter to relax her face (you guys practice in a mirror together) and smile and talk to Emme. Maybe show her a video on you tube about dog language and explain thats why Emme growled, and you guys practice smiling and squinting your eyes at Emme then tossing her a treat. Watch how quickly she responds...most dogs think its kind of a weird but fun game and now you have Emme getting positively reinforced for daughter looking at her and daughter able to see Emme relax.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Also, watch punishing her for growling...a dog who growls is communicating how she feels and if she gets reprimanded for growling that won't stop her from feeling uncomfortable, instead she will maybe stop growling and escalate straight into a snap or a bite if scared.


As part of daughter education , help her understand that a growl is Emme's way of showing shes unhappy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My rescue used to guard me in the bed and on the furnature. And she would not let my other dog through the bedroom door. When she did this, she lost her mommy/bedroom priviledges. The behavior (guarding people and things) died after her anxiety was addressed.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...