My dog growls only when I walk her.

I have a 5yr old golden retriever/border collie mix. She is a very sweet dog (just adopted her a month ago) and in general has a good temperament...except when I walk her, she growls at other dogs. She doesn't do it when my husband or the dog walkers (male & female) walk her, only with me. Right now we are avoiding other dogs, crossing the street, turning, and I am trying to desensitize her to them. If they do try to sniff her she will nicely at first, then growls. So, I am only letting her sniff for 3 seconds then we keep moving. Any tips on why she only growls with me? It's gotten progressively worse. I just started the desensitizing last night.

Asked by Member 1152493 on Feb 20th 2013 Tagged aggression, growling, walks in Behavior & Training
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It's a protective posture. Give her a pat on the head, for trying to take good care of YOU. She senses that you may feel somewhat un-safe out there, and is putting herself in what she thinks is "harm's way" for you. I'm envious !!!

Becca answered on 2/20/13. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Oh gosh please do not pat her on the head and thank her for growling at other dogs. That will just reinforce the behaviour.
What happens when you and your husband walk her at the same time? Does she still growl?
I would say continue with what you're doing. Don't be nervous, don't worry that she may growl. If she growls distract her with something. A treat, a squeaky toy, whatever. Then do some tricks. Sit, shake a paw, lie down. Distract her until you have her full attention then reward.
If you walk past another dog and they sniff (or don't) and she doesn't growl I would then pat her on the head and reward and say thank you. Let her know not growling is the way to be.

Chase answered on 2/20/13. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


Please do not follow Becca's advice, it is just not a good idea... Instead follow Chase's advice and keep desensitizing her. Make sure you do not punish her for growling but don't reward her for it either.

Obi answered on 2/20/13. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer