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new rescue question

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Member Since
02/28/2014
 
 
Barked: Fri Feb 28, '14 6:18am PST 
I found a great sized 35lb, one year old mutt in a local shelter. I brought my existing dog to meet her before bringing her home, and all went well, they played together like they have known each other for years. I brought the dog home and all went well for a while. The dog took to me really quickly, I don't know if it had anything to do with me going to see her 4 times before bringing her home, but we bonded. So shortly after me leaving for work, she whined and cried for a bit and went back to my bedroom bed to lay done. My girlfriend went back there to check on her for a bit and went to pet her, the dog growled at her. This is the first sign of any sort of aggression. I know it was a long day for her, and she did not have any naps, so maybe she just did not want to be bothered.
Also, there is a battle for toys with the pup and my existing dog. I'm sure this in a normal routine, but for the new pup to take such a territorial stance so quickly is kind of alarming. At one point, the pup had a bone and growled when my other dog came near her. There were no teeth shown, it was just a short-lived growl.
Has anybody else come across this sort of behavior, or know anything about it? any insight or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
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Sanka- I'll Miss- You

The ground is my- newspaper.
 
 
Barked: Fri Feb 28, '14 7:54am PST 
The growling at the other dog is normal behavior. It's called resource guarding. If your other dog got the hint and moved away, it's nothing to be concerned about. It's a way for a dog to tell others that they're not comfortable with how close someone is to their prized possession. If the dog is being ignored by the other dog, it could escalate and you would need to step in. But at it's core, it's just communication.

The dog growling at your girlfriend is something more though. A growl, as pointed out before, is a warning. It's communication. But a dog shouldn't feel the need to growl at someone they know for petting them on a bed. But there are some things to question before jumping to conclusions.

How long have you had the dog? How long has the dog known your girlfriend? Was the dog sleeping at the time? Was there a bone on the bed? Is your bed the dog's primary spot for sleeping?

It could be the dog felt uncomfortable with the situation and growled. It could be another manifestation of resource guarding, only this time with humans and the bed was the resource instead of a bone. That can be an issue. It could be that the dog was startled. Or it could even be a medical issue. There are many variables to consider before having much of an idea as to what to do.

In the meantime, don't punish or correct the dog for growling. Like I said, growling is communication. You want that. And growling is usually a sign that the dog is unsure, uneasy or fearful of the situation at hand, and the last thing to do is heighten that feeling with punishment. Not saying you do this, but many people are mistaken about growling and will.
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