Border Collie growling....?

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Barked: Fri May 22, '09 1:04pm PST 
While this is not my Border Collie, I'm concerned. My brother and his family have one since it was a puppy. There BC, Hawk, growls at his son and daughter. In all fairness, his son has pulled the dogs whiskers out a few times and had otherwise teased the dog. His son has been punished for it a few times and states he does not do it anymore. However, his daughter is really sweet to Hawk. I dog sit and take care of Hawk a lot and the dog has never growled at me.

My question is this, I know Rotties "grumble" when they are happy. Do BC's "grumble" as well?

Recently Hawk would start to nudge the kids, as if he wanted to be pet and then he would growl.

Thanks for any help/suggestions!!

Barked: Sat May 23, '09 6:16am PST 
Border Collies do play growl, but from what you've said it doesn't sound like this is what this dog is doing and I can't really say I blame him, I'm surprised he hasn't bitten this boy already. As to the little girl, the dog probably just associates small people as tormentors even though the little girl hasn't done anything wrong.

Christmas Eve- Baby
Barked: Sun May 24, '09 8:19am PST 
I also agree that what Jake has described is not play growling. How old is Hawk and how old are the children in the home? Growling is most normally seen as the verbal warning, 1st step that he/she is uncomfortable with the situation. I would 1st make sure that the little boy stops hurting Hawk and understands completely why, and then work to mend the relationships so that Hawk associates little people with only good things.

I would suggest that a behaviorist or good trainer (one that has behavior background & experience) observe Hawk's behavior and body language. You want to make sure that his growling behavior does not escalate or intensify (or that he is punished for growling and learns to skip the warning), but also that his growling does not always produce the results he wants.


Let's go! Let's- drive!- Yeah!!!!!!
Barked: Mon Jun 22, '09 8:24pm PST 
I also agree that this growling is a warning. Also, the nudging is not an invitation for affection. BC's are bossy by nature and Hawk seems to be trying to control his flock. This is not a bad thing in itself, but someone needs to become the shepherd in this family.
Understanding a dogs nature is always the first step to a happy home environment.

Christmas Eve- Baby
Barked: Tue Jun 23, '09 5:24am PST 
Panda, you are so right. There are many canine behavior signals, body language & actions that can be misinterpreted by humans. Jackson doesn't like his nails trimmed on his front feet. While observing, I had a groomer tell me "he's trying to lick & give me kisses". Nope -- he was politely warning the groomer that he didn't like what was happening and things just might get ugly if she didn't wise up.