growling and sometimes snipping when hes tired.

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BarnBoxer

Boxer Pal
Ok so I have a 10-11 month old boxer boy...he was neutered in jan. very sweet, loves me, and listens very well to commands and is pretty well trained. He gets tons! and tons! of exercise every single day. and he has a buddy that he plays and westles with every single day. Now I do smack him if he doesnt listen or is bad I will admit that...i dont like punch or kick him or anything i just give him a smack.
the problem...i just noticed this a month ago, but if hes tired and i come over and try to kiss him near his head. sometimes he will start growling at me and if i keep doing it he will snap a little at me....
ok now this is not exceptable to me. i have younger brothers and sisters and if he bites them he gets kicked to the curb.
now does anybody have any suggestions.
should i call a doggy behavoirist?
or what are your guys opinions??
 

Cami

Boxer Insane
Now I do smack him if he doesnt listen or is bad I will admit that.

I am going to be completely honest but please know I am not trying to be rude. It is hard to sometimes convey with words true sentiment so keep in mind I am trying to help.

Hitting your dog (or smacking as it were) is unacceptable. Period. There could be instances where a gut reaction kicks in and hitting is done in the moment without any thought to it happening (like if you were being attacked or you were trying to spare someone else). I have hit my girl on the rump exactly TWICE when I was being hurt by her. IT WAS WRONG, I have felt extreme guilt every since and I have swore to her that I will never strike her again. Self preservation kicked in and I was trying to protect myself. Looking back and having some clarity now I know I could have handled myself better and have chosen to change my behavior. In my situation she was playing much too forcefully and biting me (puppy-mode). She meant no harm and it was totally my fault. We had not done our due diligence in correcting her appropriately and she was still in training mode. Truth be told me getting her on the bottom had no affect, it didn't faze nor hurt her and luckily I was able to sway her desire to continue nipping at me by leaving the vicinity.
To knowingly hit a dog for "not listening" or "being bad" is an excuse that comes from being lazy....plain and simple. Again not trying to be rude to you or dis how you have reacted up to this point with your dog. I refer to lazy as in you can do many things to not only change your reaction to these instances but you can also put in the time and effort to train these behaviors out of your pup. You need to have far more patience than you thought possible since you are dealing with a pup who doesn't speak human language and doesn't know what is expected of him unless he is taught.

i have younger brothers and sisters and if he bites them he gets kicked to the curb.

This statement has me feeling so very sorry for your pup. To think that anyone would "kick them to the curb" for behavior that might very well not be their fault is troubling. The humans have all the power there. If your pup is not taught how to behave it isn't his fault. He is a dog and he has teeth. They use their mouths to learn about their world. Hurting humans isn't their goal in life......pleasing them is. We just have to teach them HOW to please us. Biting isn't allowed so we teach them that we don't desire that behavior.

the problem...i just noticed this a month ago, but if hes tired and i come over and try to kiss him near his head. sometimes he will start growling at me and if i keep doing it he will snap a little at me....

Ever heard the saying "Let sleeping dogs lie" as in leave them alone when they are sleeping??
There could be a few different issues going on here. Some dogs are head shy. It is what it is. It might also be safe to assume that you are leaning over his head during the times you are going up to kiss him. *Some* dogs think this behavior is rude as in they see it as a dominance type stance from you and they don't feel comfortable with it. Growling is a first warning to you that they would prefer you not do this. And in your words when you "KEEP DOING IT" he will snap at you. Consider that your 2nd warning after the growl. Full on biting you FOR REAL isn't out of the picture here. Considering that you hit your dog you should feel lucky that he is showing enough restraint with you and giving you not one but two warnings. He is trying to tell you that the behavior you are displaying to him isn't appreciated. For whatever reason it makes him uncomfortable. In dog speak he is telling you what he wants you to know you are just not picking up on his signals. In a perfect world our dogs would let us do anything we wanted to do to them (within reason). This reaction from him can be changed but again it takes time and training. You could approach him differently. You could call his name before you get to him so as not to startle him when he is sleeping. There are many things that can be done.

I don't specifically think you need a behaviorist at this point. Your guy isn't doing anything that wouldn't be expected from a dog in his position (how you treat him). I would more so recommend that YOU obtain a bit more education on training your dog to be the best Boxer he can be. Stop hitting him and you can expect to start seeing a change in his behavior. He needs to unlearn that you may strike him for doing something he doesn't know is wrong.
 

LILYLARUE

Boxer Insane
First off, stop the smacking, no matter how lightly it is. Putting your hands on your dog in training is not acceptable. What you are doing is teaching your dog not to trust you. And not to trust your hands and what they may do at any given moment. This can also transfer to your children, who won't listen or watch for clear signals from the dog.

When your dog growls, he is giving you a signal that he is not comfortable. If he doesn't have trust in you, why should he allow you to get close, especially in anticipation of being smacked. If you smack him when he growls, then that is even worse. You are only increasing the chance that he won't growl next time, but to snap instead.

Getting down into a dog's face, with no trust built is asking for your face to be bit.

You need to build up your trust in your dog. You don't need a behaviorist or trainer YET. But if you continue to become unpredictable to your dog, your dog will become unpredictable towards you, and all people, including kids.

You need to start training proper behavior and stop reprimanding bad ones. Dogs work best (like people) with rewards for good behavior. ALWAYS praise your dog all day long when he is doing what is acceptable. When he does unacceptable behavior, redirect away from the issue and do a short positive training session where he can not fail, like sit, stay, shake, those types of 100% successful outcomes. Lots of praise.

You will have to do lots of positive hand training, where he can learn that your hands are not bad and won't scare him. Teaching touch training would be ideal. Teach him to touch your hand with his nose and then with the other hand, give a treat. Then move that hand higher, to the sides and lower, again always praising and treating with the other hand.

Do some shopping and get some books on training. You will get lots of ideas on how to build your trust bonding relationship. Every member of the family can join in and should in the training work.

Books by Ian Dunbar, Patricia McConnell are good and easy to start with. They have great positive methods that build that trust while training your dog to be happy and enjoyable.

You have to put in extra time now to erase the unpredictable behaviors and build that trust up. If you slack or revert to hand punishing, it will be inevitable that your dog will be "kicked to the curb" and most likely because he bit one of you. I always tell people, teach a dog like you would a sensitive child, with respect, patience, guidance, lots of praise and appreciation and hands-off punishment.
 

Chooky

Boxer Pal
You cant discipline an animal using people techniques. It may have worked on you and it definitrly worked on me growing up haha i was a horror child! But animals, dont understand, they dont learn from negative reinforcement to be good, they learn to be defensive and soon become aggressive if it means protecting themselves.

Any sort of physical discipline wont teach a dog how to behave, it will teach it that hands hurt, that people who have hands hurt - this includes big hands and little kid hands.

Its sad seeing animals that have been brought up the wrong way and get punished for it, the most obvious is the pitbull. Where they are a lovely loyal brave breed thats now been tainted because of what people have taught them to do. Clearly an exaggerated example but an example none the less.

Its scary because in Perth AUS (where i live) boxers have a bad name because they look like an aggressive dog (and here we dont even dock thier tails or cut thier ears to make them stand up- which i hate anyway), and they are far from killers!

i know it seems like you are geting a hard time on here about the hitting etc, but the great things with dogs is its never too late to change, it may take time, and a lot of patience and a lot of positive reinforcement, but its never to late to teach a dog how good they are and how they should behave.
 
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