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Discussion Starter #1
My 11month old still thinks she is the leader of the household. Has anyone run into this situation for this age of puppy or does she need further help. She growls while wagging her tail, then nips you but doesn't breaking the skin...
 

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I don't really see "dominance" in your description. It just sounds like Ava is growing up.
Both of my current dogs, and my three previous, all used to growl and wag their tail simultaneously sometimes. I used to just laugh and ask them how they expected to scare someone doing that. Mine still do it when we play fetch. Gunnr, more so than Tika.
The biting/nipping, but not, breaking skin, is an annoying behavior that takes a good deal of work, over a long period of time to break. I kinda view it as "poor communication skills". I've pretty much broken Gunnr of it by using a squirt bottle. When she nipped/bit. I said "no bite" and squirted her. Now all I have to do is show her the bottle and straightens out.
 

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Kian does this all the time when he wants attention... go figure :D
If he puts his teeth on our hands we say, "OWWWWE" or "OUCHIE" and he will either start licking our hands like it's going out of style or will suckle on it. The suckling I do not mind, it's kind of funny. He never puts pressure on us with his teeth, unless I am wrestling with him and I rouse him too much.
But then it's my fault and I should know better. ::)
 

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Never had the growl wag, but we do get the nipping. From time to time it does seem to be a dominance show as she gets extremely bouncy while mouthing. I'm trying to rely as much as possible on commands to get her to do things, but situations such as telling her to get off our bed (she is not allowed to sleep with us) where she is disregarding all commands and I physically remove her she can get worked up and be a little aggressive back at me. And we're both tired, which I'm sure makes things worse.
 

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I haven't noticed the growl wag, we do get growling without wagging occasionally (stranger approaches house, asked to move when sleeping). Rosie has outgrown nipping us, and I'm pretty sure she had by 11 months, but I wouldn't argue it's abnormal for 11 mos, just that every dog has a slightly different timetable.

Harry--Rosie suckles too, not on our hands but on a furry blanket we have. She only does it on the really furry blanket, others won't do. Really cute to watch, she's done it since we got her. But I've read that they often do that for a lifetime (not the play suckling on your hand, but big-time suckling like Rosie does) if they were weaned too young:(
 

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Sarah, they are definitely characters I tell yeah.
Sometimes we call Kian the kissing bandit
 

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Yeah, we hadn't found anything else Rosie would suckle on but this one (very large, king size) furry blanket...until today, when I found a throw at brookstone with the same texture. Presented it to Rosie, and she immediately started to "nurse" on it. I'm pleased because it's small enough we could send it with her when we board her, for comfort. The other cute thing she does is to find a spot to "nurse" that's on one of our stomachs (we like to say, where our "teats" would be lol). Rosie loves to kiss us too.
 

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Bodhi, since a pup (10 weeks old), has always growled and wag his tail at the same time, especially when he was extra happy. This behavior occurs most frequently when we arrive home and he is presenting us with his plush duck toy. He will be very vocal with his growl while wagging his tail at a frequency of a million revolutions per minute. At first we were very concerned, but we realized quickly that the (dominant type) vocalization did not match his body posture and demeanor. Now we except it as a way for him to vocalize his extreme joy to us and egg us on for a play session. It is very funny to observe, what seem to be contradictory expressions...
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I have to give an update to everyone especially Gunnr-Thank you sooo much for the suggetion of the spray bottle! It is amazing how well this works! We bought a little spray bottle and it's bright pink, of course. We started spraying her when she would bite us, or act naughty. It is amazing how fast this has worked, now all we have to do is show her the bottle and she stops immediatley and comes over with her tail wagging and gives us a "kiss" it's almost like apologizing to us! We have even started placing the spray bottle on the dining room table while we eat and she no longer begs at our meals, she sits far enough away that the spray can't reach her and normally just lies on her bed til we are all done eating! I never knew she could be so well behaved!! I highly recommend the spray bottle technique to anyone having any behavior problems. Thanks to this she has spent no time in her kennel for "time outs" in weeks!
 

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Both of our Vs learned pretty quickly not to bite and we never had a 'growling' problem. When Dexter was 5-7 months old he would bark in a very high pitched voice that would damage the eardrums. We tried using an ultrasonic anti-bark device to no avail. When I tried spraying him with a spray bottle he actually liked it and would bark and try to swallow the spray. He actually enjoyed being sprayed. A shock collar finally did the trick.
 

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Buxton is 12 weeks and does the growl wag whenever he has his favourite toy in his mouth. He parades around showing it to everyone in the room, wagging his whole back end. It never occurred to me that it was dominance or any kind of aggression, more like talking. Buxton is a very talkative pup though, he is always mumbling about something.
 

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Merc does the same thing when he has a toy and is trying to get you to play with him. He leaps around with it in his mouth making the most terrible noise and doing enormous play-bows. Its very funny :D

It's a different noise to a real growl though (I heard his nasty growl when i came home late one night and he obviously wasn't expecting anyone). I've also asked our trainer and she has said that it isn't a growl, it's just a vocalisation. So I think you're right, Buxton isn't being aggressive or dominant, it's just another noise.

I don't know about other Vs but Merc has a huge range of different noises and its taking me a while to work out what the different ones mean. There is a bark because I want attention, Bark because there is something approaching the house, bark because i want that thing to go away, growl because i will tear it apart if it doesn't go away, play-growly noise, whining in excitement (food or car trip), a bark that ends almost in a howl when he is frustrated and not getting what he wants........ He tries so hard to communicate - i just wish i spoke dog!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Ava is very talkative too, and she does the grab a toy and talk, wag my tail when we come home as well. We always wonder what she is telling us, we assume it's about her day and what she did while we were gone ;) Her "dominance" growl/bite is very different from her normal talking this was angry and biting hard, to the point where we could not get her to release her jaw from our body part that she had at the current time, very painful and very frustrating to say the least! The water bottle has saved us lots of frustration and lots of money on another trainer! It has made bathtime a tad more difficult though since she hated water before, now she really hates it!
 

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Yeah, Rosie also has a lot of different noises. She does a low, contented sigh-growl when she's relaxing to drift off to sleep, and a play growl when she's playing. I love her "play bows" as mercutio describes. I actually play bow right back sometimes to ramp her up when we're playing (I swing both arms up, then bend from the waist and swoop the arms down toward the floor--she loves it). In Rosie's case, it's pretty easy to tell when she's playing and when she means business.
 
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