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Discussion Starter #1
I have enjoyed reading all these posts for quite a while. They are so informative. :) We have had our puppy now for 2 1/2 weeks. She is really a good puppy, but last night growled and snapped as I tired to get her to get up to go outside before bed. She was sleeping in the crate in the kitchen and I sat on the floor and was talking to her and trying to get her up. She always makes a lot of growly sounds while sleeping anyway. Even when she is by herself. She had woke up and was looking at me and I was calling her out. She just laid there and was making those growly sounds she does. Well then I proceeded to pick her up and she really growled and turned and snapped at me. This is the first time she has ever displayed any type of behavior like this. I really want to nip this behavior. I have been working with her on basic commands but need some input on this. She just turned 10 weeks yesterday. Her name is Elaina. Thanks in advance
 

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:mad: not acceptable and could be an indication of an independently minded dog.
Aggression is not typical Vizsla trait. You should be able to take the food away, pick them up without any fuss whenever you want.
You may try and trun the dog and pick it up with it's back toward you, hind legs on the ground. Maybe that makes a difference.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
She was not eating, but sleeping in her crate, with the door open. I can put my hands in her bowl while she is eating and she has not problem at all with that. From the first day I worked
with her on her food. My children can do the same. I was just trying to get her to go outside for the last time
before bed. She is a very whiny puppy though. If she wants something and is not getting her way she will whine
terribly.
 

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Congrats on your new addition. After reading your post, I am wondering if the snapping came from you picking her up. Does she ever do that when she has been picked up by you before?

Our vizsla (who is 18 weeks) did NOT like being picked up and would sometimes snap at us. Our trainer had us play a game called, "Elevator" with her. We would say the word, "Elevator", my husband would pick her up, I would click (we use a clicker for clicker-training) and then give her 5 treats. Then we would say "okay", let her down and then 5-10 minutes later do it again. We did this 3-5 times a day for almost a month. She still doesn't really like being picked up, but she is used to it now and does not snap or growl.

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks, I pick her up a lot. She really does not mind it at all. Sometimes she lets out a low growly noise that is very low. She sleeps in my room in a crate
and when she whines to get out because she needs to go to the bathroom, I open the door and she will not come out. I have to literally pull her out and
pick her up. I take her outside by carrying her. She usually goes to the bathroom around 9:00 - 9:30pm and then runs to the crate in the bedroom and sleeps
till 5:30 or 6. She will not get up on her own though to come out of the crate. I have even sat there for 5 to 10 min. coaxing her out. So when she was sleeping
in the crate in the kitchen I did not think anything about trying to get her out. She really sleeps a lot.
 

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Keep in mind that she's just ten weeks old... Just a little baby, really! She's grouchy when you wake her up. Maybe just a firm "No" will go far when she acts like that. True, it is not an acceptable behavior for an adult dog, but since she is so young, you can start working on it right now. Be very careful not to be harsh with her. Do not yell at her or get upset. Just say "No" when she growls or nips. She is just a baby.

I'm a little grouchy when somebody wakes me up, too. ;D
 

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I may be in the minority, but I handle growling & snapping very firmly & swiftly! NOT abusively, but I make it very clear, regardless of age, that growling or snapping under any circumstance will not be tolerated---ever! As mswipple said, your girl is a baby, so you have the opportunity to nip it the bud before the behavior becomes more established. Good luck!
 

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kellygh said:
I may be in the minority, but I handle growling & snapping very firmly & swiftly! NOT abusively, but I make it very clear, regardless of age, that growling or snapping under any circumstance will not be tolerated---ever! As mswipple said, your girl is a baby, so you have the opportunity to nip it the bud before the behavior becomes more established. Good luck!
Have to say I agree with this approach. NO, no one is suggesting you abuse the pup, but you can be firm and stop it now.
 

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I find her relationship with her crate interesting, especially that she whines but will not leave her crate and then when she goes out runs back into her crate. Does the growling and snapping only occur when the crate is involved or when she is sleeping anywhere?

I don't know all the circumstances, but I think i'll probably be more of the minority here than Kellygh. the one good thing about growling is that it's a warning. Granted, you don't want your dog growling at you at all, but what you especially don't want is a dog that reacts without the warning, so I'm not big on punishing a dog over a growl, but instead I like trying to change the dog's mind about what he/she perceives as worth growling over. This is just my suggestion, you don't have to agree with it, but I'd work on developing better recall with your dog, especially in trying to get her to come when called from her crate. She appears to love her crate, so I would work on reinforcing her when she leaves her crate. Whenever she comes out of her crate, she gets something awesome. I would feed her outside of her crate so she has to leave it. Basically, I would make her think that when she leaves her crate really good things happen.

On a side note, I don't know how you handle the whining, but if she whines for something, try to ignore it and only do things after she is calm and quiet (except major necessities like going to the bathroom at this age) or not at all if you don't want to do what she is asking. If you're already doing this, sorry & keep up the good work!
 

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I think the dog is WAY too young to assess this behavior in the way you would with an adult dog. It could be akin to puppy "nipping" (which puppies often do when they're tired). I would recommend asking your vet or puppy class instructor (if you have one) how to handle it. I would not recommend using any type of correction for a puppy. Don't assume this is the same as adult aggression. I wouldn't recommend using punishment/correction for adult aggression, either, but that's another ball of wax:) Also--was she fully awake when she did it? If not, next time, try gently waking her up by saying her name before trying to physically touch or move her.

I know "treats" gets us into another controversial territory, but I might recommend pairing treats with the nighttime awakenings for a little while, just to condition a positive association. You won't have to keep using them forever, just long enough that your dog comes to like/tolerate the nighttime awakenings. As I clarified on a different thread, I'm not recommending giving treats while she's growling, I'm recommending giving them before she starts growling.
 

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[Our Vizsla is 8 months old and she is the same way, she has attacked me and my fiance a few times to the point of cutting our skin...We need some help...she only acts this way when she is tired or eating (we can take food out of her dish but we can't touch her)!! :-\
 

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??? dockterdk by the size of the font her behavior must be very annoying to you.

I was given this advice and it worked with my previous dog:

If you are trying to prevent the behavior, you need to start young, or as young as possible.
During meal times simply reach down and take the bowl from her and pick her up or pet her *give her a neck massage. Praise her and return the bowl every time she permits it.
Correct her if she doesn't (snap the short leash attached to her collar (good to have a very short leash on at all times) or any other correction you use).
Keep the bowl for at least ten minutes if she shows the slightest sign of aggression.

Related, but not necessarily applicable to your dog:
Behaviors such as cutting you off while walking, pulling on the leash, and growling around food are all indicative of a dog who is trying for leadership.
Dogs are seeking to understand their place in the pack. Like in a human family, when their place is unclear they will test a few boundaries to see exactly where they stand.
Your 8 month old V may seem set in her ways but it's time she finds out her place is at the bottom of the pack. Besides, she's not adult yet.
 

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:) dockterdk by the size of the font her behavior must be very annoying to you.


This comment cracked me up! As a therapist, it is such a therapist thing to say; in addition, I just needed a good laugh :) Sorry, dockterdk. I know your post is not a laughing matter.
 

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I would have to agree with the post by Kellygh that growling/nipping is never acceptable and you need to teach as early on as possible that this is the case.
I would try encouraging her to get up from where she is sleeping with treats - if you hold a peice of liver cake or sausage and call her over from her crate/sleeping area surely she will get up? and then you can praise her with the treat for doing the right thing.
I would maybe try this, and once she has got up and moved, you go then go and sit in her crate - I know that sounds a bit crazy but by sitting in her crate you are 'claiming' the crate and showing her that it is not just hers, but yours too.
I would also practise handling her - asking her to lay down, touching her ears - treat, touch her paws - treat - look at her teeth and gums - treat. this way she will get used to you handling her and see it as a positive thing.
If you ever end up in a situation where she growls at you again, I would ask her to lay down, roll over and submit. By growling she is directly challenging you as the boss, and I think you need to show from an early age that this is not ok.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thank you all for your encouragement. I have narrowed her behavior down to it occurring when she does not get her way.
She was sitting in my son's lap and did not want to move so when he moved her off of him she growled. She was playing outside and my grandaughter picked her up to bring her in and she growled and turned and nipped her in the chin. When
you stop her from doing something she considers fun she will growl and try to nip.
We have been very firm with her. I brought her to puppy class
last night and was discussing this also with the trainer. She told me to be very firm with her and that she is
trying to test her grounds to see who is in charge. I guess I was not firm enough with her in that area. I sure
will be from now on. BamBam , this is just what the trainer told me to do also. I am going to be setting her up
in situations so I can teach her this now.
Thank you all!!!! It is nice to know you have somewhere to turn. My goal for Elaina is that she will be a very well
behaved dog. I know a lot of you out there have wonderful dogs and I want that for mine.
 

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Irained7--Good for you for paying such close attention & seeking assistance from your trainer! Nipping in the chin is unacceptable as you know. I have 3 young children, and this is one of the big reasons I will never tolerate any growling or snapping. We supervise our kids, try our darndest to teach them to respect animals, but sometimes kids will be kids. My youngest was newly 3 when we brought Pumpkin home. She growled at my oldest one time while she was chewing an antler in her bed. Pumpkin was maybe 12-14 wks? I grabbed her by the scruff and had all four feet off the ground/off her bed before she took her next breath & gave her a very sharp "NO." It was the 1st & last time she did that. I put Pumpkin back on her bed, and from that day forward, we practiced with all the kids giving & taking bones, toys, treats, and feeding. We pet Pumpkin while she ate, got her very comfortable with her feet and ears being handled, and basically did anything we could think of that might provoke a reaction such as sitting on the corner of her bed while sleeping etc. I am NOT advocating my method, as many might disagree w/ it, but I think it's great you are thinking ahead and practicing situations where your pup may want to test her grounds. Dogs have to understand who is in charge, especially for the safety of children. Good Luck :)!
 

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Nice post and from what I see, I predict a happy ending.
I find dog ownership is a 24/7 business.... well, unless they're sleeping.
 
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