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Our Viszla is now seven months old and has recently started to growl/moan at us in certain situations. For example, when we try to move him when he is relaxing in front of the fire or try to pull him away from something he is not supposed to be sniffing/eating outside. He has done it to both my husband and to me.

The growl is not serious (almost like a moan) and we are not scared but we're obviously not happy about this happening and it must stop... especially because we have a baby in the house. We've tried growling back and cupping the back of his neck. As I said this has just started and we think he might just be testing his boundaries as he gets a bit older. I don't know if it has anything to do with it but he was neutered a week ago (and recovered well).

Does anybody have any suggestions? He is a great dog otherwise listening to commands and very affectionate. Do we need to seek help or is this a phase he is going through?

Thanks in advance!
 

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I actually just posted about this a minute ago - Hobie groans when she's asleep and comfy, and I move her. But I'm pretty sure it's not aggressive, she's asleep and doesn't realize she's doing it. I definitely wouldn't say it sounds like a growl. And that's the only time she does it - never when she's awake and I'm guiding her away from anything.
 

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If it's a growl, I personally would seek help to find out why your dog is growling at you if you try and move him.
If it's a moan, well, welcome to the vizsla world. Our guy likes to moan/sigh...he sounds like an old man sometimes when he is trying to get comfortable, it's very amusing.
 

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My Purdey girl will growl at my eldest son (13yrs) if he dares try and take something off her or move her while in her bed but she never growls at my daughter who's 11yrs..... as she's more confident with her. Purdey will never NEVER chalenge anything I ask of her ... nor should she as I am her Leader
maybe you need to go back to basics ie both pretending to eat her food before letting her eat
making her go last in everything ie eating, through doors, play, walks etc
always emphasising you both being the Alpha Males/Females.......
BB
 

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Barrel,
I like reinforcing that I am the pack leader. Our 11 week old puppy has started, within the last two days, growling at my husband and I if we try to take a toy away from him, especially his kong when it has food in it. This morning, he knew I got a toy out so he started jumping on the cupboards and me (which he has learned he is not allowed to do). I made him wait to get the toy until I had finished making my breakfast and was ready to give the toy to him (until he had calmed down). Am I doing the right things? I also keep trying to make sure that I am able to take his toy at any time. What else can I do to prevent this from getting worse and stop it all together? It has to stop now!!!
 

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Rosie started growling at us if we tried to move her around the same age. And it wasn't rooing or moaning--it was growling. She still does it, but as you say, we aren't scared by it. Guarding sleeping spots is instinctive for dogs. It doesn't mean you have to put up with it. But just be aware that there are some in the professional training world who think you might want to think twice about using dominance maneuvers in this situation. For a different take, see if you can get ahold of a copy of a book called "Mine!" by Jean Donaldson. What seemed to help us was to pair touching Rosie as if to move her (when she was sleeping) with the clicker and treat (a desensitization technique, the aim being to pair the stimulus that elicits the defensive response from the dog with something positive). The only reason we aren't further along with it is that we got lazy and didn't follow through with our training program...so my comments will be theoretical rather than coming from experience. But if you were going to use the desensitization approach, you'd move stepwise and gradually from touching the dog (pairing with clicker) to pushing the dog slightly, then actually moving him, etc. The goal is not to use the clicker when the dog gets upset, but rather to keep your desensitization at a level that isn't provocative enough to get the dog defensive in the first place (you're not rewarding the dog for growling, you're pairing a stimulus with another stimulus, if that makes sense). For being grabbed by the collar, you'd use a similar approach, repeatedly touching the dog on the neck, pairing with clicker, then handling his collar, then actually pulling on it. Eventually, he would learn that being touched on the neck or grabbed is nothing to get upset about. In contrast, if you use a dominance approach, the dog might "submit" with you and your husband, but unpredictably react to others who touch him in these ways.
 
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