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I've been hesitant to post this for months since we first picked up our boy before the 12 week standard here, but I thought I'd post anyway.


Jack is 17 months old and he often growls at us when we pick him up or scratch his belly. The strange thing is he'll give us signs that he likes the attention- ie, he'll growl at the same he stretches back for us to scratch his belly.

He'll even growl, then make some sound like he's really unhappy when we scratch his belly... but then when we stop he licks our face.

It's almost like he's confused and he thinks growling is a sign of happiness. We often joke about it, but could this be true?
 

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When hubby and I first were dating, he was a tad afraid of my Cita (a white shepherd mix) because she'd growl just like you're explaining. I had to teach him to listen and realize when it was a happy growl. She still does it, she's 10 years old now .... and she's very dramatic about it when you scratch her rear end. LOL

Others here probably have a lot more knowledge about a dog's behavior, but I think if you pay attention, you might find your baby is just growling as a sort of feel good growl.

HUGz! Jules
 

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Mine do that too and I thought it might be an unhappy growl but I'm finding that it's also excited utterances too. I've never had a dog do that so it was a bit disconcerting at first.
 

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I have never seen that so I can't help you. Maybe start using a "word" and interrupt the growling by picking him up and not scratch her tummy. Sit back down and try it again until he stops...reward for the wanted behavior.
Where did you get him? I am guessing a BYB so maybe Jack did not have a lot of good socialization. You can work with him and remember lots of love and praise.
Oh come on, we promise to only shame you a little for using a bad breeder..(smiling).
Please don't be afraid to post.
 

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My Flakey (RIP) would do this. It started around 1 year and one half when we would go to pick him up. Oh, by the way, don't be hesitant at all, ever to ask any questions. Anyway, hubby and I were so confused. He was our first baby, and this was many years ago. We did ask our vet at that time about it, as it did cause us to be concerned.

Not sure there were behavorilist back then, probably were. We really wanted to make sure it was not a health issue. The vet said, (from what I remember) it was a behavior issue not a health issue. But he didn't reccomend anything for us to do :(.

This may not happen with your little guy, but with our Flakey, the growling led to him turning his head towards us, showing teeth :(. So, we would just rub the sides of him several times, as to prepare him that we were picking him up. We knew that picking him up was a trigger for him.

Our Flakey lived 15 years, and this behavior never went away, and one time he did nip me :(. My feelings were hurt more then my finger.

The only time I was "allowed" to pick him up, was during thunderstorms. Flakey was insistent that I pick him up, during the storms. Which I did. As soon as the storm was over, he made it quite clear he wanted down.

My BIL has a Jack Russel. When the first got Chloe as a pup, I could not wait to see her and hold her :). I picked her up, took her to another room, was giving her loving, and yup, she growled. I told my BIL and SIL, you may have a wee problem here and I let them know what happened. It was time for Chole's vet appt. and at the end of the appt, the doc did highly reccommend Chloe be seen by a behavorilist. Guess she really was animated during the vet visit. Chloe is 6 years old today, she is my girl :) and a good girl. My concern was twofold, for Chole and also their children were younger at that time.

Not saying your babies growling will escalate into a worse behavior, but if it were me, I would have him checked out, first by a vet and then take it from there.

If this were to happen with any of my current babies, I would consult my vet, rule out any health issues, and ask for a reccomendation for a behavorilist.

Hope my experience doesn't upset you, but your little guy is still young and could be a very easy fix with someone knowledgable in this area to give you the tools to correct the behavoir.
 

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I see this behavior in my ex DH's Schnauzer---she growls a kinda gutteral throaty growl when she gets a rubdown....it isn't a threatening type, however. Only know that cuz I've known her thru the years. :)
 

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LOL Gigi is VERY vocal with her growling, always have been. It's so cute! You just have to watch the body langauge, I know Gigi means no harm. :)
 

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Me too

I know this thread is very old but thought I'd chime in with my experience with Heidi, our 2 year old Maltese.

She grows away to her hearts content, shows her teeth, even snarls. It's all talk with Heidi and it means she's extremely happy and excited. She's done it since she was a puppy. My wife and I never really have worried about it, and neither have the visitors we've had to our house. Some how she also communicates that she's playing and happy. She'll stretch out on her back begging for a tummy scratch and growl away while you do it.

She's absolutely gentle with everyone, never a nip or bite. She just shows her affection in a strange way ! :)

We also have 2 middle aged cats who also pay no attention to Heidi's growling.

Now, my brothers dog on the other hand (Bassett hound) growls a lot but I definitely wouldnt put my hand near him !
 
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