Lazy Growl


Grrrr! Loki's irritated! But also quite lazy. He can't be bothered to move an inch from his lazy sunbathing position. In this photo he was growling at Jujube for some unknown reason.

One thing that we learned the hard way is to respect a dog's warning signs. When Loki was a puppy, we tried to correct his growls and his shows of teeth. We just couldn't imagine not doing anything. How can you not reprimand such bad behavior? It didn't make any sense to us to not do anything. But unfortunately, the problem became worse as Loki's aggression would escalate much quicker. If no one was going to listen to his growl, then he had to increase his aggressive intensity to get his point across. I think the problem was that I wanted Loki to be a dog that never showed any signs of aggression. No growl, no teeth, nothing. I wanted to correct away all of it. But that wasn't Loki. He just was never going to be that type of dog. Some dogs definitely are capable of never showing any aggression, but that wasn't going to be Loki. I guess it's like asking a human to never be angry -- ever. You might find some humans who are truly never angry. But asking your average human to never show any signs of anger ever is pretty impossible and simply against human nature.

Nowadays, when he shows signs of aggression like growling or teeth, we now simply leave him alone. We know to just give him space and time. We respect the fact that he can be moody. He's allowed to be moody. We leave him alone, and no one gets hurt. This is truly the best way to deal with the early signs of aggression. We wouldn't have believed this advice if we didn't see firsthand the consequences of dealing with it otherwise.

In fact, Loki and Jujube's relationship has greatly improved over the past year. They no longer get into fights precisely because Jujube now respects Loki's warnings. She stays away when he growls and shows teeth. She doesn't always let him get his way, but she gives him his space.

5 comments:

Priscilla said...

It's interesting. I'm glad that Loki and Jujube are not in those fighting moods they used to have anymore. I think you're right that just leave him alone when he's moody and his bad mood will disappear soon if there is nobody to irritate him.

Prince Zuko's mom said...

Zuko gets grumpy when he's tired. Sometimes he'll bark at people passing by our house or growl at other dogs - especially if the dog runs up super-fast to him at the park. When's agitated about something outside, I'll leash him up and take him outside so he can see it is "OK" and we just pull him away from the other dog if he's being grouchy with them. With him, it doesn't seem / feel like aggressive, just grouchy "leave me alone" signals.

Lucy Lil' Wolf said...

Ziggy is also super grouchy when tired! He is a little moody monster. One thing that I have found indispensable with him is calming signals. Have you tried these with Loki? A lady called Turid Rugaas observed dogs for ten years to find their peace making signals. I'd be interested to know if they work on other dogs as much as they have for me and Ziggy.

Jen said...

I agree with your approach as well. My very first dog I felt as you did - that in no way could I tolerate a dog that would growl or show teeth, so I'd "correct" it... which led him to bite. Sometimes without warning.

I appreciate growls, posturing and teeth now, because I understand its normal and a way of communication the dogs possess that can be a tool in managing them, especially in a multi dog home.

And shibas are moody :) Sometimes our Tsuki just likes to get a good growl on then she'll yawn and go to sleep. Lazy punks.

Anonymous said...

That is sooo sad, my Shiba knows who runs the house and it not right for you and that dog to let that kind of mood just keep going on. Right now your Shiba is running over you. You need to show him or her that you are the alph and what you say or do is always right and good for him or her

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