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Dr Scott Nimmo
Dr Scott Nimmo, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 19120
Experience:  BVMS, MRCVS. { Glasgow UK }
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My choc lab is about 2.5 years old. At certain times she

Customer Question

My choc lab is about 2.5 years old. At certain times she will growl and snarl at my husband myself and our cat. Within a few minutes she is fine. She does this when she is awakened, when she is on the couch touching her in any way will make her snarl and growl very aggressively. When my husband goes to bed she growls and snarls at my husband. What is wrong with her?
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr Scott Nimmo replied 9 months ago.

Hello and welcome,

This is just a quick note to let you know that I am locked on to your question and am working on it now.

I am a small animal vet with many years experience and rest assured I will do my best to answer your question to your satisfaction today. You can expect a written reply sometime within the next fifteen minutes or so.

We also have the option to talk things over by telephone or via an internet service such as Skype. Please get back to me if this is more convenient for you. { There is a small extra charge for phone calls }

Regards,

Dr Scott

Expert:  Dr Scott Nimmo replied 9 months ago.

Hello again

I have worked out an answer for you ...

1. We all are kind to our pet dogs, and that is what they are there for to be petted and as companions, sometimes though this backfires and you get into the situation you are describing. This is classified as Reverse Owner Dominance. You see dogs are pack animals and they naturally have a pecking order or hierarchy. Dogs will be subservient to dogs higher up the pecking order and ultimately to the pack leader. In your case in exhibiting the behaviour you describe your dog now thinks you and your husband { and the cat } are lower than her in the pecking order. Basically she thinks she is top dog in the pack, so now she has to be dislodged ...

2. Here is a way you might resolve it : Be prepared for the next incident to occur and equip yourself with a an empty coke can full of pebbles. The next time the dog growls or shows any aggression or any unwanted behaviour then throw the can close to her and shout out loud { do not hit her of course } the noise of the stones will startle her and give her a fright, do this each and every time she misbehaves. In the wild dogs settle their pecking order by a series of minor skirmishes so what you are trying to do is to decisively win each confrontation as soon as it occurs by frightening and subduing the dog in some way so she backs down. Wild dogs do not fight all the time to establish a pecking order, they just skirmish for a bit so you should not need to do this more than a dozen times for this to take effect.

3. Alternatively a small rape alarm with a gas cylinder is a good deterrent as well as it makes a frightful noise and will really startle your dog. A powerful pump up water pistol can be a good thing too. However it is important that you act only at the exact point of confrontation and no other and try and put the fear of God into her from a distance so you do not touch her directly because if she can bite you or push you back in any way then she will have won and that will just enhance her view that she is top dog.

There are of course dog trainers you can call in but I would have thought that their general advice would initially be much the same as the above so you might want to try on your own first but make sure everyone in the house is in on it. Beyond that there are drugs like valium your vet may prescribe but personally I have always thought these were the very last resort.

I hope I have covered your question fully enough but if you would like further clarification or to talk things over a bit more then I will be on-line for the next hour or so and I will be more than pleased to continue working with you.

Regards,

Dr Scott

Please be kind enough to rate my service to you after we have concluded our dialogue, such feedback helps me maintain the quality of my answers.

Expert:  Dr Scott Nimmo replied 9 months ago.

Hello again,

I am just checking back in to see how your Lab is getting on after our recent dialogue concerning aggression ...

Please get back to me and let me know how things are going.

Regards,

Dr Scott

Please be kind enough to rate my service to you after we have concluded our dialogue, such feedback helps me maintain the quality of my answers.

Expert:  Dr Scott Nimmo replied 9 months ago.
Hi,
I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?
Dr Scott Nimmo