How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Jane Lefler Your Own Question
Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 19600
Experience:  Behaviorist /Trainer and Dog breeder 18+ years
Type Your Dog Training Question Here...
Jane Lefler is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Hello, We have a 3 month old female Boston Terrior the has

This answer was rated:


We have a 3 month old female Boston Terrior the has starting growling at us. A few weeks ago it started when any one in our family would pick her up. This growling lasted for several days and seemed to stop with her being told no firmly and us ignoring her. This growling has now started again more so with one of my daughters. Yesterday she has also started to growl quite aggressively when say for example my son is holding her and me or anyone else tries to take her from him or anyone in our family holding her. We have never had a Boston before just a Lab so we really need some advice. HELP and Thanks!!
Hi Jacustomer,.My name is Jane. I have been working professionally with animals especially dogs in both health and behavioral issues for over 18 years. I have over 14,000 satisfied customers. It will be my pleasure to work with you today. .In order to supply you with the best information, I do need to ask for some additional information. Once I receive your answer, it will likely take me about 30-45 minutes to type up your response. I hope you can be patient. .Does this only seem to happen when someone is trying to pick her up or holding her?How do you pick her up? Is it under the arms like you would lift a child?Are you working with her on obedience?Is there a reason everyone is picking her up so often?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Mainly the growling has taken place when someone goes to pick her up when she is sitting or standing. Just yesterday she started to growl when for example my husband was holding her and then one of the kids tried to take her from him. She also growled when one of my daughters was holding her and my husband tried to her Ivy from her arms. I guess we usually try to pick her up from behind and we place our hands under her front legs and chest. Occasionally I believe she gets picked up from the front. Mainly from behind I would say. She is registered at puppy obedience classes starting on Nov. 17th We had to wait until after she receives her third round of vaccines on Nov. 4th. We have taught her to sit, stay and come already. I guess the reason we all pick her up so much is because we have a 7 yr. old Chocolate Lab that was always so big even as a puppy and the kids could never really pick up much. They feel that Ivy is so little that they feel the need to pick her up a lot. Me and my husband are guilty of that too!!

On a positive note she has never growled at us when we take something away that she shouldn't have or even one of her toys or a rawhide for that matter.

We can put our hands in her food bowl when she is eating with no growling at all. Hope this helps. Thank you!!


Thanks for the additional information. I suspect that it may partially be the way she is being picked up. Dogs with longer backs like chihuahua, beagles, and pugs to name a few, can have problems with the discs in the back. Picking them up wrong can cause discomfort So if you are not picking her up properly, that might be the cause for the growling. She is warning you not to pick her up because it causes her discomfort. whe you have to pick her up, one hand should be placed under her chest and the other hand should scoop the rear legs into the hand. Then the dog can be lifted without pressure on the back.
However, at three months of age, the pup shouldn't need to be lifted that much. Instead of lifting the puppy, have them practice the come or here command with her. You will have each child have some hot dog slivers or liver slivers. They will call the pup to them one at a time. When the pup comes to them on command, they feed a tiny treat. Then the next one calls the dog and gives it a treat. This exercise will keep the kids busy, the pup busy running and getting into their laps most likely, and serve to teach her the come command so you won't have to worry about her running off and no one has to pick her up to get her to come with them. It will also help with the leash training when the time comes because she will want to be with them in the hopes of getting a treat.
I do really think that this is likely related to the way everyone is lifting her and even when you start to lift her correctly, she may be a little apprehensive. It is better to teach her to come to you. In addition, at 3 months of age, they are getting independent and don't want to be picked up. They want to run around and jump and play. So that may also be contributing to the situation.
I would still continue to tell her NO when she exhibits unwanted behavior, but also start giving her nice small treats when she behaves the way you want her to. I did want to be sure you did not interpret my response to mean that she has a back problem, just to let you know that breed is prone to them and thus her back may become uncomfortable faster than another breed the same age.
I hope this information is helpful to you and you are satisfied with my response. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have .
Jane Lefler and other Dog Training Specialists are ready to help you

Related Dog Training Questions