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Behavioral Issues Why does he do that?


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  #1  
Old 11th May 2005, 11:44 AM
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Unhappy My dog guards me when I sleep and growls at family members who come near me

My boxer is a great girl normally but lately if a family member enters my room while I sleep she growls and has this very strange look about her totally unrecognizable, scarey! At first I just couldn't believe them that she growled when they came near me (since I was sleeping) but then on the next few occasions I heard it for myself. My family never harms her, they love her and she loves them but I am her primary caretaker (she really listens only to me), so I'm not sure why she feels that they are a threat to me while I sleep. I felt really bad when I heard her growl and yelled a harsh NO and gave her a whack on the behind since she was laying on top of me. I know the whack on the behind sounds horrible and it certainly is not in my practice to hit but I was half asleep and reacted immediately plus I will not have her harm loved ones while she thinks she's protecting me. Obviously, it would be a different story if they were strangers and I was in danger.

Can anyone offer solid advice on this problem? I would truly appreciate it, thanks. I really love my dog to death, but I don't want family to be afraid of her.
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  #2  
Old 11th May 2005, 12:00 PM
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well, first off i'm sure you'll be getting plenty of feedback about the whacking her on her behind part, so i'll say not to do that any more and move onto the growling problem you mentioned.
it could be a few things that triggers her to growl:
1) i'm assuming that maybe she is sleeping while you are sleeping and perhaps she is also being startled a bit and causing her to growl.

2) she might be growling as a form of territoriality. since you mentioned that you are the primary caregiver, she is primarily protecting the hand that feeds it.

3) if you are sleeping, then she might be protecting the territory of your bedroom, especially if she gets to sleep their with you.

whatever the reason, the bottom line is that form if behavior is totally not acceptable, especially with other members of your family. i would try to have her spend some more time with your other members of your family in order for her to create stronger bonds with them as well. try having some other members of your family feed her and play with her. having different members of your family take turns walking her and training with her will also increase in building a bond. boxers are protectors by nature and therefore you can't hold it against them when their instincts kick in and they want to protect us, but they should definitely protect the whole family and not only an individual member.

 
  #3  
Old 11th May 2005, 12:04 PM
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I would not let her sleep with me anymore (at least until she has learned her place in the family). Let her even go sleep with other family members for the time being. She obviously thinks at the point that she is above your family in the pack and you are either right above her or right below her.

Hitting the bum doesn't do anything but scare tham which isn't what you want to do in this instance. She should feel safe but firmly makle it clear to her that she is not the leader of the pack but more likely the much loved lowest member.

Basically, your bed is an honor. Take it away from her any you send a clear message. It is ALWAYS important to be clear and consistent.

Best Luck,
Marisa

PS- You might want to go crazy happy whenever you see a family member for a while- she will pick up on that- I mean clapping, dancing, Yaaay!......... that sot of thing. Works for me!
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  #4  
Old 11th May 2005, 12:59 PM
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Red face

Thank you both for your responses.
I will really work on her building closer bonds with them and step back a little.

I knew I would hear it about the "whack" thing but my mother was attacked in the face and arm by a strange dog many years ago. Her fears have weakened over time with the love she has for LuNa but she did tell me how she felt threatened recently by LuNa when she entered the room, so I may have reacted harshly in some opinions (even my own) but I can assure you I'm only 110lbs and certainly not stronger than my dog. My point was to correct her swiftly, keep in mind my eyes were closed and I was half sleeping, although I heard her growling. Plus, I may have absolutely no fear of LuNa but sometimes I must say I don't always trust how she is going to react to others and it makes me uneasy.

 
  #5  
Old 11th May 2005, 01:28 PM
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i wish you well in socializing your dog better with your family. that uneasiness that you mentioned you feel about your dog's approach to others is actually telling you something. please look into enrolling your dog into some obedience classes and work with her consistently. also, when having other members of your family work with your dog, mention to them to remain calm and relaxed. dogs can detect if someone is feeling leary around them and sometimes that can cause more problems.

 
  #6  
Old 12th May 2005, 08:44 PM
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I know how you feel on the part of knowing that your dog is stronger than you are (we're about the same size apparently) and I know that Titan is stronger than I am, which is why we have enrolled in several obedience classes. He changed into a completely different dog after those classes. I too am his primary care giver and he loves his mommy more than anyone else in the world. He too can be teritorial, he use to growl at my mom when she'd hug me- which was when I ran to sign him up for classes. He has gotten over his fear of the family with time and several obedience classes. I wish I could help you out, but all I can suggest is to maybe go away for wkend w/o your dog (hard I know but when I did it Titan had a blast which surprised me, b/c he got to bond with other family members) and get you dog out in public more, they can never have too much socialization. Personally I wouldn't hit my dog if I were you, b/c you really dont want her to turn against you, and we dont want to see another horror story about a boxer doing something that wasn't its fault to begin with.
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  #7  
Old 13th May 2005, 01:46 PM
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Unhappy

Thanks for the advice.
Luna was in obedience classes when I first got her about a year and half ago which did do a world of difference. I also agree that brushing up on her training will help to rid her of this guarding/possessive problem she recently has.
As far as the "hitting" thing, which was equivalent to slapping a hand in the cookie jar before dinner, and that's all it was I assure you. I rescued my dog from a kill shelter, spent over $10,000 the first year on surgery (to repair a botched surgery the CACC performed prior to my owning her) and follow-up of all her medical expenses, etc... This experience wiped me out emotionally not to mention my financial mess, I am a graduate student who now only works part-time. Thank God for credit cards. Unfortunately you do not know me and how dedicated I am to my dog so I can understand how maybe a "whack" could be misconstrued as something more than it was. Like I said in the other responses I DO NOT HIT MY DOG, this was only one strange incident which I had an immediate (not typical) reaction too, so please do not say "don't hit your dog". I know you mean well but those who know what I've done for my dog could tell you that it is beyond me to ever harm my very best friend and baby, Luna.

 
  #8  
Old 15th May 2005, 09:17 PM
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I dont want to start anything but....

We know that you love your baby- as we all love ours very much also, but you can't take something out on an animal who doesn't understand why you're doing that to it. Hopefully you're right that it was just a one time "accidental" thing, but just think if it was a child- you would be in jail and you're child would be in a foster home....not being rude but just trying to put it in proportion for you. We love all boxers here and we want what is best for them and any other pets, and I really think you mean well but you must control your self when another life depends on you.