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Our Charlotte is typically the sweetest most affectionate dog in the universe. She hasn't met a person or dog she doesn't love at first sight (besides the terrible pit bull that attacked her a few weeks ago but thats another story altogether).
We started crate training her from day one to sleep in her crate at night as well as go in while we are out of the house during the day. But because of a long strech of her being sick and then recovering from her recent injuries we have given into her sad eyes and let her sleep in our bed, which I love. She is a super snuggle bug all night and its too cute for words. However, once she has turned in circles fifty times, dug at the covers and sheets to make them more comfortable, and pressed herself as close as humanly (bassetly?) possible against me and gone to sleep if I try and move her at all when she is asleep she growls at me and has even snapped at my hands a few times. I don't understand this aggression? She has never growled at me when she is awake. Im afraid to move her once she falls asleep now but sometimes if I don't then I'd be left with the floor because she streches out and takes up the whole bed.
Is there something Im doing wrong? Or is there a way to avoid this situation that im not thinking of besides making her go back to sleeping in her crate?
 

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I'm interested to hear what the more experienced basset owners have to say on this. Molly has the same routine before she lays down on the sofa. If I get up she moves right into my spot. When I try to gently move her over, she growls at me too, though she hasn't snapped at me for it. I just figured it's part of her ornery streak.
 

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We have usually responded to that sort of thing with no tolerance, the dogs end up in trouble if they try it.
In bed in the middle of the night, like 3am, what would you do to stop the behavior? What would "in trouble" be?
 

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sleep if I try and move her at all when she is asleep she growls at me and has even snapped at my hands a few times. I don't understand this aggression? She has never growled at me when she is awake. Im afraid to move her once she falls asleep now but sometimes if I don't then I'd be left with the floor because she streches out and takes up the whole bed.
Is there something Im doing wrong? Or is there a way to avoid this situation that im not thinking of besides making her go back to sleeping in her crate?
let first start with the problem and that it is not unusual. Actual it is a normal adaptive dog behavior. And by normal I do not mean acceptable. When a dog especial a wild dog is sleeping it is most vulnerable. A dog the defends it self when being awoken is more likely to live another day and pass on genes for this hardwired trait. So now you know the origin, it is a natural instinct and quite common hence the classic say "let sleeping dogs lie". Such instincts are typically referred to as Fix action Patterns by ethologist and behaviorist. This is not to say FAP can not be changed but they are some of the more difficult behaviors to change and tend to revert back unless constantly worked on.

Punishment is general highly unsuccesful at changing Fixed Action Patterns. Typical for learning to occur the dog must be conscious, For punishment to work in addition it must be aware that it behavior is what caused the punishment. So typical in such a senario of a sleeping dog that wakes with snaping and biting. That if the dog recieves punishment for a behavior that it was not concious of It is not going to associate that behavior with punishment but rather it will associate the punishment with you in bed at night. and be even perhaps a bit more on edge. Often if not most often the use of punishment in such cases increase the aggressiveness not lessons it.

The typical behaviors model for such behavior is counter conditioning and desensitization, The first step is to stop unintentional reinforcement of the unwanted behavior, In this case the behavior is self reward in that it is a self defense mechanism and every time the dog is not hurt while using it it has the potential to be rewarding. Counter counditioning is basical classical conditioning. It requires no concious learning on the part of the dog. In the sense the dog does not have to rationalize behavior with consequence, In classical conditioning stimulus is always paired with a action and hence the dog will anticipate the action when the stimulus occurs. ie pavlov.s dog salivating in anticipation of food coming when a bell is rung. You can do something similar. However if while you are doing this the dog is snaping and biting every time you touch the dog then you reward him, it is impossible to tell whether the classical conditioning model above, or the operant conditioning model The dogs is rewarded for its behavior will take president . It is therfore advise to practice counter conditioning only under circumstance where it is not likely the dog wilol react with the unwanted behavior. This may be while the dog is still awake or slight drowsy. ie after it has done the circles but before falling asleep. And slow progressing over time as the dog behavior and reactions warrant.

is there a way to avoid this situation that im not thinking of besides making her go back to sleeping in her crate?
general dog only react this way to physical touch opun being awoken, There are other ways to wake the dog first. i.e. noise, smell etc, Once awake you can then do what you need to do.

That said there are ligitamate reasond not to let the dog sleep in your bed. One that is not ligitamate is the dog will come to think of itself as alpha and become a behavioral problem, This has nothing to do with dominance, and so called "dominance reduction" exercises do not reduce aggression. However a legitamate reason not to let the dog sleep in bed with you is it is intollerant of being jostled while sleeping. Personnallyt I would take a management approach and not have a dog that is touch intollerant while sleeping in the bed with me, but their are other solutions as well. They all have pros and cons.


Guidelines on the Use of Punishment for Dealing with Behavior Problems in Animals

American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior

Punishment: How not to do it
 

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does she keep trying to growl at you after she's been woken, or is it only when you first move and wake her? the others are right in that it's just her natural reaction to being jostled awake. If she only does it right away when being woken, i would say it's manageable to keep her in the bed still. Our beagle daisy hates being woken up, or getting up at night, and will grumble or growl, but i usually yell no at her, and then speak nicely and sweetly and praise her for being good for moving/getting up. She's very docile after she becomes conscious.
But, if she still growls and after you wake her and continue to move her, then shes a grumpywumpy and you might have to put her in the crate, or at least for a while crate her. She thinks it's HER bed and HER spot and you need to reaffirm that no, it's YOURs and she is not alpha! Bowser sleeps on and off in the bed with us. He pushes me out too, and he's so heavy now that i can't comfortably slide him over without really waking myself up to do it. He did growl at me once ages ago, but that stopped because i put him right back in his crate for growling. He hasn't done it since, but I do think he was VERY tired and really grumpy that day.

Like it was said though, you may not get her out of the habit because it's her instinct. Maybe if she sees being up there s a reward, and it's your bed, and shes safe and alpha is taking care of her she will stop! : )
 

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I have great sucess with grabbing the cheeks as fast as humanly possibly and giving a shake then saying ,almost growling back,"NO". If this is not the right solution for you I would put a leash on her and make it a very unhappy walk to the crate. That is where she spends her nights from now on.
 

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Ella does that too, if I try to move her when she is sleeping or really comfy she growls, she hasn't actually snapped at me but she definitely growls. I usually just grab her and put her off the bed/couch, do the adjusting or moving blankets around or whatever and then call her back up. Or maybe it would be better to call her off and make her get up herself? Not really sure but you aren't alone with grumpy sleepy dogs!! Good Luck!! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for all the imput. Im not sure what our solution is going to be because I do really enjoy having her in bed with me, especially this last couple of weeks that my husband has been away on a business trip.
I've been trying to wake her up before actually trying to move her by calling her name, giving her kisses, and rubbing her tummy and ears. She tolerates this and seems to be mostly awake but the second I put my hands under her to adjust her she growls fiercely. I guess i'll just have to be patient with her and try to avoid moving her if at all possible.
I really find it ironic that she puts up such a fuss if I try and adjust her at all when she is asleep but she finds no issue with standing on my back and whinning at 4 or 5am when she is ready to go out for her morning potty break.
 

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We have the exact same problem. But, I'm a pretty active sleeper and I move around a lot. I end up kicking her (not like violently, but running my leg into her from under the covers) and she growls. I'm glad to know Harriet isn't a freak. Sadly, we have the addition that if I move her too much, she wakes up and wants to go out. Ugh.
 

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Just know that every time you try to move her and do not suceed, she wins and it makes her more powerful,so soon anything she doesn't want someone to do to her ,like cut her nails,she will growl because she knows you will leave her alone.Then the bitting could begin if someone takes it to the next level and tries to force her to do something. You do not want it to go that far. Be sure if you start to make her move that you follow through or you will become more and more afraid of her. My dogs have never gotten away with that if one solicites a growl as I am taking something from them the disipline is swift . I do not hit my dogs but I will grab the cheeks. I raised my two from puppies and this disipline was enacted from day one. They are happy well adjusted dogs one is my pet ,one is my showdog they are both treated the same. I would not react to a rescue or an aquired adult dog in this manner since they may not understand what I want from them.
 

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t know that every time you try to move her and do not suceed, she wins and it makes her more powerful
1. That assume that a sleeping dog know you tried to move it which is a very iffy

2. It assume that the dog while asleep is cognitive of actions it is taking again very iffy

3. It requires the dogs to generalize one behavior to an entire different on ie moving while sleeping to nail triming. This is something the vast majority of dogs do not do very well. Dog are much better discriminators than generalizers.



4.
Then the bitting could begin if someone takes it to the next level and tries to force her to do something
This could happen regardless of whether she was allowed to win previous encounter or not, Meeting physical force with even greater physical force is a common defense mechanism the fight in the fight or flight response. and could be the exact response one gets the first time tries to physical enforce an outcome.

Be sure if you start to make her move that you follow through or you will become more and more afraid of her.
This dog is already doing more that simply growling when being moved. It is much more likely that physical demanding compliance will be met with esculating force which included biting. When dealing with such situation one must consider the emotional state of the dog. And work on changing the dog emotional reaction to such situations. Such as rather than a physical touch while asleep indicating the dog will be moved by force from a comfortable spot it comes to mean a treat is coming the dogs react to being touched while asleep will change without the risk associated with punishment or enforced physical compliance. And their is nothing wrong with managing the situation so either the dog is never hassled while asleep. By avoiding the situation you avoid rewarding an unwanted behavior unitentionally.
I do not hit my dogs but I will grab the cheeks.
Having a dog that I aquired through a rescue that was lip pinched for growlling I can attest it was very succesfull at detering growing. It was however not successful of modify the underlying emotional state that caause to growl in the first place. What the outcome is a dog that when feeling threaten rather than speak up and say back off would bite and ask questions later. Dose this happen with every dog that is punished for growling, certainly not but it occurs often enough to be a very real big risk.

I think it is a big mistake to equate growling as an act of aggression. Growing is a form of comunication akin to angery shouting. Is a person that is shouting more likely to become physical certainly but that is more to do with the underlying emotional state than the shouting itself. It is also an effective means of comunication of hey I feel threatened, leave me alone. which can dissuse more situation rather and instigate them.

Are there dog that try and gain an advantage with such posturing Certainly, Just as there are Human that try and Bully their way to an advantage but back dowm immeadiately when confronted. No different with dogs but when taking the conforntational approach you best be sure that who your confronting is bluffing or you could be in for a major whooping that is no different for dog than people.
It is one of the very real risks of punishment. When their are other effective techniques without nearly the risk I find it is generaly the better choice even if it might take a bit longer to accomplish the same results.
 

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As I said I raised these dogs and would not try any of these things on a rescue. What a dog comunicates to me if it growls as I try to make it move from a bed is, that it does not want to be disturbed, and" let me alone" to which I say, if I want you to move from this place and you do not move ,I will move you and if you protest you will be disiplined . (I can tell you have no children Mikey T) This is so simplistic and has never caused my dogs to fear me in any manner. The thing is the people who run into this problem have usually allowed the dog to get away with it too many times but they can choose what way fits their needs or makes them feel more comfortable if they want to solve the situation, or not. I may do it old school but the results I get are what I want and does not cause harm to the dog. I still believe there needs to be an alpha dog of the pack and I'm still it.
 
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