Basset Hounds Forum banner
1 - 2 of 13 Posts

· Registered
9,910 Posts
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

· Registered
9,910 Posts
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.

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.
1 - 2 of 13 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.