(Closed) Dog Snarling/Growling When Woken Up

posted 5 years ago in Pets
Post # 3
5660 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

I have only had golden retrievers so snarling or aggressive behavior has been few and far between. However we did have an issue with one when he was a puppy, where he would snarl and growl when we tried to get him to come out of his igloo. At the time what we were told was that he was (mistakenly) showing his dominance over us, and he needed to be taught that he was not the boss. The way we did that was to turn him on his back, hold all legs and look him in the eye and tell him no. This was about `18 years ago now as that dog is gone and the newer one is 7 lol. I’m sure other’s will have more/better advice.

Regardless of our method I do think it’s probably a dominance thing that needs to be corrected.

Post # 4
519 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

My cousins dog used to do this, I was there a lot so I seen it first hand.

The dog would snap its head up and snarl – show his teeth – and of course they’d all back off and just leave him alone. Eventually my uncle started showing him who was boss. If he snarled or showed teeth he’d become more stern with him and made it clear he wasn’t going to put up with it. Over about a week it died down to a faint growl when someone tried to get him up.

This is one of those things where it’d also be good to visit the vet. You never know if there is something causing her pain and that is why she is snarling and growling at you when you wake her up – she may think you are doing it to her. But at the same time it could just be behavioural where she is either pushing her boundaries or just being a grumpy dog because she wants to be left alone.

Post # 6
9118 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2012

Some dogs are naturally grumpy. You can’t fix grumpy.

However, it could also be a dominance thing and that can be fixed. You’ll just need everyone to assert themselves as alphas — Your dog should never feel like they are an alpha. They will always be below you and every human in your household. A behavioral trainer should be able to give you specifics as to what you should do.

Post # 7
766 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

@MrsD41503:  I’ve dealt with this with every dog in my life! The dog I had growing up was the sweetest thing- until you woke him up. He’d snarl and try to bite you. My FI’s dog has done this to me a few times (which terrified me because he’s 80 pounds) and my dog has done it to Fiance (but doesn’t have teeth). I think how you handle it depends on the dog. With the dog I grew up with, we just sort of accepted it and tried not to piss him off because he was old/in pain a lot of the time. Fiance popped his dog on the behind when he growled and snarled at me just because he is so big of a dog that he really could hurt someone. With my dog, who is toothless and 7 pounds, Fiance just gave him a stern “NO!” and he hasn’t done it since. I’d try to nip this kind of bud early. 

Post # 9
5956 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: April 2018

@MrsD41503:  There’s this phrase, let sleeping dogs lie….I know they’re domesticated, but don’t forget where the cute puppy in your house descended from, wild dogs and wolves, who don’t like being disturbed when they’re asleep.

This was so very true with my greyhound, who was used to sleeping in a crate where nothing touched him while he slept….then we adopted him and: Welcome to the House Where a Lot of Things Touch You While You’re Sleeping!

He would come out of a dead sleep snapping, snarling, lunging and all of that…then he’d remember where he was and stop it immediatley.  I figured out that if I was noisy enough and walked around and gave him a chance to wake up before I got in his face…that didn’t happen anymore.

I mean, if you were out cold and dead asleep and someone got in your face and started hauling you off the floor, might you protest a little?  I’d pay attention to my approach before I decided this was the dog’s fault.

Post # 10
11166 posts
Sugar Beekeeper

@MrsD41503:  I do the same thing. 😉

It is very likely a protective response. Your dog was vulnerable and sleeping and now something (you) is bothering it. Just continue to correct the behavior especially if it occurs in other circumstances as well. You need to be the dominant party here not the dog.

Another suggestion is to make sure the dog is not sleeping on the furniture or bed or anything that elevates it in location. You again want to assert your dominance throughout the home especially now with the dog being so young.

Remember that a one or two time correction isn’t going to do the trick. To change a bad habit in a dog requires a lot of time and persistence by you. I would also recommend enrolling in puppy classes. Learning other behaviors also allows your dog a more structured home and again allows you to the be dominant party.

Post # 12
5956 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: April 2018

@MrsD41503:  Its all a process, depending on the breed and their personality…I don’t really think this is a dominance issue, but a “You’re Scaring the Crap Out of Me” thing.

Post # 14
480 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

@MrsD41503:  Hey!  My rescue pup did this for a bit.  Our dog trainer suggested that for a few weeks, come with a piece of kibble (or other yummy thing) so the dog associates you coming near/waking them up with positivity.  Now, our 130lb puppy has absolutely no problems with us waking him up and he always is super happy about it – tail thumping away and ready for cuddles!

Post # 16
441 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2009

This is so weird to read because my dog loves being woken up.  Although, he’s a pretty light sleeper so it’s almost impossible to startle him.  When you start coming toward him, he’ll immediately lift a leg or roll onto his back to indicate he wants a belly rub.  So along the same lines as bringing treats with you, perhaps a belly rub as well will help him associate your approach with good things!

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