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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Behavioral Issue: Growling.
Dimity is a 6-month old red female. In every instance, but one, she is a complete joy: she is loving, dog-and-human friendly, and positively animated.
She has, however, been through a lot in her young life: a partial toe amputation (now recovered) and treatments for coccidia, worms, and a urinary tract infection--all resolved.
Her one remaining health issue, a yeast infection in both ears, is being treated 2 X's a day with Flush and a follow up ointment. During our application of the medicine--we've been doing this for a couple of weeks and have used all the distractions--she has started growling, her head shaking with intensity, her teeth bared. When we test the ears for pain by rubbing the area (without the medicine in hand), she does not appear uncomfortable at all.
The only other instances of growling occurred 2 months ago: when I tried to remove some paper from her mouth and when I tried to move her out from underneath my desk.
She is not protective of her food bowl--no growling whatsoever when we move it, add food to it, or remove excess food from it.
We love the dog. These few instances of growling aside--the most recent being the most intense--we would describe the dog as gentle and loving.
Does anyone have any ideas about how to address the growling?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks to all for your replies.

In my initial posting,I offered her past illnesses as background, nothing more. The dog has been through a lot. That was the message I was trying to get across--nothing else. It was certainly not meant as an excuse for her behavior.

We have been responsible owners, taking care not to enable any aggressive behavior. Prior to purchasing Dimity, we had researched the ins-and-outs of the dominance-submission-alpha dog phenomenon extensively. We don't let her get away with "alpha" issues, certainly not during the paper and desk incidents, or her other less dramatic attempts to assume the lead role.
The growling I referred to in my posting was no mild gesture. She meant business. Dimity is a hard case: The veterinarian and his assistant required numerous attempts over 5 minutes to get one drop in one ear

We have used--still use--peanut butter in a Kong to distract her when we give her the medication. We have also spent a lot of time massaging and stroking her ears when we are not administering the medication. She does not object to the massage. We have read about this issue--growling--online until our eyes twirl in their sockets from overuse. The issue, for us, is the anomalous growling--what it means, what can be done about it.

However, we may have found the source of the problem: while she is not defensive about her regular food, or most treats, she may be defensive about this chewy hide that we gave her as a distraction. Tonight she growled at my wife who tried to administer the drops, while I held her. We used the hide as a distraction. The hide was used on the first incident, also.

I removed the hide from the room, waited 10 minutes, and we were able to adminster the drops, with considerable squirming on her part (but no growling).

I've had misgivings about giving the hide to her under any circumstances. I suspect that it is not good for dogs--at least some of my reading indicates that. So the remainder of the hide sticks go out with the trash in the morning.

Again, thanks for the comments.
 
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