I’ve learnt something interesting about male English Pointers. Whilst the step-son was visiting us from France, Zeph took up growling. Just a soft low growl and only when the step-son was cuddling him. I took that to mean he didn’t like the step-son very much or was anti-French (being an English Pointer)! There was no aggression or baring of teeth going on.
But after he left, Zeph growled at El Hubs. Just once and we also noted a pattern. It was when he was being cuddled and usually at night time when he was tired or dozing. He’s never growled at me. We decided not to do what we felt like doing – strongly suggest to him Stop The Growling.
We immediately consulted Zeph’s breeder who revealed that this can be normal behaviour in some male Pointers (neutered or otherwise). It’s a sign that the dog has reached maturity and is also giving a warning. In Zeph’s case, back-off I don’t want to be cuddled.
The breeder advised that we must ignore him. Simply pay him no attention and walk away. He will soon learn that the growling business is not to be tolerated. If you punish the dog by yelling at him or threatening him in some way, this simply reinforces the behaviour and you could end up with an aggressive Pointer on your hands.
Zeph has since growled once and he found himself totally ignored. Zsa Zsa was given lots of cuddles and pats instead. A few minutes later, Zeph came up to receive his share of attention and we acted as though nothing had happened. Since then, we’ve had no more growls and it’s been over two weeks now.