Excellent, good job of working with him!
i posted in a previous thread about how my basenji lunges at my cats. i think this is a more appropriate section to put it in..
ive got 2 cats, and raleigh, the basenji. they're getting used to eachother, and getting along pretty well now, being only about a week into knowing eachother. things are all fine & dandy until raleigh does this crazy move that completely freaks out the cats:
it's a very abrupt, in-your-face bow/lunge/jump thing. kinda like he's saying "haha gotcha, scared ya!" i tell him NO! right when he does it, to hopefully show him that that's a definite no-no. help!
another thing he did this past weekend was: my boyfriend was on 1 side of his dad's backyard, and raleigh was on the patio. eric called him over, C'MERE RALEIGH!! C'MERE BOY!" and raleigh came charging, and eric kind of bounced around, trying to do a little "catch me" thing. and raleigh started growling, and tried to nip at his leg!! what is that about? how do i fix it? his tail was wagging the whole time, he had a huge smile on his face, and it didnt seem very aggressive, but erics dad said that's definitely aggression, and needs to be fixed soon. again, help!!
doesn't sound like agression AT ALL to me. sounds like very excited play! I recommend How To Speak Dog, by Stanley Coren. I've read it, and it helps you understand a dog's body language, what certain types of growls (communication) mean, even facial expressions (ear placement, teeth showing, etc…). it's not the most comprehensive book, but it's a good start to learning that a growl can mean MANY different things.
from what you described, it sounds like your dog was trying to engage the cats in his level of play, and the same when your bf called - he called in an excited tone and then jumped around - the dog was only reacting to the excitment. sort of like saying "oh this is so fun! I don't want to stop! c'mon keep playing! woooooo! yayyy!"
Our dogs growl at each other when they play, and it IS a different growl than when they are angry.
I'm also wondering if Raleigh wasn't "talking" to your boyfriend. I know Jazzy's "talk" sounds like a growl to those who are unfamiliar with it. To us it is a completely different sound than her "Tasmanian Devil" "Evil Dog" noise she makes when she's made.
Sometimes freaks guests out when she greets them – they back up and look at me like, "Aren't you going to DO something?" until I explain that she was just saying, "Hi! Good to see you!"
haha thanks for the info. will definitely check out that book as well.