Ask the Dog Guide: Growling Pekingese

December 31st, 2008 by Dan

Question: My Pekingese growls and snaps when you give him a bath. Why, if you pet him, he growls. He doesn’t like it when you touch his back part of his body.

Answer: Toy breeds often behave aggressively because they are permitted to do so. A good rule of thumb is, “If it wouldn’t be allowed if the dog weighed 200 pounds, it’s not allowed even if the dog weighs two pounds.” Pekingese are particularly prone to this problem, because not only are they small, cute dogs, they were also bred originally as castle guardians. A permissive owner and a Pekingese dog are a bad combination!

Upside-down Peke ready to be groomed.

Upside-down Peke ready to be groomed.

Photo by Beatsrhymesnlife.

To teach your Peke to accept bathing, petting, and touching the rear of his body politely, you’ll need to go back to basics, and I encourage you to seek the help of a qualified Animal Behaviorist. Aggression is no laughing matter.

If your dog were to bite a guest in your home, you’d be at risk of both civil and criminal penalties, and the dog might be ordered euthanized! It’s good that you’re asking how to work through this problem. Please work diligently with your dog to solve his aggression. It could save his life.

Use a “Nothing In Life Is Free” (NILIF) program with your Pekingese to help him learn to behave like a civilized house pet. This means that before he gets food, attention, or even is allowed to go through an open door to go outside and potty, he must obey a command. Start with simple commands like “sit” and “wait,” or insist that he allow himself to be petted before receiving something he wants.

If he’s never learned even basic commands, you’ve got some work to do! Pick up a clicker and some treats, and either read a book, watch a video, or look through a website about clicker training. Again, this is a good place to bring in an Animal Behaviorist to work with you and your dog.

Good luck!

One Response to “Ask the Dog Guide: Growling Pekingese”

  1. Sandra Says:


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