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  #1  
Old 10-30-2008, 08:50 PM
brickbacon brickbacon is online now
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Why does my dog purr?

When my dog is being petted, or is happy, he will purr/growl. Do other dogs do this? What exactly is happening? Thanks in advance.
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  #2  
Old 10-30-2008, 09:41 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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Was he raised in a house with cats? He's just trying to fit in with the other inhabitants of the house. He sees that the cats purr when they're happy, so being sociable, he learned to purr when he's happy, too.
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Old 10-30-2008, 10:24 PM
MLS MLS is offline
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My daughter's Peke does this. It's a low grrrhmmmh grunty sort of sound, but it's rhythmic like a purr. A vet told her that it's a soft palate thing, having to do with the deformed state of these silly, gentle dogs.
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Old 10-31-2008, 12:22 PM
Markxxx Markxxx is offline
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I want to kind of hijack this thread, it's not possible for a dog to purr is it? I assume he is just making a noise LIKE purring right? Or can a dog physically purr?
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Old 10-31-2008, 12:40 PM
Tamerlane Tamerlane is offline
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Originally Posted by Markxxx View Post
I want to kind of hijack this thread, it's not possible for a dog to purr is it? I assume he is just making a noise LIKE purring right? Or can a dog physically purr?
It's probably not the same, no. Purring per se is usually considered a unique feature of the felids, though the exact mechanism remains a bit uncertain. Given the uncertainty of how cats actually accomplish it, there is a remote possibility some dog has both the physical potential ( there are no known unique physical structures associated with purring ) and has figured some way to duplicate it. But I doubt it.

Much more likely a dog has perfected some low, steady "happy growl."
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Old 10-31-2008, 08:34 PM
brickbacon brickbacon is online now
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Originally Posted by Tamerlane View Post
Much more likely a dog has perfected some low, steady "happy growl."
Exactly. Sorry I wasn't more specific. Does anyone know how common this is, or why this happens? He is a smaller cocker spaniel mix if that helps. He is a shelter dog, so I don't know too much about his history.
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  #7  
Old 10-31-2008, 10:40 PM
Mr Buttons Mr Buttons is offline
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Seeing as it's halloween....

It's gotta be a cat in a Dog costume.
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  #8  
Old 11-01-2008, 07:08 AM
Acid Lamp Acid Lamp is offline
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Lots of dogs will make small noises when they are content or happy. While I don't believe that there has been a lot of peer-reviewed research on the topic, I've found that dogs who are talked to frequently and from a young age tend to vocalize more than those left alone with litters. We unconsciously either reward or discourage that behaviour as well. I've taught my dogs, for example, that barking is unacceptable most of the time, while encouraging other quieter noises. They now "murf" at me when they want attention, grr and play growl with each other, quietly whine or yowl when they need to pee, and make that curious purring growling "hrrrrmmm" sound when getting a lot of cuddles. One will also always respond to any sentence that uses the questioning sound structure with a specialized exhalation : Poof, Foop, or Poosh.

So, long story short, he purrs because he is happy, and you reward the noise.
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  #9  
Old 11-01-2008, 07:13 AM
FriarTed FriarTed is offline
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He's cat-atonic.

Thank ya, folks! Remember to tip your waitresses!
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  #10  
Old 11-01-2008, 03:22 PM
Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor is offline
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Could he be wheezing?
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  #11  
Old 11-01-2008, 03:37 PM
BunnyTVS BunnyTVS is offline
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Originally Posted by Mr Buttons View Post
Seeing as it's halloween....

It's gotta be a cat in a Dog costume.
Nah Cats are evil
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Old 11-01-2008, 06:12 PM
Karyn Karyn is offline
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Originally Posted by brickbacon View Post
Exactly. Sorry I wasn't more specific. Does anyone know how common this is, or why this happens? He is a smaller cocker spaniel mix if that helps. He is a shelter dog, so I don't know too much about his history.
I have a small cocker spaniel that I got from the shelter and he does the same thing. I joke that he learned it from the cats because he sleeps in a pile with 4 of them but I think it's just something he's developed as he got older. It sounds like a purr but it doesn't vibrate in the same way.
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  #13  
Old 11-01-2008, 11:16 PM
Jackmannii Jackmannii is offline
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Bessie the Labrador does low, sonorous rhythmic growls when pleased. Or at least I think she's pleased. It's sometimes hard to tell.

If it's a continuous vibratory sound that comes from deep within the animal I would investigate the cat-in-the-dog-suit angle more closely.
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