Growling Dog Behavior

A growling dog can be due to aggressiveness or it may be used by the dog when he is playing or wants to play. It is important to interpret the dog's signals and be able to differentiate between the types of growling. Training may also be used to stop excessive growling.

What Is Growling?

Growling is a means of communication used by all dogs. Growling will be generally used if the dog is fearful, wants to establish dominance or when the dog is playful. The playful growling is not a risk, but if the dog is fearful and starts growling, this can lead to aggressive behavior.

When Is Growling Used?

Growling can be used by a dog in the following situations:

  • When encountering a stranger or a visitor
  • When encountering a new dog, especially if your dog is not properly socialized
  • When the dog is disturbed while eating or the food is taken away
  • When the dog plays with a toy and this is taken away
  • When the dog is chased away from a place he was comfortably sitting in
  • When the dog is busy and you try to groom him
  • When the dog wants to play or is playing with another dog or toy
  • When the dog has a medical problem

It is essential to identify the situation and differentiate between playful growling and aggressive growling, so as to be able to respond properly. If the growling has a sudden onset and your dog starts growling more than usual, this can be due to a medical problem, so you may consider getting veterinary help.

Training Techniques to Stop Growling

All dogs growl, and occasional growling can be tolerated. However, if your dog growls excessively and this becomes a problem, you are faced with a behavioral problem that needs to be corrected.

Identify what makes your pet growl and act accordingly. If your pet is growling when meeting new people or other canines, you should help him socialize and get him used to being around people and other dogs. You can mediate his interactions with other people or dogs in the beginning, and after a while you can allow him to interact with others without being on a leash.

The training will focus on detecting the situations that make the dog growl and making him understand that growling is not an acceptable response. The dog will be exposed to the situations that make him growl and will be gradually trained to behave in an acceptable manner.

Some simple at home training techniques may include using a sharp NO or BACK UP when the dog starts growling, or giving the dog a five-minute time out period. Your dog should respect you as the boss and respond as you require. You will let the dog know that growling is not accepted.