Why Dogs Growl and How to Handle It.Dogs growl for all kinds of reasons. Sometimes it’s because they’re feeling aggressive, other times it might be out of fear. But growling can also be a sign of bossiness or playfulness.
If you’re not sure why your dog is growling, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Is there something that’s making your dog feel threatened? If so, try to remove the threat and see if the growling stops.
If not, there are a number of training exercises you can do to help your dog feel more comfortable around whatever is causing the growling.
A dog’s growl is a low, menacing rumble that can be used in all kinds of situations. Dogs use growling to guard their favorite bone, to playing tug-of-war. But what is the underlying motivation for growling?
Is it aggression, fear, bossiness, or something else? And what can you do about it? Read on to learn why dogs growl, what it means, and how to handle it.
You can usually tell the difference between happy and stressed growls by looking at your dog’s body language. For example, if your dog is giving you a submissive grin or playing bows, then the growling is probably just fine.
However, if your dog appears stiff and is staring at you with a hard expression, then the growl is likely to be serious.
The tone of a dog’s growl can give you some clues about its intentions. A loud, high-pitched growl might be playful, while a soft, lower-pitched growl could be a warning.
However, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and assume that any growl is a sign of aggression.
This is especially important with dogs you don’t know well. You don’t want to misjudge the situation and get hurt. Teach your kids to always be cautious around dogs, even if they seem friendly.
How to Tell the Difference
Of course, other growls have an entirely different meaning. A dog might growl to threaten another dog, or it might be a response to feeling cornered. Growling is also a common symptom of resource guarding.
An injured dog will often growl to keep others at bay. In these cases, and more, growling indicates that something is bothering your dog.
Play and talk growls are different from stress growls in that the latter provides you with valuable information about your dog’s discomfort.
With this knowledge, you can take action to improve the situation before your dog resorts to more serious measures, such as biting.
What Stress Growling Means
Dogs use growls as a warning signal to tell others to back off. Most dogs don’t want to attack or bite, and growling helps prevent the situation from escalating.
This gives growls great value they give you time to intervene and help your dog before the situation gets out of hand. So next time your dog growls, appreciate it for the insight it gives into your dog’s state of mind and for the time it gives you to prevent injury.
Don’t Punish Growling
Growling is something that dogs do for a variety of reasons, but it’s usually not something that you should punish them for. If you do, you might inhibit their ability to communicate with you and could make the underlying issue worse.
For example, if your dog growls in the presence of other dogs and you punish them, they might stop growling.
However, your dog will still feel uncomfortable around other dogs and might snap without warning.
Punishing your dog for growling can actually make the underlying issue worse.
For example, if your dog growls at another dog and you punish him for it, he may think that the other dog caused your negative reaction. This will only make your dog’s discomfort stronger, since he will associate other dogs with your anger.
How to Handle Growling
If your dog is growling, the most effective way to deal with it is to figure out what the underlying issue is. To do this, observe your dog’s behavior and see what might be stressing them out.
If it’s another dog, for example, try to change the situation so your dog can relax. If the growling is coming from too much closeness to your dog’s bone, back off and let them be.
Next, determine what specifically led to the growling. For the time being, if you can eliminate that situation from your dog’s life, do so. For example, if other dogs stress your dog, don’t take them to the dog park. If your dog guards their bones, stop giving them bones, and so on.
Growling is a problem for many dog owners. If you’re dealing with a dog that growls, there are some things you can do to help.
First, try to figure out what’s causing the growling. Is your dog afraid of something? Once you know what the trigger is, you can start working on a behavior modification program. Techniques such as desensitization and counterconditioning can help your dog become more comfortable with the things that once caused them stress.
With patience and perseverance, you can help your dog overcome their growling problem.
Dog’s stress growling can be managed by making sure they are comfortable with their environment and never feel the need to growl again.
This may require the assistance of a dog trainer or animal behaviorist, but it is worth it to keep your dog from feeling stressed. If they do growl, now you will know how to handle the situation calmly and effectively.
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