Dog trainers are often called upon to deal with the problem of the growling dog. The dog has a whole range of facial expressions, mimics and vocalizations to express himself with us or even with his fellow dogs. Games, meetings, all these situations of life lead to communication between dogs. And in these communication signals, there can be growling. Unfortunately, growling in dogs is demonized because society considers dogs that growl to be monsters, and we wish that this preconceived idea would stop.
WHAT IS GROWLING IN DOGS?
First of all, we will define what a growl is. The dog cannot speak. He has his own mimics and dialogue signals. And the growl is therefore part of the means of communication in the dog and it is therefore a completely normal behavior. A dog that growls is on the contrary a proof of balance and good exchange between dogs. The vocalizations are also part of the communication in the dog: whining, crying, growling, barking, etc.. All this is quite normal in the end.
WHAT TO DO IF MY DOG GROWLS?
WHY CAN THE DOG GROWL?
There are many reasons why a dog may growl: fear, play with other dogs, a dog meeting that is a little too intrusive, pain, aggressiveness towards an individual, etc. The growling does not mean that your dog is abnormal or dangerous, quite the contrary. It is only a way for him to express his discomfort, so don’t panic when it comes to this expression. The dog is on the contrary polite and balanced because he warns that the situation disturbs him at that precise moment. A dog that growls does not necessarily want to bite. On the contrary, he wants to stop the interaction and/or asks for space to be quiet. A dog that warns rather than bites without warning has a healthy attitude. So let’s not demonize growling.Let’s take an example we hear a lot today that scares many dog owners: growling during a play session.A dog that tugs at the rope and enjoys it can express his happiness by growling during the session and it is in no way a warning signal to the owner who is playing with him.This kind of behavior is only a way of expressing his enjoyment during the game.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF MY DOG GROWLS?
WHAT TO DO IF YOUR DOG GROWLS?
The first thing to say is that you should NEVER PUNISH a dog that growls.
We easily have the reflex to vocally sanction a growling dog with a firm “NO” or a physical threat in order to stop this behavior immediately. It is a human reflex and we have all been there and it is in no way a reproach towards those who did it. But why not punish? Simply because if we punish the growling, the dog may go on to bite the next time without warning because he will have understood that expressing himself and warning is useless.Also be considerate of children who can be noisy and who do not necessarily understand dog language, especially when they are small.In addition, do not confront your dog with the element that potentially frightens him and that led him to growl, otherwise, if he feels cornered, he may go on to bite and attack.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF MY DOG GROWLS?
It is important to understand your dog’s language in order to anticipate his reactions and adapt to them. The dog will probably tense up, bristle or have facial tension before growling. These signals will depend on the individual. Then, if your dog growls, move away from him immediately. Afterwards, you can call in a dog behavior professional to analyze the situation and deal with the problem.
In conclusion, a dog that growls is not necessarily a dangerous dog, it is a message from the individual that deserves to be listened to and respected. Above all, stay positive and contact a dog trainer to help you. The basis of a mutual relationship is to understand each other and we are here to help you.