Dogs have their own way of communicating. In addition to body language, such as tail wagging and the alignment of the ears, dogs also communicate through sounds such as barking, yowling, or growling. Many dog owners are frightened when the dog growls at them. However, growling can be for a variety of reasons. Here you can read what is behind it and how to behave properly when your dog growls.
Growling Dog in Brief
- Growling is part of the dog’s normal communication.
- Most of the time, uncertainty, fear, distress, dominance, or frustration are the triggers for the growl.
- If your four-legged friend growls at you, stay calm and try to interpret the behavior correctly, and avoid such situations in the future.
- Dogs should never be punished for growling, as punishment can lead to aggressive behavior such as biting.
Why is My Dog Growling at Me All of a Sudden
Growling is an important part of dog communication and social behavior. By growling, the four-legged friend shows that he feels uncomfortable, distressed, or threatened. Even with fear, pain, or frustration, the dog growls at its owner. Contrary to what many people think, growling is not necessarily an expression of aggressiveness.
Just because the dog growls doesn’t mean he’s about to attack.
The growl is a warning: the dog is dissatisfied with the situation and expects to be appeased.
What are the Triggers for the Growl?
To find out why your dog is growling at you, you need to closely monitor his behavior. The better you know your furry friend, the better you can interpret its behavior. Pay attention to the situation in which your dog growls and whether it is sending important body signals beforehand, for example, the drawing in of the tail, big ears, barking, or the like.
Over time, you will see the most common reasons your dog growls. These include:
Threat: Dog growls at visitors or children
If the dog growls at strangers, visitors, or children, it probably feels threatened or threatened. Especially in their own home, i.e. in their territory, visitors often scare the dog. He wants to defend his territory and shows by growling that the strangers should keep their distance.
If the dog growls at its owner, this may also be due to a feeling of threat, for example, if it lacks quiet places to retreat when it wants to sleep. Or he sees himself so threatened by a fellow soldier that he becomes jealous.
Growling at frustration or distress
A common situation in which the fur nose growls at its owner is playing or eating. For example, if your dog chews with relish on a bone or plays with a toy, it can become frustrating if it is taken away from it or if it is approached. The dog defends his food or toy and growls at the troublemaker.
Some dogs also growl when they eat. Dogs in particular, which are used to competing with other dogs for food from the past, often growl when they eat.
Growling at fear and fright
Anxiety is a common trigger for dog growling. Whether fear of other dogs, of people, cars, bicycles, and the New Year’s Eve fireworks: every dog has different situations, objects, or noises. If the dog is terrified of something, it often creates fear.
As an avoidance strategy, the dog will start growling as soon as you expose it to the situation. If the dog is particularly frightened or very frightened, it can growl at you.
Growling when in pain
If your dog growls at you, pain can also be a trigger. For example, if the animal has injured its paw while walking, your dog may growl at you as soon as you try to approach it or investigate the injury.
Our Recommendation: Show Sensitivity
Correct handling of a growling dog is important to avoid escalation and improve communication between dog and human:
- Knowing why your dog is growling can help you avoid situations like this. Do not upset him and help him reduce fears. This will save you and your pet a lot of stress.
- If your dog growls at you, stay calm and show them that you don’t mean any harm to them. Learn to interpret your dog’s signals and show understanding and patience.
- Under no circumstances should you punish your dog for growling. The use of punishment can lead to the dog foregoing growling as a warning in the future and, in the worst case, snapping or biting without notice.
- If you are stuck with training, you can seek advice from a professional dog trainer. Together with you, he will analyze why the dog is growling and how you should behave in the situation.