A Dog that Growls is Good
What? How can a dog trainer suggest a puppy or dog growling is a good thing? First, let’s take a step back and chat a little bit about how a dog communicates and how that ties into a dog growling at you, your child, other dogs, or what may seem like nothing at all.
Dogs are communicating with us all the time. In most cases, we miss out on what a dog is trying to tell us. When a dog is nervous or getting aroused, he typically will display subtle dog body language signals that we mere humans miss. He may look away, lick his lips, stiffen up, start to pant, or stop panting, drop his head, raise his shoulders. There are all kinds of things a dog may try before resorting to growling.
When a dog finally feels the need to growl, he is trying to truly make us or another animal aware he doesn’t like what’s going on. He’s not a fan of the situation. He’s also giving us a good warning: “Hey, lady, I really have had enough. You should just back off now.”
You can think of this action like someone pointing a gun and giving a warning. This is why it’s so important, I mean really important, not to punish the growl. If you punish your dog for giving his final warning, he will start to not growl and just go to bite. As I mentioned, he’s probably been trying to tell you for a while now, he’s not happy, and now he’s fed up. I would rather my dog tell me he’s at his wits’ end, vs. going for the bite.
What to Do If Your Dog Growls
Now that you know not to punish your dog for growling, your next step is to address the reason he growls. Just like dogs barking, there is a reason behind him trying to communicate to you. If you address the behavior behind his growling, the growling will go away. He won’t feel the need to warn.
😉 If your dog growls, especially if you have children or grandchildren, please seek the help of an experienced, positive dog trainer. It’s not the time to hit social media looking for answers or your friend or a friend of a friend. Your dog is counting on you to be his advocate and help him through his anxiety.
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