Posted 25 Mar 2023

It’s normal to feel shocked, disappointed and even embarrassed if your dog or puppy growls at you, another person or pet. The good news is growling is a perfectly normal canine behaviour that can actually be very useful!

Why do dogs growl?

  • Growling is a method of canine communication that is used as a warning signal to indicate thata puppy or dog is uncomfortable, frightened or feeling threatened
  • Growling is a distance increasing behaviour that will often precede a snap or a bite
  • Dogs frequently use more subtle attempts at communication before growling such as lip licking, turning away and freezing. When these signs go unnoticed or ignored, dogs can feel the need to growl and even snap to get their message across

What should you do if your dog or puppy growls?

Stop whatever you are doing and review the situation. Is something happening that could be making your dog feel stressed or worried?

Growling is good!

Remember that growling is a preferable methodof communication to biting. Avoid reprimanding your dog for growling and instead offer some reassurance or remove them from the situation.

A dog who feels that their growl isn’t working may skip the warning next time and escalate straight to snapping or biting instead.


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