Dogs are very communicative and they’re usually trying to tell you something with their actions. It’s no different when they growl. If your dog is growling, it’s for a reason and stopping or yelling at your dog may lead to other problems in the future.
Why You Shouldn’t Punish Your Dog For Growling
A dog usually growls when he’s uncomfortable or afraid. And growling is his way of communicating that to you. He’s telling you to back off or that he needs to be taken away from the situation. However, when you punish him for growling, he will learn not to growl and may not give any sign when something is stressing him out. Here’s why you should not stop your dog from growling:
- The punishment may suppress the growl but his emotional state will not change. The pent up stress and fear will make him more aggressive.
- Punishing your dog for communicating with you through growling will hamper communication between you and your dog.
- It may damage the relationship between you and your dog and he might stop trusting you or find you unpredictable and scary.
- If you stop him from communicating, you may not be able to know when he’s being pushed past his limit before he acts out aggressively.
Now that you know stopping your dog from growling is not good, here’s what you should be doing if he’s growling.
1. Stop What You’re Doing
If your dog’s growl is usually followed by at bite, stop what you’re doing, back away, and slowly get to a safe place. However, if your dog is not one for biting, just stay where you are when he’s growling. Once he has relaxed, move away, and if there is no risk of biting, you can also remove your dog from the situation.
2. Figure Out Why Your Dog Growled
Dogs don’t growl without reason. If he’s been growling, try to figure out why. Is it because you were trying to cut his nails, taking his food away, or making him go outside when he wasn’t feeling up to it? Think about all the situations he starts growling and you’ll see a pattern or a specific cause.
3. Make The Situation Less Stressful For Your Dog
If your dog is being unreasonably fearful, say when you’re grooming him or playing with him, try distracting him with a snack or talk to him. You can also train him to forget his fear with a positive experience, such as playtime. If you’re having trouble calming or distracting him, you might want to consult with a canine behavior expert.
4. Try To Eliminate Stress Factors
Just like humans, dogs too can get stressed out. If you have guests in your otherwise quiet house, all the commotion might stress him out. In such a situation, if you take him for a grooming appointment, he might start growling because of anxiety. You can help him by making sure he always has a safe and calm place to retreat even if you have guests at home.
5. Find Out Why Your Dog Is In Fear
Sometimes, growling could be the symptom of a larger issue. It might be a sign that your dog is scared and not able to tolerate a particular situation. If you punish him, it’s the same as punishing a child for being afraid or anxious. Instead, find out what’s causing your dog to feel that way and see if you can do something about it.
Always let your dog be himself and try to keep an open channel of communication. If he’s being naughty or mischievous, you can punish him to show that his behavior is not acceptable. But if he’s trying to tell you something, shutting him up is detrimental to your relationship with your dog.