Dog Growling and What One Should Do
Dogs have numerous ways of communicating. Dog growling is one of them alongside barking. Importantly, dogs cannot communicate with words like humans. Moreover, it might be hard to know when the dog is happy or unhappy.
What is Dog Growling?
Growling is common in canines and felines as a form of communication.
We cannot just say a dog growl due to pain as many factors contribute. To start with it can be due to fear, aggression, guarding their territory, or playing.
The growling can happen to other dogs while some remain quiet. Dogs have different personalities and also training help a lot. It should be noted, dog growling is a common behavior and can also be controlled.
One might like to know when is dog growling viewed as bad behavior? A dog can growl during play which necessarily can mean nothing. Although if this happens with aggression one needs to check keenly on the dog behavior.
We all react differently when in danger and dogs can growl so as to gain control and feel safe.
Why Do Dogs Growl at Strangers
Clearly, dogs are keen and alert and can know when a new person comes into their environment. Having a great sense of smell and vision the dog will either start barking or growl at the stranger.
It might be due to their dressing, how they smell, causing the dog to be anxious or fearful leading to growling.
Dog sense of smell is higher than humans as the dog can smell 10,000-100,000 times better. Obviously, the dog can detect when something is wrong and may react faster. This is where a dog can growl at one person and not another when he views the stranger as a threat.
A dog suffering from separation anxiety or fear can in most circumstances growl at strangers and new people. Regardless, training can correct even the worst of dog behavior. Growling is a form of communication and can be followed by an aggressive act from your dog, for example, biting.
As the dog owner try to restrain and reassure your dog once growling starts, to avoid any aggressive act toward the stranger.
Reasons for Dog Growling.
Leaving a dog for long hours alone can cause separation anxiety. Due to work schedule, one might find themselves being away from home for long hours. Even so, if your dog is not well socialized or trained to stay alone get a dog walker or someone to keep him company.
An anxious dog can be destructive and scratch and tear furniture, curtains, seats to name a few. An automatic camera with a programmed voice can assist in feeding the dog as well as keeping your dog company remotely.
When the dog growls due to anxiety one should try to manage the growling. Ensure your dog is well trained and doesn’t view people as threats.
Dogs that are not used to noise can be anxious when in a noisy environment and can growl or when passing near another pet.
No one likes an aggressive dog and anxiety brings that out. Training can treat dog anxiety. Particularly, if a dog is exhibiting high levels of anxiety it can develop anxiety and behavioral disorder if left unchecked.
Aggression is undesirable dog behavior. Furthermore, aggression can be triggered by fear, territorial, lack of socialization as a puppy.
Training can help in calming an aggressive dog but one needs to be patient and have enough time to train.
As a puppy when the dog is fearful he can run to the mother for protection. Nevertheless, as an adult dog he has no option but to be aggressive and try to be defensive.
Two dogs could also be in a fight and become very aggressive and you will hear them growling. It is good to stay clear of them as they can turn on you if they view you as a threat. Going in between them or trying to separate them with your hand is a bad idea.
Try to find out what caused the fighting and try to avoid that happening again. One can use counter conditioning or desensitization. Notably, try to remain calm and do not scold the dog.
One can know an aggressive dog as it has a hard stare, growls, barks, lunges, snaps, or bites.
A dog can sense fear from a person hence if the dog is growling as he sees you as a threat remain calm.
Without a doubt, dogs are very sensitive to the body language and reactions of the humans around them.
Remain composed and control your breathing to avoid any attack from an aggressive dog.
Remember a growling dog could be behaving like that because he is frightened of you and makes him a scared dog.
Fear can make the dog attack you even when you had no bad intentions. One needs to keep calm and allow the dog to discover that you are no threat. This may take time and also training will help the dog.
When a dog is afraid he might try to find an escape route. Following this, if no escape route is near the dog may feel threatened and react aggressively by growling and trying to bite.
Dog growl can also be brought about by food guarding or territorial. As a puppy, a dog owner should use desensitization training. Particularly, teach your dog to release food or other items, and control the feeding environment without growling.
This can be done by the dog owner although if the behavior is severe one can use a professional trainer or behavioral therapist.
Start by walking a bit near your dog food bowl and throw a treat near it several times. Once the dog is comfortable with you walk past and stand near the feeding bowl.
This is the start of desensitization training for your dog. Start talking to your dog too and say something like are you enjoying your meal?
Obviously, if you do this every mealtime daily the dog will get used to you being near the feeding bowl.
Do not go away even when the dog growls, repeat the process until the growling stops and reward with treats.
Your dog will associate the reward of treats to no growling and keep off the behavior.
Dog growling is controllable but one needs patience and time for training the dog well. As a puppy do socialization and counter-conditioning when you hear growling.
In addition, remove triggers from the dog environment that would encourage growling.
Proper understanding of dog growling behaviors increases the likelihood of adoption in dogs with growling problems that are housed in shelters.
Finally, with desensitization training, therapy, and socialization dog growling can be eliminated.