It is a well known fact that a dog is a man’s best friend. While most dog owners take good care of their beloved pet by feeding and loving it aptly, they tend to lose focus while trying to understand their pet’s behavior. Similar to the body language and speech of a human being, a dog too exhibits his emotions via its body language and by barking or growling. Interestingly, while most dogs growl when a stranger enters their territory or when other dogs have entered the animal’s turf, when a pet dog growls at you in the safe confines of your home, it spells trouble.
One of the main reasons why pet dogs growl is because they may be seriously ill, injured or miffed. Hence, mistaking the growl of a pet dog as an indicator to leave the animal alone, is mostly a false interpretation. Growling dogs need immediate attention, as it is their indication to communicate with you. Dogs of smaller breeds may also growl when children are hogging all the limelight. Smaller dog breeds seek attention from their owners.
What to do if Your Dog Growls at You – Understand the Two Main Factors that Cause an Aggressive Reaction:
(1) The Fear and Frustration Factor
It is vital to understand the dog’s aggressive reaction before determining a remedy. A dog may get scared of the possibility of being punished, his turf being taken over by another animal or the puppies of the animal being threatened in any manner. Likewise, the dog’s personality, his low tolerance level, genetic makeup and lack of sexual satisfaction may force him to become aggressive.
(2) The Pain Factor
At times, the dog may be suffering from a painful disease that compels him to growl and then snap at you. In such a scenario, have your pet examined by a qualified vet and administer suitable medicines to your beloved animal. Thereafter, get in touch with a behavioral expert and have him eliminate the ‘bad habits’ of your dog.
A Dog’s Communication Medium Does not Require Punishment:
Now that we have understood that well behaved dogs growl only for the sake of initiating a conversation with their owners, their behavior should never be misinterpreted. Hence, rather than getting angry at your dog, you need to appreciate your pet’s effort to initiate a conversation with you. If you punish your dog for growling at you, you may either scare him from growling again or compel him to become aggressive. If you cannot punish your dog, how do you stop him from growling at you? Let us discuss some remedies.
What to do if Your Dog Growls at You – 6 Tips to Avoid this Embarrassing Scenario:
(1) First and foremost, you need to try and put a stop to anything that you are doing and pay complete attention towards your canine companion. If you have stayed with your pet long enough, you would understand when the growl is indicating a possible ‘bite’ from the animal. If this is the scenario then seek refuge in a safe place with immediate effect. If the growl is not indicative of a possible ‘bite’ then stay where you are but stop doing your work. Just be attentive!
(2) The second step is to determine your next strategy. After having gauged the intensity of the dog’s growl, you now need to determine whether you should restrain him, pet him, shoo him away, order him to keep quite or feed him treats while talking to him softly.
(3) The third step is to seek the help of another person (preferable a family member). You can have your family member feed your dog treats while you talk and pet him gently. Thereafter, you need to try and quiz the pet to reveal the reason behind his growl. This could be achieved by enacting certain activities that usually upsets the animal. After determining the root cause of the growl, try and make your dog understand that growling is not a healthy activity.
(4) The fourth step is to identify the main reasons that causes stress to your pet. For example, if your pet does not like other pets to come close to his turf, simply keep such unwanted animals out of your pet’s area. If your dog does not like being around strangers, then have another member of your family always accompany the pet while entertaining strangers at home. Excessive noise from a kitchen appliance or a vacuum cleaner may irritate your pet. Likewise, a verbal argument between you and your spouse may trigger your dog’s stress levels. Sometimes, physical and verbal punishments can also increase the stress levels of your beloved pet. Avoid all these scenarios for the sake of your pet’s health.
(5) The fifth step is to identify which activity creates the maximum stress level in your canine companion. For example, your dog gets stressed the most when you scream at him to obey a particular order. After identifying the reason, you should adopt ways to minimize this stress factor. Try and talk gently to your dog and feed him treats each time he obeys your command. When the dog disobeys your command, simply do not feed him treats and repeat the command. Feed him treats only when the pet obliges willingly.
(6) Opt for Constructional Aggression Treatment methodology to stop your dog from getting stressed and growling unnecessarily. For this very purpose, you may need to hire a qualified dog behavioral expert. An expert can modify a dog’s aggressive behavior by teaching the pet positive stress-busting techniques.
Always pay attention to your dog’s behavior. To gain more knowledge on the dog’s behavioral pattern, attend online classes or read books. You may even attend ‘one-on- one’ sessions with dog behavioral experts to understand your pet’s body language. After you have understood the psychology of your pet, it would be very easy to take firm control of your dog and stop him from growling unnecessarily.