3 min read (Articles narrated by Mabel)
Most humans assume that only mean dogs growl. They think that when a dog growls, it’s meant to be scary and frightening. Sure, it seems that way on TV, but in real life, growling can be different for every dog. So, what could growling mean for your dog?
Possible Reasons for Dog Growling
Dogs growl as a form of communication. While it is often used to warn or scare others, it’s not meant to be mean. I won’t lie, I growl sometimes, but it’s just when I want humans to know what’s bothering me. I never use it in a ferocious or aggressive way.
Growling usually means that a dog is upset or uncomfortable with something. It’s their way of telling you to stop behaving in a certain way because it bothers them. Oftentimes, growling could lead to nipping or biting, but not always. Either way, you need to back off if a dog growls at you just to be safe.
If a dog is growling at you to tell you they’re unhappy, they’ll usually have other warning signs first. They’ll often use subtle body language to let you know that they’re unhappy. Then, if you don’t pick up on their smaller cues, they’ll growl to get your attention easier.
Sometimes, dogs will growl if they play too. I always growl if I’m playing tug of war, but it doesn’t mean I’m angry. Growling is just an instinct I have when I play with toys, and I know many other dogs are the same way.
Is Growling Bad?
For some reason, humans seem to think growling is bad. However, it’s not bad at all. It’s just one of the many ways we communicate with humans. We’re trying to give off a warning so we don’t accidentally hurt you.
It’s sort of like when you get mad at someone else and you yell or tell them to leave you alone. Sure, it might seem mean in the moment, but you’re just letting the other person know how you feel. That’s how it is for dogs.
What Should You Do if Your Dog Growls?
If your dog growls, do not punish them! Growling is a normal behavior, so you shouldn’t scold your dog for telling you their feelings. Instead, you should try to figure out what caused the growling so you can prevent it from happening again.
Oftentimes, dogs will growl when people aren’t giving them enough space, when something is intimidating to them, or, if you’re lazy like me, when someone tries to move them from a comfortable spot. If this happens, just give your dog some space.
However, children often have a difficult time understanding how to react to dog body language. They often get too close to dogs and interfere with their personal space. Therefore, it’s important to teach children how to behave around dogs so that they can also respond properly to avoid any accidents from happening.
The only time growling can become an issue is if your dog ends up being too aggressive around other dogs. If that’s the case, then you should work with a dog trainer to help socialize your dog more.
If your dogs acts in an unusual way, they’re likely trying to tell you something. So, please don’t scold your dog for trying to tell you what bothers them. We can’t speak, so this is the easiest way for us to communicate with you. Please think about that next time your dog acts out.
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