Most owners know better than to approach a growling puppy. Growling, like barking, is another form of canine communication that only says one thing: stay away. If your cuddly friend has ever growled at you, you may have reacted with surprise. But don’t assume your pup is acting with spite—they may be protecting their favorite toy, feel pain, or have another undetected issue.
As puppy parents, it’s a good idea to understand what triggers your puppy’s growling and how to best prevent it. Read on to find out what you can do when your puppy growls at you.
Why is your puppy growling?
Growling is one of the many ways your puppy “talks” to you. Most of the time, a puppy is trying to let you know there’s an underlying problem, like pain or fear. It is also one of the first major signs of aggression so keep this when handling your puppy. Be sure to find out what’s causing their growling before you begin training. If their undetected problem is fixed, the growling should stop completely.
1. Pain: Your puppy may growl when a certain part of its body is touched. This may mean that they’re suffering from an injury. If they are ill, your furry friend may also show signs of lethargy, lack of appetite, biting, and other symptoms.
2. Fear: An unsocialized puppy is fearful of strangers and unfamiliar locations. They may growl and snap at anyone who comes near them. We at PuppyBuddy highly suggest continually socializing your puppy from an early age to avoid these problems when they’re adults. They may also growl during thunderstorms or fireworks displays—again, out of fear.
3. Territorial instincts: Sharing is caring but for some puppies, they want everything to themselves! They may feel protective over their favorite toys, food, and other possessions, causing their territorial instincts to kick in. You may also notice your puppy growling at anyone outside or even at you when you sit in “their” spot on the couch.
4. Too much fun: Yes, some furry cuties growl when they’re having the time of their lives.It usually happens when there’s another cuddly canine involved. One minute, they’re chasing each other around, and in the next, both are growling at each other as they wrestle. Of course, keep a close eye on your puppy’s play behavior when there’s growling since it can easily turn into aggression.
How do you stop your puppy’s growling?
Once you’ve found the triggers for your puppy’s growling, you may begin training your puppy. You may be tempted to scold or punish your furry friend when they first growl at you. This may actually make your pup’s behavior worse, leading to a bite. Rather than suppress your puppy’s growling, try the following tips to help your furry cutie.
1. Eliminate potential triggers. There are various common activities or events that can cause your puppy’s growling, including fireworks and thunder. Try to remove your puppy’s triggers from their daily routine. If you can’t, we recommend consulting a behavior specialist to help your puppy deal with their fears.
2. Make sure to visit your vet. Your vet is your source for the best information about your puppy’s growling. They may evaluate what’s causing your furry friend’s aggressive behavior and even give you tips on how to stop it. Take your puppy to the vet immediately if you detect your puppy has an injury or illness. They will be able to provide certain medications to help alleviate your furry friend’s pain.
3. Ask a trainer for advice. An overly territorial pup is problematic for many reasons. You wouldn’t want to be afraid to go near your fur-baby while they’re eating or playing. The best way to tackle this behavior is through training with a dog trainer or behavior specialist, especially through puppy training classes. They will help evaluate your puppy, and give you advice on the best ways to deal with your pup’s behavior. They may even condition your fur-baby into accepting their triggers, which lessens their growling behavior.
Your puppy’s growling may be caused by a variety of reasons, and you must find out why before you begin handling them. If you must close your window shades or keep your puppy in a quiet room to calm them down, do it. You should also warn others to keep their distance while you’re conditioning and training your puppy to stop growling. This helps prevent potential dog bites. Be consistent and we guarantee your little pooch will follow through!
Does your pup having a barking habit? Read our 5 Reasons Why Your Puppy Barks to find out more!