Parenting🐾🐾Tip: Behavioral - Growling
Some dogs also growl when playing. Play growling is often seen when two dogs are having a safe, healthy play session. In this case, the growling does not necessarily indicate aggression. However, it is still important to watch your dog's body language and make sure play growling doesn't lead to a dogfight. You may also notice play growling when you play tug-of-war with your dog. Gentle growling is not a bad sign unless your dog is escalating and showing other signs of aggression. If your dog nips at your hand, lunges at you, or the growling gets very threatening, it's important to end the game.
Potential Causes of Growling
Figuring out exactly why your dog is growling is the first step in preventing escalating aggression. A growling dog is warning you that it may bite. Since we don't have a dog-to-English dictionary, the following can help interpret what a growling dog is saying:
* Fear: Dogs often growl when they are afraid. A good example of this can be seen with dogs who are afraid of strangers. When a stranger approaches, a fearful dog may growl. This is its way of saying, "Back off."
* Possession Aggression: Some dogs growl over their possessions, such as a bowl of food, a toy, or a rawhide bone. When a dog growls when someone approaches it while it's eating or chewing a bone, it suggests, "This is mine, and I'm not sharing!"
* Territoriality: Sometimes dogs growl when they feel the need to defend their territory—think of the mailman approaching the door. When the dog sees someone who it believes doesn't belong on the property, it wants to let them know that they're overstepping their boundaries. Dog growling in this instance means, "Hey, you don't belong here, and I'm willing to protect my people and property!"