Sometimes it can be hard to tell if your dog is growling at something you can’t see or if they’re just grumbling because they’re hungry or because they want attention, but sometimes, it can be difficult to distinguish between the two.
Here are some ways to tell the difference between being threatened by something and simply being grumpy. If you suspect that your dog is growling at nothing, try these tips to find out what might be going on with your pup and how you can help him feel more at ease.
What Causes Growling in dogs?
There are a number of reasons why your dog may be growling. The first thing to do is figure out what triggers the growl. If you can identify what sets him off, then you’ll have a better idea of how to handle the situation and teach him not to growl in the future.
Some things that cause growling include:
- Your dog may be feeling territorial, so he might start growling when someone comes over or when he sees another animal on TV. He might also feel protective over his food and toys and will start growling if someone tries to take something away from him or if your pet starts playing with his things.
- Dogs might growl if they’re feeling anxious about something going on around them. For example, if there’s a storm outside and they don’t like storms, they might start to get anxious about it happening again. They could also hear thunder during the day for no reason and think it’s an impending storm that’s coming their way.
- Sometimes dogs will react defensively to people who approach them too quickly because they’re scared of being hurt by them or being startled by their sudden movements near them. It’s important to approach dogs slowly and let them sniff you before making any sudden movements around them.
Preventing dog growls
There are many reasons why a dog may growl. A few of the most common reasons include:
- When a dog feels threatened, or in danger.
- To intimidate other dogs who may be trying to make them uncomfortable.
- To scare off other animals that may be threatening their territory.
- When they feel like someone is invading their personal space.
- When they are angry and want to show it.
- They might growl because they feel like someone has stepped on their tail and want to let them know that it hurts.
- As a warning that if you come closer, the dog will bite you.
What to do If your dog growls
If your dog has never growled before, and all of the sudden starts growling for no reason, it’s best to get them checked out by a vet.
If you’ve had a dog for a while and all of a sudden they start growling, there are some things you should know. Do they have something in their mouth? Is someone near them making them uncomfortable or scaring them? Sometimes dogs will also be scared by loud noises that humans can’t hear, such as thunderstorms or fireworks.
Dogs with aggression issues may also be growling because they’re feeling frustrated, anxious, or territorial. Aggressive behaviours often stem from fear, anxiety, or frustration. They might be afraid of loud noises like fireworks, afraid that they’re going to lose their home (through a divorce), want to defend territory against another animal (such as a new pet), etc.
It’s important to identify what the underlying cause is and work on resolving those problems first before treating aggression with punishment-based training methods. Punishment-based training methods just add more stress onto your dog which could make aggression worse.
The best way to deal with aggressive behaviour is through positive reinforcement training where you reward your dog for good behaviour rather than punish them for bad behaviour.
How Long Does Growling Last in Dogs
Sometimes, your dog may growl for no apparent reason. But it’s not always a sign of aggression. It could be a reaction to an object or an unfamiliar person in the house, or even something as simple as the way you’re holding their leash.
If your dog starts to growl and doesn’t stop after you remove the trigger, then it’s time to see a veterinarian. It’s possible that they have an underlying health issue that’s causing them pain or discomfort.
Are There any Side Effects of Growlings in dogs
Growling in dogs can be a sign of many things, from fear and anxiety to resource guarding and territorialism. Some dogs may growl when they are uncomfortable, but some may also growl as a form of play. Dogs may growl if they feel threatened or cornered and sometimes your dog might just want your attention.
You need to make sure you take the time to identify what your dog’s growling means so that you can properly address the behaviour. If you think that your dog is fearful or anxious, it would be wise to get him evaluated by a veterinarian who specializes in canine behaviour problems and also consult with a professional trainer who specializes in aggression issues.