Dogs (and most people!) guard people, places, and things naturally, and growling is a dog’s warning signal. If the apparent threat disappears, the aggressive display may end with a growl, or it may be a sign that snapping and biting are about to occur. While all of these behaviors—growling, snapping, and biting—are typical of dogs, it doesn’t follow that a pet dog should engage in them as well. It is obvious that growling (at any time of day!) and the potential consequences do not portend well for a dog to enjoy a long and fulfilling life with his or her family. As a result, this is a major problem that typically calls for a professional trainer’s individual care.
Lido, like many dogs, was uncertain about his place in the universe. In a way, growling at his employees—or at anybody else, for that matter—is similar to a business owner yelling at their customers. I run a thriving business, pay my rent, utilities, and food costs by making my customers happy. They are aware that that is how business owners stay in business. Lido would be far less inclined to risk upsetting them (and so losing out on their ability to share their resources) by acting violently towards them if he realized that his people are essential to his existence (as they give the food, water, toys, attention, etc.).
Why growls at me when I try to move my dog?
When I inform clients that their dog’s growl is a good thing, they initially seem a little taken aback. A snarl is actually something to be much cherished.
These are my clients who seek my advice on aggression because they have tried everything else and are desperate to find a miraculous remedy that will make their aggressive dog into a trustworthy friend. When they learn that the paradigm that many of us grew up with—punish your dog harshly at the first hint of aggression—has contributed to and exacerbated the significant and hazardous behavior problem that has brought them to my door, they are frequently shocked and worried.
It makes sense to penalize growling. Growling results in biting, and dogs who bite people frequently have to be put to sleep. Therefore, let’s save our dog’s life and prevent biting by disciplining him as soon as he exhibits inappropriate behavior. In some ways, that sounds reasonable, but when you have a better grasp of canine aggression, it’s simple to see why it’s the worst thing you could ever do.
A Growl is a Communication Effort
Dogs often don’t want to bite or fight. The primary goal of the behaviors that warn of impending aggressiveness is to deter a danger. The dog who doesn’t want to fight or bite you makes every effort to get you to leave. He can start out with imperceptible signals of discomfort that many people miss. movement tension and a stiffly wagged tail.
He may become more threatening and display tension, a stern look, and a low growl if you persist in invading his zone of comfort.
If things are not heeded, he may become more forceful, using an air snap, a nose bump, or even an open mouth contact that closes gently on an arm without causing skin damage.
The dog might feel obligated to bite so hard that breaks flesh in an effort to defend himself, his territory, other members of his social group, or other important resources if that doesn’t succeed in getting you to go.
Agression is Caused by Stress
Many people are unaware that stress is what triggers anger. Pain, fear, intrusion, risks to resources, previous associations, or expectation of any of these things may be the stressor. When another dog or person enters his area, an assertive, aggressive dog may attack out of worry. Because of the tension caused by a human’s approach, a terrified dog may bite. The tension of the suffering causes the injured dog to stab his rescuer’s hand.
You may be able to suppress a growl, snarl, snap, or other early warning behavior when you penalize someone for it, but you don’t eliminate the tension that led to the growl in the first place. In fact, by becoming unpredictable and violent yourself, the dog’s owner, you really make the situation more stressful.
The worst case scenario, and the most important one, is that if you are successful in suppressing the warning signs, you will have a dog who bites without provocation. He knows it wouldn’t be wise to warn, so he doesn’t.
If a dog is scared of kids, he could growl when they go close. You discipline your dog by yanking on the leash and yelling, “No! Bad dog! ” because, as a careful and responsible owner, you are fully aware of the stigma and outcome of dogs that attack children. This is what you do each time your dog growls at a child, and it doesn’t take long for your dog’s dread of kids to be validated. He dislikes kids even less, yet he learns to keep his temper around them to keep you from becoming angry.
Because there was no growl the following time a youngster passed by, you might assume that he has understood that it is improper to be hostile toward children.
The next time a child approaches and requests to pet your dog, you say yes since you are convinced that he now accepts them because he no longer growls at them. Your dog has just learnt to stop growling, but kids still give him a lot of anxiety. The youngster is getting closer and closer to your dog, who is now really stressed out. He is trying to keep back his growl so you don’t lose control and punish him, but when the child reaches out to touch him, your dog can no longer hold back and lunges forward and snaps at the child’s face. Fortunately, you can stop him from connecting by securing him with the leash. The encounter has left a lasting impression on you, the dog, and the youngster.
When Dogs Cry for Help
A dog’s snarl is a call for rescue. Your dog is trying to tell you that he can’t stand the current circumstance “Please help me leave; I can’t manage this!
When your dog growls, your first course of action should be to calmly remove him from the circumstance while you make a mental note of what you believe may have precipitated the growl. Make a dignified exit. You’ll simply increase his stress and increase, not decrease, the likelihood of a bite if you appear stressed. Do not be concerned that removing him will reward his violence; your first duty is to ensure the safety of others and stop him from biting.
Stop doing whatever caused the growl if it was something you were doing. Your dog may have picked up a minor lesson on how to get you to stop doing something he dislikes, but you’ll counteract that when you teach him a ton of lessons on how that thing that bothered him causes incredibly positive things to occur.
Counterconditioning can help in this situation. Your dog growls because he associates something negatively with it, like when you touch his paw. He believes that having his paw touched is a terrible thing for whatever reason. He will begin to believe that touching his knee causes chicken to appear if you do this often after giving him a small amount of chicken. He will beg for you to touch his leg so he can experience some chicken.
Note: Verify that your dog does not experience pain when you touch his paw. Counter-conditioning won’t work if touching him there causes pain. If there’s any possibility that your dog’s growling might be caused by discomfort, it’s a good idea to undergo a complete veterinarian examination.
When you touch his knee and observe him excitedly looking for chicken, you can move your hand slightly lower and touch there until you receive the same response “The new location’s response to “Where’s my chicken?” Once he is thrilled to have you touch his foot, gradually get closer and closer to his paw to make chicken happen! Practice touching each foot until he is ecstatic to have you touch each one. Just keep in mind that the touch always heralds the impending arrival of chicken.
Depending on the dog and how thoroughly you follow the technique, the process could take days, weeks, or even months. If at any point you see the dog becoming more tense, you’ve gone too quickly. Restart after moving up a few inches to where he feels at ease being touched. Or, he might be experiencing additional stressors right now that are making him more tense. Verify his surroundings to make sure nothing else is causing him worry. He should ask the boisterous grandchildren to leave the room, take some time to unwind, and then resume.
Remember that while dogs cannot verbally express their concerns to us, they are able to convey a lot of information through their body language and canine vocalizations. Listen to what your dog is trying to tell you. Listen with empathy and heart. When your dog asks for assistance, treat him gently. Immediately assist him. Embrace his snarl.
What to do if you try to move your dog and he growls?
As a behavior consultant, I would argue that one of my key responsibilities is assisting clients in creating plans C, D, E, and so forth. I assist clients in realizing that there are very few circumstances concerning their pet for which there are only two options. When we use our imagination, we can come up with a ton of win-win solutions so that we don’t have to argue with our pet. There are numerous techniques for moving an animal without really touching it. Solutions to this specific issue include:
- Use treats or toys to tempt him away from the couch (or wherever you want him to relocate).
- instill a “off cue
- Utilize a cue for hand targeting or memory
- To prevent him from entering that area in the first place, install a gate or something similar.
- Create a spot adjacent to the couch that is incredibly comfortable, and show him it’s the best place to be.
Even those five alternatives have variations, and I’m sure there are many more options besides those mentioned above. With all of the options available to get what you want for both you and your pet, we no longer need to move them physically, and when we don’t move them physically, our pet has no cause to growl in that situation.
I try to move my dog, but he becomes hostile. Why?
Some dogs may act aggressively to demand to be left alone if they are disturbed when they are resting or sleeping.
Some dogs will bark as a warning to stop you from moving them, but others have figured out how to use snaps, snarls, or bites to stop you.
Take into account the following factors while attempting to determine why your dog is reluctant to be moved:
- The dog has learned to be hostile in order to keep people away so that it can get enough rest since it has lived with kids or owners who have bothered it or picked it up too frequently.
- The dog’s tolerance level is poor, and he dislikes being coerced into doing things by his owners.
- The dog becomes fatigued easily because of its advanced age or because it previously lived in a tranquil area before moving to a hectic setting. The dog becomes unhappy and violent when he doesn’t get enough sleep in order to keep people away.
- The dog is in poor health or has a painful illness, such arthritis, which makes moving painful or uncomfortable.
- The dog is attempting to keep people away because it is scared of being handled.
By taking your dog to a veterinarian for an examination, you can ensure that nothing is physically wrong and that he is healthy. This is crucial for dogs that have recently been rescued, are old or have lately started acting aggressively after being transported safely.
Go to “Problems When Being Handled” or “Fear and Anxiety” if your dog has any handling or fear difficulties with people.
Always ensure that your dog has access to adequate rest and sleep. Put older dogs or those that require more rest in a quiet room to relax and recover if your home is busy to avoid the dog having to defend its resting place. Teach kids never to disturb a dog who is sound asleep and to let sleeping canines alone.
Once the aforementioned problems have been resolved, train your dog to enjoy moving by tying a house line to it anytime you are in the house with it. (For more information, see ‘How To Use A House Line’.)
Pick up the end of the line every so often when your dog is relaxing in his favorite spot (but not sound asleep or really exhausted), entice him to move enthusiastically, and if he doesn’t, gently pull the rope to encourage him. If necessary, use mild tugs to nudge him until he moves, then slowly walk away. As a reward, give him plenty of praise, some sweet snacks, or a toy and play a game with him.
Repeat this process until he moves and comes to you easily when you call for his reward, and then stop using the line.
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When I shift my dog in bed, why does she growl?
It’s beneficial to work on general training and obedience to help the dog and, in my opinion, the owner develop self-control. Some of us find it difficult to instruct our dogs, and as a result, some dogs take advantage of the circumstance. (I can’t fault them.)
A dog will generally exhibit more self-control if it will sit when instructed to do so, come when called, stay when requested, and respond to commands like “wait” or “leave it.” She’ll be less likely to protect the bed from her owner and more likely to comply with directions like “off.”
Use the bed as a reward your dog must earn.
The “Nothing In Life is Free type of dog training is one that most of us are familiar with. In essence, this means that privileges like gifts, playtime, and use of the furnishings must be earned rather than bestowed.
I don’t take this to the extreme (my dog gets goodies all the time just because he’s cute), but if a dog growls at me or otherwise exhibits resource guarding behavior, such as growling over food or toys, I would have different expectations for that dog.
Reasons a dog is growling on the bed could be:
- Bed’s possession-like nature (dog views the bed as a resource or place of power)
- You or your spouse being possessive
- defending the area from other animals
- due to the PAIN of being touched or bumped, growling
- fear of being sat on or rolled on
Typically, the problem is one of guarding or possessiveness, and that is what this piece is about. You have a completely other problem if you suspect your dog is in pain.
Safety tips when you’re training your dog not to growl on the bed
- If you believe your dog might nip or bite you, don’t approach her or force her. Instead, use food or a toy to entice her away. Although it isn’t ideal, it is preferable to being bitten. Just take what you can from it to prevent a repeat of the circumstance.
- A quick tip: Ring the doorbell to encourage a dog to move!
- If using a leash or harness makes it simpler for you to control your dog, do so.
*Talking to a local trainer who can see your dog in person and provide advice is always a good option if your dog is acting aggressively.
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