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What if my dog growls?

Your dog just growled at you when you tried to move his food bowl, pet him while he was asleep, or take his favorite toy away. What does it mean? What went wrong?

Dogs growl when they are unhappy with the situation they are in. If you have ever seen a dog growl at another dog, it is likely that the dog who was the recipient of the growl walked away. That's how dogs communicate their displeasure!

It's a completely normal way for dogs to communicate. What's important is how you react to it!

A dog growling can be frightening, especially when the growl is directed at a child.

Our first instinct is to correct the dog for growling, but lets think about why they are growling and what they are saying.

A growl means, "No! Stop that! I don't like it!"

Think of it this way: You are in a restaurant eating a piece of yummy cheesecake. The waiter comes up and puts his hand in your food or takes it away before you are done without permission. What would you say? "No! Stop that! I don't like it!" That's exactly what a dog is saying when he is growling.

If a dog growls at you, your first reaction should be to stop what you are doing and walk away from the dog.

This is especially important for children to know. If a dog growls they should IMMEDIATELY stop and walk away.

If a dog growls, it's a warning. If whatever is being done to the dog doesn't stop, the dog may resort to a bite. What other defense do they have?

Any dog can growl and bite. There's no such thing as a "bombproof dog." Dogs should not be asked to put up with children (or adults) messing with their food, throwing things at them, crawling on them, pulling on their fur, or teasing them.

You might be thinking - why not correct the growl so that it doesn't turn into a bite? Well, the reason it's important that your dog isn't corrected for growling is that we WANT them to growl before they bite. A dog who bites without a warning is an dangerous dog for anyone, particularly children.

So if your dog growls, pay attention to what they're trying to tell you. They don't like it!

And if your worried about a growl or a potential for a dog bite, contact a certified professional dog trainer for help. We can even help you here at www.PuppyPhd.Com. Contact us for more information!

page for more information on how to get in touch!

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