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The puppy stage of owning a dog is one of the most endearing, and one that you will remember for the rest of your life, wishing that it had lasted just a little while longer.
After all, puppies are absolutely adorable, and you can’t ever stay mad at them!
That being said, the puppy stage is…a lot of work.
Puppies are non-stop, and it takes a lot to get used to the amount of work that they can give you.
Not to mention that the rules you set down during the puppy stage are going to completely shape the behavior of your dog, so training is absolutely necessary!
Any bad behavior, no matter how adorable it seems at first, needs to be corrected and redirected in a positive way, so that your puppy learns what is okay, and what isn’t.
One of the things some people have trouble with when it comes to their puppies is growling tendencies. At first, it seems really cute, and completely harmless.
But growling can be a sign of a deeper behavioral problem that is starting to develop, and it needs to be corrected at once to prevent growling when your dog grows up, as well as other bad tendencies that it could then lead into.
But…how do you deal with this? What do you do when your puppy is growling?
How do you properly train your puppy to stop? And why is your puppy growling in the first place?
Don’t worry, we will cover all of these questions, and tell you exactly what to do in order to properly deal with your puppy’s growling. Let’s get right into it!
Why Is Your Puppy Growling?
The first thing you need to figure out is the reason for which your puppy is growling.
Because like with most problems, the solution is in finding the root cause and addressing it appropriately.
The first thing we will say is that growling is completely normal behavior in a puppy, to a certain degree.
If your puppy growls every once and then, this is the normal form of communication which is verbal, through which your puppy expresses a certain feeling or reaction.
Although it can come across as a sign of aggression, most commonly growling is just a way of your puppy saying that they are not comfortable in a certain situation, or with a certain thing that is happening to them at that moment.
Very rarely will it be actual aggression, and when it is it will be paired with other signs that make it obvious.
However, if your puppy starts to growl more often, and jumps straight to growling when it shouldn’t be necessary for them to do so, it could be that they are developing it as a bad habit, or that they have a specific problem that needs to be addressed.
In order to figure out why exactly your puppy is growling, you need to observe your puppy and the environment and make the connection.
If it happens often, then try to look for the similarities between the different situations, to narrow it down to the specific cause of the growling.
Just to help you out, as a guide, here are some of the most common reasons why your puppy might be growling:
- There is another dog present (puppies will growl at each other to establish dominance, or to test out the boundaries, or it could just be that they feel threatened or uncomfortable by the other dog)
- There is another animal (it could be another pet that your puppy doesn’t get along with, for example!)
- There are strange people (if your puppy hasn’t been socialized yet, they could become uncomfortable by the presence of strange people that they are not used to, and they will communicate this through signs such as growling)
- Your puppy is uncomfortable with a situation or a person, the growling is an “I want to get out of here” or “I want this situation to change”
- Your puppy is growling as a reaction to something they don’t like, for example, if someone is taking their food and they growl because they are unhappy with this, or because someone is trying to touch them
How To Stop Your Puppy From Growling
The first step to stopping your puppy from growling is properly identifying the cause of the growling in the first place.
You can then accommodate the situations to prevent the growling, and slowly train your dog to stop growling, by exposing them to said situations in a more positive way.
A key step to stop your puppy from growling will be socialization. This is a form of training in which your puppy will learn to be comfortable around other humans, as well as around other dogs and pets.
This way, your puppy will be more confident, and will not feel the need to growl when in these situations, which tend to be the most common cause of growling in the first place!
As for actually training your dog to stop growling, here are some tips that you should use:
- Prevent situations in which your puppy is prone to growling!
- Distract your puppy from bad behavior by quickly changing the situation or activity
- Do not punish your puppy for growling, they will not understand. Instead, use positive reinforcement to slowly redirect their behavior, this is much better, and the results are a lot more long-lasting!
- As soon as your puppy growls, remove them from the situation. Allow them to calm down somewhere else, then re-introduce them. Eventually, they will understand that they can’t growl if they want to be in the room or in said situation with you.
- Teach your family members and friends how to act around your puppy, to ensure that the training is not disrupted and that they do not cause bad habits in your puppy!
The trick to training your puppy is to have a lot of patience and to be consistent.
Your puppy will eventually learn, it just takes a lot of repetition, until your puppy finally understands what it is you want, and what is acceptable behavior.
Make sure to give your puppy treats and plenty of praise every time they don’t growl in a growling situation, and every time they make progress!
How To Prevent Your Puppy From Growling
Training your puppy to stop growling is very important, but do you know what else is important? Prevention!
Most of the time, when a puppy is growling, it is to communicate discomfort, which means it is not a good situation for your puppy to be in.
Especially because, once socialized, the situation should not cause any sort of discomfort in your puppy!
So make sure you accommodate the needs of your puppy and take into account that each dog is different, some are more social than others, and perhaps your puppy just doesn’t like being around people or pets.
Train your puppy, yes. But also, learn to interpret what your puppy needs, and avoid stressful and uncomfortable situations that would cause the growling.
In conclusion, growling is a normal behavior in dogs, but when it becomes a little too common, then it could become a behavioral problem.
It is important to socialize your puppy so that they learn to be comfortable and confident in situations in which they will come face to face with other humans, and other animals.
Teach your dog what is acceptable behavior, so that they don’t get away with growling every time they want something, and slowly build up trust with your puppy, rewarding the good behavior, and setting them up for success!