To make the task of stopping a dog from growling easier, we ought to understand why the dog growls in the first place. Growling is considered to be an assertive behavior which is triggered by any unfamiliar event, person or even another animal. Thus a dog would growl when an unknown or sometimes known entity comes his way. This is his way of saying that he wants to be left alone or he does not approve what he expects would follow.
In other words, he feels threatened. As soon as the approaching person or animal moves away, this would be interpreted as showing respect to the dog and soon the animal should stop growling. Anyone who has a pet dog at home should understand many such myriad ways in which canines communicate so that there could be safe co-existence between the dog and the rest of the family.
This is especially important when the household has children, who are known to be particularly affectionate towards any pet. What happens when someone ignores the growling and continues to approach the dog casually? The dog treats the situation as threatening and expects adverse events to follow. Therefore he may start barking, or even snap and bite the approaching individual or animal as the case may be. Having briefed you so far on the reason why a dog growls, let me provide you with 5 sure-shot tips to stop the dog from growling:
1. It is recommended that you should never punish a dog for growling. Your punishment or reprimand may stop the dog from growling temporarily, but he would develop a latent behavior where he bites or snaps at people, without any warning in future. So the best solution under such circumstances is to respect the animal and let him be. He would stop growling as soon as he realizes that there is nothing disturbing his peace any more.
2. Explain to your children why a dog growls and if the dog starts growling suddenly, they should immediate stop doing whatever they were doing as it is obvious that the dog is getting irritated with their activity. Ask them to simply move away gradually from the dog’s vicinity. Tell them to never run away from the growling dog as it irritates him further. Such incidents must always be
reported to the parents, as then you could focus more on this area while training.
3. It must be understood that dogs growl when intimidated by some one. Sometimes sheer size is perceived as a threat and the dog starts growling. So when a huge man approaches a dog, however kind his intention may be, the dog thinks him to be a threat. In such cases the man should squat and bring himself at the same level as the dog. Then approach him gently with extended hand – palm facing up. Then talk to the dog in a calm and gentle voice.
4. If you find that the dog is growling for no apparent reason and is snapping at every thing, it might be right for you to get a medical check up done for the dog. Your vet could do some tests to check hormonal balance, neurophysiologic functions and allergies, if any. You never know, there could be underlying causes for his growling, which when corrected could stop him from growling.
5. There are some dogs which growl when he is eating and someone gets close. The reason for this is that he is simply possessive about his food and scared that this person might take his food away. To correct this behavior, choose an adult who the dog loves most. Let this adult start feeding the dog and stay close to him while he is eating.
To start with, simply stay with the dog and talk to him with a reassuring and calm voice. Once the dog is used to this, then let the adult approach the dog while he is eating, go on reassuring him with his gentle voice.
Once the dog is used to this habit also let the adult touch the dog with slow and gentle movements while he is eating. Though this procedure to stop him from growling could take a long time, but this happens to be one of the sure-shot ways to reassure a dog and take away the threat element, which makes him growl in the first place.