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Contact me at Mom25dogs@gmail.com

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Dog growls


Is it a bad thing for your dog to growl? According to Pat Miller in the latest "Your Dog" newsletter, "Absolutely not! On the continuum of escalating aggression, a growl is a good thing."

She says that a growl is better than snarling, biting, or going for the throat. She says that a growl is an indication that he wants the threat to go away. It's that simple. She says that you should NOT punish your dog for growling because growling is only a threat or warning that the dog is uncomfortable or stressed. If you punish your dog for growling the dog sees that his fear is confirmed and he may skip the growling because it only makes you mad and you punish him. You may think you've taught him not to be aggressive but you've only taught him not to growl. When he perceives a threat or is uncomfortable or stressed, he will skip the growling and will go to the next step of aggression.

As the human being with an intelligent brain, we are responsible for handling this. "A growl is a dog's cry for help. It's your dog's way of telling you he can't tolerate a situation. He's saying, 'I can't handle this. Please get me out of here!'"

She suggests a better response to your dog's growl is to calmly move him away from the situation while you make a mental note of what you think may have triggered the growl. Make a graceful exit. If you act stressed, you will add to (your dog's) stress and make a bite more likely. Don't worry that removing him rewards aggression - your first responsibility is to keep others safe and prevent your dog from biting. If the growl was triggered by something you were doing, stop it...Your dog growls because he has a negative association with something..." Try positive conditioning training over time. If you move too quickly and the dog's tension increases then you've moved too quickly.

"Dogs can't tell us in words what's bothering them, but they can communicate effectively with body language and canine vocal sounds. Pay attention to what your dog tells you. Listen with your heart when your dog tells you he needs help. Come to his rescue. Thank him for his growling. Treasure his growl."

It's possible your dog is responding to pain. So be sure that he is checked by a Vet and is treated for medical conditions. For instance, if you have back pain you wouldn't want someone coming up to you and slapping you on the back. The pain would cause you to yell, "CUT IT OUT! That hurt!" Same with your dog. A dog can be stressed just like you. If you have a bad day and you come home and yell at the kids...a dog can have a bad day and growl at someone. Give your dog some destressing time just like you need destressing time.

Use your head and figure it out and move to help your dog. I was impressed with this article!

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