Canine Companion: Growling Is A Form Of Communitcation

This week I sat here wondering what I should talk to you about in today’s column. You know, sometimes there’s just so much on your mind that you just have a list running through your mind, that’s been me this week.

I did have a question come in this week, though. And, it was quite an interesting one. A question I address quite frequently actually.

When a dog growls, as dog lovers, we often quickly tell our dog to stop growling and redirect her attention. The redirection is good, but growling isn’t a bad thing.

So, today we are going to briefly discuss each type of growl. You know your dog better than anyone else so you’ll be able to tell which type of growl your dog is throwing out there.


Dogs sometimes growl playfully when they are excited. Those who aren’t overly experienced with dogs may take this as their dog (or the other dog) displaying a sign of aggression when, instead, the dog is just communicating her excitement toward playtime.


When your dog is extremely happy and/or content, you may hear a kind of low grunt type growl. Generally, she will look over at you (probably not move because she is cozy) and make a grunt growl. That is basically saying “hey, I am comfy but love on me.”


Frustration growling sounds very similar to an aggressive growl. This is where understanding canine body language comes in. If you aren’t sure if your dog is frustrated or feeling aggressive, take a look at her stance. Does it appear to be an aggressive stance or does she just appear to be overwhelmed? Then, find the trigger to either one.


If your dog is feeling territorial, possessive of any sort (of you, food, toys, etc), you may hear the threat growl. This is one of the growls that are actually the most important. This is your dog (or another dog) giving a warning. If you discourage this growl, there may not be a warning to another dog or person (whoever or whatever the dog is feeling protective of).


Finally, the aggressive growl. This is where it gets dangerous. I work with quite a few dogs who have an aggressive growl; generally dogs who have been abused in the past. If a dog is exhibiting an aggressive growl, there’s no warning left and she will do what she feels is necessary. Determine the trigger and do your best to get rid of it. Keep in mind, the aggressive growl is not to be taken lightly and you may need the assistance of a canine behaviorist with this.

Growling is good. Keep this in mind. And, educate as many dog lovers as you can. Clip out this article so you’re able to remember these. There is also more information in my book available at Barnes and Noble and Amazon called “Dog Talk: The Full Edition.” I

f you are searching for a comprehensive amount of information not only about this topic, but others, I highly recommend grabbing it. I have the book priced as low as I am permitted to so it’s not expensive.

You can also continue checking my Facebook page facebook.com/specialistamberdrake. All of my Post-Journal articles are available there as well in case you can’t find one you wanted to clip out.

That’s all I have for you today.

I hope you enjoy your weekend.

Until next time.


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