Growling is Good!
My Dog Growled, what do I do?
Tell your dog “Thank You” and move your dog out of the situation that caused him to growl.
Dogs communicate predominantly using body language, usually if a dog resorts to an audible warning, he has offered many physical signals that we humans just don’t notice or don’t understand. A simple head turn away from a person is a HUGE signal to the dog, the dog is thinking “geez human, don’t you see me turning my head away from you?”
It is important that you don’t move the person or object perhaps that the dog growled at. We are not trying to teach the dog that his growl will make things that he doesn’t like go away, rather we are trying to encourage the dog to let us know that he is uncomfortable in a particular situation and teach him that he has the option to move away.
If your dog growls, use your outside voice and say “Thank You” with enthusiasm and kindness and encourage him into another room, give him a cookie or a stuffed Kong and some time to reset. Evaluate the environment and assess if you need to work to desensitize your dog to whatever he growled at.
If you “correct” your dog for growling, you are effectively training him to not tell you, or another person, that he is uncomfortable and he may bite seemingly without warning. Never teach your dog that he cannot communicate with you.