Earlier this year, I wrote a post about the rehoming of one of our dogs, Emmett. Emmett had been growling at the older dogs when they came too close to him and being deaf they could not hear him do this. Not only is this difficult to manage but sad because there was tension in the house.
We are now glad to say that we no longer need to do this. Emmett has been warning the dogs away from him and we have been able to manage the situations as they arise. We have also noticed that when he growls at them, they are able to see his body language and back off pretty much right away. If not, one of us is there to make that happen.
Luckily, Emmett does not attack the dogs who come too close to him. The most he has done is bark loudly to get the offending dog to move away. And it works. The growls go unnoticed by the elderly dogs because they are mostly deaf. Unless they can see his mouth movements, they really have no way of know that he is growling.
It is actually a good thing when a dog growls. It is the main way a dog has to let us or another dog know that he is uncomfortable with something. If a dog growls, stay away. It is a warning. This is why a dog should never be scolded for growling. If a dog gets corrected every time he growls, he will likely stop doing it. Instead, next time, there may not be a warning, just a bite.
When your dog growls to let you or someone else know he is uncomfortable, he should be able to trust you to help him remove the source of the problem. If other dogs are too close, it is your responsibility to move your dog out of the area if possible and reduce stress. This applies to having your dog both on and off leash.
It is important that you try not to convey any emotion such as anger or frustration to your dog who is growling. This will depend on how sensitive your dog is as some dogs may suppress a growl at the very smallest reprimand.
This is why training without corrections comes in handy. If you do not ever verbally correct your dog, you will be building a good relationship with him. Verbal corrections usually have fear attached to them. When you yell at or verbally correct your dog, the dog FEARS some other consequence if he doesn’t comply. This is NOT positive relationship building. This is actually intimidation.
When you properly raise and train your dog and then support your dog for reasonably expressing dislike towards something, you build trust.
Sometimes, certain dogs seem to have no problem with anything. At some point though, another dog or even a child may try his patience. If this dog is allowed to growl and warn, it may prevent injury or worse. Because the growl conveys important information to others, it is crucial to allow it rather than trying to stop it.