Ok, let me clarify I don’t want you to actively put your dog in situations that you know will cause them to growl, however……..
Growling is often the last warning that any dog will give you before they bite.
It’s really important that we do not reprimand our dogs for trying to communicate with us. A growl is a dog trying really hard to tell you that it is feeling frightened or worried. It is essential that we encourage this communication from our dogs. If we don’t, all we are teaching them is that we don’t want a warning and we don’t want to listen.
This can have disastrous consequences.
A dog who is taught that growling is bad or naughty may still find itself in a scary or worrying situation, but the dog, trying really hard to be a good dog and do what it has been taught, will now not growl, but may still feel the need to bite……..
Dogs will in fact give us lots of other warning signs before biting, but they tend to be much subtler and so are less likely to be heard by their human.
Other signs to look out for are:
Licking of lips
Frightened eyes, often showing the white of the eye
Tail up high
This is by no means an exhaustive list, dogs try to communicate with us in hundreds of different ways using primarily non-verbal cues but also verbal cues.
The simplest way to keep both human and dog safe is to respect the dog and NEVER approach a dog, always ask it to come to you and if it comes you know it is prepared to trust you and will not feel the need to bite you. If it does not come, learn to listen….. it’s probably feeling worried or frightened and just needs a bit of time. DO NOT APPROACH THE DOG!!!!
If you would like anymore information on this topic or specific help with a dog that is struggling, please drop me a line with a brief outline of the issue to firstname.lastname@example.org
Peaceful paws always,