If your dog has been growling and wagging its tail, this post will show you likely reasons why and what you can do about them.
So, why does my dog wag its tail and growl? Likely reasons why your dog wags its tail and growls are that it is feeling threatened, it is excited, it wants something from you, it is being aggressive or that it has learned that the behavior is rewarded.
There are a number of possible causes and your dog might be doing it due to a combination of reasons. However, there are some things you can consider to help figure out the main cause and there are some things you can do about it.
Why does my dog wag its tail and growl?
Below are likely causes and what would make each of them more likely.
It is feeling threatened
A dog wagging its tail does not always mean that it is friendly. The reason why your dog has been wagging its tail and growling could be that it is feeling threatened. This would be more likely if your dog has been doing it more at a time when it is likely to feel threatened such as when you are shouting, when there are certain people nearby or when there are loud noises inside.
It is also possible that your dog has been doing it due to excitement. This would be more likely if it does it more at a time when it is likely to be excited such as when taking it for a walk or before feeding it in the morning.
It is being aggressive
Another possible cause is that your dog is actually being aggressive. This would be more likely if your dog also does things such as snarl, bark, show its teeth and have a stiff posture.
It wants something from you
It could also be the case that your dog is trying to get something from you. This would be more likely if your dog does it at a certain time such as when you are eating or before you would normally give it something such as food or exercise.
Encouraging the behavior
It could also be the case that your dog has learned that the behavior is rewarded. If you tend to give your dog things such as extra attention or treats, when it wags its tail and growls, it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards.
Things to consider
Here are some things to consider to help figure out the main cause.
If your dog has always wagged its tail and growled
If your dog has not always wagged its tail and growled, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it. If it started doing it suddenly, it could be due to a change in its environment, a change in its daily routine causing it to growl to remind you of things or learning that the behavior is rewarded.
The timing of when your dog wags its tail and growls
It would also help to consider the timing of when your dog wags its tail and growls. If it does it more at a certain time, it would be likely that the timing has something to do with it. For example, if your dog does it at around the same time you would normally walk it, the cause would be more likely to be that it is trying to remind you to walk it.
The body language your dog shows
It would also help to consider the body language your dog shows when it does it. If it does things such as snarl and bark with a stiff posture, it would be more likely that it is being aggressive and warning you to leave it alone. Whereas, if it does things such as jump up and lick you, the cause would be more likely to be due to excitement.
What to do about my dog wagging its tail and growling?
Below are some things you can do about the behavior.
If it seems like your dog has been doing it due to being aggressive the best option would be to get help from a dog trainer or behaviorist in your area. By doing so, you should be able to get expert advice tailored towards your particular dog and to see how to deal with it safely.
Avoid intimidating it
As mentioned above, it could be the case that it has been doing it due to intimidation. Instead, it would help to be calm around it and to use positive reinforcement training or similar training methods to get your dog to behave the way you want it to instead of using threatening measures.
Avoid rewarding the behavior
It would also help to avoid rewarding the behavior by not giving it attention until it stops barking. Doing this should teach your dog that barking does not result in it getting rewards.