When a dog growls, it’s important to understand what the growl means. A growl can be a sign of fear, aggression, or even playfulness. If your dog is growling at another dog, it’s important to observe the body language and context to determine why.
Understanding the reason for the growl can help you determine how to stop it and keep your pups safe. Read on to learn the causes of this form of communication as well as what you can do to stop it in its tracks.
Why Does My Dog Growl at My Other Dog?
Here are some of the most reasons why your dog may be growling at another pup:
Your Dog Is Afraid
One common reason that dogs growl at other dogs is out of fear. If your dog is growling at another dog, it’s important to watch for other signs of fear such as cowering, tucking the tail, or hiding behind you.
They may be scared because there was a previous negative experience with another dog, or they may simply not be used to being around other dogs.
Your Dog Is Protecting Something
Another common reason for growling is if your dog is feeling protective of something. This could be a toy, food, or even you. If your dog growls when another dog comes near its food bowl, for example, it’s likely that the growl is a sign of protectiveness.
If your dog growls when another dog comes near you, it could be a sign that your dog is feeling possessive and doesn’t want to share you with anyone else.
Your Dog Is Playing
Believe it or not, some dogs will growl during play. This is usually accompanied by other playful body language such as a wagging tail and may even sound like a “play bark.” If you’re not sure whether your dog is growling in play or aggression, pay attention to the context and other body language cues.
For example, if two dogs are playing and one growls while wrestling, it’s likely that the growl is playful. However, if one dog growls and the other backs away with a scared look on its face, the growl is probably not playful.
Your Dog Is Feeling Stressed
If the other dog is more energetic than yours and is not respecting your dog’s personal space, your dog may start to feel overwhelmed and stressed. This can lead to growling as a way to try to get the other dog to back off.
This may add up over time. For example, your dog may be comfortable with the other dog in the house but may start to growl when that dog doesn’t stop pestering him while he’s trying to rest.
Your Dog Is Sick or In Pain
Sometimes, growling can be a sign that your dog is in pain or doesn’t feel well. If your dog suddenly starts growling at other dogs (or people) for no apparent reason, it’s important to take him to the vet to rule out any medical conditions.
How to Get My Dog to Stop Growling at My Other Dog?
The first thing you can do is identify the root cause of the growling. By knowing what triggers your dog, you’re better able to come up with a solution.
Here are some tips for addressing each of the most common reasons for growling:
Socialize Your Dog
If your dog is afraid of other animals or isn’t used to being around them, the best thing you can do is socialize it. This means gradually exposing your dog to other animals in and out of the house in a safe and positive way.
If there is a new dog in the house, separate them at first so they both have some time to adjust. Slowly introduce them to each other and make sure the interactions are positive (with treats, for example).
Never force your dog into a situation that is too much for him and always stop if he shows any signs of fear or aggression. This may take a long time, but eventually, your dog should become more comfortable around other animals in the house.
Feed Your Dogs in a Separate Area
If your dog is growling at another dog in the home, it is likely having territory issues. The best way to solve this problem is to feed your dogs in separate areas.
This way, each dog has its own space that it can claim as its own. You may also want to keep your dogs in separate rooms when you’re not home so that they don’t feel the need to protect their territory when you’re not around.
Separate water bowls and toys may also help to reduce growling and territorial behavior.
Rule Out Any Medical Conditions
As mentioned above, it may be possible that your dog has another reason for being in discomfort and growling. This could be anything from an injury to a more serious illness.
If you’re unsure whether your dog is growling due to a medical condition, it’s always best to take him to the vet for a check-up. This way, you can rule out any underlying health problems and get your dog the treatment he needs.
Provide Plenty of Exercise
Many behavioral problems in dogs stem from a lack of exercise. If your dog is cooped up all day with nothing to do, he may become bored and frustrated, leading to growling and other problem behaviors.
Be sure to give your dog plenty of exercise every day. This could mean a long walk or run in the morning, playing fetch in the afternoon, or even just some extra time outside in the backyard.
There are also plenty of toys that can help to keep your dog’s mind active and engaged, such as food puzzles or Kongs stuffed with treats.
By providing your dog with plenty of exercise, you can help to prevent boredom and reduce problem behaviors.
Try an Anti-Anxiety Vest or Compression Shirt
If your dog is anxious or stressed, he may benefit from wearing an anti-anxiety vest or compression shirt. These garments provide gentle pressure and can help to calm a nervous dog.
You may also want to try using a calming supplement such as CBD oil to help reduce your dog’s anxiety. Be sure to speak with your vet before giving your dog any supplements.
Hire a Trainer of Behaviorist
If none of these tips seem to be helping, it may be best to hire a trainer or behaviorist. A professional can help you to identify the root cause of your dog’s growling and come up with a custom solution for your pup.
This person will then formulate a plan of treatment and work with you to implement it. With the help of a professional, you can get to the bottom of your dog’s growling and put an end to the problem behavior.