If your dog has been grunting or groaning you might be wondering why and what can be done about it.
In this post, I will show you a number of possible reasons why it might be doing it and what you can do about it.
Possible reasons why your dog grunts and groans are that it is excited, wants attention, is ill or injured, is warning you, is protecting resources or that it is actually being aggressive.
There are actually many reasons why your dog might do it and it could be a combination of reasons. However, there are also a number of things that you can consider that will help you figure out the exact cause.
Why your dog grunts, moans and groans
The different reasons why your dog does it will likely come with a number of clues.
Below are a number of possible causes and what would make them more likely.
Sometimes, dogs will grunt or groan when they are excited. This would be more likely to be the reason why your dog does it if it does it in situations such as when you are about to walk it or when you come home.
In this case, you could try not rewarding it until it stops groaning. So, if it is doing it when you would normally walk it you could wait for it to not groan and then to walk it then.
It wants your attention
The cause could be that it is looking for attention from you. This would be more likely if it does it more when you have not been giving it much attention and if you tend to give it more attention when it does it.
Instead, it would help to give it attention throughout the day but to avoid rewarding it with attention when it starts groaning by waiting for it to stop and then giving it attention.
Illness or injury
The cause could be that it is ill or injured. This would be more likely if it has started being loud suddenly and if it has been showing other signs of being ill or injured such as limping or being fatigued when awake. If it seems like it might be ill or injured then the best option would be to take it to a vet.
The reason why it does it might be that it is warning you or others to stay away from you. This would be more likely if it does it when it is being intimidated in some way and if it shows signs of aggression (mentioned below) when doing it. If it does seem to be doing it aggressively it would help to get the help of a certified dog trainer so that you can train it safely.
It’s protecting food or possessions
The cause might be that it is trying to protect something that it thinks belongs to it. This would be more likely if it does it when it is eating or when you try to sit where it normally sits. In this case, it would help to give it lots of training so that it learns how to behave but it would help to start by seeking the guidance of a certified trainer so that you can train it safely.
The cause of why it has been doing it could be that it is bored. This would be more likely if it is an active breed and it does it more when it has not gotten much exercise. In this case, it would help to make sure that it is able to get exercise on a daily basis.
It might be the case that it does it because something is causing it to be fearful. This would be more likely if it does it in situations such as when there is thunder or lightning, fireworks or when someone or another pet is around that it doesn’t like.
The reason why it does it might actually be that it is being aggressive.
This would be more likely if it shows its teeth when it growls, it has its ears erect and it moves stiffly from side to side.
If it is the case that your dog seems to be doing it in an aggressive way, the best option for you would be to get the help of a dog behaviorist or trainer in your area.
Things to consider
The way that it grunts, moans or groans
It would help to consider the way that it does it since it will impact the most appropriate steps that you should take.
If your dog seems to be doing it aggressively then the best option would be to get the guidance of a certified dog trainer or behaviorist so that you can see how to train it in a safe way.
If it does not seem to be doing it aggressively then it would still be important to have some caution since dogs don’t always show signs of aggression when they are being aggressive.
When it first started to grunt, groan and moan
It would also help to consider the timing of when it started doing it since it could be the case that the timing has something to do with it.
If it started doing it suddenly then it would make it more likely to be due to things such as becoming ill or injured, something causing it to be fearful or a change in its daily routine. It would help to consider what else changed at around the same time that it started.
When it does it
It would also help to consider if there is a certain time that it tends to do it more since it could be the case that the timing has something to do with it.
For example, if it starts becoming noisy when you would normally take it for a walk it would make it more likely that it is trying to remind you of that.
How to stop your dog from grunting, groaning or moaning
Below are some options you have when getting your dog to stop doing it. Making use of a combination of them will likely work best.
Positive reinforcement training
Positive reinforcement training involves getting your dog to behave in a certain way by rewarding it when it shows signs of behaving that way.
To use positive reinforcement training to get it to stop grunting, groaning or moaning you would do something such as:
- Stop giving it attention when it starts to make the noise
- Give it attention when it stops making noises
- Stop giving it attention again if it starts to make noise
- Repeat the above and reward it with treats when it does not make noise when it normally would
Avoid negative reinforcement training
Negative reinforcement is where you inadvertently reinforce bad behaviors by rewarding them. If you give your dog things such as extra attention, toys or treats when it groans it could be the case that it does it more in order to get those rewards.
Instead, it would help to reward it when it is behaving the way you want it to and to avoid rewarding it when it is not. It would also help to try and recognize when it is likely to start being noisy and to redirect its focus onto something else.
Make sure it isn’t ill or injured
If it seems like your dog might be doing it due to being ill or injured or it has started doing it suddenly and you are not sure why, the best option would be to take it to a vet. By doing so you will be able to get expert advice tailored towards your particular dog.
Give it attention throughout the day
If it seems like it might be doing it in order to get extra attention it would help to give it attention throughout the day but to avoid rewarding it with attention when it groans by waiting for it to stop.
Get the help of a dog behaviorist
If you can’t figure out why your dog has been doing groaning, it has been doing it excessively or it seems to be doing it aggressively, consider getting the help of a dog behaviorist. By doing so you will be able to get expert advice tailored towards your particular dog and to see how to train it in a secure manner.