If your dog has been grunting a lot then you might be wondering why and what you can do about it.
This post will show you a number of reasons why it might be doing it and what you can do about it.
So, why does my dog grunt? Possible reasons why your dog grunts are that it is excited, trying to get your attention, ill or injured, doing it as a warning, bored or frightened.
There are a number of nuances that you can consider when trying to figure out why it grunts. Once you have a good idea of why it is doing it, you will have a much easier time getting it to stop.
Why your dog grunts
Each of the different reasons that your dog grunts will likely come with some clues in the way that it does it.
Below, I will mention a number of reasons that your dog might grunt and what would make them more likely.
Sometimes, dogs will grunt when they are excited and this could be the reason why your dog grunts. This would be more likely if yours does it when something happens that could excite it such as you coming home, or getting ready to take it out for a walk or when you play tug of war with it.
It wants your attention
The reason that it does it could be that it is trying to get your attention. The reason that it wants your attention could be to alert you to something or to remind you that it is time for food or a walk.
When trying to figure out if this is the reason, it would help to consider the timing of when it starts grunting. If it only grunts when you normally walk it then it would make it more likely that it is trying to remind you to walk it.
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Illness or injury
It could be the case that an illness or injury is causing it to grunt. This would be more likely if it has started doing it suddenly and if it has been showing other signs of being ill or injured.
If it does seem like it might be ill or injured then it would help to take it to a vet and get expert help.
Related: Why does my dog sit on my lap?
The reason that it grunts could be that it is doing it as a warning. This would be more likely if it does it when people are trying to intimidate it or to enter its space. It would also be more likely if it shows signs of aggression when doing it.
It’s protecting food or possessions
It is common for dogs to become more protective or even aggressive when they are eating. If it grunts at you when it is eating then it is likely to be the case that it does it to warn you not to approach it.
Dogs can often get aggressive when they are eating so, if yours seems to get aggressive when eating, it would help to get the help of a certified dog behaviorist in your area.
The reason that it grunts could be that it is bored. This would be more likely if it has not been getting the recommended amount of exercise for its breed. If it is not getting the right amount of exercise then it would help to make sure that it does.
The reason that your dog grunts could be that it is frightened. This would be more likely if it does it in situations such as when there are fireworks, sirens or thunder and lightning.
The reason that it grunts could be that it is being aggressive. This would be more likely if it also shows other signs of aggression when doing it such as showing its teeth and stiffening its legs.
In this case, it would help to get the guidance of a certified dog behaviorist in your area.
Sometimes dogs will grunt when they are dreaming. This would be more likely to be the reason if your dog only seems to grunt when it is sleeping.
Things to consider
Below, I will mention some particularly helpful things to consider when trying to figure out why your dog is grunting. Once you have a better idea of the cause it will be easier to take the appropriate action.
The way that your dog grunts
If your dog seems to be grunting aggressively then the best option for you would be to get the help of a certified dog behaviorist or trainer who will be able to give you expert help for your particular dog.
If it does not seem to do it aggressively, then it could be the case that it does it for any of the reasons mentioned above but it would help to still be cautious.
When your dog first started to grunt
The timing of when it first started to grunt would also be helpful to consider.
If it never used to grunt but it suddenly started doing it then it would help to think about what else happened at around the same time that it started doing it.
Some things that might have happened could include:
- Moving homes
- Someone was aggressive towards it
- Someone moved away or another pet died
When your dog grunts
The timing of when it does it could also give you some clues as to the reason.
If you notice that it only seems to grunt when you would normally walk it then it might be trying to remind you to walk it. Whereas, if it does it when someone is at the door then it is more likely that it is being protective or doing it as a warning.
How to stop your dog from grunting
There are a number of things that you can do about your dog grunting. The best option for your dog will largely depend on the cause of it doing it.
Below, I will mention a number of things that you can do about it.
Positive reinforcement training
One option would be to try positive reinforcement training. This is where you reward your dog for behaving the way that you want it to.
To use it to get it to stop grunting 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 training is where you reward your dog for doing things that you do not want it to do. If you tend to give your dog things that it wants, when it grunts, such as toys, treats or chews then it could be that it has learned that grunting gets it things that it wants.
Instead, it would help to reward it when it is being well behaved and to train it not to grunt like mentioned above.
Make sure it isn’t ill or injured
If it seems like illness or injury might be the cause then it would help to take it to a vet. This would be especially important if it has started doing it suddenly and if it has been showing other signs of being ill or injured.
Give it attention throughout the day
Since it might be doing it to get attention from you, it would help to give it attention throughout the day by playing with it, giving it training or walking it.
Get the help of a dog behaviorist
If your dog grunts aggressively, you can’t figure out why it does it or you can’t get it to stop then it would help to get the help of a dog behaviorist. By doing so you will be able to get expert guidance tailored towards your particular dog.