Skip to Content

Why doesn’t my dog growl?

Why doesn’t my dog growl?

If your dog does not growl, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you a number of possible reasons and what you can do about them.

So, why doesn’t my dog growl? Common reasons why dogs stop growing are being trained to not growl, injury, depression, or naturally not wanting to growl.

There are actually multiple reasons why your dog might not growl and it might be due to a combination of reasons. However, there are a number of things you can consider when figuring out the main reason and there are a number of things you can do about it.

Reasons why your dog does not growl

Below are a number of possible causes and what would make each of them more likely to be the main reason.


It could be the case that your dog is naturally quiet. This would be more likely if it has always been quiet, it otherwise has been acting normally and if it has not stopped growling suddenly.

If it does seem to be naturally quiet it wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing since it means that your dog won’t be bothering you or your neighbors constantly. It also means that, when it does growl, it will be because something really is wrong so you’ll be less likely to ignore your dog when it needs help or when it’s alerting you to danger.

With that being said, there are situations where having your dog growl can be helpful such as when you want it to let you know that it wants something. You can get your dog to do this with training that I will discuss in the next section.

Still becoming comfortable

If you recently adopted your dog from a shelter it could be the case that it is still becoming comfortable with its new surroundings. In this case, it would be likely that it will begin to growl more over the course of a few weeks. You can help by giving it lots of positive attention, training and by playing with it.

Past experiences

The cause might be that it was punished for growling in the past so it does not growl so much anymore. This would be more likely if you adopted it from a shelter and if it has always been quiet.


One reason why your dog might not be growling as much as it used to could be that it is getting older. When dogs get older their hearing declines so they won’t react to sounds as much as they would when they were younger. This can result in them growling less.

Vocal stress

If your dog has stopped growling suddenly it could be the case that it has a sore or swollen throat. This would be more likely if it stopped suddenly after growling a lot and if it has been coughing a lot.

Previous Training

The cause might be that it was previously trained not to growl often. This would be more likely if you got your dog when it was no longer a puppy. In this case, you could try getting it to growl more by following the tips mentioned below.

It could also be that you have inadvertently taught it not to growl in the past yourself. If you punished your dog in the past when it was growling or you rewarded it when it did not growl but it normally would then it could have learned not to growl. If you think that it might have happened then you should take measures to correct it that will be discussed below.

Medical Issues

The reason why your dog isn’t growling as much could be due to a health issue. It could be that your dog is not feeling well so it doesn’t have the strength to be active and growl a lot. If your dog has been acting strangely lately and it isn’t as active as it normally is then this could be the problem. If you think that it is then you should take it to a vet and make sure it’s nothing serious.

Encouraging it not to growl

It might also be the case that it has learned that it gets rewards for not growling. If you tend to give it things such as toys, treats and extra attention, when it does not growl or when it stops growling, it will likely growl less in order to get more rewards.

Things to consider

Below are some things to consider when figuring out the main reason why your dog has been doing it.

What else happened when your dog stopped growling

If your dog stopped growling suddenly, it would help to consider what else happened when it stopped growling. If it stopped doing it suddenly, it might be due to injury, something causing it to be depressed or learning that the behavior is rewarded.

What is different when your dog does growl

If it does growl sometimes, it would help to consider what is different when it does growl. If your dog only growls when it is annoyed, it might be the case that your dog does not like growling normally.

What to do about your dog not growling

Below are some options you have when dealing with it.

Ensure that it is not due to an injury

If your dog stopped growling suddenly and it has been behaving unusually, it would likely be best to take it to a vet. By doing so, you should be able to get expert advice tailored towards your particular dog and to rule out the possibility of it being due to illness or injury.

Train it to bark or growl

Another option is to train your dog to growl more with the use of positive reinforcement training. This is where you reward your dog for displaying the behaviors that you want to see from it and stop rewarding it when it stops displaying them.

To do this get some treats that your dog likes in your hands, give one of them to your dog so that it knows you have them then keep the other just out of its reach until it growls and then give it to it.

You’ll probably find that your dog won’t just begin to growl straight away so start out by rewarding slight growling and then gradually require more and more until it starts to growl.

It will probably start doing the other tricks that it knows, such as sitting or rolling before it starts growling. But, eventually, it should start to make noises that you can then build up to growling.

Make sure to only reward your dog when it growls when you tell it to and not to give it the impression that growling when it wants will get it rewards a loud dog can be worse than a quiet dog.