Why You Should Never Train A Dog to Stop Growling

Posted: May 6, 2014 in Dog Behavior
Tags: , , , , ,


Here is a scenario that plays out on your street, the dog park and in most people’s homes. It’s a great lesson in why you should not train a dog to stop growling.

dog growling

Jim takes his dog Bully Boy for a walk through the neighborhood park, it’s a lovely morning the birds are chirping, the sky is sunny and blue, and there are a few people also taking advantage of the early morning, and exercising their dogs. Jim Looks across the park, and just there is a woman with a younger puppy coming directly towards him at a high rate of speed.



Now Jim is a mindful dog owner and has taught Bully Boy how to properly handle a meet and greet. The puppy however is exuberant and very inexperienced when it comes to interacting with older dogs, so once he was within reach of Bully Boy, he began to jump relentlessly up against Bully Boy, trying to initiate play.



The woman seemed oblivious to what was happening and did nothing to curb her puppy’s excitement, and Bully Boy while he was not aggressive did not want to be bothered, so he growled at the pup. The puppy did not understand that growl as a warning, so he continued to jump, and lick Bully Boy’s face and nip at his legs, Bully Boy growled louder,.. loud enough to get the attention of not only the pup, but Jim and the woman also.


Jim who was throughly embarrassed by Bully Boy’s growling, apologized and quickly walked away.

Jim should not have been embarrassed by Bully Boy’s growling, and had nothing to apologize for, you see, growling is a perfectly normal and necessary form of communication, a warning that say’s “Hey I don’t like that”, or Don’t come any closer”

It should have been the woman who apologized to Jim for not having her pup on a leash, and hopefully the pup will learn to stop when warned off by older dogs, before he gets the crap beat out of him.

The lesson in this story is this:

Never punish a dog for growling, it is the same as taking the safety off a loaded gun, it can go off at any moment without notice.

Growling is meant to avoid aggression, not cause it.

A dog that has been trained to stop growling is a very dangerous dog.


There are better ways to deal with a growling dog, like distraction, turn your dog away from the source of their uncomfort, this tells the dog that there is nothing here for you to worry about.

Never yell or hit a growling dog, as this will only make things worse, and could end very badly.

If it is your dog that is growling at you, for what ever reason, wait until the dog calms down and then work on the issue, for example, resource guarding. If you need help contact a professional trainer to help you.

Remember, growling is a perfectly normal way for dog’s to communicate their feelings, and we should never train a dog to stop growling, figure out why your dog is growling, help them to feel better,and don’t view it as bad behavior.

I hope you enjoyed today’s post, please share it with your friends, and leave a comment below, let me know what you think, and if there is anything you would like for me to write about, or maybe make a video, tell me about it.

Thank you for your continued support.


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