Dog behavior growling at strangers when we meet

Help! My Dog Growls When Greeting People

dog behavior growling at strangers when we meet

But if they reach out to pet him too fast, he sometimes growls. your pet's interaction with strangers during this training time can minimize the. I admit, that's a pretty broad question to answer because dogs growl for a lot the dog in order to send a message that we don't like that behavior. .. But, she does have a tendency to growl at strangers from time to time, . hurt to bring along some tasty treats for them when you meet them for the first time. Veterinarian and applied animal behaviorist Dr. Sophia Yin is author of the tries to reach for and pet him he often backs away and growls.

To encourage the dogs to approach strangers, work with hungry dogs and plenty of tasty food treats. Remember that strangers cannot use the rewards that they would normally use when training their own dogs — praise and petting. During rehabilitation, ONLY feed dogs from the hand. Any time you feed a dog from a food bowl is a terrible waste of potential rewards in training that otherwise could have helped the dog overcome his fears.

Feeding a dog from a food bowl hijacks training. Because the dogs will receive a whole bunch of treats in a single session, do not use junk-food treats, or else the dogs will end up with livers like geese.

  • Help! My Dog Growls When Greeting People
  • Chasing Dog Tales

Instead, use the dog's regular dry kibble garnished with a little freeze-dried liver. Each day, weigh out the dogs daily ration of kibble, put it in a plastic bag with a pinch of freeze-dried liver powder, shake well and use as directed. Tonight the dog will eat dinner, handfed by strangers.

Obviously, if any dog has a history of lunging, snapping, or nipping, muzzle the dog.

The 6 Types of Growling

Wearing an open-ended muzzle, a dog may safely take treats from the open hand. If the dog has any history of biting puncturing the skinthe following procedure should be conducted as a private consultation and not in a public class. Even though your dog quickly learned to approach you and your friend, it is highly unlikely he will run straight up to take a treat from the first stranger.

However, it is usually possible to entice the dog to approach at least part of the way. If the stranger stands at a distance where the dog feels comfortable, tosses a treat and then steps back, characteristically, the dog will tentatively approach to grab the treat before bidding a hasty retreat.

Characteristically, fearful dogs vacillate between approach and avoidance as they build confidence. If they are allowed to retreat and approach in their own good time, the vacillation gradually disappears, especially if the stranger retreats each time the dog approaches. Repeat this a number of times, with the stranger always stepping back as the dog takes the food, thus encouraging the dog to approach once more. Each approach builds confidence.

Once the dog approaches readily, use a lure-hand signal to entice the dog to sit before receiving the food reward.

What Should You Do When Your Dog Growls at Someone?

Again, lure-reward techniques are absolutely essential when training fearful dogs to approach and sit. The stranger must never approach, reach for, or touch the dog until he eagerly and enthusiastically approaches and sits. Once the dog has approached and sat to take treats several times in a row, rather than giving the treat, instruct the dog to sit-stay and step back a couple of paces with the dog restrained on leash.

The dog has become accustomed to receiving a treat immediately upon sitting and hence, will exclaim the canine equivalent of: Get back here with my treat". The stranger may now safely approach to offer the treat since the dog is no longer afraid. Only seconds previously, he had voluntarily approached and nuzzled the stranger's hand. The dog is now kept in a sit-stay while the stranger alternately retreats and approaches and treats the dog several times in succession, progressively increasing the speed and varying the manner with each approach.

Once the dog is accustomed to any manner, or speed, of approach, the stranger may stand in front of the dog and periodically offer treats while the dog remains in a sit-stay. This is repeated many times over, progressively increasing the scratching-time with each treat until substantial petting examination is possible.


The speed of hand movement and the vigorousness of contact are gradually increased with each trial. After sufficient repetitions, the stranger will be able to quickly grab the dog's scruff and hold on firmly and the dog will say, "Where's my treat good buddy?

Go on, grab me again! It is important to proceed slowly. A single mistake — just a little impatience — will cause an enormous retrograde step. Once the dog feels comfortable with approach and contact, it is time to combine the two exercises. With the dog in a sit-stay, back-up, approach, instruct the dog to sit, reach for his collar and offer the treat. Repeat this many times over, varying both the speed and nature of the approach and contact.

The above routine is repeated in Week 2 with the same people, each carrying something, e. Week 5 introduces the stand for examination and Week 6 the rollover for examination.


Additionally in Week 6, everybody wears a costume, walks silly and talks silly. Punishing your dog for growling may cause him to launch directly into a bite or attack, without any warning. It is important that you learn to recognize when your dog is uncomfortable in order to minimize the potential for a bite.

Signs of discomfort can be subtle, and can include lip licking, head turns, hard stares or avoidance of eye contact, yawning, panting, pinning the ears back and dilated pupils.

Why Your Dog Growls and What You Can Do About It

Once you understand your dog's body language, you can intervene at the earliest sign of discomfort — before the situation escalates. Start by consulting with your veterinarian; she can look for underlying medical causes that may be contributing to your dog's behavior. In severe cases, prescription medication may help reduce your dog's anxiety, which may improve the way he interacts with people.

I asked them to let him go and you should have seen the look on their faces. The dog was aggressively playful but otherwise totally harmless.

I got down on the floor and wrestled with him and played some tug-of-war with him. He was growling like crazy but definitely not aggressive. He was really just starving for someone to play with. Play growling can appear to be very ferocious to the novice dog owner.

dog behavior growling at strangers when we meet

It can be heard in dog-dog play activities but also when playing tug-of-war or rough housing with humans. Let the energy come down before starting back up. Some dogs will growl affectionately, when being petted, for example.

They may also growl as a request for attention. This is usually a low growl with loose body language that owners tend to think seems like the dog is trying to talk. Most people figure this out but sometimes they mistakenly think the dog is threatening them.

dog behavior growling at strangers when we meet

Threat growling is used when the dog wants to increase the distance between themselves and a perceived threat. This is seen in dogs that are fearful, territorial or possessive.

dog behavior growling at strangers when we meet

This is concerning, especially with dogs known to bite. Threat growling can be very subtle to the untrained eye. It may be at low volume accompanied by a closed mouth, dilated pupils, stiff body language and no breathing.

Once those fangs come out pretty much everyone gets it! This is the point when people realize that their dog is not a furry baby but is, indeed, a predatory animal. As a pack oriented predatory animal growling is hard-wired into all dogs, it does not need to be learned, they just do it instinctively.

The interesting thing is, that as scary as it appears, this aggressive display is actually good because it serves as a safeguard against injury.