Since our dogs can’t speak, one thing we can teach them is to growl on command. It’s a nice trick that will also help manage your dog’s incessant growling. Knowing how to teach a dog to growl on command is pretty easy. You only need some treats, a clicker, and some patience.
Why do dogs growl?
Like barking, growling is your dog’s way of communicating. However, you should know that dogs make different types of growl, which can be indicative of their feelings and behavior.
Since dogs can’t speak, they use barking and growling to express their sentiments. It can be anything from displeasure, aggression, or simply being playful. No matter what it is, you must have control over the dog’s growling, or it will become a problem.
You should pay attention to your dog’s body language and situation while it growls. Bared teeth, tall gait, erect ears, and high tail are signs of aggressive growling. This could happen when they have a stand-off with another dog or feel threatened by something. Also, growling is your dog’s warning that the other pooch should back off its territory.
In this case, your dog uses growling as a way to impose its dominance over the other. It’s important to remove your dog from the situation as the growling can erupt in a full-blown dog fight.
However, if the doggo is growling but with a wagging tail, it means that the pooch is having fun. This can happen during playtime or when taking them to dog parks. Such a growl doesn’t indicate harm or aggression.
Lastly, your dog may growl if it’s in pain. In this situation, growling becomes a verbal warning that touching or petting isn’t welcomed. If you do, your dog may snap and bite you.
While a dog’s growl may seem similar to us, subtle variations will reveal a big difference.
How to make your dog growl on command
When it comes to teaching your dog to growl on command, there are three methods you can use: the Shaping Method, the Clicker Method, and the Object Method. You can choose which one works well for your doggo. Nevertheless, you can try everything for higher success rates.
Method #1: Shaping Method
For this method, you need some smelly treats and the following steps:
- Expose your dog to the stimulus that makes it growl
- When the dog growls, say a loud ‘Yes!’ and give the treat immediately.
- Keep doing this until your dog realizes that growling is a rewarded behavior.
- After some time, use the cue word ‘Growl!’ to encourage your dog to make the sound.
- Keep repeating the cue word until your dog growls. If it does, give the treat right away.
- Perform this drill multiple times a day in short sessions to ‘proof’ the command.
Method #2: Clicker Method
Similar to the first method, the clicker method utilizes treats, but with the addition of a clicking sound. Clicker training has been widely used across tricks and drills. It’s very effective and easy to perform. For this method, you only need to do the following steps:
- Play with your dog using a tug toy.
- Once your dog gets excited, stop abruptly and wait for it to growl.
- When the dog growls, say a loud ‘Yes!’, click, and immediately give the treat.
- Make sure that you remove the toy right after your dog growls.
- Repeat this step until your dog learns how to growl on command.
- Also, you should only click when the dog growls. Otherwise, the clicker will lose its efficacy.
Method #3: Object Method
For this method, you will leverage the toy or item that triggers your dog’s growling response. Here’s what you need to do:
- Show the dog the toy or item and wait until it growls.
- When your dog growls, say a loud ‘Yes!’ then give a treat.
- Repeat the process and make sure that your dog sees the object first.
- I suggest hiding the toy when not training your dog so it won’t get desensitized to it.
Is growling a bad thing?
Growling can be a problem if not managed. Your dog may use it to show aggression, which can be a problem when taking the pooch outdoors. Aside from that, growling may trigger other canines, which can result in a massive dog fight.
By teaching your dog to growl on command, you can stop them from growling at things randomly. Of course, other training drills are important here to ensure that your dog will be a well-rounded pooch.
Why is my dog suddenly growling at me?
If your dog is growling at you for no reason, you must check the environment. Is there any potential trigger that’s causing your pooch to make the sound?
If your pet is a relaxed environment, you must consider the possibility of health problems. Dogs that are in pain will be snappy, and they will grow whenever someone tries to get near them.
You should check if your dog has injuries or wounds that are causing pain. Be careful as you check because your dog may bite or scratch you when you hurt them.
Why is my dog suddenly growling at my child?
Children can be pretty pinchy, and they can hurt a dog. Your dog will growl as a clear warning that it doesn’t like what your child is doing. Sometimes, your dog will growl at the sight of your child because of a previous encounter it doesn’t like.
It’s important to supervise your child when mingling with your dog to prevent any accidents. You should also teach your child how to respect the dog’s space. Most of all, never let an infant be with a dog unless it’s supervised and that your dog is fully trained.
What happens if you growl at your dog?
Growling at your dog may trigger the same response from the canine. However, mimicking the sound will not help your dog growl on command. It may only make things worse, especially if your pooch has aggressive tendencies.
If you want to train your dog to growl on command, you must follow the three methods I discussed above. This will yield higher success rates than other methods. Most of all, never use any form of violence because it’s inhumane and punishable by law.
Knowing how to teach a dog to growl on command will help you manage the pooch’s aggressive tendencies. Still, you should also focus on other obedience drills to ensure that your dog will not growl at anybody out of the blue. Also, it’s a great trick to have on your dog’s sleeves when guests are around.
Do you have other methods to share here? Let us know below!