Can anyone tell me about their non-aggressive, growly dogs. Our pup growls a lot!!

(19 Posts)
Spotty528 Sun 05-Jan-20 19:40:13

Our pup is 17 weeks old and he growls a fair bit. I’ve got this ingrained instinct that growling=aggression=about to bite so I’m finding it quite stressful and I keep worrying that he’ll turn into an aggressive dog. The situations he growls in:

-when he’s playing tug or with a toy

-when he’s in his crate in the car. He’ll growl before settling down to sleep or he’ll alternate between growling and whining for a couple of minutes.

-in his pen in the kitchen when we’re eating, he’ll settle in his bed but growl a bit before occupying himself with his toys

-on walks he gets over excited and sometimes chases DS’ trainers and will growl and bark at them

-today at puppy class, he was desperate to play with one of the puppies but we had to keep them on lead. He was a few feet apart and pulling to get closer, he started to bark and then growled. This only lasted a few seconds before we moved away.

Does this sound ok?!!

OP’s posts: |
Spotty528 Sun 05-Jan-20 19:51:57

I just wanted to add that we never ever tell pup off for growling. I’d just like some reassurance that it’s ok and just his way of communicating/complaining to us.

OP’s posts: |
EnglishRain Sun 05-Jan-20 20:02:55

Sounds normal to me. I have an 11 year old golden retriever who has always done this. He does it when he plays tug with me or my other dog, he will also growl at me if i am too slow at getting him a treat or his dinner 😁

If my lad's teeth aren't visible it's just talk. He is a very chatty boy, definitely nothing in it. My 3 year old golden doesn't do it. However, her hackles go up whenever she is excited! When she plays with my 11 year old they go up. When she's having fun on walks they go up. It's bizarre! Never even seen my 11 year olds hackles before. But she looks like a ridgeback golden retriever sometimes the amount of time they're out for!

Spotty528 Sun 05-Jan-20 20:08:22

Thank you, that’s really good to hear. He’s never shown his teeth or snapped and sometimes it sounds more like a grumble than a growl. I’m worried people will think he’s aggressive though.

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TeacupRex Sun 05-Jan-20 20:30:28

Some dogs just vocalise a lot - growling can just be another vocalisation along with barking, howling and whining. As long as the growling isn't paired with stress signals (stiff posture, lip licking, whale eye, teeth bared, lowered tail etc), he may just be a talkative dog!

I have a cocker spaniel who has always been very gobby but she's soft as anything, no aggression at all. The noises that come out of her sometimes are incredible 😂 She likes growling, barking, woo-ing and whinging!

MarshallPNutt Sun 05-Jan-20 20:53:20

Yep, sounds normal to me.

I have a vocal one who growls and makes dinosaur noises (a bit like a back of throat growl or croak) whenever he does anything fun or exciting. No aggression in those circumstances. Just a playful and engaged young dog who cannot contain his glee!

MissShapesMissStakes Sun 05-Jan-20 20:55:24

Our dog growls in two different ways. There is one when he is happy/excited. So if we come in he will pick up a toy and want us to play/chase etc. The dog trainer who came round said it's almost like a purr in that situation. It's happy growling.

The other growl is when he needs his anal glands doing if someone accidentally gets too close to his back end when he's laying down. It's just a gentle warning.

He growls the playful growl lots more than the other, it's like he's faking a real growl. grin


weegiemum Sun 05-Jan-20 21:02:05

Our boy is a talkative chap, always doing little huff barks and growls and he also imitates the beagle next door when in the garden.

Never escalated as I think it's good natured. Except with his nemesis, the staff from the top of the road. That's a real growl!

adviceneededon Sun 05-Jan-20 21:09:45

My Lhasa pup (just over a year) growls at me when he's trying to tell me something. Older Lhasa dog just stares at me. If I ignore the pups growls, he will bark, often making me and older dog jump. It's just his way of communicating, he doesn't have an aggressive bone in him.

Spotty528 Sun 05-Jan-20 21:14:43

Thanks everyone, you’ve made me feel much better. He often does a sneeze/huff before the growl.

OP’s posts: |
adviceneededon Sun 05-Jan-20 21:29:30

It's all trial and error with dogs. As I said, my older boy stares at me. I have to go though the options - water, food, go outside etc and when I get the right one he gets giddy. The pup growls at me, and will eventually bark if ignored. I do the same process of words and again when I'm right he runs around the room in excitement. They're funny little characters.

Hoppinggreen Sun 05-Jan-20 22:21:31

Other people might think my Goldie is growing but I know the difference between an aggressive growl and him “talking”

HairyDogsOfThigh Sun 05-Jan-20 22:22:53

Normally dogs will give a number of 'calming signals' before a growl, if they are feeling worried. They may stiffen or freeze, tighten around their eyes/mouth, show the white part of their eye (whale eye), lick or yawn, if you notice these things before the growl, then the growl may well be aggressive (after all, you just ignored all his other signals telling you he was feeling uncomfortable). However, it sounds from what you've written the pup is generally in play mode (ragging, tugging, wanting to chase shoes or feet) or making a noise for attention (when you're eating etc). In these circumstances, it's noise and is not a precursor of aggression. You may not want to 'reward' the noise with attention, or he will do more of it, quite often developing it into barking at you. Distraction, or giving him something else to do before it's likely to happen is a good idea, so for the crate at mealtimes, give him a stuffed kong to help him settle would help (do it before he makes the noise).

Geminibabe Sun 05-Jan-20 22:30:10

Hi All, Have a 12wk old Yorkiepoo.. He is the cutest little boy looks like a teddy 🐻 but don't be fooled he can be very loving but just before his bedtime he goes berserk, running Madley around growling snapping barking showing his little Teeth also can't pick him up when he's like this he's like little Angry Bird would like your thoughts I'm sure he thinks it's a game?

heatseeker14 Sun 05-Jan-20 22:31:52

@adviceneededon, our boy does the same. He scares me sometimes when he gets up close and stares into my eyes. Like he is trying to telepathically tell me something. Usually this is when he wants a walk 😁 He barks with excitement when I get it right. I really shouldn’t ask him what he wants because I’m encouraging him to bark, but I find it so very cute.

Geminibabe Sun 05-Jan-20 22:50:01

I'm Afraid he's going to be aggressive he's the smallest dog I've had my lab retriever is an Angel but my yorkiepoo is so naughty... 🙄 I Think he has more Terrier Traits than toy poodle.

frostedviolets Sun 05-Jan-20 23:23:00

I would maybe be slightly hesitant about the last one personally.
Really, in my opinion, they shouldn't be at a distance to be able to get agitated and frustrated/over threshold like that.

Everything else sounds completely normal though.

Freddiefatpants Sun 05-Jan-20 23:32:55

My JRT is very vocal, she grumbles and growls and groans/whines a lot when playing or being spoken to and fussed but she's relaxed and doesn't show her teeth and it's a soft sound. If she's being aggressive it's a harsh sound with stiff body language and she shows her teeth.
My other dog only growl in defence or aggression, they seem to understand each other though, the other dog never pays any heed when the JRT 'talks' but she does when it's a defensive/aggressive growl.

Girlintheframe Mon 06-Jan-20 05:48:00

Our Ddog growls during play. It freaked me out a bit when he was a pup as our last dog never did this. I've come to see though that it's not aggressive. It's just something he does when we are playing tug with toys. He also 'shouts' at me sometimes (barks) when I get him to do something he doesn't want to do. Have been teaching him down from a distance, which he lets me know is not a move he is happy with grin (he still does it tho!)

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