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Dog Growling: Handling the Problem with Care
Dog growling is a common problem which should be addressed at the first sign of this behavior. Socializing your dog can be a key factor in preventing this sort of behavior in your dog.
If your dog has made it a habit of growling at other dogs, people passing by or even members of your family, this behavior should be dealt with immediately. There should be no member of your household that is afraid to approach your dog. Naturally, there will always be some stranger, animal or object that does not rub your dog the right way. This is quite normal.
Your first step in dealing with dog growling should be to consult your vet in order to rule out an injury or medical condition which his behavior may be stemming from. Keep in mind that your dog may also be suffering from a bad experience with a previous owner or the breeder himself. Once you have established that the dog growling is not due to a medical condition, there are many ways you can help your dog. You can try to get your dog more comfortable with his surroundings through exposure or you can bring him to a behavior specialist.
It is never too late to socialize your dog. Socializing him will basically desensitize him to all of the elements which he has found threatening up until now. The more he is exposed to these elements, the less likely he is to consider them a threat. Most people would probably isolate their aggressive dog in order to keep him from hurting someone. Isolation will make your dog resentful and will only aggravate the problem. Using a muzzle will allow him to socialize without posing a threat.
When first starting out, you cannot trust your dog to socialize with other dogs or people so easily. This method should be taken at a slow pace. It will take some time (maybe months) for your dog to fully adapt.
Be prepared to spend a lot of time with your dog and be very patient.
When taking your dog out for a walk, use a muzzle on him so he will not pose a risk to anyone. This will enable someone to befriend him without the fear of being bitten. Dog growling is very intimidating to passersby.
Also, if you want to introduce him to other dogs, these dogs should also be on a leash and be brought together just close enough to be able to sniff one another. Begin introducing him to dogs with good temperaments because they are less likely to growl back at him. The objective is to make him comfortable around other dogs, as well as humans. Tell him "No!" in a firm tone whenever your dog growls and teach him the "Sit" command. Never yell at him or hit him for dog growling, it is counterproductive. Never treat aggression with aggression. Your aggression may be the reason your dog's growling in the first place.
Once your dog is able to socialize without growling, you can try taking him out without a muzzle, but always have him on a leash. You can also give him a treat when you finding him behaving properly. Avoid pulling on the leash when approached by another dog or human as this will place your dog on the defense. Dogs sense when their owners become nervous or anxious. Dog growling can become more intense because of this.
Remember that every dog responds differently in different situations. What works for one dog may not work for another. If you feel you cannot handle your dog because he is too aggressive, then your best option would be to contact a behavior specialist. Do not wait to act upon this because as time goes by, your dog will become more and more set in his ways.
Treat dog growling at an early stage. Growling puppies may be cute but they will grow into growling adult dogs, which isn't so cute.
About the Author: Nancy Settecasi, Owner of Happy K-9 Dog Care
Proud owner of Cookie and Skippy, Cocker Spaniels, Dog Owner