Why Your Dog Growls When Playing Tug of War
Growling can sound quite intimidating but it’s not something that dog owners need to be afraid of while playing tug of war with their dog. Context is important if you need to determine whether the dog is or isn’t displaying aggressive behavior.
Generally speaking, it’s perfectly fine for dogs to growl when playing tug of war together. Some dogs may simply be more vocal than others and like to growl while playing. It could be a playful form of growling and a way for the dog to express his excitement or enjoyment.
Other dogs, however, may have a tendency to display resource guarding behaviors and are more aggressive when it comes to toy possessions. The low growling may be a warning to you to back off as they want possession of whatever object was used to play tug of war. In such cases, it’s likely for you to see other body language signals that indicate the dog is displaying aggression. This could be signs like a stiffening body or a raised tail.
If your dog has a history of showing aggressive behavior then it would be best to back off, but if your dog is showing happy signs while growling (like a wagging tail or a relaxed body posture) then it might be a sign for you to continue the tug of war and let your dog have some fun playing with you.