3 Reasons Why Your Dog Growls at Family Members and How to Stop it
A dog growls for many different reasons and often times it’s a warning to someone or something to stay away. You might have noticed that your dog is growling at family members, which can be a difficult and stressful situation. Here are a few tips on how to stop your dog from growling at family members and why this might be happening in the first place.
1. Your Dog is Cautious of a Family Member
Your dog just might be cautious of family members, especially if they are seeing new family members for the first time. Dogs are similar to people in that they need some time to get to know someone and relationships form slowly over a period of time. If you just are introducing the dog to that family member for the first time, let the dog come over and sniff the person first.
2. The Dog is Possessive of Its Owner
A dog could be growling at a family member simply because it’s possessive of you as its owner. If the family member doesn’t come around often or is new, then the dog might think that person is a threat to you. The dog will go into protection mode in order to keep you safe from potential danger. Have positive interactions with the person and show the dog that this person is not a threat to you.
If the family member is shady or has wronged you in some way, the dog will be able to pick up on that too. Your dog will begin to growl at this family member if they know that person has been rude to you, yelled at you, or had a physical altercation with you. There are also times where a dog simply just doesn’t like the person for whatever reason.
3. The Family Member May Have a Strange Scent
Dogs have a very strong sense of smell so it’s possible the family member just might have a strange scent the dog doesn’t like. If your family member also has pets, the dog could be smelling these other animals on that family member. It’s natural for your dog to growl if the smell of another animal is in his territory.
The smell also could be something overwhelming to the dog, such as a strong cologne or perfume. Due to the fact that dogs have such an enhanced sense of smell compared to humans, they will react to these smells much differently. The person could also just smell like a certain food or maybe a certain environment. If the dog has had a negative experience with that particular smell in the past it’s likely to growl when around someone with that smell.
How to Deal with Dog Growling
If the growling is sudden, you might want to visit a veterinarian or behaviorist to see what might be causing the issue. The sudden growling might be due to something illness-related or your dog could be in pain and lashing out. A veterinarian would be able to rule out any medical issues that could be causing the growling.
If you want to discourage your dog from growling you will need to figure out what is causing the dog to growl in the first place. If it’s an object or person, you will need to begin positive association with that item in order to stop the growling. You also can divert attention away from the source by using toys to get your dog to focus on something else. Obedience training and learning commands also can be useful in helping stop the dog growling.