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Dog myth 09: My dog growls because it is just acting

Dog Myth 09 - My dog growls because it is just acting

When a dog growls there can be a lot of meaning behind and no, acting is not one of the reasons. Growling is one of the very few ways that dogs can communicate verbally, in nature there are only two kinds of growls, which are both triggered by instinct, one is growling during plays/activities, you may hear this when a dog is hunting, playing with toys or with another dog, the other simply means warning, which usually sounds deeper than play growls, the dog is warning something or someone to back off, if the situation still does not benefit the dog it may then bark, snap, freeze still or back off, freezing still does not mean that the dog is not doing anything, it is a warning sign.

Nowadays, a lot of owners do not want to understand anything about their dog, they like to humanize anything that looks cute to them, this is selfish and does not benefit the pet in any form of ways, it will only cause more misunderstandings and will stress them even further. Growling is not to be underestimated, owners should always figure out the cause of the growl and solve it from there instead of finding excuse to say that their dog is just "acting". One of the most common reason for dogs to growl is during meal time, when a dog is possessive of it's belonging, it will guard objects that it likes ranging from toys, bed, food, your house or even the owner, never assume that your dog guards you or your house because it loves you, your dog simply does that because it assumes you belong to it's pack, your dog guards the house because it assumes the place is it's territory. When you give your dog it's food, it should never be done in a serving attitude, most owners tend to portray certain actions that causes the dog to think that it is in charge, actions like kneeling down to the dog, coaxing the dog to eat, hand feeding them, giving food without the dog waiting/working for it, these are body languages to show that the dog is in charge, meaning that you are actually working to serve your dog instead of the other way round.

Instinct growls aside, dogs can actually be trained to growl, bark or snap on command, this is a trick and should only be considered valid ONLY if a dog does that upon command. If your dog is growling randomly without being asked to then that is not a trick, it is simply showing signs of warning! Dogs are simple and straightforward animals that needs your understanding, they are not humans, they can never think 3 steps ahead of you, please do not humanize them.

So no, if your dog is growling today without being asked to, it is not acting, please seek help if aggression occurs.

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