Don’t Punish The Growl

dont punish the growl

I saw this image a while back and saved it. I don’t know who to credit for it, but I do love it.

It’s never a good idea to punish a dog’s growl.

Not when they growl at you.

Not when they growl and the toddler pulling on them or smacking them.

Not when someone gets too close to their food.

Not when they are playing or “rough-housing” with another dog.

Not when someone comes to the door.

Not ever.


Because our dogs have a warning system. How often have you heard someone say, or read what someone wrote, saying that a dog “bit someone all of a sudden” or “out of nowhere”?

Nope. I promise you it didn’t happen that way.

This is a good image showing how your dog tried over and over to tell you (or whomever they are growling at) to stop.

Growling is an essential part of dog communication.

If we punish the growl, they lose a step before biting, meaning that the next time they are triggered, they may get to the bite that much quicker.

The most important thing that we can do is to LISTEN to our dog.

For some, I see people wanting to get their dog to stop growling at their child. I have to turn this back around and ask what the child is doing to the dog that is getting the growl. Whatever the child is doing is what needs to be stopped.

I have a blog post about teaching children how to behave around dogs, you can find that here >

It’s interesting how just about everyone I speak with about dog training says to me “I know it’s more that I need training, not my dog” and yet so many people out there seem to want their dog to be a robot in their homes.

Let me tell you, the people I speak with are right. It is more about training you and not your dog. Sure, there are things we do with our dog to mold their behaviors, but even in these moments, my goal is to train the person how to interact with their dog to get those behaviors.

Bottom line here is to listen to your dog.

Related Blog & Article