German Shepherd growling is a frightening and frustrating problem for many owners to deal with. If you are having trouble curbing your dog’s tendency towards growling, you may need to take a step back and figure out under what conditions your dog is most often growling.
In general, when a dog growls he is sending a warning to others to stay away. This is a natural reaction to the approach of someone or something that the dog considers to be a threat. It is also a normal reaction in a dog that is scared or injured.
Reasons Dogs Growl
German Shepherd growling actually has several potential causes, and if you can figure out why your dog is growling, you’ll be half way to correcting the behavior. Most often, people associate a growling dog with an aggressive dog, but that’s not always the case.
In fact, most dogs will growl in order to try and avoid a confrontation. It is the only way they know to tell others to back off – they don’t want a fight. If the offending intruder does not take the hint, however, the dog is likely to react by snapping or biting, either out of fear or anger.
Addressing the Cause of Growling
In many cases, correcting German Shepherd growling will actually involve addressing a more serious, underlying behavioral problem. For instance, a dog with aggression issues will growl at people and other animals in inappropriate situations.
In cases like these, the growling is merely a symptom of the more serious aggression, and will have to be dealt with simultaneously.
Similarly, a dog who is hurt may suddenly begin to growl at people, even his owner, when they get to close or try to touch the injured area. In order to survive in the wild, dogs cannot show weakness, and so when they are injured, they commonly resort to growling to keep potential threats at bay. In order to stop this type of growling, you should have your dog treated by a vet right away.
Ideally eliminating the pain that your dog is in will also stop him from growling. However, if the dog has been in pain for so long that the growling became too ingrained, you may have to address the growling as a separate issue once the dog is well again.
Another common reason for German Shepherd growling is anxiety. Fear is a powerful trigger for aggressive behavior, and can actually cause a dog to act more erratically and potentially dangerously if not addressed.
Once you know what is causing your German Shepherd growling, though, you’ll be in a much better position to try and put a stop to it.
The best way to avoid having to deal with German Shepherd growling issues is to socialize your dog thoroughly from an early age.
When dogs are exposed to many different types of people, different environments and other unfamiliar dogs at a young age, they are much less likely to develop the fear of strangers and strange places that can cause anxiety and aggression issues later on.
And you can’t start too soon. Even if your puppy is too young for actual training classes, you can still sign them up for a play group with a certified trainer to ensure that the dogs are able to interact with each other and with the people present appropriately.
Obedience classes are also a great way to try and re-socialize a dog who has growling or other aggression issues. However, if the German Shepherd growling issues you’re dealing with are too severe, you may want to seek the help of a private instructor before you introduce your dog into a group setting.