Why Does my puppy growl during play? Pro Trainer Explains [2024]

Growling is a sound that puppies make when they’re playing. It’s also a way for them to communicate with each other, but it can be confusing for humans to understand what the puppy is trying to say.In this article, we’ll look at why puppies growl and how you can tell if your puppy is growling in an aggressive or playful way.

How To Tell If A Growl Is Play Or Aggression

It can be tricky to tell the difference between an aggressive growl and a play growl because they can sound very similar. However, there are a few key things you can look for to help you tell them apart.

Firstly, pay attention to your puppy’s body language. If your puppy is growling during playtime, they will likely have a relaxed body posture and may even wag their tail. If your puppy is growling aggressively, they will usually have a tense body posture, may show their teeth, and may even growl with a deeper, more guttural sound.

Another thing to look for is the context in which the growling is happening. If your puppy is growling during playtime, they will likely be engaging with you or another dog in a playful manner, such as chasing or wrestling. If your puppy is growling aggressively, it will likely be in response to a perceived threat or discomfort, such as being approached by a stranger or being in an unfamiliar environment.

Next, typically, there’s a difference in tone of a growl that’s meant and a growl that is play. Play growls tend to be loud and a warmer tone, where as a meant growl is more gutteral and gravelly. This might take hearing both to know the difference, but it will absolutely be notably different.

If you’re still unsure or have concerns about your puppy’s behavior and if your puppy is aggressive, it’s always a good idea to consult with a professional trainer or behaviorist who can help you determine if it’s fun or fear.

If we can learn to listen to all these earlier signs then we can avoid a growl happening at all! This of course won’t stop a play growl, but play growls are pretty cute, right?

Growling as a Form of Communication

Growling is a form of communication, and it’s important to understand how puppies use this behavior. Puppies growl when they want something or are trying to get another puppy’s attention. They also growl when they’re playing with other dogs, but sometimes the play can get too rough and one of the puppies will growl as a way of saying “back off!”, but this is usually one of the last steps in their communicative process. 

Growling is also used by puppies who are unsure about something new or unfamiliar in their environment; this could be anything from meeting an unfamiliar person, seeing another dog on leash for the first time, hearing fireworks outside (which may remind them of gunshots), or encountering an object like a vacuum cleaner that makes loud noises when turned on!When you hear your puppy growling at something he doesn’t understand yet–whether it’s because he wants something or because he’s afraid–try giving him some space until he feels more comfortable before approaching him again.

This might be one reason your puppy starts growling and means it, see that the puppy laying down has a thing? This is resource guarding! Another totally natural thing, but something we need to manage when it comes to our puppies at home (but never punish!)

Growling During Playtime

Puppies are just like little kids. They love to play, and they don’t always know what’s appropriate or not. Sometimes, when puppies are playing with each other or with humans, they may growl as part of their game. This can be confusing for owners who aren’t used to hearing this kind of behavior from their dogs–but it’s actually completely normal! Puppies learn how to communicate with each other through playtime and even though we might not understand all the signals they’re sending us (or each other), we can still use our knowledge about puppy behavior in order to figure out what’s going on if our pup starts growling during playtime.

We have to remember that play is known to be preparation for hunting, and life skills when it comes to wild animals, and for our dogs, it’s not dissimilar, that growl is part of those life skills. 

So whether you’re at the dog park or at home, that growl is a pretty normal thing.

Responding to A Play Growl

The first thing to do when your puppy growls during playtime is to stop playing. It can be difficult for us humans to understand why our dogs are growling and we may want them to stop immediately–but this will only make the situation worse. It’s important that you acknowledge the behavior and try not to react too quickly as it could cause your puppy confusion or stress!

How to prevent puppy growling from escalating

 Puppy growling can be a common occurrence for many new owners. It’s important to understand the reasons behind your puppy’s behaviour and how this can affect you both. If you’re worried about the way your puppy is growling then it’s best to seek advice from a professional dog trainer who will be able to advise on any further action that may need taking!

it can be tempting to pick small dogs or puppies up, but a lot of the time they don’t want this and it makes them growl. Learn to listen to their wishes and don’t pick them up. Find a different way to achieve your goal!

Remember, We Never Punish A Growl

Punishing a growl leads to puppies simply learning not to growl. It’s much like when your mum told you couldn’t swear, it didn’t stop you feeling how you felt, it just stopped you using that word to express your feelings.

Punishing a puppy for growling can have negative consequences on its behavior and relationship with its owner. Growling is a natural way for puppies to communicate their needs, and punishing them can lead to more serious behavioral issues, and it’s one of the big reasons we don’t punish in dog training.

It can also damage the relationship between the owner and the puppy by creating fear and mistrust. Instead, owners should understand why the puppy is growling and respect its boundaries to build a positive relationship.

Growling is okay.

The main reason why puppies growl during playtime is because they want to play with you, it’s meant to encourage you!

They’re not trying to hurt you or scare you away, but rather they are just expressing their excitement and desire for interaction with another living creature.

If your puppy growls at you when it wants attention, then this can be a good thing as long as he doesn’t get too aggressive about it. If he does start getting too rough or biting too hard, then stop playing immediately and give him time away from people until he calms down again before trying again later on in the day (or even next day).

If you need help with your puppy, and determining the difference, why not book in?

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Author, Ali Smith

Ali Smith is the Positive Puppy Expert, dog trainer and is the founder of Rebarkable. She is passionate about helping puppy parents get things right, right from the start. To help create a puppy capable of being a confident and adaptable family member and keep puppies out of shelters.

Ali has won multiple awards for her dog training, and has had her blog (this blog!) rated as 2021 & 2022 worlds’ best pet blog!

Thanks to depositphotos.com for the images!

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