There is a popular saying among some dog trainers; NEVER PUNISH A GROWL. Do you know why we say that?
We tell people to never punish a growl because a growl is a warning signal. Your dog is communicating that something is making them uncomfortable.
Think about smoke alarms. They alert people that there is smoke and/or fire in the house. But the point of a smoke alarm is that it alerts the home owner to the source of the smoke BEFORE it is a raging fire. That’s how they work right? however, if you don’t have batteries in your smoke alarm it cannot warn you of the impending fire.
Think of your dog’s growl as a smoke alarm. They’re warning you that something bigger (potentially a bite) is coming. If you punish your dog for growling, they’ll stop growling. But then what warning do you have that the bigger thing is coming? YOU DON’T. You punished the growl. Essentially you’ve removed the batteries from the smoke alarm. Punish the growl and your dog is more likely to bite first, ask questions later.
Why might I be bringing your attention to this important piece of information? Because, if you haven’t already noticed, I am the parent of both a dog and a baby. Now that my baby is moving around he likes to pester our dog; pull his ears or his tail, grip Dudley’s fur, hug him, pull on his ears and more. The dog is very patient and I AL
WAYS interrupt this type of interaction and try to show Arni how to pat the pooch gently. However on occasion Dudley has growled at Arni. Do you know what I’ve done? I’ve moved my baby away and left the dog in peace.
So please, if you are a parent or a soon-to-be parent (congratulations!) and your dog growls at your baby for whatever reason, move your baby and thank your dog for warning you they were uncomfortable