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Why Doesn’t My Dog Growl – Is It Normal Behavior?

Growling is a big part of a dog’s communication to tell you they are agitated, and you probably should not be messing with them. It’s not typically a breed trait; the majority of dogs everywhere do it. However, there are some pups out there who do not growl at all. This has their owners asking, why doesn’t my dog growl?

Your dog is not gowling because they are comfortable in their environment. Growling is a sign of an agitated dog. It is entirely normal for a dog not to growl. Dogs that do not growl communicate in other less aggressive ways because of their trust and comfort with the owner.

There is probably no reason for you to be concerned about your dog not growling. However, you may want to figure out what their tell is when they are not happy. Being in a room with an angry dog way after their limits have been pushed could be a troubling situation for everyone involved.

Why Does My Dog Never Growl

Your dog doesn’t growl because it uses other ways to let you know they are upset. Maybe the whimper or yelp. Some dogs will bear their teeth and snarl at you without letting out a sound. Just because the aggressive growl doesn’t come out doesn’t mean your dog isn’t giving you signs they are mad.

Has your dog ever avoided eye contact with you or ignored your call? This is another way dogs can avoid growling and still be plenty mad.

What about when you are at the dog park, and although your dog may not growl at the other dogs, he or she spends the entire time barking in their faces? These are all ways your dog will communicate that they are mad without letting out a single growl.

Other ways your dog can show they are mad without growling

● Peening in the house

● Showing their teeth

● Flattening their ears

● Licking his lips

● Frequent yawning

● Tenses up

● Makes moaning sounds

What Does It Mean When A Dog Shows His Teeth But Doesn’t Growl

A dog showing their teeth with their ears relaxed and their body in a soft, relaxed posture means you are not dealing with an aggressive dog, but probably an anxious or nervous one.

Although not very common, dogs can show their teeth in a submissive fashion rather than angry.

If you have a dog that tends to be anxious or showing a “submissive grin” often, you may want to speak with a vet to see why they are so nervous all the time.

With that said, chances are much more likely, that if a dog is showing you their teeth they, are telling you to back up. 

Is It Normal For Dogs Not To Growl

Yes, it is normal for dogs to not growl, although this is more rare than one might expect.

For some dogs, not growling is just in their personality, or they do not ever feel the need to growl. Depending on a dog’s living environment, they may rarely come into a situation where any aggression needs to be taken, so growling is not something they feel they need to do.

These reasons are typical, just like a shy child who never speaks up in class.

For others, it may be a learned trait. Their owners or a trainer may have taught their dog not to growl.

Is It OK For A Dog To Growl

It is ok for a dog to growl as it is a very natural form of expression. Also, dogs growl in many situations. Because they cannot talk to you, growling is their way of communicating to you they are angry, scared, hurt, etc.

Depending on the situation, growling can be a good way of becoming aware your dog is struggling.

When Is Okay For A Dog To Growl

When your dog has an injury or illness, they cant come to you and tell you something is hurting them; a good way for your pup to let you know something is wrong is by growling when you are near the tender or painful area. This may be the only indication you get that they need help.

Another reason a dog may be growling at you without the purpose of aggression is when they are playing with you.

You may have noticed a playful growl coming out of your furry friend in a vigorous game of tug of war or playful wrestling match. This is very normal, and as long as it doesn’t escalate into physical aggression, there is no reason to be concerned.

When Is It Not Okay For A Dog To Growl?

Although growling may be a form of communication, when your dog is using it to be a bully or because they are escalating in anger, the behavior needs to be dealt with. An example is food aggression. If you notice your dog growling at your kids or another pet when they get near the food bowl, stopping the reaction immediately is essential, or it may turn into biting.

Like a child, dogs can be bratty when they don’t get their way or when something is taken from them. Instead of stomping their feet and yelling to throw a temper tantrum, your dog may growl at you. This is not okay either. Teaching your dog, it is not okay to show aggression when they are not getting their way is very important as this behavior could escalate.

How Do I Make My Dog Growl

The only reason you should ever make your dog growl is if you are training them properly to use growling as a warning tactic to keep people away from you or your home. Usually, dogs will only growl at their owner if they are in pain, feel threatened, or are scared.

How Do I Train My Dog To Growl On Command

If you have adopted a furry guard pup and they are just not scary enough, you may need to teach your dog to growl. This can be done through a trainer or at home with a few bags of treats and a whole lot of patients. There are three simple steps to teaching a dog to growl.

  1. Hold a treat out to your dog but do not give it to them. No matter what, do not hand over the treat until you hear them start to make a noise or bark.
  2. Once the sound is made, give your dog the treat and praise them.
  3. Repeat this pattern continuously, waiting until the sound gets deeper before the treat is released.

How Do I Train My Dog Not To Growl

Like many other training sessions, teaching your dog not to growl can be pretty simple as long as you are consistent. The best time to do this is when your dog is playing.

Dogs will usually growl during a rough play session. Get your little buddy all riled up with a tug toy; as soon as they growl, stop playing and tell them NO. Wait a few minutes and repeat. Eventually, your best friend will catch on that they will have to keep it down if they want to play with you.

Use this technique in other situations where your dog tends to growl. Such as near the food bowl. If your pup is growling at you when you get near the food dish, pick the dish up loudly, tell them no, and walk away. Give the food back shortly after and repeat.


Every dog has a different personality. Some are loud and loves to bark, growl, and be vocal. Then some are more calm and relaxed and have no interest in doggy talk. Unless you notice your dog has other issues or is acting strangely, having a dog who doesn’t growl is nothing to worry about.

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