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Help, Why Does My Dog Growl At Some People And Not Others?

Help, Why Does My Dog Growl At Some People And Not Others?

Hey guys! I’m back with another popular question I seem to be getting every once in a while. 

Why does my dog growl at some people and not others?

But, I’m not alone today. Here’s my younger sister, Mia, and her Rottweiler. She says, hi!

Now, Mia and her Rottie, a lovely young girl named Priscilla, have been living together for almost two years. She had her since she was a little puppy, and she taught her everything. Yes, I did intervene in case you were wondering. LOL

Anyway, Mia has noticed a kind of pattern lately, and it’s starting to bother her. 

Tell us what happened, Mia!

Well, Priscilla started to growl, which she normally never does, not even at cats! It happened for the first time at the park when an older lady approached her. She scared her away, and I immediately became that odd girl with a dangerous dog.

I assure you, Priscilla is nowhere near dangerous!

But, the same thing happened last week when I introduced her to my new boyfriend. I don’t want to break my relationship just because she doesn’t get along with my partner. 

I was wondering why she does that. She doesn’t growl at mom or dad, not even at you, (Liam), and none of my friends either!

That’s a great question, Mia, and I’ll get straight to the business and help you find the answer! 

Sometimes, People Just Look Suspicious

Priscilla is a terrific Rottweiler! She’s a guardian, a skilled watchdog, and a fine specimen of her breed. Unlike the popular opinion that Rottweilers are dangerous, she’s an absolute sweetheart.

And, I have to add… a great judge of character!

Some people will simply look suspicious. It’s usually the way they walk, talk, move their hands, or even wear accessories like big sunglasses or hats.

That lady did wear a big hat with flowers on it! She reminded me of Queen Elizabeth! 

There you have it! 

That lady probably wasn’t bad or anything, but Priscilla couldn’t see her face very well. She perceived her as a threat, and that’s why she growled. 

Dogs like to judge the situation they’re in and the people surrounding them. If they’re not sure what’s happening or who is approaching them, they will become insecure. Insecurity leads to fear, and fear may lead to aggression. 

And, Sometimes, They Just… Smell!

mom he reeks!eek
Source: caninejournal

Sorry, Mia, but the problem may be with your new boyfriend.

Dogs don’t like certain scents because they associate them with something negative. I’m not saying your boyfriend stinks, but he might be carrying a subtle scent of something Priscilla doesn’t like. 

It can really be anything. Maybe Priscilla remembers how the flowers smelled the day she got into a fight with another dog at the park. Maybe he ate fish for lunch and you know how much she hates fish of any kind. 

Maybe he petted another dog on his way to you guys and the scent stuck on him. We can guess as much as we want, but we still won’t get the answer.

What you can do is help Priscilla and your boyfriend get along, but I’ll talk about that soon. 

Don’t forget: a dog’s ability to smell so many things is unbelievable! 

Just remember that some dogs are able to sniff cancer in patients that haven’t yet been diagnosed. That’s how powerful their nose is! |1|

What You Should Do About The Growling

Growling can be tolerated if no other symptoms like aggression or barking occur. However, since you’re having a particular problem with Priscilla and her growling at your boyfriend, there are some things you can do to get her used to him.

Dog treats! They always work.

I know Priscilla is a great dog and pawfectly obedient, so she shouldn’t cause any problems on your next meet-up. 

Ask her to sit and stay still as your boyfriend approaches you. Reward her if she doesn’t growl, or say a harsh ‘no’ if she does. A few repetitions will make the idea of growling disappear from her mind.

Now, your boyfriend should do the same thing. Ask him to bring a bag of her favorite treats with him, so the scent catches on him, too. Then, ask him to do the same thing as you did, and then reward her. 

Don’t worry if it takes a while for her to warm up. That doesn’t mean your dog is problematic or that your dog sees something you don’t.

But, please, sis… if the growling continues and it’s just your boyfriend, let me talk to him. Maybe Priscilla is onto something, and I, as a big brother, should investigate and have a little talk with him.

|1| György Horvath, Håkan Andersson & Szilárd Nemes. Cancer odor in the blood of ovarian cancer patients: a retrospective study of detection by dogs during treatment, 3 and 6 months afterward. 2013. DOI