by Richard freer
(Cranford new jersey)
If he has an accident in the house and you go to pick him up he growls.
Put him out to take care of business and coming in climbing the stairs he started to growl when I tried to help him.
If he throws up and you try to move him he growls. If you try to pick him up just to hold him and play he growls…
Hi RichardI wouldn’t worry too much about this growling right now. Your puppy is a baby, and he’s only just come to live with you – he’s probably anxious, scared, homesick and more. This is a time of huge upheavals in his life.
Some puppies react to this uncertainty and change by being ‘growly’, others withdraw into themselves and sleep all the time, others become clingy and needy. It’s all about personality.
Growling is a ‘warning’ that he’s not happy and it doesn’t have any huge connotations at this age, nor is it a sign that you have an aggressive puppy (in 99.9% of cases). Sometimes new owners over-react to this behavior, especially if their pup is a large, guardian breed and they’re not familiar with raising them.
Puppies growl – and they also bark, howl, whine, whimper etc. etc. This is how they communicate with each other, and their human family, your little one is most likely just trying to say ‘leave me alone – I can handle it!’ or ‘I’m scared of you, please don’t touch me’ or many other variations on the same theme.
HOWEVER just because it’s normal, doesn’t make it acceptable and your pup needs to learn that he is not allowed to growl at people. A firm, but loving, verbal correction needs to be given every single time he growls. Then go right ahead with whatever it was you were going to do (ie pick him up, help him out etc. etc.).
If he continues to growl repeat the correction, a gentle ‘muzzle wrap’ (see my Stop Puppy Biting page for explanation of this technique) can be used to emphasize the point but never be aggressive or harsh with him.
You can find lots more information and advice on why puppies growl and what to do about it on my puppy training site here… Puppy Growling
Hope this helps, best of luck with your new pup.