All dogs growl. Some dogs have a growl that’ll scare the pants right off of you. Some dogs have a growl that will make you laugh. This may not necessarily be the end result your dog had in mind. Even if your dog has an adorable growl, a growling dog should be treated with caution. Figuring out why the dog is growling is key to deescalation. Your dog is trying to tell you something and if you ignore its warning, it may become increasingly aggressive.
There are different reasons why dogs growl and they can be:
If a dog is scared, it may growl as a warning that it will attack whatever is making it uneasy if it does not go away.
Dogs are very territorial. It is why they feel the need to pee on everything. It’s their way of marking their territory. So, if you or another animal are infringing on said dog’s territory, chances are warning growls will ensue.
Dogs aren’t able to communicate their pain very well. They don’t really understand what is happening and thus may become confused. If they are in pain or feeling ill, the last thing they want is someone in their face. They’ll growl to warn you to back off.
It’s not all so serious! Dogs growl often when they play with other dogs or even with humans – and it’s not because they are being territorial! It’s often how dogs communicate – it’s their way of being verbal outside of of barking. You need to understand basic dog body language to tell if your dog’s growl is aggressive or playful; context is everything.