In this episode, host Alyssa Watson, DVM, is joined by Hagar Hauser, DVM, DACVB, to talk about her recent Clinician’s Brief article, “Growling Behavior in Dogs.” Growling is a normal form of canine communication, and sometimes it can be a bigger problem when it doesn’t happen. Dr. Hauser offers a comprehensive review of why these behaviors happen—including how veterinary team members can inadvertently reinforce these behaviors—and offers tips to help strike a balance between a dog’s boundaries and warning signals with the need to complete an examination. Dr. Hauser also offers helpful advice to share with clients of these growly patients.
Growling is a clear and normal communication from dogs to create space.
Growling can also be part of play—body language and context matter.
Moving away from a growling dog does NOT reinforce aggression—it helps the dog to feel safer.
Identifying the trigger can be helpful, but trigger stacking can make that difficult.
Aggression “without warning” can occur when dogs are conditioned against growling.
Where to find us:
Alyssa Watson, DVM - Host
Alexis Ussery - Producer & Multimedia Specialist