There are many reasons your dog might growl at you, but if it’s frequent and is getting worse, then talking to a vet may be the best step. There are also simple ways to calm down an anxious pup in the home.

my puppy growls at me when playing” is a common problem that many pet owners experience. It can be caused by fear, frustration, or aggression.

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You don’t have to own a dog to understand what a growl sounds like — it means you’re in huge danger!

While being confronted with a growling dog is frightening, picture being terrified of a puppy snarling. 

Most new owners are unaware that pups can growl, much alone that their growls may be so frightening.

So you may be astonished the first time you hear your puppy snarl. 

Puppy Growling - Golden Retriever play growling at older dog with swimming pool in backgroundIs your puppy growling? Recognize What Your Puppy Is Trying To Tell You

Although most people associate growling with violent dogs, you shouldn’t leap to Conclusions and believe your puppy is hostile.

Puppy growling may be caused by a variety of factors. You, as the owner, must determine what is causing your puppy to growl and treat the problem. 

In this post, I’ll explain why pups growl and how to figure out what your puppy is trying to communicate.

Continue reading to discover about the many sorts of growls and their meanings. 

What Causes Puppies to Growl?

Growling is a typical type of canine communication, however it might be uncomfortable to hear. Puppies and dogs, like adults, utilize their vocal talents to communicate their wants and emotions.

Puppies employ a variety of vocalizations to convey their desires and needs to their owners, including growling, howling, whining, whimpering, and barking. 

In addition to vocalization, your puppy will communicate with you via body language. It may be difficult to decipher canine body language, particularly if you are a novice dog owner.

If you don’t pick up on these subtle indications, your puppy may feel compelled to growl every now and again simply to catch your attention. 

Puppies only know how to moan and whine during the first few days after birth, and they utilize these vocalizations to communicate with their mother.

Puppies, on the other hand, learn to growl and bark as they get more mobile and engage with their surroundings. 

When you bring your new puppy home, he or she will be mature enough to know how to growl and will communicate with you through this method.

Despite the fact that most people equate growling with violence, dogs and pups growl for a variety of reasons.

Puppies growl for a variety of causes, including pain, fear, possession, territoriality, playfulness, and possessive violence.

What’s the Deal With My Puppy’s Growling?

Puppies and adult dogs communicate in a variety of ways, including growling. As a result, in order to satisfy your puppy’s requirements and react appropriately, you’ll need to comprehend what he’s trying to communicate. 

If you are a first-time dog owner, you may find it difficult to comprehend your puppy’s growls at first.

However, with practice, you’ll be able to tell the difference between a playful and a terrified growl and understand precisely what your puppy is trying to say. 

Understanding why this unpleasant behavior is occurring in the first place is the only way you will ever be able to confront and rectify it.

Instead of attempting to educate your puppy to stop growling, you should figure out why he’s growling in the first place and solve it.

Once the underlying problem has been discovered and addressed, your puppy will most likely cease growling completely.

The following are the most typical causes of puppy growling:

1. Pain

When a puppy or an adult dog is in agony, they may growl. If your puppy starts growling when you reach for a certain region of their body, they might be unwell or have an injury that is giving them discomfort.

When pups are in agony, they may refuse to be handled and begin growling loudly in order to avoid experiencing any more pain.

If pain seems to be the most probable cause of your puppy’s growling, don’t try to figure out what’s wrong by poking and prodding.

Attempting to diagnose your dog at home might make matters worse and increase your pet’s dread. Your sole task in this circumstance is to discover out why your dog is growling and take the appropriate actions to remedy the issue.

In this scenario, the best and only thing you can do for your puppy is to take them to the veterinarian as soon as possible.

Your veterinarian will evaluate your puppy, identify the condition, and discuss treatment options with you.

Keep in mind that your puppy may likely growl even louder throughout the examination and may even attempt to nip at you or the doctor.

When puppies are in pain, it is completely normal for them to growl and whine. The snarling, on the other hand, will cease as soon as your puppy begins to feel better. 

2. Fear

When newborn pups are terrified, it is fairly usual for them to growl. Your dog is most likely terrified if they growl at certain persons, strangers, or in unexpected areas.

Furthermore, some noises, such as fireworks, thunder, or excessively loud music, might frighten a puppy and cause it to snarl. 

Growls are a protective strategy used by fearful pups to terrify the predator into leaving them alone.

If your dog, for example, is terrified of strangers, he or she will begin snarling as soon as an unexpected face approaches.

When the stranger who wanted to touch your dog hears the growling, he will back off and continue walking without looking at your puppy again.

The easiest approach to stop your puppy from growling out of fear is to figure out what’s causing it and, if feasible, eliminate it from his life.

So, if your puppy begins to snarl everytime a stranger approaches to pat them, start advising people not to approach, or avoid bringing your dog to busy locations altogether.

To alleviate some of your pup’s worry, you should begin behavior modification.

If your puppy is fearful of strangers, consider socializing them and introducing them to a wide range of people and circumstances.

Enrolling your dog in a puppy kindergarten program might help them socialize and feel more comfortable among others. 

To reduce your puppy’s fear, try to remove as many stresses from his life as possible and employ positive reinforcement training.

If your efforts seem to be in futile, you should seek the assistance of a canine behavioral specialist or a qualified dog trainer.  

3. Ownership

Possession aggressiveness, often known as resource guarding, is another reason why your puppy growls.

Puppies that engage in this sort of behavior will feel compelled to defend their resources, which might include food, toys, territory, or other items.

If your dog develops possession aggression, he or she may growl, snap, or even bite if they believe their belongings will be taken away.

Most pups with this issue have a strong need to safeguard their food, but make no mistake: your dog may become extremely possessive of anything significant to them.

Some pups, for example, may growl with the same intensity over a seemingly insignificant thing, such as a ball of paper, as they would over a full dish of food. 

Growling is only one of several indicators of resource guarding, and your dog may also snap and attack if someone approaches or attempts to take anything away from them.

In addition, some pups may fight with their siblings over different objects or persons they like.

If you believe your puppy’s growling is an indication of possessive aggression, you must address the root of the problem.

Rather of disciplining your dog for snarling, train them to trust you with their possessions.

The simplest method to achieve this is to teach your dog that every time they drop the thing they’re defending, they’ll be rewarded. 

4. Disappointment

When things don’t go their way, puppies, like toddlers, may be disappointed and irritated.

If your puppy doesn’t know how to peacefully process his or her feelings, he or she will most likely attempt to vent their anger by snarling and snapping at you.

It’s difficult to resist indulging a new dog, but you’ll need to learn to say “no” now if you want to prevent frustration later. 

Puppies utilize frustration growls to express their dissatisfaction with the lack of fulfillment of their needs.

So your dog is growling to inform you that it’s time for your daily play session because they want their favorite toy.

Essentially, if your puppy is used to having their way, they will quickly get angry and express their displeasure by growling. 

When it comes to coping with a disgruntled puppy, obedience training is your best bet. Consider hiring a professional trainer or enrolling your puppy in a puppy kindergarten program if you don’t know how to teach your dog.

When things don’t go as planned, teaching your puppy basic obedience instructions can help you cope with their frustrated emotions. 

5. Imaginativeness

During play, it’s very unusual for dogs of all ages, especially puppies, to be quite noisy.

While puppy growls may seem frightening, especially if you are a new owner, you should not be concerned.

While playing fetch, your puppy may growl at you, or they may growl at other pups while wrestling or playing chase. 

Growls of amusement are quite natural and nothing to be concerned about. Take your puppy to socialization lessons if you’re a new dog owner and study how they interact with other pups.

It’s easier to tell the difference between playful and fighting growls if you know how puppies play and interact with one another.

While play growling is perfectly acceptable, if you observe your puppy’s growls growing more strong, you should cease playing with him.

If this occurs, just take a break and let your dog a few minutes to settle down before continuing to play.

If your puppy does the same behavior when playing with another dog, separate them until they both settle down.

You may reintroduce your puppy to other canines as soon as he or she seems calm enough. Giving your dog a time out will help keep things in check and prevent fun growling from becoming a battle.

We actually have an article on dogs and pups engaging in fun growling. This game of pups snarling and exhibiting fangs is dubbed “bitey face” by us.

6. The concept of territoriality

Some puppies and dogs feel compelled to protect their area and may begin snarling at anybody new who enters the premises.

When your dog growls every time the mailman or delivery person rings the doorbell, it’s an indication of territorial aggressiveness. 

Territorially aggressive puppies may begin growling over other territory as well. When someone sits in the dog’s favorite chair or takes their position on the couch, your puppy may start snarling. 

Keep in mind that a territorial puppy may snarl at anybody who approaches their imagined domain.

They may even start snarling at family members or at you if this is the case. Fortunately, you may hire a dog trainer or a behavioral specialist to assist you limit your dog’s territorial inclinations. 

Why Do Puppies Growl? Frequently Asked Questions

Is a Puppy’s Growling Normal?

It’s very common for newborn pups to growl, and it’s typically not an indication of aggression.

Puppies, like adult dogs, communicate with their owners via a variety of vocalizations, including growling. While most people flee when they hear a growling dog, a growling puppy does not have to be feared.

The most typical cause for tiny pups growling is playfulness.

However, your puppy’s growling might be caused by a variety of factors including pain, fear, territoriality, possessive aggressiveness, and resource guarding. 

When My Puppy Growls, What Should I Do?

Growling is one of many ways pups communicate, and understanding what your puppy is trying to say can help you respond appropriately.

Growling is not generally an indication of aggressiveness in pups, but your puppy may snap or attempt to bite you.

Finding out why your dog growled in the first place and resolving that problem is the greatest way to stop this behavior.

If your puppy only growls while playing, for example, you may stop the game and give your dog a few minutes to settle down.

It is important to understand that scolding and disciplining your dog for growling will not solve the issue. Instead, it may aggravate the situation, leading to your puppy being fearful of you.

What Are Aggression Signs In Puppies?

Growling, snarling, mouthing, snapping, dominance, rigid posture, fixated stare, and biting are the most prevalent indicators of hostility among pups.

Puppies, on the other hand, like physical play, which frequently involves snarling, chasing, biting, and barking.

Because natural puppy play and aggressiveness have certain characteristics, it may be difficult to tell the two apart, particularly if you are a new owner.

Problem behaviors are more intense and persist longer than regular play behaviors, so keep that in mind.

What Causes My Puppy to Become Aggressive?

If your puppy begins to growl, snap, or attempt to bite you after never showing indications of hostility previously, it’s likely that they’re in discomfort.

One of the most prevalent reasons of puppy aggressiveness is pain, which might indicate an injury or sickness. If you feel your puppy is in discomfort, bring them to the veterinarian as soon as possible for treatment. 


Growling is only one of numerous vocalizations pups use to communicate with their parents, and although it may seem frightening at first.

Growling is seldom an indication of hostility in pups, but it might indicate that your youngster is in discomfort. To be safe, here’s what to do and what not to do if your puppy growls:

  • Investigate the source of your puppy’s growling.
  • Take your puppy to the vet if he or she is growling since it might be an indication of discomfort.
  • It’s very natural for pups to growl, so don’t punish yours.

Although growling may seem threatening and dangerous at first, it is a form of communication, and the best you can do is learn to understand what your dog is trying to tell you.

Is your puppy wagging its tail? If that’s the case, can you tell me why?

In the comments area below, tell us about your experiences.


A 12 week old puppy is biting and growling. This behavior may be for many reasons such as fear, dominance, or a health problem. Reference: 12 week old puppy biting and growling.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you punish a puppy for growling?

A: The best way to punish a growling puppy is by giving it something that can be enjoyed. If you give your dog a treat, they will stop their noise and enjoy the treat rather than trying to bite or attack anyone else.

Why does my puppy growl at me for no reason?

A: It could be they are jealous of you, or they may not like it when their food bowl is taken away.

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