This is a very important subject so I revisit it from time to time.
So why would we thank our dog for growling? Well…of course there are many reasons why your dog might growl but it still boils down to the fact that by growling your dog is trying to communicate with you.
So in a nutshell it means “I’m not comfortable with this or that and I want you to know.”
Obviously our goal is not to go through life with our dog growling at us but to recognize there is some issue and figure out what I is so we can rectify it.
Could be he doesn’t like to be petted in a certain way or in a particular area. Perhaps he does want you to be so close to his toy or his food or perhaps he is letting you know he does not want to move even though you want him to. Perhaps something is frightening him. There are different solutions for each of these situations.
But once you are able to determine what the issue is you can set out to solve the problem correctly without destroying your relationship with your dog. You can try some counter conditioning to convince your dog there is no reason for him to growl and in fact learn to look forward to x, y, and z or at least tolerate it without a problem. Then he won’t need to growl as there is no longer a problem…..win/win!
Without that growl you might not know something is bothering him until he feels the need to bite to get his point across.
So don’t be angry if your dog growls but don’t ignore it either. Set about finding out why he feels the need to growl. Take it for what it is….communication.