Sometimes when a dog is growling at a baby, it doesn’t brock bowers jersey smith and soul air max 270 women jordan proto max 720 blundstone uomo johnny manziel jersey brock purdy jersey college football jerseys borsa prima classe 8 ft kayak asu football jersey yeezy shoes under 1000 dallas cowboys slippers mens brock bowers jersey kansas city chiefs crocs necessarily mean they’re being mean or aggressive. But we need to figure out why dogs growl and what they’re trying to tell us when they do.

Just like humans, dogs have their ways of communication. Our furry friends also have their own language. When a dog growls, they’re trying to convey something important.

So, let’s take a closer look at why dogs growl, what it signifies, and in particular, why they might growl at babies. 

Understanding Dog Growling 

Researchers conducted a study on dog communication, particularly focusing on growling.

Research published by The Royal Society Publishing states that dog growling is an important way for dogs to communicate their feelings and intentions (Faragó et al.). The study found the following key findings:

  • Growling is a form of communication used by dogs to express various emotions, such as fear, aggression, and playfulness.
  • Dogs use different types of growls to convey different messages. For example, a low, rumbling growl may indicate a warning or aggression, while a higher-pitched growl may signal fear or anxiety.
  • Dogs are capable of understanding and interpreting the meaning of growls from other dogs. They can distinguish between aggressive growls and playful growls. It helps them to respond appropriately in social interactions.
  • Humans can also learn to understand and interpret dog growls. This can help in assessing their behavior and emotional state
  • Understanding and addressing the underlying causes of growling can contribute to better communication and a safer environment for both dogs and humans.

Why Do Dogs Growl at Babies?

Why Do Dogs Growl at Babies?

When your dog is growling at babies, it plainly means that your dog isn’t happy with this confrontation. 

Besides, when a dog growls at a baby, it may be due to several reasons. Dogs, like humans, have their own perspectives and triggers that can lead to growling. Some common reasons include:

  1. Fear or Anxiety: Dogs may growl when they feel afraid or anxious around babies. They might be unsure of the unfamiliar sounds, smells, or sudden movements. Which is also one of the reasons for dogs to lick your legs.
  2. Resource Guarding: Dogs may growl if they perceive the baby as a threat to their resources, such as food, toys, or their sleeping area.
  3. Lack of Socialization: Insufficient exposure to babies during their critical socialization period can make dogs uneasy around them, leading to growling. 

Growls Are Not Always An Indication Of Aggression

Growling can be misunderstood as aggression. Therefore, it’s essential to know that it’s not always the case. Dogs have different types of growls. These serve as warning signals or communication tools.

Let’s explore different types of growling:

  • Playful Growling

When your dearest dogs are having fun, they may emit growling sounds. It’s their way of expressing excitement and engagement during playtime.

  • Fearful or Defensive Growling

Dogs that feel threatened or scared may growl as a defensive response. This type of growling signals their need for space and can be a warning of potential danger.

  • Pain-Induced Growling

When dogs experience pain or discomfort, they may growl to communicate their distress. As a caregiver, you should pay attention to such growls. Because sometimes they can indicate an underlying health issue.

  • Possessive Growling

Dogs may growl when they feel possessive or protective of their belongings, such as toys, food, bed sheets or territory. This behavior aims to establish boundaries and discourage others from approaching.

Warning Signals and Communication

Growling can serve as a warning signal or communication. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Vocalization for Communication
    Growling is one-way dogs communicate with each other and with humans. It can express various emotions, such as fear, anxiety, or discomfort. Understanding their growling can help us respond appropriately and avoid potential conflicts.
  • Body Language
    Along with growls, dogs use body language to convey their intentions. Paying attention to their posture, tail position, and facial expressions can provide valuable insights into their emotional state. This holistic understanding will help you interpret your dog’s emotional state.  

Variation of Growling

If you understand the nuances of dog behavior, you can accurately interpret their intentions. When it comes to growling, dogs display a range of vocalizations and body language cure.

Let’s discuss these variations and their significance. 

Low, Deep Growl

A low, deep growl often means a dog’s readiness to protect or defend. It can be accompanied by a rigid posture, raised fur, and a fixed stare. This growl warns of potential aggression and the need to approach cautiously.

Soft or Muffled Growl

Sometimes, dogs may emit soft or muffled growls. It’s done when they feel conflicted or uncertain. It’s a sign that they are uncomfortable or unsure about the current situation. This growl is usually displayed through lowered body posture and averted gaze.

Continuous or Prolonged Growl

A continuous or prolonged growl suggests persistent discomfort or agitation. It can indicate a dog’s frustration, pain, or a strong desire to communicate a specific message. This type of growl may be accompanied by pacing, tense muscles, and avoidance behaviors.

Snarling or Snapping

In more escalated situations, dogs may combine growling with snarling or snapping. Snarling involves baring teeth, wrinkling the nose, and exposing the gums. Snapping refers to quick and sudden movements of the jaws, often without making contact. These behaviors serve as clear warnings and should be taken seriously.

History of Growling

History of Growling

Growling, as a vocalization in dogs, has a rich evolutionary history. It has been shaped by domestication and human interaction. Understanding its significance provides insights into the behavior of our canine companions.

Evolutionary Significance

Growling has its roots in the ancestral behavior of wolves, the ancestors of domesticated dogs. In the wild, wolves use growling as a form of communication within their social structure. It serves as a warning to intruders or rivals. Also, it conveyed their readiness to defend resources, territory, or pack members. 

Domestication and Human Interaction

Next, through domestication, dogs have undergone significant changes in their behavior, including their growling tendencies. humans selectively bred and praised dogs for specific traits. That is why, growling behaviors were influenced by the desired traits for companionship, work, or specific roles.

Adaptation for Social Cooperation

Also, in the process of domestication, dogs have developed an ability to communicate effectively with humans. Growling has evolved to serve as a means of communication, signaling their needs, boundaries, and emotional states to their human companions. It allows dogs to express discomfort, fear, or a desire for space.

Conflict Avoidance

Finally, small dog breeds, in particular, have benefitted from the domestication process. Domestication has eliminated the need for competition over resources, and small dogs have less to gain from engaging in investigatory or aggressive interactions with unfamiliar individuals. Growling acts as a warning signal, helping them avoid confrontations with potentially aggressive intruders.

Do Dogs Growl Based on Size, Gender, and Age? 

Do Dogs Growl Based on Size, Gender, and Age? 

Research published by Behavioral Ecology on “Age-graded dominance hierarchies and social tolerance in packs of free-ranging dogs”. The research reveals that in dog packs, dominance is primarily based on age rather than size or aggression. Older dogs tend to occupy higher ranks in the hierarchy, while younger dogs hold lower ranks.

On the contrary, another research shows that domesticated dogs display aggressive growling if their opponent is smaller in size. Therefore, if it comes to gowling at the babies, then larger dogs might show little extra violence. That’s why, you should keep an eye on both your baby and dog. 

What to Do When Dog Growls at Babies 

Now that we have a clear understanding of what growling is, its different types, variations, and historical context, let’s consider what you should do if you observe your dog growling at your child.

When your dog growls in response to a child’s disrespectful behavior, like invading their personal space or pulling their tail, you should take appropriate steps. Here are two simple and effective measures you can follow:
1. Teach Children Respect
Start by educating your children about the importance of respecting dogs. Explain that dogs have boundaries and personal space, just like humans do. Encourage them to avoid putting their faces too close to the dog’s face or pulling its tail. If your child is too young to understand, consider using baby gates to secure the safety of both the child and the dog.
2. Seek Professional Help
Consult a behavior specialist who can assist in improving your dog’s response to the child’s actions. This professional will employ counter-conditioning techniques to help your dog become less anxious about the child’s behavior. Besides, they will teach your dog an alternative behavior, such as walking away, when they feel uncomfortable.

Why You Should Not Punish Growling

So far, we’ve learned that growling is a normal behavior for your feline friend. Mostly, they display this behavior to communicate with others. So, if you start to punish growling, your dog may not share his situation with you. As a dog parent, This can be terrifying.

Just think about the human, if they can’t share their feelings, they develop lots of dysfunctional behaviors. In the same way, if you start scolding your dog for his natural articulation, it will be repressing. And your adorable dog can inhibit more unusual behavior. Even he can bite someone without warning. Since dogs also use growls as warning signals.

Furthermore, If your dog’s growling is met with punishment, they may learn that growling is not acceptable. However, this does not eliminate their discomfort or fear. So it can escalate their growling behavior.

Last but not least, you and your dog share trust and bonding with each other. So, if you’re unable to understand him and punish him for expressing his inner state, you may damage the relationship you have with your dog.

Fixing Your Dog Growling Situations

Fixing Your Dog Growling Situations

In the end, what are the steps you should take to fix your dog’s growling behavior?

Firstly, to some extent, growling is a natural habit for your dog. However, if you notice that your dog’s growling is causing problems, you can consider the following steps for fixing growling behavior. 

  • Seeking Professional Help and Training
  • Rebuilding Trust and Positive Reinforcement
  • Adjusting to the Behavior
  • Adjusting to the Environment

Seeking Professional Help and Training

Consulting a professional dog trainer or behaviorist is necessary for resolving growling issues. However, you can take help from animal behaviorists representative like ASAB accredits CCAB (Certified Clinical Animal Behaviourists). The International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants also represents animal behaviorists.

These organizations’ experts have the knowledge and experience to assess the situation accurately and provide guidance. They will help you understand the underlying causes of the growling and aggression and develop a comprehensive plan for improvement.

Rebuilding Trust and Positive Reinforcement

You can try to build a positive association with your dog and the baby. Besides, encourage positive interactions and reward desired behaviors.

For instance, when your dog remains calm and relaxed around the baby, offer treats or praise as a form of positive reinforcement. This approach helps your dog understand that good behavior leads to pleasant outcomes.

Adjusting to the Behavior

RSPCA states it is more accurate to say that dogs are born with inherited tendencies that might, if not controlled, make aggressive behavior more likely. Therefore, you should train your dog’s behavior. Try to Implement techniques to manage and modify your dog’s response to the baby.

However, gradual desensitization and counterconditioning exercises can be highly effective. Baby starts by exposing your dog to them from a safe distance, rewarding calm behavior. Also, Gradually decrease the distance over time. It will make sure your dog feels comfortable and relaxed throughout the process. 

Adjusting to the Environment

Create a safe and comfortable space for both the dog and the baby. This includes managing the dog’s access to the baby’s belongings and areas.

Also, make sure that the baby’s toys, crib, and other items are off-limits to the dog, reducing any potential conflicts or tensions. If you establish clear boundaries, it will help to prevent situations that may trigger growling episodes.


If your dog growling at baby, it might seem scary for dog parents. But if you know about the history of growling and what dogs are trying to tell us when they growl, you will see that it’s a normal phenomenon.

Instead of hurting your dog to protect your child, it’s better to understand the situation. By learning about the different types of growling dogs use and training your dog’s behavior, you can create a safer environment for everyone. You can also teach your baby how to behave around the dog.

Finally, by knowing what triggers your dog’s growling, you can handle the situation appropriately. If it doesn’t work for your dog, you can seek help from a professional dog behaviorist who can help you to get out of this situation.