As your puppy grows up, he may growl from time to time for all sorts of reasons. Some growls are not a cause to worry, while others are a warning that a problem is developing. How do you tell the difference? A good rule is to look at your puppy’s body language and the situation to determine the message behind his growl.

Growls during play

Sometimes your puppy may growl while you are playing with him. If his body is relaxed, his tail is wagging and he’s moving around, then he is probably being playful. In human terms, his growl might be similar to you saying, ‘I’m going to get you!’ when playing with a friend.

Pain-based growl

Puppies feel pain the same way we do and, just like us, it can make them grouchy. For example, if your puppy suddenly growls when you stroke his head, it may be an indication that he has an ear infection brewing. If he reacts with a growl when you give him a friendly pat, he may have pain in his hips. Any time a growl suddenly happens when you touch your puppy, it’s a good idea to consult your veterinarian.

Dog-to-dog growls

Your pup is nearing adulthood and you may start to hear him growling at other dogs from time to time. Sometimes his growling may be appropriate, for example, a quick growl to discipline an unruly younger puppy. At other times, your puppy’s adolescent growling may be a warning of more serious aggression to come. For example, your puppy may growl at a strange dog and then approach that dog aggressively with his legs stiff and his tail up. This type of growling should never be encouraged.

Fear-based growling

Your puppy may give a soft-sounding growl and move away if he sees something or someone that he doesn’t recognize. His head may be lower than his back and the fur on his back may or may not stand up. If you’ve ever been startled by something, and maybe a little frightened, then you can understand your pup’s reaction. As long as he turns or moves away as he growls, he is probably just confused and a little worried. If this situation occurs, it’s best not to make a big deal of it – just speak to your puppy in a matter of fact voice so he understands that everything is fine. Never force a fearful pup to approach anyone or anything. Let them get comfortable at their own rate.

Warning growl

If your puppy is eating or chewing on a favourite toy and he growls as you approach, this is not a playful growl. Usually this sort of growl is delivered when the puppy is motionless and his body tense. His head may be held low over his bowl or toy and he will be making direct eye contact with you. This type of growl is a warning to leave him alone and to back away. This is a serious growl and it should never be excused or overlooked. Most puppies are loving, happy family members and few ever growl in a serious manner. However, if you are unsure if your puppy is or isn’t serious when he growls, please seek immediate professional assistance.


Puppy care

Sridevi with Bruno

Rule 1 – Training starts on day one

Since dogs aren’t born fully trained, your puppy will be looking to you for guidance. Good training plays a big role in ensuring a happy and successful relationship between you and your dog. Through puppy care and training, your dog will learn to understand what his human companions expect of him and be better equipped to fit into his environment. Likewise, the better you understand your dog’s behavior, the more rewarding your relationship will be.

Rule 2 – A puppy needs a balanced diet

What you feed your puppy really matters. In fact, he needs special puppy balanced diet chart that contain nutrition with just the right amounts of protein, fats, minerals and vitamins. A puppy’s diet must also be balanced so he receives the right amount of nutrients. Food should be concentrated to allow him to take in all the needed nutrients with a small amount of food. And always make sure your puppy gets plenty of fresh, clean water.

Rule 3 – Keep your puppy well groomed

Start grooming your puppy at an early age. The earlier your dog gets to know the procedure, the more readily he will get used to it.

Rule 4 – Puppies need regular dental care

Taking care of your puppy’s teeth now will prevent a lot of problems later on in his life. In fact, the number one health problem for dogs, apart from being overweight, is periodontal disease. The accumulation of tartar and plaque and the resulting gingivitis can lead to more serious disease. So start brushing your puppy’s teeth now, because most dogs over two years of age who haven’t received regular dental care have these dental problems, so start with best puppy dental care in the same you brush your teeth everyday.

Rule 5 – Best Way to Exercise your puppy daily

Part of the normal routine for a healthy puppy is regular exercise. The amount your dog needs will depend not only on his size, but also on his breed. Don’t make the mistake of over-exercising your puppy, however. A growing puppy’s bones aren’t yet strong enough to cope with the extra stress this puts on him.

Rule 6 – Regular vet check ups

Ideally, you should choose a vet even before bringing your puppy home. Then, once your puppy is home, you should take him in to the vet within the next day or so for an overall check-up. In the first few months, there’ll be several visits to the vet for various vaccinations and spaying/neutering. Once your pup reaches adulthood, at least one visit a year is required to ensure his ongoing good health.

Rule 7 – Give your puppy home health checks

You can play a big role in keeping your puppy healthy by doing health check ups at home. Checking his weight, coat and skin, eyes and ears, teeth and gums, and doing spot checks can prevent little problems from turning into big ones.

Rule 8 – Introduce your puppy to other dogs

One of the best ways to teach good canine manners is to allow your puppy to interact with an adult dog. Most adult dogs won’t be aggressive toward a puppy though sometimes, a big dog will find a way to put a puppy in its place, perhaps with a growl or a snap. Don’t prevent an adult dog from doing this, since puppies learn to limit the strength of their bite and how to control themselves. If you prevent an older dog from controlling a puppy, then the puppy soon learns to think of himself as the boss and that he can do anything he wants.

Rule 9 – Reward good behaviour

Positive reinforcement is a powerful way to make your puppy a well-behaved member of your family. Reward him with a treat or praise when he does what you tell him. This will encourage the repetition of good behaviour and will increase the likelihood that he will repeat the desired behaviour in the future.

Rule 10 – Be patient

Raising a puppy requires a lot of love and even more patience. Educate yourself by reading dogs and pups magazine as much as you can about raising a dog, talking to other dog owners and communicating with your vet. This will eliminate many “surprises” along the way, and will put you well on the path to building a strong, long-lasting relationship with your puppy.