Encourage the growl or make it go away?

This is a place to gain some understanding of dog behavior and to assist people in training their dogs and dealing with common behavior problems, regardless of the method(s) used. This can cover the spectrum from non-aversive to traditional methods of dog training. There are many ways to train a dog. Please avoid aggressive responses, and counter ideas and opinions with which you don't agree with friendly and helpful advice. Please refrain from submitting posts that promote off-topic discussions. Keep in mind that you may be receiving advice from other dog owners and lovers... not professionals. If you have a major problem, always seek the advice of a trainer or behaviorist!

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Got food? I- can be bought ya- know....
Barked: Tue Dec 11, '12 8:16am PST 
You have to consider what a growl really is… just a vocal communication.
Pepper is as sweet and gentle a girl as I could ask for. But has the ugliest voice ever! Her vocalizations go from whines, barks, grumbles, grunts, and growls. None of them are concerning.
She is also not very outgoing. A nice way of saying anti-social. At close to 4 years old she has improved with training, but is still reserved compared to my boys.

I have only on rare occasions heard a dog snarl in a way that was a serious warning. It causes the hair on your neck to stand up, not just the noise, but even us mere humans can feel the aggression behind the sound.

Your dog is doing his job…letting you know you have company. The "growl" may be a pre-bark, as it is for Pepper. I wouldn't be concerned.

I do think it's good to build our dog's social skills with positive experiences.
I like the idea of strangers asking for a behavior in exchange for a treat. For a shy dog, "sit, catch" is perfect. Pepper would approve. dog
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