How to discipline a dog that bites and growls?

How to discipline a dog that bites and growls? Does your dog growl and bite? Don’t know how to discipline him? Do you want to know the reasons behind dog growling and biting? But your relatives suggested you ‘punish your dog’ and your instinct says no to it.

Then you are on the right article. We will look at why growling is as bad as it seems, why dogs growl, why they bite, and how to discipline your dog that growls and bites. Let’s first have an idea about growling.

Dogs can growl many times while playing or guarding their toys or food.

As humans, canine aggression seems not likable to you but it’s just a way of communicating. Dogs can growl due to fear or possessiveness is the feeling that occurred to them during a certain event or moment.

Dogs growling is a warning sign. If avoided, the dog can step ahead like biting. 

Understand your dog is feeling threatened or uncomfortable. And by avoiding the warning he is giving. He thinks he needs to be in control rather than to trust that you are going to handle it. 

Why do dogs growl?

As you may have heard that not every growl is dangerous. Let’s understand the reason behind dog growling. Some dogs can growl in excitement or when having fun. While others can growl to threaten other dogs or warn them.

Dogs can also reply to other dogs in the form of a growl. There are two types of growling: happy growl and stressed growl.

  1. Happy growl: 

Dogs can bark when playing or when you’re showing your love to them. It is a sign they are happy and enjoying the moment. If this type of growling happens, let your dog enjoy it by playing more instead of punishing and stopping him.

  1. Stressed growls:

To threaten another dog, or person or to show he is uncomfortable he may growl. Resource guarding is why the puppies growl many times. It is a warning sign and you need to change the situation. 

Check out if the dog is giving hard expressions or seems harsh. Then it is stressed growls which he is giving. Time to take action. Don’t let the dog take further action.

Major reasons behind dog growling:

  1. Pain:

Understand that maybe a dog is suffering from the pain of earlobes, stomachache, etc basically a pain in the body. If you accidentally touched him or even if you didn’t, he can growl to take out the pain. 

Check the vet immediately if your dog growls because of pain.

  1. Possessive:

Dogs love their bed, and food and they don’t like to share it with anyone. Unless they are trained to do so. In these situations, growling can happen to anybody who feels a threat to the dog. 

 Trying to snatch or making him feel cornered is the worst thing to do. Dogs can be possessive about their owners also. Hence, they can react like this if you take another dog.

  1. A dog is threatened:

Some dogs get easily threatened by some triggered situations. For as you are walking in the park and one big dog is coming from another side. A dog can get fearful and will growl. To let you know that please keep me safe and I need your help.

Your cooperation is what will make your dog feel better.

  1. Asking for space:

Some dogs ask for space by growling. Leave everything you are doing which is making your dog feel uncomfortable. Dogs are not growling for dominance.

They can only show dominance with the dogs (same species). They can fight with other dogs for food or bed to show a dominant position.

Never ever punish the dog

Never ever punish your dog for growling. It will just only lead to further steps. It will only solve the problem on the upper face but will lead your dog to be more uncomfortable when addressing similar situations which gave him the punishment.

Why dog bites?

Understand the dog bites because maybe you have ignored his warning. The main reasons behind dog biting:

  1. The dog is afraid:

Did you scare your dog while sleeping? The dog can get scared because of making eye contact or sitting too close. It is scary for your dog sometimes. Biting can be the major attack in this situation.

Building trust with your dog by doing exercises like walking together in the street is the most effective way to reduce your dog’s fear. But if you avoid it, it will increase the dog’s insecurity and the chances of biting will be excessive.

  1. Possessive:

The dog can turn dominant and behave possessively when you try to snatch or take something from them. 

Biting is the aggressive reaction of your dog in this term. Make your dog understand that there are limits and boundaries. You’re the only one who will decide what she will get, be it anything.

  1. Pain:

If you touch your dog’s body part which is hurting him but he is hiding it. He may react to you by biting instantly. Thinking you will harm him.

A mother dog with puppies can bite you to protect her children until she feels they can hang around other people. 

How to discipline a dog that bites and growls?

I have provided you with a list of the best methods to stop dog growls. You can take these steps to stop your dog growl:

Distracting their bad behavior from them.

Pause everything you are doing. Leave the place after he gets relaxed as a reward. Try not to make eye contact.

Don’t take your dog’s favorite things by him with pressure.  

Bonus tip: A growling dog should never be confronted.

The ‘Quiet’ method.

The Quiet method works amazingly for any dog aggression as experts say it. You need to practice it in a way. When your dog growls tell him to ‘Quiet’ as he obeys you. Give him a treat. Repeat the method for some weeks. Any time your dog growls, say quiet and after he gets silent, reward him.

Letting them go out of the situation.

Deal with the inner problems of your dog like fear, pain, and possessive aggression. Then try avoiding the situation where the dog encounters emotions like fear and possession.

Keep them mentally healthy with exercise.

Keeping your dog mentally healthy is as important as being physically healthy. Mental issues or some neurological issues can make your dog growl or snap.

Playing with him daily, going on a walk, and giving him proper diet work as exercise. Exercise can work tremendously and it also helps dogs be more proactive.

Remove the nuisance from the environment.

Many things can be a nuisance for your dog like relatives, and strangers looking at him from the window. So, you need to first find out what her stress points are. Remove those nuisances from your dog’s sight as much as possible.

Your dog can be stressed over many things. Hence, he may not react to one thing yesterday but reacted today.

How to discipline a dog that bites?

Dogs bite most of the time as their warning is avoided. Don’t let him take that step. Below are some methods to discipline a dog who bites.

Correcting the dog’s behavior with rewards.

Rewards and appreciation are a great way to correct your dog’s bad behavior(i.e growling, biting, snapping). No, I am not telling you to reward your dog for bad behavior.

Let’s understand, as your dog tries to bite, you tell him ‘no’, ‘leave it’, and when he listens to you. Reward him with a toy or a treat.

You need to make it repetitive. When you give commands to your dog, give them with perfect intensity not less, not more. Less and excessive intensity will make the dog react in different patterns.

With the help of counter-conditioning and desensitization, you can change the perception of your dog turning it from harmful to beneficial.

But the dog needs to stay away from people and be in his place to avoid the sudden bite during the beginning of training.

Immediately disciplining the dog.

As soon as your dog bites, react in the best way possible immediately, not after 7 minutes. Reacting with the best methods like positive reinforcement needs to discipline the dog at the moment.   


Socializing helps dogs understand not everybody and everything is dangerous for them. Calm and positive situations are needed in this training. A dog should be in contact with other animals, and people. Just be consistent. As it becomes normal, slowly start making your dog interact in situations that can be fearful.

But remember your dog bites. Keep the leash short and never leave without a leash. 

Understand the dog’s body language and changes in it around people. Remove your dog from the scene before it gets aggressive. A low-bite threshold dog can easily bite anyone.

Personal opinion:  

You should never rehome your dog because he bites. You have taken care of him for so long. How can you make sure someone else will take care of him like you? That’s reality, anyone can beat or punish your dog for biting. 

You never know what they are doing to him. You are a family to your dog. I think as a family you should try your best to change and modify your dog’s behavior. It will only make both of you happy.

You want your dog to be happy, right? Not stressed. 

I hope I have cleared away your doubts about the dog growling and biting. You may have understood what methods you need to use to discipline your dog as per your condition. Take care of your dog. And if you feel your dog is not getting handled with some training sessions. See the dog’s behaviorist or psychologist.


  1. What does it mean by snatching the opportunity from your dog to bite?

Ans: To apply this method, you need to first understand the stressors of your dog. The stressors which cause him to bite. This method is to hide all those stressors from your dog’s sight or let him not come in contact with the stressful situations. Just to make him comfortable.

      2. Should you use the method of snatching the opportunity from your dog?

Ans: You can use this method if you probably don’t have that particular time to use other training methods to discipline dogs. Or even if your dog has been bitten one time you can easily track down what made him and then apply it.

      3. Should you lock your dog in his room for more than one day if he growls?

Ans: Many people say to cut off your dog from the environment but it isn’t the right method to do so. Instead, you can keep your dog inside his room after making him calm to make him feel he is protected. If you will lock him in his room he can feel it as a punishment for his behavior. It can make things worse. 

 Even if you want to do it, lock him for two to three hours. Not more than that.

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