Expert Advice

Why Does My Dog Growl When I Pet Him?: 9 Reasons

Growling is one of the forms of dog interaction. Just like when communicating between people, the intonation and pitch of the growl represent different emotions and meanings.

The special thing is that most dog owners can understand quite accurately what those growls mean.

If you’re seeking the answer for “Why does my dog growl when I pet him?”, you’ve come to the right place.

why does my dog growl when I pet him
Why does my dog growl when I pet him?

Why Does My Dog Growl When I Pet Him?

1. Pleasure Growling

A short, loving growl coupled with a moan characterizes the pleasure growl. And it is possible that this will continue for a long time. A dropped tail, a loose posture, and a relaxed mouth are all indications of a pet dog.

It is simple to detect if your dog is at ease based on his body language. When you stop scratching, dogs may whine and ask for more.

2. When Being Petted Too Much

Dogs love to be cuddled and petted by their owners. However, they will growl and tend to avoid you when they feel you have stroked them too much, or too hard. They will also growl when you stroke them where they do not like it.

3. Injury Growling

To dive into the wonder “Why does my dog growl when I pet him?”, you should be aware that when your dog has a sudden change in behavior, it may indicate that they are sick, in pain, or uncomfortable.

In particular, if you touch that painful spot, they will become agitated and growl because they do not want more pain. In this case, it’s best to take it to the vet as soon as possible.

4. Dislike Strangers

Although dogs are friendly animals, some species are very aloof with strangers. At that time, they will growl when they see strangers.

The growl can also appear when they encounter someone wearing an outfit or holding an item they do not like. This can be resolved by allowing the person and your dog to get to know each other. Or guide them on how to approach a dog properly.

5. Scared Growling

Another reason for the question “Why does my dog growl when I pet him?” is fear. The accompanying signs when your dog is scared are shivering, panting, drooling, urinating, or possibly destructive behavior. Frightened growls can be very disturbing.

Every dog’s fear is different. Their fears can include firework anxiety, fear of loud noises from construction sites, etc. The owners can help them by staying by their side when they are scared and playing games to distract their attention.

6. When They Need Something

Growling can also occur when your dog’s needs are not being met. For example, when they are hungry, and they growl to remind you that it is time to eat.

But this growl is easily confused with other growls. And if needs are not met or misunderstood, they will most likely turn to aggressive growth.

Dog growling at owner
Dog growling at owner – Image: Battersea

7. Aggressive Growling

They will growl when they become aggressive and belligerent. Those growls are meant to warn you to back off because they can hurt you at any time. The accompanying signs are straining, baring fangs…

In this case, you should let them calm down for a while. If the situation gets worse, seek the help of a professional trainer.

8. Fighting Growl

The growl when he wants to fight seems to be the scariest growl. The sound was very heavy. It often occurs in dogs that have not been socialized.

For some dogs, without interference between the dog and the perceived threat, there is bound to be conflict.

9. Warning Growl

It is not natural to be considered an animal that can keep the house. They are a highly alert species. So when they sense that someone may be a danger to their owners and themselves, they will growl, or bark.

It is a warning signal to the owner to be alert, as well as a threat to that danger.


Recognizing the difference between growls can help owners better understand their dogs. From there, you can easily connect and be their best companion.

For new dog owners, understanding those growls can seem a bit difficult. But after a period of living together, the bond between the owner and the dog is established, you will understand them.

If you want, you can refer to online courses to learn more. Or reach out to your vet for help at any time.

Hopefully, the above article has answered the questions of most dog lovers “Why does my dog growl when I pet him?”, and assist you in taking the best possible care of your female dog.

Related Articles


  1. MegaCool Blog indeed!… if anyone else has anything it would be much appreciated. Just wanted to say thanks and keep doing what you’re doing! Great website Enjoy!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back to top button