Teaching a dog to growl? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-04-2010, 02:21 PM Thread Starter
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Teaching a dog to growl?

I think it would be neat to teach my future dog to growl, but I'm not sure how to do that without encouraging dangerous behavior.

I know that some dogs tend to growl playfully when they're playing, so do I play and wait for the growl, and reward?

I don't want to do it to scare people or anything. I just want to have a list of things to teach him to try and wear out that busy mind!

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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-04-2010, 02:29 PM
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How about teaching him to speak, rather than growl?
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-04-2010, 02:39 PM
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I would like to know that also. Speaking is easy...growling is way more cool unless someone gets snapped at
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-04-2010, 02:48 PM
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I'm not a big fan of teaching your dog to growl. For me, growling is like the warning light on your engine - something is going to happen, and it aint' going to be good.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-04-2010, 02:56 PM
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I am working on teaching my Malinois to growl. What I eventually want to be able to do is have her bark, and then tell her, "use your indoor voice" and have her growl on that. I think that would be a cute trick to show off in combination with the barking and being quiet.

It was pretty easy to get Ronja started on this because she does bark on command and she also barks when excited. What I did was show her a toy while holding my clicker in the other hand, and wiggling the toy to get her excited. She will scoot her butt toward me in the "sit" position and sort of vibrate up and down in excitement - that's usually a sign she will start barking. When she started to bark, I told her "indoor voice" and as soon as the barking was either quieter or she transferred to the "bark-grrr" she sometimes does, I clicked and rewarded her for that. Repeat as necessary until you get a "grrr" on "indoor voice".

I am still working on fine-tuning it a little and preventing her from going straight to bark (or straight to quiet) but that's how I taught it.

Her "on command" growl is quite different from her other growls (like warning growl, play growl, and "Seriously! Stop it NOW!" growls) so I don't have any problem teaching her to do this.

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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-04-2010, 02:57 PM
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My Aunts Doberman/Keeshond mix always growled when my Aunt would say "squirrel"

Shelby hated squirrels, she would growl, almost foaming at the mouth, just over the word and then she would run around the house to look out the window to see where it was.

Absolutely hilarious.

But I dont know how she taught her that

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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-04-2010, 02:57 PM
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The only way that I can think of to teach a dog to growl on command would be to capture with a clicker and reward the behavior. I think that this could be difficult to do without also getting the state of mind that normally accompanies the growling. Maybe if they growl during play you could capture that there?

Many people training in protection can teach their dog to "activate" on a command...but that command has been named and reinforced through the training.

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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-04-2010, 03:22 PM
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kind of like this...?


I'd say, unless youre a very experienced trainer, i would leave the growling alone. Your dogs going to growl sooner or later, but it's not really something i'd like to positively reinforce. It's kind of like playing with fire if you ask me.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-05-2010, 01:53 PM Thread Starter
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I'm at school right now and can't see that video, but I think that's probably one I've seen before. Is it the wolf hybrid that it says was in Narnia? If that's it, then no, I don't want the evil expression.

I was thinking more just the vocal aspect of it, not the body posture, facial expression, etc. I figure that rewarding the growling when playing would associate the growling with fun and play, not murder. lol

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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-05-2010, 02:21 PM
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Capturing it in play with a marker and rewards is the only way I would consider it.

It's not so hard to get most dogs to growl in play if you work at it.
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