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Growl and Lick: Why My Dog Does This?



Reviewed By: Dr. Joel Robertson

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When a dog growls, it is not always a sign of aggression.

Growling only is not enough to understand what the dog is trying to do.

If your dog is growling but licking you, it is not a sign of aggression because your dog is continuing to seek contact by putting their head in your hand, cuddling, showing you their belly, etc.

Growling and licking at the same time is more a sign of happiness or pleasure, playfulness than it is aggression.

Why Your Dog Growl and Lick At The Same Time

  • Playing
  • Fear or anxious
  • Being submissive
  • Could be in pain
  • Misunderstand a word you said
  • Doesn’t want to be touched
  • Trying to tell you something
  • You might have rewarded this behavior in the past

Growl and Lick: Why My Dog Does This?

Growl and Lick Why My Dog Does This

If your dog is growling and licking you at the same time, it is not a sign of aggression.

Here is what it means when a dog growls and licks at the same time:

1. Playing

A common behavior dogs may exhibit when playing is growling and licking at the same time. This usually happens during roughhousing, chasing games, or tug-of-war and indicates your pup just wants to have some fun with you and doesn’t mean any harm by it.

If the growling becomes too much for you to handle, simply stop playing and walk away until they calm down. Most importantly, always reward good behavior!

This way they learn which behaviors are acceptable and which ones aren’t.

2. Fear or anxious

Dogs’ growling and licking behavior can be indicative of fear or anxiety. Dogs may do this when they feel threatened, uncomfortable, or uncertain in a situation.

It could also indicate they need space or are feeling overwhelmed. Combining both behaviors could indicate your pup is trying to appease you by wanting some alone time; growling can come off as aggressive in certain contexts.

If your pup exhibits this behavior, slowly back away from them and give them space until they feel safe again; do not punish them for expressing these emotions as this only adds stress into the mix!

3. Being submissive

Growling and licking at the same time can be indicative of submission.

Dogs show love by licking their owners or those around them as a sign of devotion and affection.

So, when your pup growls at you but then starts licking you shortly after, it could be indicative of its desire to express its affection towards you.

This behavior is accompanied by showing you their belly or putting their head in your hand.

4. Could be in pain

A dog may growl and lick you simultaneously if they are feeling pain. This could indicate an injury or other discomfort in their body, so they are trying to alert you.

When a dog feels threatened or uncomfortable, it may growl as a warning but also attempt to appease through licking.

Your pet might also display confused or anxious behaviors if they are uncertain of what’s happening and want assurance of safety while communicating their need for comfort.

5. Misunderstand a word you said

A dog will start to growl and lick you at the same time if they misunderstand a command you have.

For example, if you say ”mad”, your dog might hear ”bad” and it may think it is in danger and will start to growl and lick you.

This is why you should avoid saying commands that can be easily misunderstood.

6. Doesn’t want to be touched

A dog may start to growl and lick you as a way of telling you that they do not want to be petted anymore.

Maybe the dog is trying to sleep or just wants some me time and there you are trying to pet them.

A growl might slightly suggest that they are not pleased but a lick will represent that you are still their favorite human.

7. Trying to tell you something

When a dog is trying to get your attention and tell you something, it can start to growl and lick you.

Maybe something is going on in the yard or they are hungry.

Maybe they tried barking but it didn’t work so now they are growling and licking you to try and explain what is going on.

8. You might have rewarded this behavior in the past

This actually happened to me.

I was eating zucchini and the dog came and started to growl and lick my hand.

Without even thinking about it, I instantly gave my dog some zucchini and rewarded this behavior in the process.

Now, since my dog is super intelligent, he started growling and licking my hand whenever he wanted something I was having.

If you wish to give your dog a treat, do it on your own terms not because they want it.

How To Stop a Dog From Growling and Licking

A dog that growls and licks you at the same time isn’t dangerous, but it can become annoying as it is not a normal behavior.

Here is how to stop a dog from growling and licking:

  1. Establish yourself as leader of the pack: Dogs feel secure when they know their place in the hierarchy, so it is essential that you establish yourself as their leader. Demonstrate that they can trust you by speaking calmly and firmly to him, rewarding good behavior with praise and treats, and consistently punishing unwanted behavior.
  2. Stop rewarding this behavior: Never give your dog a treat when they are growling and licking. It takes only time to do this mistake and your dog will remember it. After that, it might take a long time to
  3. Spend time bonding with your pet: Make time each day to bond with your pup. Go on walks together, play some games together, or simply hang out on the floor or couch together. This helps build a strong connection between you two so he feels secure around you and is less likely to act out due to insecurity or anxiety.
  4. Reduce stress: Unwanted growling and licking may be signs of stress or anxiety in your dog. Recognizing what’s causing their behavior and taking steps to reduce it will help improve their overall demeanor. Things to watch out for that might be stress-causing include changes to their routine, an overcrowded environment, and too much human contact, as well as other animals living in the house.
  5. Provide plenty of exercises: Dogs require plenty of physical activity to remain mentally and physically healthy. Regular walks, playtime, agility training, and fetching games – are all excellent ways to give your furry friend the exercise they need for happiness and relaxation. Exercise will also tire them out so that they won’t be full of energy when they get home from work or school!
  6. Talk to a behaviorist: Some things are just out of our hands. If you have tried everything above and your dog still growls and licks, it is time to seek professional help.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is licking a sign of aggression in dogs?

Licking is a sign of affection and social bonding in dogs. It may also be used as an expression of submission or appeasement when feeling threatened, and may even serve as dominance or territorial marking.

If the licking becomes excessive or is combined with other aggressive behaviors like growling or baring teeth, then this could indicate that your pup feels unsafe in its environment.

If you observe any signs of aggression in your pup’s behavior, consult a veterinarian or animal behaviorist for further evaluation and advice on how best to address the issue.

Do dogs growl to show affection?

Yes. Dogs may growl to express their affection for you. It’s usually seen as a sign of trust and contentment when your pup responds to petting or cuddling.

Dogs also often “grumble” as an expression of pleasure when around people. Growling can be an expression of love and appreciation from your pup!

However, it’s essential to remember that certain forms of growling should never be encouraged and always be discouraged.

When your pup starts acting out due to fear, aggression, or discomfort, take them away from the situation and assess why they might be acting this way before trying to interact again.

Understanding why a pup may be growling will enable you to better comprehend their behavior and provide them with support.

Why does my dog growl at me when I kiss her?

When your dog starts growling at you after doing something, it may be a sign they don’t enjoy the sensation. Some dogs do not enjoy being kissed or petted for too long and may become uncomfortable after some time has passed.

Or it could simply be that your kisses are coming too close to her face and making her feel threatened or uncomfortable.

As an alternative, offer treats before and after kissing her as a way of showing that this will be a pleasant experience for her; gradually reward her with longer hugs or kisses so she gets used to having them near her ears or eyes; make sure not to kiss anywhere near sensitive areas like near her ears or eyes too much.

Should I growl back at my dog?

No, you should never growl back at your dog. Doing so could create a false sense of security for them in response to commands or other stressful situations and lead to more aggressive responses.

Instead of growling back, use a firm voice or body language to communicate that this behavior is unacceptable and reward calm responses with treats and praise for reinforcement.

Ultimately, training and consistency are the most effective methods for teaching your pup what behaviors are acceptable and unacceptable; patience will help them develop an appropriate response with plenty of rewards along the way!

Why do dogs growl at people they love?

Dogs may growl at those they care about for a variety of reasons. They might be trying to convey that they need something, like attention or space.

Playing with their owners also often results in growling as an expression of excitement or enjoyment. Sometimes dogs might feel scared or protective over something or someone they value.

If a pup is experiencing pain or discomfort, it may growl as a sign that something is wrong.

It’s essential that you observe your pup’s body language when they are growling and try to determine why before taking any action.

In Conclusion

Dogs growl and lick at the same time when they are playing, showing love, wanting something, or trying to tell you something. It is never a sign of aggression.

You just need to observe their behavior and combine all the signs they are showing to get an answer.

Please take the time and leave a comment below if this article helped you, or you have any additional questions.

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