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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 14556
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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How should I handle my adult dog growling at a friend's puppy?

Customer Question

How should I handle my adult dog growling at a friend's puppy? Should I tell her to stop or is it a way of letting the puppy know that she does not want the attention?
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 5 months ago.
Hello, my name is***** and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian. I understand that it is disconcerting to hear your dog Tessa growl at a puppy, but it may be appropriate given the situation. Not all adult dogs are comfortable around puppies, or have any desire to play with one.And if your girl has any history of health problems, particularly joint or back troubles then her growl is a way of telling the puppy to stay away, she has no interest in playing.If the puppy approaches and your dog growls, then the pup leaves her be and the growling stops then that is very normal and appropriate behavior. Both learned and used appropriate social cues.If you tell her not to growl then her ability to give that warning is lost, and the puppy won't know to stay away and may get bitten.All older dogs should have the ability to get away and have peace away from a rambunctious pup. No matter how patient the adult dog may be they deserve their safe place and peace. Most adult dogs given the opportunity to get away when they need to, and the ability to communicate with another dog, do better with other dogs in the long run. If your dog is growling and going after the puppy when the puppy isn't bothering her that is a different story, and that is inappropriate aggression. Then we need to step in with training and we need to keep the two separated. Either way I would not leave the two alone together, that is dangerous until both dogs learn their boundaries.Best of luck with your dogs. I hope this information has been helpful.