If your German Shepherd has been growling at you then you’re probably wondering why and what you can do about it.

This post will show you a number of reasons why your German Shepherd might growl at you and what you can do about it.

So, why does my German Shepherd growl at me? Possible reasons could include wanting your attention, food aggression, fear, pain, it is showing enjoyment, being dominating or being aggressive.

The reason why your German Shepherd growls at you will be highly dependant on the context of how it does it and there are a number of different things that you can do about it.

Why your German Shepherd growls at you

Each of the different reasons why your German Shepherd growls at you will likely come with a number of clues in the way that it does it.

Below, I will show you a number of reasons why your German Shepherd could be growling at you and the signs to look for.

It wants your attention

The reason why it growls at you could be that it wants your attention.

This would be more likely if it does it at specific times such as when it would normally go out for a walk, get fed or get attention in some other way.

Protecting food or possessions

It is common for German Shepherds and other dogs to growl if someone approaches them when they are eating.

If your German Shepherd does this then be careful since they will often become aggressive if you go too close to it when it is eating.

If your German Shepherd is still a puppy then it will be very important for you to train it out of the behavior while it is still young.

You can watch the video below for some tips on how to do so:

Fear

It could be that, in certain situations, your German Shepherd remembers being mistreated in the past and this has caused it to become apprehensive. This could be the case if it growls when you try to pet it or when you go near it.

In this case, you can try the training method below but you’re best bet would be to get help from a dog behaviorist who can give you more relevant guidance in this situation.

Related post: Why is my German Shepherd always afraid?

Pain

It could be that your German Shepherd is injured. When dogs are in pain it is common for them to growl. If your German Shepherd has been growling recently in situations when it normally wouldn’t then this could be the case. If pain is the cause then you’ll probably notice other symptoms such as limping or a change in behavior.

Enjoyment

Sometimes a dog will growl when it is enjoying itself. An example of this would be when it is playing a game such as tug of war.

Related post: How to tell if your German Shepherd loves you

It is being dominating

It could also be that it’s in your German Shepherd’s nature to be more dominating.

These types of dogs seek to control other dogs and people that live in their environment. They will often be more difficult to train since they will be less compliant to humans commands. It’s very important to train these types of dogs from an early age.

However, even if it is older regular and consistent training should help a lot. If it is also aggressive then the best option for you would be to get the help of a dog behaviorist or trainer.

Aggression

It could be the case that your German Shepherd growls at you because it is being aggressive.

This would be more likely if it shows its teeth when it growls at you, it has its ears erect and it moves stiffly from side to side.

If it is the case that your German Shepherd seems to growl at you in an aggressive way then the best option for you would be to get the help of a dog behaviorist in your area.

Things to consider

Before trying to get your German Shepherd to stop growling at you it would help to figure out exactly why it is doing it.

Below, I will mention a number of important things to consider.

Consider the type of growling

It would help to consider the way that it grows at you. If it shows its teeth, lunges towards you, stands more erect and moves stiffly then it would be a strong sign of aggression. In this case, it would be best to keep your distance from it and to get the help of a professional dog behaviorist.

With that being said, even if they do not show signs of aggression they can still become aggressive. So, it would still be important to be cautious when it is growling especially if it does it when eating.

When it started

It would also help to consider when your German Shepherd started to growl at you.

If it never used to growl at you but it suddenly started doing it then it would help to think about what else happened at around the same time that it started growling at you.

Some things that might have happened could include:

  • Moving homes
  • Someone was aggressive towards it
  • Someone moved away or another pet died

When and where it does it

The timing of when it growls would also likely tell you a lot about why it is doing it.

For example, if it only seems to growl when you have not fed it for a long time then it would suggest that it is reminding you of that.

How to stop it from growling

There are a number of things that you can do if you want to get your German Shepherd to stop growling. Below, I will show you a number of things that you can do about it.

You can look at the book Training Your German Shepherd on Amazon to get more tips about how you can train your GSD.

Positive reinforcement training

One option would be to try positive reinforcement training. This is where you reward your German Shepherd for behaving the way that you want it to.

To use it to get it to stop growling you would do something such as:

  • Stop giving it attention when it starts growling
  • Give it attention when it stops growling
  • Stop giving it attention again if it starts to growl
  • Repeat the above and reward it with treats when it does not growl when it normally would

Avoid reinforcing the behavior

While positive reinforcement training can work well it can also work against you.

If your method of getting your German Shepherd to stop growling is to give it things that it wants such as a toy, a walk or attention then it could be that it has learned that growling will get it those things.

Instead, an alternative option would be to stop giving it attention until it stops growling and then to reward it when it does not growl.

Get help from a trainer

If you are unsure of why your German Shepherd growls at you or you do not know how to get it to stop then the best option for you would be to get the help of a dog behaviorist in your area. This would especially be the case if it is aggressive when it growls as well.

This post contains affiliate links. Germanshepherdsowner may be paid a commission from the companies mentioned in this post. This has no effect on the price you pay and we are very grateful for any support.

Most Recommended For German Shepherds

Best German Shepherd Training Program

Our favorite: The Dunbar Academy Training Program. If you want a happy and obedient dog, this is one of the best online dog training programs available right now.

Best German Shepherd Guide

Our favorite: The German Shepherd Handbook (on Amazon) - Shows you all you need to know to keep your GSD happy, healthy and well-behaved.

Best German Shepherd Treats

Our favorites: N-Bone Puppy Teething Ring (on Amazon) - Great for German Shepherd puppies. American Journey Dog Treats (on Amazon) - Great for adult German Shepherds.

Author

Pin It