Hearing a dog growling at you can be scary enough, but hearing it growl at your child is downright terrifying. Growling is the dog's way of telling you to "back off." The key is to inform the dog that you, and not it, are the leader of the pack. A dog relies on you for survival, not the other way around. Children may not understand that they have to be the dominant one when it comes to dogs. They need to learn how to react to a dog that growls at them or they could be attacked.
Stay calm. If a dog is growling at your child, think about why it might be growling. Growling is a way of communicating for a dog. The dog is most likely territorial. Back away slowly facing the dog if it is a stray. Avoid eye contact.2
Firmly tell the dog "no" if you own the dog. Show it that it is not the dominant one by placing it in a cage for a time out. This will help your dog learn that it is not OK to growl at a child.3
Train your dog in everyday situations to show it that you and your family are in charge. Growling may be your dog trying to communicate that it feels dominant over you. Have the child walk through doors first and the dog walk through second. Make the dog wait by holding it by the collar and then give it permission to walk through the door.4
Avoid letting the dog sleep in your child's bed or your bed. Force the dog to sleep on the floor in its own bed. If you or the child want to sleep together with the dog, teach it that it needs permission to sleep on the bed. Have your child pat the bed and say a command like "come here." Force the dog to sleep at the foot of the bed to show it who's boss.5
Put your child in charge of feeding the dog. Supervise the child while the dog is being fed. The child should take the food dish away and say "no" if the dog growls. Command the dog to sit and have the child give the food back. If the dog growls again, repeat.6
Inform the child how a dog should be treated. Explain to him that he should never tease a dog. Have a dog sniff him before he can pet the dog. Tell him to avoid stray dogs or another person's dog he doesn't know unless he has permission.
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