Is growling while playing normal?

Answered by Cody Janus

In my experience, growling during play is actually quite common and completely normal behavior for dogs. I’ve had many dogs over the years, and I’ve noticed that they often growl while playing with each other or with humans. At first, it can be a bit alarming to hear a dog growl, especially if you’re unfamiliar with their body language and behavior. However, after observing and learning more about dog behavior, I’ve come to understand that growling during play is usually just a part of their playful nature.

When dogs play, they often engage in behaviors that mimic hunting and fighting. Growling is one of those behaviors that they use to communicate their intentions and establish boundaries during play. It’s their way of saying, “Hey, I’m having fun, but I also want you to know that I’m in control here.” It’s important to note that growling during play is different from growling out of aggression or fear. In play, the growling is usually accompanied by relaxed body language, loose movements, and a playful demeanor.

I remember one particular instance with my two dogs, Max and Bella. They loved playing together and would often engage in rough play sessions. During these play sessions, they would growl at each other while chasing, wrestling, and playfully nipping at each other. Initially, I was worried that they might be fighting or getting aggressive with each other. However, upon closer observation, I realized that their growling was just a part of their play language. They would wag their tails, have soft eyes, and take turns being the chaser and the chased. It was evident that they were having a blast and enjoying their playtime together.

It’s essential to keep an eye on any play session, especially if there are multiple dogs involved, as things can escalate quickly. While growling during play is generally harmless, it’s crucial to watch for any signs of discomfort or stress in the dogs involved. If one dog starts to show signs of fear, anxiety, or aggression, it’s essential to intervene and redirect their attention. This can help prevent any potential conflicts or injuries from occurring.

Growling during play is perfectly normal and should not be a cause for concern. It’s an instinctual behavior that dogs use to communicate and establish boundaries during playtime. As long as the dogs involved are displaying relaxed body language, loose movements, and a playful demeanor, there is usually no need to worry. However, it’s always important to monitor play sessions and intervene if any signs of discomfort or aggression arise. Remember, understanding and respecting your dog’s play language is key to ensuring safe and enjoyable playtime for everyone involved.