In behavioral balance, we are often confronted with this problem: the grunt of the dog on its owner. Enough to say, it freaks out a lot of masters! Is this a real problem? What can I understand from this signal? If you’re worried (or not!), read this article.
What is a grunt?
To understand what a grunt is, you need to know what it is for. Grunting is normal behavior and complex vocalization. Contrary to a very tenacious received idea, grunting is not a sign of dysfunction in dogs.
The dog is a sociable animal, which also communicates through vocalizations. You can certainly see that if you live with a dog. It produces various vocalizations such as barking, moaning, and even different grunts. Each sound varies in intensity and complexity, but all have meaning. But how can we determine the emotional state of our dog when it grunts?
My dog grunts because it feels uncomfortable
The grunt is most often associated with a dog’s ill-being. The grunt is therefore a preventive sign of politeness on the part of the dog to tell us that it does not like something or that it makes him uncomfortable. In simple terms, it can then be:
A grunt doesn’t always mean the dog will bite. It’s a simple way for them to say something like, “Go back,” “don’t bother me,” “don’t touch me” or “I wouldn’t mind sleeping.”
In fact, we should welcome this type of response, because at this very moment the dog is in the interest of avoiding a conflict or a situation that makes it uncomfortable. It prefers to communicate by vocalizing, rather than biting. So it’s a very healthy attitude. It means where its limits are.
Watching your dog when he grunts
When a dog grunts, it is our duty to pay close attention to its body language. Indeed, will be additional clues to understand the emotional state of your dog. For example, a dog that grunts because it plays pulling a rope with you will not have:
- ears placed on the skull
- upturned lips
- spiky hair
- no muscle tension
These are indeed intense body cues. The list is non-exhaustive. The dog can produce all its behaviors as a single partner. The dog can therefore produce various signals of appeasement.
Ignore the grunt
Never punish a grunt. The risk of punishing a dog for growling is to teach him that prevention is useless. It will therefore go straight to the bite.
On the other hand, it should not be completely ignored. You have to take the situation into account, because it reveals a flaw in your relationship. Maybe it’s a miscalced? The grunt being misunderstood is often feared by humans. In any case, it is essential to work upstream, to prevent this situation from happening again. It is then necessary to identify the reason for this growl and positive the relationship.
Learn to speak “dog”
It is essential that people have a minimum of control over the reading of canine language. The more you understand the other, the more benevolent you are. Decoding what dogs say and feel is necessary if we want to live harmoniously with them. In many ways, grunting indicates what a dog wants. To obtain a mutual and respectful relationship, it is obligatory to understand each other.
This does not mean that grunting is necessarily welcome, but rather than saying that grunting is a nuanced signal that allows the dog to communicate subtle messages to stay in a healthy relationship. If he shows you his limits, he needs them. But above all, it allows you to know them and improve them if necessary! If you are lost and your dog grunts at you regularly, get help from a caring professional who will not use a method or coercive tool on your dog, at the risk of making the situation worse.