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Why Does My Dog Growl At Some People And Not Others

Understanding Why Dogs Growl at Certain People

Dogs are alert creatures by nature and tend to be highly loyal to their owners. So if they notice someone new or fishy around their owners, they growl and bark to alert them.

There are different types of growls that you can notice. A growl could mean other things. It may be a sign of aggression, protecting their owners, or related to a mental health condition like anxiety.

We must think a little from their perspective to understand what goes on inside a dog’s mind. So why do they growl at some people and not at others? Let’s figure it out.

Each human has a distinct smell.

Dogs are known as great sniffers. Their ability to smell is 100,000 times better than humans. The amount of information they can gather just by sensing someone is incredible.

They can identify scents of people from afar and even track them if required. This ability to sense and collect information could be one of the main reasons why they growl at some people.

They can smell if someone has been in contact with another dog or have some distinct smell that they want to alert their owners.

There is a saying that a dog can sense negative feelings or fear. Since they cannot talk, they growl to express their uneasiness towards the sense they are feeling.

Read Also: How to get your Dog to Stop Barking?

They may not like how a person looks.

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Yes, looks matter to dogs too! Sometimes dogs get frightened of how a person looks, and they combine it with their sense of smell to relive a painful memory.

Dogs use facial recognition and their sense of smell to create memories. So if they growl at a person, it could trigger a frightening memory.

Dogs also notice the size, features, and way people walk or move. Specific movements or a look of a person could feel unfamiliar to the dog, making them feel insecure or afraid.

Train them to trust people that you trust.

Your dog may growl at a person whom you trust completely. To make them feel safe, you must teach your dog not to feel insecure or protective of you when these people are your favorite treats. You can start training them with treats.

Please give them a treat when you want your dog to trust and feel comfortable around in the presence of the person you want your dog to trust.

If your dog sniffs them and lets them pet him, give a treat and call him a good dog. Could you repeat this till they become accustomed to the person? You can have that person provide them with the treatment as well.

Read Also: How To Home Train Your Dog To Stop Excessive Barking?


You cannot judge someone just because your dog growls at them. However, if it is a stranger, you should be aware and watch it.

But if it is a friend or a distant family member you want your dog to know and trust, train him with treats to get comfortable around those people.


Q: Why does my dog growl at certain people?

A: Dogs may growl at certain people due to perceived threats, past experiences, unfamiliarity, or protective instincts.

Q: Can growling be a sign of aggression in dogs?

A: Growling can be a warning sign of potential aggression in dogs. It’s essential to look over the situation and seek professional guidance if you need it.

Q: How can I address my dog’s selective growling behavior?

A: Consult a professional dog trainer or behaviorist to understand the underlying causes and develop a suitable behavior modification plan.

Q: Can I prevent or minimize my dog’s growling towards specific individuals?

A: Gradual socialization, positive reinforcement training, and positive associations with new people can help reduce growling tendencies.

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