Rottweilers have earned a reputation for their unwavering loyalty and protective instincts, but their growling behavior can be concerning for owners.
This article will explore why Rottweilers growl, what it means, and how to train them not to do it. If you’re a Rottweiler owner, this article will provide the knowledge and tools to understand better and communicate with your furry friend.
Why Do Rottweilers Growl?
Rottweilers growl for various reasons, such as expressing a desire to play, impatience, or warning of approaching strangers. However, growling can also indicate negative emotions, including fear, pain, and past abuse. Despite being misinterpreted as aggression, growling is a means of communication for Rottweilers to express feelings such as happiness, playfulness, or fear. It’s essential to pay attention to their body language and their situation when your Rottweiler growls.
11 Reasons Why Rottweilers Growl
Reason #1: Rottweiler Growl to Say Hello
When Rottweilers growl to say hello, it is usually a low, rumbling sound accompanied by wagging their tails and approaching the person in a friendly manner. This type of growling is not aggressive or threatening; it is simply a way for Rottweilers to communicate their excitement and eagerness to interact with people.
Some Rottweilers may growl when they are happy or content, such as being petted or playing with. This growling is often accompanied by other signs of happiness, such as tail wagging, relaxed body language, and licking.
Not all Rottweilers will growl to say hello; some may express their friendliness in other ways, such as jumping up or licking.
Reason #2: Rottweiler Growl to Issue a Warning
Rottweilers may growl to issue a warning in a variety of situations. For example, they may growl when a stranger approaches their home or feel threatened by another dog or animal. They may growl in pain or discomfort and not want to be touched.
It is essential to respect a Rottweiler’s warning growls and to give them space until they feel more comfortable. Trying to force interaction or ignoring their warning signs can lead to more aggressive behavior and may result in a bite.
Reason #3: Rottweiler Growl as a Form of Communication
Rottweilers are intelligent dogs that rely on vocalizations and body language to communicate with their human companions and other dogs. Growling is just one of the many ways that Rottweilers communicate, and it can have a variety of meanings depending on the situation.
Reason #4: Rottweiler Growl as a Sign of Pain or Illness
Rottweilers are tough and resilient dogs, but like all animals, they can experience pain and illness. When Rottweilers are in pain or discomfort, they may growl to communicate their distress to their human companions.
Growling as a sign of pain or illness may be accompanied by other signs, such as lethargy, loss of appetite, and changes in behavior. Owners should pay attention to these signs and seek veterinary care if they suspect their Rottweiler is in pain or ill.
Reason #5: Rottweiler Growl to Let You Know They Are Scared
A Rottweiler’s growl can be a warning sign that they are feeling threatened or uncomfortable. Dog owners and anyone interacting with a Rottweiler must understand the different types of growls and the body language and context accompanying them.
A low, guttural growl may indicate that a Rottweiler feels defensive or territorial. This growl may accompany other warning signs, such as raised hackles, a stiff posture, and a fixed gaze.
Reason #6: Rottweiler Growl to Guard Their Food, Toys, or Territory
When a Rottweiler growls over their food, toys, or territory, it is typically a sign that they are unwilling to share and feel threatened by anyone attempting to take their food or toys away.
This behavior is often called “resource guarding” and is an instinct for many dogs. To prevent this behavior from escalating, it’s essential to teach your Rottweiler to share their toys and food from an early age and never to attempt to take anything away from them while they are eating.
Reason #7: Rottweiler Growl to Express Uncertainty or Fear/Anxiety
When expressing uncertainty or fear/anxiety, a Rottweiler’s growl may differ from its typical warning growl. It may be higher pitched, more hesitant, and accompanied by signs of submissive body language such as crouching, backing away, or tucking their tail between their legs.
This type of growling may occur when a Rottweiler is introduced to new people, new environments, or new experiences that they are not familiar with.
If a Rottweiler shows signs of anxiety or fear regularly, it’s essential to consult a veterinarian or professional dog trainer for help.
Reason #8: Rottweiler Growl Due to Protective Instincts
When a Rottweiler growls due to protective instincts, it is typically a sign that they perceive a threat to their family or property. This behavior is often accompanied by other signs of aggression, such as barking, snarling, and raised hackles.
It’s important to understand that this type of growling is an instinct for many Rottweilers and is not necessarily a sign of aggression toward humans.
Reason #9: Rottweiler Growl Due to Aggression
When a Rottweiler growls due to aggression, it is often accompanied by other signs of aggressive behavior, such as baring the teeth, raised hackles, and a stiff posture.
This growling may occur when a Rottweiler feels threatened or is high-stress. It may also happen when a Rottweiler is trying to establish dominance over another animal or person.
Reason #10: Rottweiler Growl Due to Lack of Socialization
When a Rottweiler growls due to lack of socialization, it is typically a sign that they feel uncomfortable or unsure in a new or unfamiliar environment.
This growling is often accompanied by submissive body language, such as crouching or backing away. It may occur when a Rottweiler is introduced to new people, dogs, or environments that they are not familiar with.
To prevent this behavior from developing, it’s essential to socialize your Rottweiler from an early age. This involves exposing them to various people, animals, and situations in a positive and controlled manner.
Reason #11: Rottweiler Growl Due to Aging
When a Rottweiler growls due to aging, it is often accompanied by other signs of discomfort or pain, such as limping, loss of appetite, or difficulty getting up and down. It may also occur when a Rottweiler is confused, disoriented, or feeling threatened.
If your Rottweiler is exhibiting growling behavior due to aging, it’s essential to have them evaluated by a veterinarian. They can help determine if any underlying health problems contribute to the behavior and recommend the appropriate treatment.
Training a Rottweiler Not to Growl
As Whole Dog Journal points out, training a Rottweiler not to growl begins with decoding why that dog is growling in the first place.
Start by noticing when your Rottweiler growls. If it only happens when your Rottie is leashed, meeting other dogs, or getting fed, that is the trigger issue you need to work with.
With a large, powerful dog breed like the Rottweiler, you always want to use only positive training and socialization methods. Here, “positive” means reward-based rather than punishment-based.
By rewarding desired behavior and not reacting to unwanted behavior, your smart Rottweiler will quickly learn that growling will not get your attention or a response.
Taking K-9 classes can also help refine your dog’s understanding of when to growl.
What Does It Mean When Your Rottweiler Growls?
As four the Love of Dog charity explains, Rottweilers are known to be a vocal dog breed.
What does this mean? It means these dogs are known to grumble, growl, whine, bark, and vocalize in other ways quite frequently.
If you have only ever lived with a quiet dog breed in the past, getting used to the vocal Rottweiler may take some time.
Similarly, you will learn your Rottweiler growls for various reasons, and after spending more time together, you will begin to pick up on subtle nuances in different kinds of growls.
The more you pay attention, the more your Rottweiler’s growls can serve as two-way communication, so you know what each growl means and how your dog wants or needs you to respond.
Rottweilers Are Vocal Dogs
Some dog breeds are generally quiet, rarely barking, and rely more on body language than voice to communicate with their people.
Rottweilers do not belong to this group. Rotties are very vocal dogs. They use their voices often – and sometimes for no discernible reason other than the joy of communicating with their people.
This is another Rottweiler trait that can take some getting used to if you are new to owning a Rottie.
Different Types of Rottweiler Sounds and What They Mean
This section looks at different Rottweiler sounds and their meaning, from grumbles to growls to yelps and outright barks that mean serious business.
The famous Rottweiler “grumble”
As the Rottweiler Club of America points out, the breed is known to “grumble.” You may not know whether your dog is aggressive or not. This grumble is so common that it is an inside joke among experienced Rottweiler owners and breeders. However, that first puppy grumble can be scary for first-time Rottweiler owners.
Owners report hearing Rottweiler grumbles during pet, play, feeding, and getting attention and praise. In most cases, grumbling is a sign of happiness or pleasure. Some Rottie owners equate it to the canine equivalent of a cat’s purr.
One thing that new Rottweiler owners have a tough time doing is distinguishing a grumble from a growl. Here, the main difference comes not from how the vocalization sounds but from the body language your Rottweiler is displaying.
When a grumble turns into a snarl, bark, or grumble accompanied by a curled lip or bared teeth, it turns into a growl. Unlike grumbling, like casual chattering for Rottweilers, growling is always a sign of paying close attention to your dog.
Rottweiler barking is a big part of this herding and working dog’s vocabulary. A Rottie may bark out of excitement to sound an alarm. After all, they got startled to repel a threat because they were bored or lonely, or even just as a greeting.
A yelp is a sound of distress. It is usually high in pitch and maybe a single sound or repeated just two or three times. A bark and a yelp are pretty different, although they are both sharp, staccato sounds. A yelp is always a call to drop whatever you are doing and come immediately to help.