Dogs are social creatures that communicate through a variety of means, including body language, vocalizations, and scents. Growling is one way in which dogs communicate, and it can indicate a range of emotions, from fear and anxiety to aggression and warning. If your dog growls when you pick it up, it can be a sign that your pooch is uncomfortable or stressed. We will explore some of the reasons why dogs may growl when picked up and what you can do to help your furry friend feel more comfortable.
Photo by Razvan Sassu
Pain or discomfort
One of the most common reasons why a dog may growl when picked up is because your pup is experiencing pain or discomfort. Dogs can suffer from a range of health issues, from minor ailments like sore muscles and joint pain to more serious conditions like arthritis or even broken bones. If your dog is experiencing pain, it may growl or snap when picked up because it is trying to protect itself.
To rule out any medical issues, it’s important to take your dog to the vet for a thorough checkup. Your vet will be able to examine your dog and determine if there is an underlying health issue that may be causing your dog to growl when picked up. If your dog is diagnosed with a medical condition, your vet may recommend a course of treatment or medication to help manage the pain and discomfort.
Fear or anxiety
Another reason why a dog may growl when picked up is because it is is feeling fearful or anxious. Dogs can be afraid of a range of things, from loud noises and unfamiliar people to other dogs and even certain objects. If your dog is afraid, it may growl or snap when picked up because it feels threatened or overwhelmed.
To help your dog feel more comfortable, it’s important to identify what is causing this fear or anxiety and work to address it. For example, if your dog is afraid of loud noises like thunderstorms, you can try to create a safe and comfortable space to retreat to during storms. You can also try using calming supplements or medications to help your dog feel more relaxed.
It’s important to note that forcing your dog to be picked up or holding it when your pup is scared can actually make the problem worse. If your dog is afraid, it’s important to give it space and let your dog come to you when it feels comfortable.
Some dogs may growl when picked up because they are overstimulated or excited. This is especially true for puppies and young dogs who have a lot of energy and can easily become overwhelmed. If your dog is overstimulated, it may growl or snap when picked up because it is trying to communicate that it needs a break.
To help your dog feel more comfortable, it’s important to give plenty of opportunities to burn off excess energy through play and exercise. You can also try using calming techniques like massage or aromatherapy to help your dog relax.
Lack of training or socialization
Finally, some dogs may growl when picked up because they have not been properly trained or socialized. Dogs who have not been exposed to a variety of people, animals, and situations may become fearful or aggressive when confronted with something new or unfamiliar. Similarly, dogs who have not been taught to accept handling may become defensive when picked up.
To help your dog feel more comfortable, it’s important to work on training and socialization from a young age. You can enroll your dog in obedience classes or work with a professional trainer to teach your pooch how to behave in different situations. You can also work on handling exercises with your dog to help it become more comfortable with being picked up and held.