How to Handle a Growling Doberman

If your Doberman growls at you, it's important to take the right steps in order to ensure the situation doesn't escalate. Learn how from an expert!

How to Handle a Growling Doberman

If your Doberman growls at you, it's important to take the right steps to ensure the situation doesn't escalate. The most effective way to deal with growls is to determine what's bothering your dog and then treat that underlying problem. In the immediate moment, do everything you can to change the situation and adapt it to your dog. If your pet is stressed by the presence of another dog, cross the road, leave the dog park, or anything you need to do to help your dog relax.

If it gets too close to your dog's bone, walk away and leave it alone. When you're in a tense situation with your Doberman, don't try to talk to the Doberman when all of this is happening. Simply maintain eye contact, step back with your hands at your sides and turn around once you see that the tension has been reduced with your Doberman. If their growl doesn't mean a bite is imminent, stop what you're doing but stay where you are.

Wait for him to relax and then walk away, to reward relaxed behavior rather than grunting. If at any point your Doberman is chasing you, be sure to keep your body language forward the same as before and turn around to look at him if he tries to get around you. This includes the Doberman breaking eye contact, or a change in body language that moves away from you, returning to whatever he was doing, or becoming disinterested. Maybe you just brought home your new


and you're looking forward to introducing him to all the new toys he has.

Don't think that just because your Doberman hasn't growled at you in 5 years, he never will. Usually, a Doberman who growls is his way of warning you that you are making him feel uncomfortable or are breaking a personal limit he may have. If it's your own Doberman, the one who's growling at you, then don't avoid the situation and don't hesitate to call a professional to help you address the behavior so that it doesn't keep happening or escalate to an even more intense level. As with humans, your Doberman's personality will constantly change in response to what happens in his life.

In a case like this, your Doberman's body language will be to move slowly or he may get too close and try to “rise” above you while growling to intimidate you. The growl you hear in these situations, when playing tug-of-war or when playing with another dog, is not a threat; it simply means that your Doberman is actually engaging in the activity. Panicking and having a big reaction to a situation like this could provoke a greater Doberman response, such as clicking.