How to Make a Dog Stop Growling at One Specific Person

by Lori Lapierre
    Your dog must be taught that all friends and family have authority over him.

    Your dog must be taught that all friends and family have authority over him.

    George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images

    While a dog's growl is often meant to convey concern over a perceived threat—and to ward off that threat—it cannot be tolerated when it is aimed at a friend or family member. Your dog's fear and aggression must be eliminated with training and socialization.

    Step 1

    Position yourself as your dog's pack leader—and teach him that the humans in your household or circle are also his superiors. Your dog should see you—and all other humans in her life—eating first, for example. Do not let your dog choose where he sleeps, such as on your bed; create a small "den," such as a bed or crate, for him. Speak to your dog confidently and firmly to make it clear that you are in charge.

    Step 2

    Keep your dog from any contact with the person she growls at until she has been thoroughly exercised. If she is tired, your pooch will not have the energy to be aggressive toward this person.

    Step 3

    Do not give your dog any attention or comfort when he growls; it will merely encourage the poor behavior. Rather, teach him a simple command of "Quiet" or "Be still," and speak this to him firmly and calmly when he growls.

    Step 4

    Have the person your dog growls at sit in a chair. Toss dog treats or kibble around the chair and allow your dog to approach at her own comfort level. Do not have your friend speak or move the first few times you try this exercise. As your dog begins to associate this person with safe treats, have him issue known commands such as "Come" or "Sit." Allow him to reward your dog with a treat. If the dog growls, remove her from the room with a firm "No," and try again in a few minutes. As your dog becomes more comfortable, progress to having your friend hand her the treats and pet her.

    An Item You Will Need

    • Dog treats or kibble


    • Make sure that the person your dog objects to is not wearing heavy perfumes or colognes that may be bothering the dog's sense of smell.


    • If your dog continues to growl at this individual in spite of continued training, do not take any chances of a bite; seek professional help.

    Photo Credits

    • George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images

    About the Author

    Lori Lapierre holds a Bachelor of Arts and Science in public relations/communications. For 17 years, she worked for a Fortune 500 company before purchasing a business and starting a family. She is a regular freelancer for "Living Light News," an award-winning national publication. Her past writing experience includes school news reporting, church drama, in-house business articles and a self-published mystery, "Duty Free Murder."

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