What Could Cause a Dog to Growl Constantly?

Growling may not always be a symptom of aggression.
Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images

It can be frightening to have a dog who growls constantly, especially if you have young children in the house. While growling may be a sign of aggression, there are other causes. This means training may not end the growling behavior and, even if it does, you may be missing something important about your dog's emotional health. Whether it's aggression or post-traumatic stress disorder, you need to determine why your dog growls constantly before you can work on ending the behavior.


Some dogs can be aggressive and, while some people would like to blame the breed, it really boils down to how the dog is raised. What is true is that while some breeds are more prone to being aggressive, that aggression can be curbed by an owner that is able to assume the role of alpha. Growling is a symptom of aggression, but also includes other symptoms such as showing teeth, snarling, guttural barking, lunging, nipping, snapping and biting. In most cases, professional help will be needed to deal with an aggressive dog.

Dominance/Territorial Protection/Guarding

Dogs may also growl to show dominance, protect their territory or guard an area or person. If you notice your dog constantly growls at other dogs, he may be trying to show dominance. Dogs who growl at other animals or strangers that come into the yard may be trying to protect their area. The symptoms of territorial protection are similar to those of aggression. Your dog may lunge, show the teeth, bite or bark aggressively in addition to growling. Of course, your dog may also be growling constantly because he senses a treat to you or your home. For example, your dog may growl whenever someone knocks on the door or walks through your yard.


Dogs who growl while trying to escape may be afraid. Stop and consider what may be causing the dog to be fearful and address the issue. For example, if there are loud gunshots on the TV, turn that program off and see if the dog begins to calm down.

Psychological Triggers

Your dog may also growl due to psychological triggers. For example, some dogs may constantly growl at men because they were abused by a man. Dogs may also growl at loud noises because they were in an accident that ended in an injury. In other words, it's possible for canines to experience post-traumatic stress disorder and this may require special training to help your dog overcome.