If A Puppy Growls Or Bites Should You Get Rid Of It?

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Sam Basso
PHOENIX , AZ AREA: (602) 708-4531
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If you have a puppy that is growling and biting, should you get rid of it?

No.

The first thing you should do is hire a professional dog behaviorist to determine what is going on. It is not normal for dogs to be completely silent, for example. Dogs will bark, growl, howl, whine and so forth. Each sound means something and is telling us how the puppy is feeling. Puppies will growl, for example, when playing. That is completely normal. They can also growl if you are being too rough on them or not treating them fairly. And some puppies will growl if they are afraid.

Puppies will also nip, mouth and even bite. They are dogs. Dogs do stuff with their mouths. Again, we need to determine with this puppy why it is using its mouth and why it is concerning to you. If you watch puppies play with other puppies, you’ll see them nip, mouth and bite at each other. So, why wouldn’t they do that with us? The concern is if the puppy is somehow not normal. You aren’t going to be able to figure that out by surfing the internet for answers. You need to hire a professional that will do an in-person evaluation of the situation.

Puppies are not fluffy looking dolls. They are live animals. They are also untrained, don’t know what they are doing, and they have emotions. Dogs aren’t like what you see in a Disney cartoon.

Humans have become too separated from nature. We have cut ourselves off from the natural world to the point that we don’t understand it any more. When you aren’t around animals like our distant relatives were, your senses are dulled, your ability to read animals isn’t developed, and you are relying on Hollywood to give you answers with happy TV shows about fake dogs.

To be a good dog behaviorist that lives in the city, I have to make myself go out and watch nature on my days off in order to stay in touch with how animals really behave. You have to be like how a child looks at the world. You also have to go out into nature and experience things such as watching the bees pollinate the flowers, listen to the wind rustling through the leaves on the trees, hear what the plants are saying through the seasons, experience the weather, pay attention to the scat and animal tracks in nature, and try to understand the story of each animal you encounter. You can’t understand what animals are saying and doing if your days are focused on the artificial world we have constructed around us. To truly tune in, you have to hear the voice of nature. I spend countless hours in nature, around animals, studying biology and behavior and every other nature related topic, and observing the environment. I immerse myself in this so that I can hear what animals are saying as I evaluate them for my students. Evaluations have to go beyond your head, they must come from your gut. That takes years of this kind of natural experience. If you read my web page, you’ll see that I love to hike. I’m doing more than just taking a walk, I’m also experiencing nature. I’ve done that all my adult life, from the forests of Canada to the deserts of Arizona, and most places in between.

Thus, you can’t tell what is going on with your dog because your daily focus of life isn’t animal and nature oriented. Your puppy is telling you something, and instead of trying to hear what that is, you are already feeling either threatened or hassled, and so you are at the point of getting rid of the dog.

My advice is to slow down, stop thinking of getting rid of this puppy, and seek to know what is going on. Almost all puppy problems can be solved. It is very rare to have a truly kooky puppy.

Now, make that call and hire a good professional to help you and your puppy.