Why Does My Dog Growl at One Family Member?

Dogs are loyal, protective animals. When they sense that something is wrong, they’ll often start growling. Sometimes, dogs will direct their aggression toward a single family member.

When that happens, you might wonder, “Why does my dog growl at one family member?” As a professional dog trainer in NJ, The Dan Gentile Dog Training Center shares the factors to keep in mind to address your dog’s aggressive behavior.

Be Mindful of Your Dog’s Past

Many dog owners adopt from rescue shelters. Sometimes the dogs have come from the streets or faced abuse at the hands of a previous owner. If your dog growls at a specific family member each time they come into contact, then that family member may remind your dog of a previous abusive relationship.

Pay Attention While the Situation Unfolds

The next time your dog meets the family member in question, take a moment to see how the situation plays out. You can pick up on cues from the dog’s behavior and how it responds to what the family member is doing. Some things to watch out for include:

  • Whether your dog is protecting a resource like food, water, toys, other pets, or another person
  • If your dog growls at the family member nonstop or only when they do certain things
  • Whether the family member has dogs of their own that your dog is smelling

What You Can Do To Address Your Dog’s Behavior

Oftentimes the best way to address the question of “Why does my dog growl at one family member?” is by retraining them with a professional dog trainer. However, there are steps you can take to help with your dog’s behavior.

Learn to Lead Your Dog

Dogs respond best when you assume a parental role. This means teaching them to follow commands like getting off the furniture and going to the confinement area on command. Over time, your dog will start acting the way you’ve taught it to and should be more well-behaved around less familiar faces.

Teach Your Dog Positive Reinforcement

Give the family member things that your dog values, such as treats or high-value toys. The idea here is to make your dog associate the family member with good things and ultimately reward good behavior.

Take Protective Measures

If your dog’s being particularly aggressive, such as attempting to nip or bite your family member, then you may want to consider confining your dog or using a muzzle. Keeping them in a separate room might be the only way to avoid an accident from unfolding.

Train Your Dog Through The Dan Gentile Dog Training Center

If you’re wondering, “Why does my dog growl at one family member?” or notice your beloved pet exhibiting alpha dog behavior, then we’re here to help. At The Dan Gentile Dog Training Center, we have over 40 years of experience helping owners retrain their dogs through patience and understanding. We are veteran-owned and on-call 24/7 for your pet-related needs.

Contact The Dan Gentile Dog Training Center at (732) 938-5040 to learn how we can strengthen the bond between you and your dog today!