Why Does My Rottweiler Growl At Me?

rottweiler growling
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Many love having Rottweilers because they are extremely loyal, affectionate, calm, courageous. They have protective instincts which makes them great guard dogs. But when they start growling when you’re showing them affection, it can be confusing and concerning. So why is my Rottweiler growling? Let’s find out the quick answer first. 

Why does my Rottweiler growl at me? There are many reasons that can cause a Rottweiler to growl. While Rottweiler growling may appear aggressive, it’s simply a form of communication. Rottweilers will growl to let you know that they are feeling happy, playful, fearful, or in deep pain. The next time your Rottweiler growls, be observant of the situation they are in as well as their body language.  

Whether your dog is barking and growling nonstop or sitting next to you growling, there are many reasons that can cause your Rotties to growl. Let’s find out!

Why do Rottweilers growl?

rottweiler growling at owner
Rottweiler Growling sounds different when they are happy vs when they are scared

Rottweiler growling is actually normal instinctual behavior for this dog breed. That’s because they were bred to be protective guard dogs so they will instinctively growl when they see any threat. 

Although a Rottweiler growling can mean that they are trying to protect their territory or anyone they are guarding, it can also mean that they are happy. If you’re wondering, “why do Rottweilers growl when you pet them?” it could mean that they enjoy you petting them and they growl as a way to tell you to continue petting them.

On the other hand, Rottweilers can growl as a way to inform their owners that they are in a lot of pain. 

While the sound of your Rottweiler growling may appear aggressive and frightening, don’t freak out or assume the worst. There are many reasons for Rottweiler growling and we will discuss these reasons in detail next.

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1. Rottweiler growling because they are happy and enjoying the moment

Like many other dogs, Rottweilers enjoy being with their owners and human family members. Being together with their owners mean going out for a walk (which they enjoy sniffing anything and everything they come across) or playing a fun game of catch or tug of war. 

A Rottweiler growling from being happy can often confuse his or her owner because their owners assume the worst. In this case, being aware of the situation will help you realize that your Rottweiler is growling in order to communicate with you that they are happy and excited and not that they are aggressive.

2. Rottweiler growling due to separation anxiety

Leaving your Rottweiler at home while you’re out working for an extended period of time can cause him or her separation anxiety. Rottweiler growling when you are leaving the house can be a sign that he is sad or having separation anxiety. 

In many situations when Rottweilers have heightened anxiety, they may become aggressive and growling is a way to express their anxiety.

3. Rottweiler growling in anticipation to see you again

On the other hand, a Rottweiler may growl in excitement or in anticipation that you will be coming home soon. When a dog can’t hold in their excitement or anticipation, they may growl as a way to release that energy.

4. Rottweiler growling as a way to greet you

After a long day of work, you pull up to your house and can hear your Rottweiler growling and barking. This growling isn’t aggressive or territorial. Instead, your precious Rottweiler is growling and barking because he or she is happy to see you and growling is a way to greet you and say hello! 

Did you know that dogs, like many mammals, have a circadian rhythm? Apparently, they’ll know when you’ll be driving home and when they will be expecting you. 

When I dog sit my friend’s Rottweiler, I noticed her ears would perk up and she would sit very still and look out the window in anticipation of her owner coming home from work. 

Two minutes before her car pulls up to the driveway, her Rottweiler is growling because she is anxious and excited at the same time to reunite with her owner.

5. Rottweiler growling to protect the house or territory

On the other hand, if a stranger walks up to the house, your Rottweiler may growl due to his or her natural instinct to guard the house. Their growling sound prepares them for barking in order to scare the stranger away.

6. Rottweiler growling because they feel scared

A Rottweiler will also growl when he feels scared and consider something a threat. Such an example would be a thunderstorm or a firework. The sudden sound of thunder or firework can trigger your dog and make them fearful. 

Your Rottweiler will react by growling in order to defend themselves from the threat and get your attention that there is a potential threat. 

Rottweilers that have been mistreated or have been attacked in the past will likely growl. If you’ve adopted a Rottweiler, make sure you are aware of their past and know what can trigger him or her. 

7. Rottweiler growling to assert dominance

It’s normal for dogs like Rottweiler to assert dominance when they come across another pet in the house or another dog while out walking. When Rottweilers want to show their dominance, they will growl to scare off the other dog or pet. They want to make it clear that they are in charge of their territory and are the dominant ones not to be messed with.

8. Rottweiler growling due to pain

Sometimes showing dominance can get your Rottweiler into trouble. If the other dog or pet challenges their dominance, both dogs can put themselves in unfortunate situations and be injured.

In this case, your Rottweiler will growl loudly to cope with that pain and to inform you that they are in deep pain. If you touch their injury, they may growl at you. 

Rottweilers can growl due to pain from health issues such as hip dysplasia or elbow dysplasia.  

If you suspect your precious Rottweiler is in pain from injury or health issues, contact your vet right away and seek appropriate treatment. The sooner the injury or health issue is treated, the better.

9. Rottweiler growling due to food aggression

Lastly, our dog’s natural instinct is to defend their food. This is normal behavior because it’s part of their DNA to protect their food from other dogs or wolves. 

For many generations, our dog’s ancestors had to hunt for their food. The food supply was scarce since it was dependent on their ability to hunt. If they didn’t catch anything for that day, that means no food so this natural instinct to protect their food in case there’s no catch and their food supply is low is built into their DNA. 

If there’s another pet in the house that likes to steal your Rottweiler’s food, your Rottweiler may see that pet as a threat to his food and will growl to scare off the other pet. 

Another case would be if you have a stray Rottweiler dog. Since it’s much harder to find food on the street, they develop food aggression because that food could be their last meal. So it’s normal to see a stray Rottweiler dog eating his food very quickly because he’s afraid the food may disappear. 

If you’re feeding a stray Rottweiler dog, it’s a good idea to keep the other pet in another room and wait until your Rottweiler has finished his food.

10. Rottweiler growling due to survival

You’ve probably welcomed home a Rottweiler puppy or adopted one and now your Rottweiler puppy is growling at you. What did you do wrong? How come my Rottweiler puppy growls at me? 

You didn’t do anything wrong. Your Rottweiler puppy is growling at you because for many weeks, they were competing with their siblings for water and food. They also had to compete for their mother’s milk when they can’t see. 

This growling behavior can continue even when they are separated from their siblings and are welcomed to your home. It can take three or four months before a Rottweiler puppy stops growling when they see you near their food. They simply want to guard their food, that’s all!

Why does my Rottweiler growl at me when I hug or pet him?

rottweiler puppy growls when picked up
Why does my Rottweiler puppy growl at me?

As you can see, there are many reasons that can cause a Rottweiler to growl at his or her owner or at others. But why does my Rottweiler growls when hugged or why does my Rottweiler growl when petted? 

When you hug or pet your Rottweiler and he is growling, don’t assume immediately that they are aggressive and take it the wrong way. Instead, Rottweiler growling when you hug him is their way of telling you that he likes it and wants you to continue hugging him. 

Essentially, Rottweiler growling is their way of getting your attention and communicating with you. We totally understand your confusion when your Rottweiler growls in the midst of you hugging or petting him. It can be startling to hear your Rottweiler growl when you’re showing love and affection.   

Most likely, you may be hearing your Rottweiler rumbling instead of growling. Sometimes owners get confused between the two. When a Rottweiler rumbles, he is showing happiness and is making this sound from the back of his throat. It almost sounds like a dog’s purr or a soft growl sound. 

When your Rottweiler is rumbling, he looks relaxed and playful. Be sure to observe their body language as it is also their way of communicating with you. 

Rottweiler growling is quite the oppositive of a dog’s purr since you’ll notice his face looking sterned, his teeth clenched, and his body very tensed like he’s about to attack. 

If your Rottweiler is growling due to aggression or it’s affecting the family’s daily life, you’ll want to train and socialize him to stop the growling issue.

Socializing your Rottweiler to not growl

It’s best to properly train and socialize your Rottweilers when they are puppies. This will help them get used to or feel comfortable around strangers or other dogs when they are adults. 

Rottweilers that are poorly socialized will feel threatened more easily and as a result, they may bark and growl at strangers or other dogs even though the strangers or other dogs are completely harmless. 

Here’s what you can do.

How to train your Rottweiler to not growl: 4 easy steps

If you’re a first-time dog owner, we highly recommend hiring a professional dog trainer. If you’re on a tight budget, here are 4 easy steps to train your Rottweiler not to growl.

1. React calmly to your Rottweiler growling

When your Rottweiler growls, try to remain calm and remember to take a breath. Don’t react with anger or frustration towards your Rottweiler as this will only make the situation worse and cause him more anxiety which will result in him growling even more. 

When you remain calm, your Rottweiler will observe your behavior and potentially calm down as well. On the other hand, if you react with anger or aggression, your Rottweiler will further react aggressively and continue growling.   

2. Use positive dominance

Second, you’ll want to show your Rottweiler that you are in charge and you are the dominant figure of the pack. You’ll want to use a training method called positive dominance to show your authority. Use clear hand gestures to give him instructions and orders and have a firm voice to show that you are the one in control, not him.  

While giving him command with your firm voice, make sure you are not yelling or shouting. Use a gentle voice to let him know that growling is unnecessary.

3. Expose your Rottweiler to triggers

It’s important that your Rottweiler is exposed to triggers that cause him to bark. Although this may seem cruel and inhumane, it really serves their benefit over the long run. 

This is why it’s crucial that owners start training their Rottweilers during puppyhood. This way, they are already exposed to triggers and will learn how to deal with them. 

After repeated exposures to what’s triggering them and learning that it won’t harm them. As a result, your Rottweiler will not feel anxious and don’t feel the need to growl anymore.

4. Praise generously to reinforce positive behavior

Positive reinforcement is the best approach when training your Rottweiler. Once your dog stops growling upon your request or no longer growls at things that once trigger him to growl, you’ll want to praise him. This can be a praise, a pet, or treats. 

Be generous with your praise so your pooch knows not to growl in the future.  

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Final thoughts

Although Rottweilers may appear aggressive or intimidating, they really aren’t. There are many reasons why Rottweiler growls and it’s important to be aware of the situation and read their body language carefully when they do growl.   

As we learn from above, there are 10 reasons that can cause Rottweiler to growl including growling out of happiness, sadness, anticipation, excitement, scared, or separation anxiety. Not all Rottweiler growling is aggressive so it’s crucial that owners don’t assume right away. 

Instead, it’s important to stay calm and enforce positive training or seek a professional dog trainer to help you.  

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