Have you been met with low rumbling noises as you pass your dog’s bed at night? Are you trying to enjoy a peaceful slumber only to be kept up by your dog snarling? This may leave you wondering Why does my dog growl at me at night?
You might be tempted to punish your dog for what you consider to be deviant behavior. But instead of punishing them, really analyze their behavior. Dogs growl for many reasons, and to be able to fix the problem, you’ll need to observe their actions.
Let’s examine the types of growls your dog may be using at night, the causes of the growling, and a few solutions.
Types of Growls and What They Mean
Not all growls are created equal. You’ve likely noticed that the growl you hear at night is much different than the growls you hear during playtime.
Growls can be a precursor to snapping and biting, so it’s important you don’t let the issue linger. And dogs that growl at night are either frustrated or are warning you of something.
Dogs use warning growls when…
Dogs use frustration growls when…
Warning growls sound deep and rumbling. Your pooch will likely use this type of growl if you’re coming too close to their personal space. They’re being polite and telling you to back off or that they’re feeling uncomfortable. They don’t want to escalate the situation so pay attention!
Just as we humans groan when we’re frustrated, dogs tend to let out frustration growls. For example, have you noticed your pup growling at you when a fence separates you two? They really want to greet and play with you, but the frustration of not being able to causes them to snarl.
This type of growl is usually followed by some kind of movement, like running around or turning in circles.
Don’t Discourage Growling
Although this may sound contrary to popular belief, you don’t want to completely discourage growling as it’s a dog’s way of communicating disapproval or discomfort. It can also be a warning before a bite.
So, don’t yell and shout at your dog when they start to growl. Instead, you should try preventing the situation that makes them growl in the first place.
And to prevent this, you need to know some reasons they might be growling.
Why Is My Dog More Aggressive At Night?
Dealing with an overly aggressive dog can be a daunting and challenging experience.
One major cause of aggression at night is anxiety. Anxiety in dogs can manifest in several ways but if you’re wondering Why does my dog growl at me at night, then anxiety may be the cause.
Anxiety in dogs can be caused by separation, trauma, or pent up energy.
If your dog seems to be growling as soon as you turn the lights out, they might be trying to tell you they’re not ready for bed yet. They still have some energy to get out of their system. This situation is similar to kids who’ve slept all day and throw tantrums when it’s bedtime.
Rescue dogs will often have trauma from neglect and abuse. If this is the case with your pup, you’ll notice them growling at you at night in a specific room or setting. Sometimes simply turning the lights off can trigger a traumatized dog.
Have you noticed your dog growling at you when you get off the bed to use the restroom or plug your phone on the charger? Your pup might have separation anxiety. Your actions cause them to growl at you because they’re anxious about you leaving them.
Even sleeping can cause your dog to be aggressive because they view you being asleep as you leaving them!
Why does my dog growl at me in bed?
Your dog might be exhibiting behaviors like resource guarding, which gets worse at night. A dog that is possessive over their belongings will begin to growl at you for getting too close to them, for fear you’ll take them.
This might be the case with a special spot on your bed that you’re unaware of that they consider theirs. Touching this spot in the bed, whether with your hand or during sleepless tossing and turning nights, can cause your dog to growl at you.
Why Is My Dog Growling at Me All Of A Sudden?
Sometimes a dark home can cause your dog to growl at you, because they can’t see you clearly. They may think you’re an intruder.
However, if your home is not entirely dark at night and your dog starts growling at you all of a sudden, they may have vision loss. Dogs with a decrease in eyesight tend to become more anxious, especially at night, because it’s a lot harder to see. Behaviors that follow vision loss can include:
- Bumping into common objects
- Squinting and tearing of the eyes
Why Does My Dog Growl At Night When I Move Him?
Does your dog only growl at you when you ask them to move off the bed at night or if you try to move them yourself? They might be growling to tell you to leave them alone. This will result in a warning growl and cause a bite if you insist on moving them.
How to Stop Your Dog from Growling At You At Night
Anxiety due to pent up energy. Make sure your dog gets enough exercise every single day. You can try taking them on an evening walk instead of a morning walk if this fits your schedule.
Anxiety due to trauma. If your dog growls at you at night because they are anxious due to trauma, working with a dog trainer might be your best choice.
Sometimes pet owners aren’t equipped with the necessary skills to work with abused animals, which is completely understandable. Getting a trainer will help your dog recover and will help strengthen your bond with them.
Separation Anxiety. Taking measures to decrease your dog’s anxiety at night can be done by pretending like you’re going to bed and rewarding your dog every time they don’t growl anxiously at you.
This should be done in increments. So, the first time you try this, just start off by doing your nighttime routine, but not actually going to your room. Eventually, you’ll be able to get into your bed and reward your dog when they don’t begin to growl.
If this doesn’t work, you can also work with a professional dog trainer. They’ll have other tips and tricks they can show you that have been proven to be effective.
Cause: Vision Loss
If you think it’s the total darkness that’s setting off your pup, try keeping night lights around and see if the problem persists.
If the problem continues and you notice other symptoms like your dog stumbling and being disoriented, it’s best to take them to the vet as soon as you can so you can get the answer to “Why does my dog growl at me at night?”.
This can be an indicator of vision problems and needs to be dealt with by your veterinarian immediately.
If your vet confirms that your beloved pup is dealing with sudden blindness, watch this Youtube video for some tips and tricks to learn how to help them cope.
Cause: Moving Them During Sleep
If your dog is growling every time you move them while they’re sleeping, simply stop moving them. If they don’t need to be relocated, it’s best to just let your dog rest where they are. No one likes being nudged and moved when they’re sleeping peacefully.
However, if your dog isn’t allowed on the bed at night and you need to move them, you can try throwing a treat off the bed to get them to move.
Sometimes you can use a special sleeping crate as well so you can prevent them from jumping on the bed at night in the first place.
Cause: Being Possessive/Resource Guarding
Try getting professional help if you suspect your dog is growling at you due to resource guarding. There are many tips and tricks out there to help your dog be less possessive of their belongings or even being less possessive of you.
But for your safety and your dog’s comfort, it might be better to consult a professional dog trainer. A growl when guarding resources can quickly become a bite!
If you were wondering “Why does my dog growl at me at night?”, you now know a few possibilities. Figuring out the correct cause will surely lead you to the best solution. Throughout this process, make sure you never reprimand your dog for growling by shouting at them.
You don’t want your dog to think that growling is punishable behavior. This might lead them to go straight for the bite instead, and you surely don’t want that.
In essence, growling is just your dog’s way of communicating with you. And just as with any conversation, make sure you’re listening.
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