Dog Barks and Growls at Strangers, How Do I Stop It?

Dog barks and growls at strangers but have no clue what to do to stop it? Can you just be patient and let them grow out of it? What about if your dog is a rescue, does that change anything? And what exactly is making them want to be aggressive like this in the first place?

Well, we’ve got the answers to all those questions and more so keep reading because in a few short minutes you’ll not only know why your dog barks and growls at strangers, but exactly what you need to do to stop it before things get worse!

How to Stop Dog Aggression Towards Strangers

Dog Barks and Growls at Strangers

To stop dog aggression towards strangers and end all of their growling, barking, and other anti-social actions, you must address the feelings they are having. Remember that we discussed that when a dog is growling at strangers, it’s ultimately rooted in either fear or overprotectiveness.

Both of these are different ways of saying that they don’t have any trust in you. After all, if they were anxious about strangers but felt like you could handle things, they would remain calm. If they were untrusting of strangers but felt like you were capable of handling interactions with them safely, they would also stay relaxed.

Whatever the reason is that your dog is growling at strangers, each is basically saying to you “I’ll handle this because I know that you can’t!”

Ease your dog’s mind, their fears, and make them open to meeting non-threatening strangers by showing them that you can handle things. That you are capable, and that you are in charge. Do that and you’ll be able to encounter strangers, or friends that are just unknown to your dog, worry-free!

You’ve probably heard before that dogs are pack animals, and that in every pack there will be a pack leader. Right now, your dog growling at strangers shows that they have taken this role because they don’t feel that you are up to the job. Show them that you are and their growling (as well as other behavioral issues you’re likely having), will be a thing of the past.

“Okay, that all sounds great but I have no clue how to do that.”

No worries, because it’s surprisingly easy to learn and teach to your dog — even with zero experience of your own. There’s an excellent free video series I would recommend checking out by a renowned trainer named Dan on just the subject you need: how to be your dog’s pack leader.

In it, Dan will teach you everything you need to know to show your dog that you are in charge, and he of course does everything in a 100% humane and loving manner. Imagine walks or having people over to the house without worrying about your dog growling, barking, or being aggressive!

Start watching Dan’s free training series now by clicking here. And remember that he’s made these videos exactly for people like you, so not having any experience is not a problem. He makes everything very easy to follow and teach to your own dog, and he gets right to the point so you’ll start seeing results in no time!

Why Does My Dog Growl at All Strangers?

If your dog growls at all strangers, then they are doing it out of fear or a feeling that they need to protect you. This anxiety around meeting strangers could be due to a negative incident in the past, or simply a lack of socialization.

Many dogs that bark and growl at strangers hold a belief that they must keep you safe from everyone and everything, because they don’t trust your ability to handle things on your own.

It would be a good idea to limit interactions with strangers — particularly on walks — for the time being, but slowly work in socializing with people that are not part of the family but may still be known to your dog.

Also pay attention to the surroundings and think about what’s happened very recently. Maybe there’s something that scared your dog, like fireworks, and that’s causing them to be on edge with everyone for a limited time.

Why Does My Dog Growl at Some Strangers and Not Others?

Your dog growls at some strangers and not others because something unique about that person is triggering their fear, anxiety, or need to protect you. If you or your dog has had negative meetings with strangers in the past, something likely reminds your dog of that stranger from before.

Some dogs will growl and bark at people because they are more imposing, like men or just bigger people in general. Your dog’s strong sense of smell may even catch a subtle scent that reminds them of a negative person from the past, and causes them to growl again only at certain people who unfortunately have a similar smell.

Rescue Dog Growls at Strangers

If your rescue dog growls at strangers, they have likely had negative incidents with people in the past, perhaps many of them. Rescues can also be very protective of the person who adopted them, and may be overprotective.

In either case, you need to take things especially slow with rescue dogs. Work on socializing them but move very slowly and don’t try to force things on your dog. Behavioral training, which we discussed in the first section of this article, will also be a big help with their fear of strangers and overprotectiveness.

Will My Dog Grow Out of Growling at Strangers?

Your dog will not grow out of growling or barking at strangers. Whether they are a puppy or just a younger dog, any growling needs to be handled with socializing and behavioral training.

Left unchecked, a puppy growling at strangers will become a very aggressive adult dog that not only barks and growls, but possibly even bites. Obviously, no one wants that so it’s important to work on their growling and barking now. Failure to do so reinforces this negative behavior.

I’m sure you’re ready to get moving on things so you can stop your dog growling at strangers, so I’ll wrap things up now. Good luck with your training, and thank you for reading “Dog Barks and Growls at Strangers, How Do I Stop It?”