Would you tell your best friend to keep quiet every time they started chatting with you? We’re guessing the answer is no. So why, every time your furry pal starts talking do you cut him short with a “shhh!” Granted he’s “grrr” doesn’t mean much to you, but it’s his way of communicating, and that’s all he’s got.
Cockapoos communicate with growls, and if you take the time to listen, you’ll realize there are different types. Your pup will growl to tell you when she’s not feeling well, if she’s hurt, when she’s scared or feeling anxious and if she’s surprised by something or someone.
What’s in a Growl?
Just like a parent is able to tell what a baby’s different cries mean, a pawrent can do the same. It’s time we deciphered the different types of growls so you can understand your pooch better.
Play growling, if you listen carefully, is short in length and has a slightly higher pitch. Just like humans giggle and screech during playtime so does your cockapoo. What he’s saying is “This is so much fun! Don’t stop! Don’t stop!”. Play growling will happen when he’s playing with you, usually during a game of tug-of-war or when he’s playing chase with his best doggy pals. While these growls can be intimidating, there’s no reason to disrupt playtime.
A pleasure growl is similar to a play growl, meaning it’s harmless. It’s quite low, and if you listen carefully, it sounds like your cockapoo is trying to speak to you in your home language. Pleasure growls are associated with tummy rubs or those scratches where you find the exact spot. Also, if you’ve been away for a while, like say a day at work, and your pooch is happy to see you. His “grrr” is him saying “You’re home! You’re home! I thought you were never coming back!”
Growling out of Frustration
No one likes the feeling of frustration, not human or dog, which means your cockapoo will definitely let you know when he wants something he can’t get. A frustration growl is similar to a pleasure growl, but your dog’s facial expression might be a little more, let’s say, determined. Think of your pup behind a gate or fence, and a potential new friend walks past. Your dog wants to get closer, say hi, maybe even sniff a butt, except there’s a barrier in the way. The frustration growl is aimed at the fence or gate, not at the dog or human. Another example is when you see a rather rabid-looking dog “going for” something while he’s held back on a leash. If he were able to talk, he’d be saying “Please, just let me see it. I won’t do anything! I. Just. Want. To. See. It!”
The Warning Growl
The warning growl is an important one to know because this is when things can go wrong quickly. Usually, when your pooch is unhappy with a situation, like jealousy, fear or if he’s feeling territorial. It’s their way of saying “Back off! You’re invading my space!” and it shouldn’t be ignored. Warning growls are often low pitched and are accompanied by dilated pupils, a stiff body, and a set jaw.
Aggressive growling is what happens when a dog has reached its limit, and it’s hard to ignore. There’s an audible growl with a lot of rumblings, and some other obvious signs like snapping, lunging and raised hairs.
New dog owners might find it difficult to tell the difference between playful growls and those that mean “You want a piece of me?” but when you look at the dog’s body language, it should be obvious. When dogs are playing, they’ll “bow”, their mouths will be relaxed, and they’ll keep running back for more. A real fight, on the other hand, includes a closed a mouth with curled lips, pinned back ears, and raised hair.
Most growls are harmless and are really your pooch’s way of communicating with you. A great way to build a bond with your cockapoo is understanding what he or she is telling you so you can respond accordingly. If you think your pup is doing too much aggressive or fight growling, it’s best to chat to a trainer or a behaviorist to see what the cause is, and to overcome it as quickly as possible.