In some situations, your West Highland White Terrier starts to growl. Faced with these growls, you don’t understand, you are helpless, you don’t know what to do. This post can help you understand when and why your West Highland White Terrier may growl. What to do to stop a West Highland White Terrier growling and how you should or should not behave in front of your West Highland White Terrier.
Your West Highland White Terrier growls in front of another dog – Why?
This is a situation that occurs frequently. Your West Highland White Terrier meets another dog and starts to growl loudly. Grunting is a means of communication used by dogs between themselves.
For example, a bitch will growl if a male approaches her a little too close because she will want to make her understand that she doesn’t want to be bothered.
Another example: a dog on a leash meets another dog without leash and starts to growl. In fact, he does not feel equal because he is not free to move. Through grunting, he warns his fellow creature not to enter into conflict.
Other dogs will also growl to defend their territories, toys or bowls. Thus, they warn against continuing… In this case, the growl is a signal for the other dog to stop.
Grunting is therefore a means of communication to avoid clashes.
Your West Highland White Terrier is growling in front of another dog – What to do?
There is no reason to be afraid for your West Highland White Terrier unless, of course, if the dog in front of you is aggressive.
Dogs usually understand each other well and calm down as soon as they feel themselves.
It can be dangerous to stand between two dogs as this could create additional tension.
It is therefore preferable to let the dogs free of their movements (do not keep your West Highland White Terrier on a leash if he approaches one or more dogs in freedom) and let them growl to communicate. Avoid interfering, reprimanding him if he continues to growl or interfere.
Your West Highland White Terrier growls in front of a person – Why?
Your West Highland White Terrier can start growling when someone approaches him, when he plays with a child, when you approach his bowl…
This will be a sign of a problem your West Highland White Terrier is experiencing and warning you about. Grunting is therefore the expression of a malaise, a unhappiness, a stress, a fear, a worry, a sorrow.
First of all, be sure to detect why he grunts. He may be hurt somewhere and growl when you touch him there. In that case, take an appointment with your veterinarian.
If your West Highland White Terrier growls for a completely different reason (to defend his territory, what he owns or out of fear), you have to be careful because he warns by growling and can become more aggressive if you don’t understand how to act.
Your West Highland White Terrier growls in front of a person – What not to do?
- Don’t be angry with him;
- Do not behave in an authoritarian, superior, domineering manner;
- Don’t look down on him by provoking him to stop;
- Do not try to force him to stop because he could attack you. Indeed, he will see that you have not understood his signal and will outbid him to bite….
Your West Highland White Terrier growls in front of a person – What to do?
- Observe and try to understand why he is growling;
- Stop or calm the situation that causes your dog to growl.
- Depending on the case, for example, you will move the person or child away from him or her, return the toy or object you took from them, stop touching his bed, his bowl….
- Take the time to calm him down by caressing him and talking softly to him and gently ask him to stop grunting.
- Divert his attention from something else,
- As soon as he stops growling, you can congratulate him and reward him to make him understand that you are satisfied that he is no longer growling.
How to educate your West Highland White Terrier so that he doesn’t growl
To avoid that growls become usual, you will have to make your West Highland White Terrier understand that it is not worth it for him to growl for you to understand it.
All education must be done when he is a puppy.
For example, from an early age, you should touch the bowl, kibbles, food while eating and even try to take it away from him from time to time.
If he growls when you have a visitor, reassure him right away, calm him down, take him in your arms by going to the guests while caressing him and talking to him gently. The guests will caress him in turn and he will gradually understand that there is no danger for him….
On the other hand, it is important to get your West Highland White Terrier used to meeting other dogs. To do this, take advantage of the walks to approach him/her gradually and without stress, being serene…
Make canine outings as part of associations to let him go free with other dogs.
As a result, he will feel less fear when he meets other dogs and growl much less often.
What to do if your West Highland White Terrier is constantly growling?
If your West Highland White Terrier growls too often, systematically when he sees people, animals, children… consult a veterinarian or a behavioural educator because this is not normal behaviour for a West Highland White Terrier.