Dogs 101: Dogs and humans communicate differently.
Despite our best intentions, many of our actions stress our dogs. You should teach friends and strangers to avoid approaching your dog head-on, leaning over him, reaching over to pet his head, or staring directly at him. All of these actions may be seen as threats, even when you do them, especially by a rescued dog new to your home. Also pay attention to your dog’s body postures. If you can determine whether your dog is feeling relaxed, aroused or fearful, you can manage the situation accordingly. We have a whole section of our site dedicated to body language. Much of our dog’s behavior around other dogs or people is ritualistic posturing, not intended to cause harm and not worth the anxiety we bring to the situation. Other behaviors are stress or arousal signals that we too often ignore. When we miss these signals, our dogs resort to growling as a last warning sign. If you punish your dog for growling, your dog will stop growling, but may go straight to biting.