A dog that growls at and/or bites its owner does so for some reason, even if the behavior appears “unreasonable” to the owner. A complete medical examination, including tests for hormonal balance, neurophysiologic function and allergies, may reveal the underlying cause.
This has been especially helpful in dogs that have swings in mood. When growling or biting has erupted as a consequence of scolding or punishment for such behavior as chewing, jumping, general unruliness, or over protection of food, these problems must be treated at the same time the program to correct aggression is initiated.
The Owner’s Actions Owners must understand that their dog growls or bites at them as a result of defensive feelings. Even the dog that growls when ordered off the couch is reacting defensively, as it feels its dominance status has been threatened. If scolding and punishment provoke aggression, the dog is reacting to a perceived threat to its physical safety. In either of these situations, the owner’s threatening behavior is producing negative results.