The Rottweiler Growl: What Is It And How To Deal With It?

Rottweilers are big and very protective dogs. But they are also very affectionate. Even if there are many owners of Rottweilers, some people fear the Rottweiler growl.

Rottweilers growl because they want to express happiness, excitement, fear, pain, or because they are asserting dominance. It is essential to distinguish the sound of the growl and find the reason behind it.

Key Characteristics

A positive Rottweilers growl is because of happiness, enjoyment, excitement, and as a sign of greeting.
A negative Rottweilers growl is because of separation anxiety, protectiveness, fear, pain, and food aggression.
The Rottweiler makes different sounds like growling, grumbling, barking, and yelping.
To prevent growling, you need to socialize your dog, use positive reinforcement, positive dominance, exposure to triggers, and stay calm.
You should never react aggressively, jerk the leash, or reward unnecessarily.

Why Do Rottweilers Growl?

Rottweilers will growl for positive things when they are feeling happy, enjoying themselves, when they are excited and when they are greeting you.

They will also growl for negative things when they are feeling anxious, afraid, in pain, or when they are overprotective.

Happiness and Enjoyment

Sometimes, dog owners might get worried when their pup starts growling after taking it for a walk, but that’s not a negative growl.

Being happy and enjoying the moment may cause your Rottweiler to growl. If you are taking it on its favorite walk or playing a game of tug of war it will growl to express its happiness.

Separation Anxiety

You might cause a growling Rottweiler if you leave it alone in the house. Rottweilers can get attached to their owners and if they are left alone they will experience fear and anxiety.

This behavior can be noticed most when you have to go to work and your Rottie knows that it will be alone. One way to deal with separation anxiety is to give valerian root to your dog.

Excitement and Greeting

Just like Rottweilers start growling when you leave, they will growl in anticipation of you coming home. Dogs have a circadian rhythm and will know around what time you come home.

You will hear your Rottie growling and barking once you go up to your house after a long day of work. It just wants to say hi and is happy to see you.  You may also notice your dog licking your legs as a sign of greeting and affection.


You can expect a Rottweiler growling at strangers that approach your house. Rottweilers are very protective dogs and are there to guard your house.

If some person that is not familiar with your dog gets near your house, they can expect the growling and barking of a protective Rottie.


Just like any dog, a Rottweiler can get scared of thunderstorms and fireworks. You will notice it growling at barking in order to protect itself and warn you of the loud sounds.

Some Rottweilers you will find at adoption centers have been treated badly by previous owners. Due to this psychological trauma, they will express their fear by growling at barking at people.

Asserting Dominance

You might hear the Rottweiler growl whenever the dog wants to assert its dominance. It is a big and protective dog so it will always react when exposed to other dogs and animals.

In order to show that it is the dominant one, it will growl at the other dog entering its territory to scare it off.


If the Rottweiler gets hurt during a dog fight it will growl and bark to cope with this pain. If you try to touch its wounds it might growl back at you.

This can also happen with older dogs with hip dysplasia and arthritis and they will growl due to pain in their joints. Contact your vet to help them decrease the pain.

Food Aggression

You might hear a Rottweiler growling and barking because it’s protecting its food. Dogs have developed the need to protect their food from other predators and scavengers.

It is their natural instinct to do this because of all the years of living in the wild where food supply is hard to come by. You can notice this behavior most in stray Rottweiler dogs.

Differentiating The Types of Sounds Your Dog Makes

To better understand your Rottweiler, we described a few different sounds it may make.


The famous Rottweiler rumble or grumble is a common sound Rottweilers make. People who are long-time owners are very familiar with this sound. But new Rottweiler owners might be scared at first.

The Rottweiler makes this sound when it is happy and feels pleasure. You can compare it to a cat’s purr. It will make this sound during playing, feeding, praising, or just getting more attention.


There is little difference in the sound of a grumble and a growl. But there is a big difference in the body language of your Rottie. 

When your Rottweiler starts snarling and follows that with a bark, it has turned into a growl. It will also curl its lip and show its teeth. This means that you should show more attention to figure out what it’s trying to convey.


Sometimes the Rottie rumble and growling can turn into barking. Rottweilers were bred to be herding and working dog breeds so don’t be surprised when you hear its loud bark.

Dogs don’t ever get tired of barking. A Rottie may bark as a way to greet you, as a sign of excitement, to get your attention, to repel a threat, or just because of pure boredom. 


A Rottie will yelp as a way to show distress. All dogs use this sound to call their owner for help. You can distinguish it from a bark as it is more high-pitched and gets repeated less.

If you hear your dog yelping, you should go and find what the problem is.


Instead, of hearing your Rottweiler rumbling, you might notice it snore during sleeping. This can be a normal transient period during its life.

But dogs may snore because they are congested. Reasons behind your dog’s congestion might be obesity, poor dental hygiene, sleeping position, allergies, or something else.

a rottweiler dog in the autumn leaves

What To Look Out For When Your Rottweiler is Growling

Before you find the Rottweiler growling meaning, you first need to be sure what kind of sound it makes. As described before, a grumble and a growl can be pretty similar, yet mean totally different things.

Pay attention to your dog’s position. If it’s around the family relaxing and playing, the sound it makes is probably out of enjoyment. If it’s eating, or near unfamiliar dogs or people it may be acting protectively towards you hence why the sound.

Another thing to look out for is body language. If the dog gets tensed up, with exposed teeth, and an angry face, the Rottweiler growl means it is in command. It asserts its dominance and protects what is theirs. If it starts acting unusual and experiencing stomach problems, the dog may have eaten its rope toy and is now in pain.

How To Stop Your Rottweiler From Growling?

Now that we know why do Rottweilers growl, let’s see how you can stop them from growling.

Socialize Your Dog

The best way to teach your Rottie to remain calm around other people and dogs is to socialize it early on. Socializing should start with the breeder with a calm and slow introduction to other people and animals.

It’s important to socialize your dog until the 12th week of age because during those weeks your dog’s personality forms. This is especially important during the 8-10 weeks anxiety stage when your pup will be more frightened by other people and animals. 

Remain Calm

If your Rottweiler puppy is growling and biting it’s important to stay calm and collected. Don’t react with negative feelings like anger and aggression. That way you will make your dog more anxious and cause even more growling.

If you keep calm and continue with what you are doing, your Rottie will observe and will calm itself down as well.

Maintain Positive Dominance

You should show that you are the owner and you are in charge in all situations. You can do this by a training method called positive dominance.

Use a firm voice and clear hand gestures and voice commands to instruct your dog on what to do. Don’t yell or get aggressive but show that you have authority. Instruct your dog that growling is not needed in that situation and it should stop.

Exposure To Triggers

You may hear a Rottweiler growling at its owner when exposed to certain triggers. These triggers cause it to get anxious and start growling.

To prevent this, expose your dog to triggers that make it anxious during the puppy phase. It may seem cruel at first, but you are doing it a favor that would benefit it later on.

Positive Reinforcement

Training your dog should involve positive reinforcement. Every time your Rottie reacts positively to your command and stops growling when you say, give it a treat.

Once your training is finished and your pup has been responsive and stopped growling, give it a lot of pet and praise. It will know that it’s doing good and will stop growling in time.

Behavioral Training

Another way to stop Rottweiler puppies from growling is by using behavioral training. If you are unable to teach your Rottie by yourself, contact a behavior specialist.

They will help you find the reason why your pup is growling and what it’s afraid of. You can also contact a professional dog trainer in the puppy stage to help with training your pup.

rottweiler dog in behavioural training

What You Should Never Do

Sometimes we all make mistakes while training our dogs. These mistakes may lead to more aggression and growling in a Rottweiler. Here are some things you shouldn’t do.

Hitting or Screaming

If you hear your Rottweiler growl when playing don’t react with aggressive behavior like hitting or screaming. You will frighten your dog and it will react negatively to you.

You can also destroy the trust you’ve built with your dog. That will make your relationship tense and anxious causing it to growl at you more.

Jerking the Leash

Rottweilers can get easily distracted while they are outside on a walk. If your Rottie wants to chase after something don’t start aggressively jerking the leash.

Instead, use positive dominance to let it know that it shouldn’t do that. Otherwise, you might hurt your dog and it will start growling.

Unnecessary Rewarding 

If your Rottweilers growl when you pet them, don’t start awarding them for unwanted behavior. The point is to reward your dog when it does something good.

If you keep rewarding it constantly, it will just want more rewards and get angry and growl when it is not rewarded.

Final Thoughts About The Growling Rottweiler

In this article, we tried to explain the curious growl that a Rottweiler makes. It can growl because of positive feelings like enjoyment, excitement, and overall happiness. But it may also growl because of negative feelings like pain, fear, and anxiety.

As a Rottie owner, it’s important to distinguish the sounds your Rottie makes and respond respectively to them. If you hear your Rottweiler growl, try to stop them by practicing positive dominance, positive reinforcement, and behavioral training. Don’t react aggressively or reward your dog unnecessarily.


Do Rottweilers growl when happy? 

Yes, a Rottweiler will growl when it is happy and excited. You can hear it growling when you come home after a long day as a greeting.

How can you tell if a Rottweiler is growling or barking?

The growling sound a Rottweiler makes sounds like a rumble. This is similar to a cat’s purr but it is accompanied by showing teeth and curling of the lip. Barking is a loud sound every dog makes.

Why does a Rottweiler growl?

A Rottweiler will growl because it is excited, happy, or it is enjoying itself. It also may growl because it’s afraid, anxious, in pain, or it’s protecting its territory.

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