why is my dog growling at nothing

Why Is My Dog Growling At Nothing? 9 Main Reasons

Anyone begins to believe in the supernatural when their brave dog growling at nothing into the void on a regular basis. Somehow, most animals have better eyesight and hearing than humans, so they are able to see and hear things that are beyond our reach.

Reasons why my dog is growling at nothing

There are a large number of explanations for this phenomenon:

A foreign object

Often animals can be frightened by completely harmless objects – a hat, a figurine, a potted flower. It may seem strange to us, but dogs can feel fear because of them. Analyze your pet’s location and remove any unnecessary objects.


Although they may not see as well as cats in the dark, their hearing is excellent: if they hear noises in the middle of the night from the street, the staircase, or the apartment next door they can bark, growl and stare into space warningly, shooing strangers away. The dog perceives an inaudible sound as a danger signal and tries to respond to it, and the dog’s spatial reasoning is insufficient to correctly identify the source of the sound. 


Also, a dog may perceive a suspicious odor before a human can or cannot smell it, and begin to growl toward the potential danger. The dog may not like the smell of another animal, toxic substances, burning, or an irritating new smell you bring in from the street.


Frequent barking into emptiness, accompanied by hissing and hair standing up puffy, could indicate that the animal has vascular problems and may be starting to develop depression.

Another explanation for why is my dog barking and growling at nothing is directly related to a disease of the nervous system. This is often how epilepsy manifests itself. During a seizure, the dog may see hallucinations, so he growls at someone. This may be followed by seizures (but an epilepsy seizure can occur without them).

Also, when the dog keeps growling at nothing may occur when the dog is in pain. This is accompanied by a lack of appetite and sleep, lethargy, unusual behavior, etc. The first step should be to show such a pet to a doctor.

dog growling at nothing


If the dog has to spend almost all his time alone, it will growl and bark during his free time, just to attract attention. Try to spend more time with your dog, since their choice of independent activities is severely limited.

Excessive attention

A dog needs attention and lots of it. It is expressed in daily walks, games, and training, you can talk to the animal, even just to be silent, being near. Another thing is excessive affection. Some owners do not know the measure, to express love for their pets. They squeeze it, kiss it, constantly hugging it. You can do this sometimes, but such manifestations should be dosed, because the dog does not perceive affection as a person and start growling, looking into the void, or even at you.

Behavioral disorders

Many owners notice that their animals have started growling for absolutely no reason, with the change in behavior seeming abrupt. This is not really the case. If a dog growls at you for no apparent reason, then you have missed something in his training, because there is no unreasonable growling.

Behavioral disorders in a dog are provoked by a lack of regime, excessive gentleness of owners, allowing time in any place in the house, treats from the table, or a lack of training.

To determine that the dog already has behavioral problems, it is worth paying attention to the following nuances:

  • The animal comes to sleep in your bed; if you try to push him out, growling will follow immediately;
  • It won’t like it when you’re near him while it’s eating, or it might even take the food out of its bowl and into the room;
  • If guests came to the house, dog growling and barking at nothing; it is difficult to calm a dog down, take the dog into another room;
  • During a walk, such a dog will feel superior: it will not walk beside, will constantly run forward and pull the leash;
  • When the dog is playing, he will behave obtrusively; if you try to distract yourself during the game, the animal will alert you to its displeasure by growling.
why do dogs growl at nothing

Food aggression

Food aggression in animals in the form of growling into emptiness develops because the eating schedule and regimen were not initially normalized. It is worth paying attention to a few rules:

  1. The dog should not be fed before you and everyone in your family eats. The animal must eat when your command sounds. If the dog barking and growling at nothing, do not let go of the bowl by holding it by the tip. Any displeasure with food should be stopped;
  2. Do not allow your dog to eat from your table. If you give him food even once, he will beg for it endlessly. This is not due to greed, but to the fact that most table foods are harmful to dogs;
  3. Don’t be frightened or move away from your dog if the dog growls at nothing. Your fright will give the dog the idea that you are very easily frightened.

Emotional state of the family

Animals have a sharper perception of reality, so they are able to read the subtle vibrations coming from humans. If there is regular fighting, quarreling, or fighting in the family, your dog will sense your tension, tensions, and moods, and may respond by growling.

How to fix the problem

Before you start the process of re-education, you should clearly determine what the cause of the growl is. Specialists have developed a few rules to follow:

  1. Find the irritating factor and get rid of it;
  2. See your veterinarian if you find the dog exhibiting related symptoms (seizures, lethargy, fever, dog sounds congested etc.);
  3. Use rewards for good behavior. For every command he obeys, he should be rewarded with a treat and punished for not doing so. Punishment in any case should not be physical – it is forbidden to hit the dog, and you can not shout. The owner should express his dissatisfaction in a calm, confident tone of voice;
  4. Try to follow the prevention of aggressive behavior in pets;
  5. Contact a dog handler if you are unable to deal with behavioral problems or aggressive behavior on your own. Specialists will not only provide training but will also tell you all aspects of the dog’s behavior and give you recommendations on how to continue raising the dog at home. It is very important to organize the process of re-education so that all family members take part in it, only then you can achieve obedience from the dog.
why does my dog growl at nothing

Preventing aggressive behavior

To prevent anger and aggressive attitude towards people, including the owner, the puppy should be brought up as soon as he appears in the house. Consider a few recommendations:

  • The pet should have an equipped place to rest. The dog should not be allowed to climb on your bed. Such attempts are suppressed immediately. And also the dog must understand that windowsills and tables are also forbidden places;
  • Feed your dog at the same time. Your pet must have his own eating habits;
  • Ensure a reasonable expenditure of energy by taking your dog out for long, intense walks. Without energy expenditure, the dog becomes mischievous and aggressive. Walk at least one hour twice a day with any dog.
  • From the very first days, accustom your puppy to hygiene: brushing his ears, teeth, and eyes and washing his paws. If you routinely and regularly perform the procedures, the pet won’t react inappropriately. 
  • Supervise the games you play with your pet. If the dog staring and barking at nothing, play should be stopped immediately. You will need to do the same if the pet barks. Approach the dog closely and say the command “No” in a firm voice. The game should not be resumed.


I find it frightening when my dog keeps growling at nothing, especially at night, for no apparent reason. Most likely, the dog may have seen some insect, or a speck of dust may have caught his attention. And also do not forget that dogs, unlike cats, do not see well in the dark. Therefore, a chair with clothes, which the dog recognized in the darkness as an incomprehensible and very frightening object, is quite capable of causing a deaf and long growl. In any case, if your dog has started to behave strangely, you should remove unnecessary objects and hang thick curtains. If these methods don’t work, it makes sense to take your dog to the vet.

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