Many Asian breeds get into a lot of trouble b/c they often DON'T growl - Akita, Shar-Pei, Shiba, Tosa, Chow-Chow, Lhasa Apso, & others. They weren't developed as pets & companions, but as guards, & a guard who growls rather than bite puts an intruder on notice, & puts their own life & safety at risk. Burglars won't quibble at killing a dog, & they'd rather do it B4 the dog raises the alarm; a growl is a perfect opp to locate the dog, & silence them permanently.
These breeds tend to give few clues when they feel provoked -
U must look carefully for early signs, such as hard eyes, FREEZING, mouth closes / tongue retracts when the dog *had been* calmly panting with tongue lolling over lower-incisors, prick ears swiveling half-outward to the side in indecision / tips down, & progressing in intensity thru clear signals of aggro seen when the dog is defensive or aggro, such as hackling, a lip-lift, WHISKERS flexing forward
& puckering the whisker-bed, & a C-commissure
[the latter 2 are each prelude to delivering a bite].
There are subtle signs of stress, such as the PUPILS of the eyes expanding -which makes the eyes look darker than normal, or seeing a white crescent of sclera at a corner of the eyes, or even the iris completely surrounded by sclera ['whale eye'], which many APOs overlook, but which are generally early signs that the dog is upset, & likely to become more so. // Intervening early to get the dog out of the situation can prevent a meltdown, or worse yet, a serious bite.
Groomers often hate to groom long-haired Chows, b/c the groomers are always overbooked & in a hurry, & aren't in the mood to pay a whole lotta attn to the dog they're grooming aside from "Hold still!"
, & watching where they insert the mat-cutter. That won't work with a Chow - pull a knot in their petticoats just once, painfully, & they lock-up & look like they just bit a green persimmon; do it again, 'cuz U weren't paying attn & missed it, & WHAM!
- & then the groomer often claims the dog didn't warn them... but s/he did.
My Akita did
growl, not often in her brief lifetime, but quite horridly - U wouldn't want her to repeat it, once heard. // However, B4 she ever growled, she'd do the Akita standard: get stiff, close her mouth, eyes harden, body contracts, stand tall, ears akimbo.
I'd busted my butt to socialize her intensively & extensively, & she had a wide repertoire of additional signals beyond "pause to freeze
" to indicate that she was very stressed, or getting pi**ed-off by the handling or poking, or to warn off someone who was being intrusive.
I never saw her growl w/o a dam*ed good reason, & i heeded her growls - when she growled, i stopped what i was doing.
If there was something that must
be done at the vet's which was going to hurt, such as the frequent jugular pokes for blood samples in the last 2-plus years of her life, I told her ahead of time, "This will hurt, but it'll be quick", & she'd sit motionless for the phlebotomy.
The vet-techs thot i was loopy, but they never had to restrain her - i did it, solo, & she'd do a rock-solid sit-stay for a jugular stick.
Preparing a dog to tolerate & expect physical restraint from the vet, a tech, a groomer, or to accept brief painful or uncomfortable or intrusive procedures, is very necessary in advance of need
- U don't wait till yer dog has been hit by a car, to teach them to relax & co-operate when the vet examines them!