Grrrr! Loki's irritated! But also quite lazy. He can't be bothered to move an inch from his lazy sunbathing position. In this photo he was growling at Jujube for some unknown reason.
One thing that we learned the hard way is to respect a dog's warning signs. When Loki was a puppy, we tried to correct his growls and his shows of teeth. We just couldn't imagine not doing anything. How can you not reprimand such bad behavior? It didn't make any sense to us to not do anything. But unfortunately, the problem became worse as Loki's aggression would escalate much quicker. If no one was going to listen to his growl, then he had to increase his aggressive intensity to get his point across. I think the problem was that I wanted Loki to be a dog that never showed any signs of aggression. No growl, no teeth, nothing. I wanted to correct away all of it. But that wasn't Loki. He just was never going to be that type of dog. Some dogs definitely are capable of never showing any aggression, but that wasn't going to be Loki. I guess it's like asking a human to never be angry -- ever. You might find some humans who are truly never angry. But asking your average human to never show any signs of anger ever is pretty impossible and simply against human nature.
Nowadays, when he shows signs of aggression like growling or teeth, we now simply leave him alone. We know to just give him space and time. We respect the fact that he can be moody. He's allowed to be moody. We leave him alone, and no one gets hurt. This is truly the best way to deal with the early signs of aggression. We wouldn't have believed this advice if we didn't see firsthand the consequences of dealing with it otherwise.
In fact, Loki and Jujube's relationship has greatly improved over the past year. They no longer get into fights precisely because Jujube now respects Loki's warnings. She stays away when he growls and shows teeth. She doesn't always let him get his way, but she gives him his space.