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My wife and I have a 13 year old mini dachshund Newman whom we've had since he was 8 weeks old. We are very close to him and refer to him as our first born child. Sadly, he isn't the same sweet puppy that we once knew. He has experienced 2 or 3 major IVDD episodes about 5-7 years ago including one that lasted 4+ months that required heavy steroid use so he could walk again but has rebounded very well and can still run around without any evidence of previous paralysis. He had 7 front teeth extracted recently (I now brush daily and use oral spray) and had 2 non-cancerous tumors removed from the side of his face. He currently takes Denamarin 90mg daily for his liver, starting to build cataracts, and his hearing is starting to decrease. But, overall, his health is 'remarkable' for a 13 year old mini daschund says my vet. He still has a puppy face with a little gray. He sleeps quite a bit and while he still likes random playtime, his personality has changed significantly since my 1st daughter was born 3 years old. At first, he was fine with her and even liked being around her as she would feed him and play with him. She would lay next to him and wrap her arms around him and he didn't seem to care. However, like most 3 year olds, she can make fast movements that would often hit him and make loud noises that would startle him but she loves him and tries to kiss/hug him but he now wants NOTHING to do with her. If she goes near him, he will show teeth, growl, and even try to bite her. At first, they were just attempts to scare her away but now he actually bites her. Oddly, he likes to sit near her and even sleep next to her? He is even aggressive with me if I try and pick him up to move him on the couch so one of us can sit down or just to pet him sometimes. I am really not sure what to do given his age. Can he be saved?
 

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Keep him separated from the toddler and teach the toddler not to hug and hold the dog. The dog sounds fine until the child starts to confine him. So the answer is the child needs to leave the dog alone. Period.

Older dogs are often arthritic and have some pain (just like humans). A child who hits, holds and hugs is just too much for a dog. Dogs, in general, are not fans of being held or hugged or hit, even by accident.

This is a management issue and the child needs to be managed.
 

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Keep him separated from the toddler and teach the toddler not to hug and hold the dog. The dog sounds fine until the child starts to confine him. So the answer is the child needs to leave the dog alone. Period.

Older dogs are often arthritic and have some pain (just like humans). A child who hits, holds and hugs is just too much for a dog. Dogs, in general, are not fans of being held or hugged or hit, even by accident.

This is a management issue and the child needs to be managed.
That's the obvious answer but difficult as he has spent his entire 13 years of his life always around us at all times. On the same couch. In the same bed. We use ramps for him to get on/off the couch to help with his back problems. Even when I moved the ramps to the other couch, he still wants to go on the main couch to be near us. This is comfortable for him. He wants to be around us. I can try other ways to seperate but it breaks my heart that I cannot find another way. It's also not just him -- He has become more aggressive to me as well.
 

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Being around is fine. His protests are at getting handled and apparently it hurts to just get petted certain ways. See thefamilydog.com for great videos to help your daughter understand how to approach the dog. Get a box of tissues and look at the Stop the 77 video without your daughter and after checking content yourself have her see the ones about petting and such. When his protests at being handled were ignored he stopped trusting you and has escalated to biting. She can show her love for him in other ways and when she understands when he is okay at being petted he will start getting a bit more comfortable about it.

How about putting a little bed on the sofa for him? He'll be close and it's a clear boundary for your daughter.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Being around is fine. His protests are at getting handled and apparently it hurts to just get petted certain ways. See thefamilydog.com for great videos to help your daughter understand how to approach the dog. Get a box of tissues and look at the Stop the 77 video without your daughter and after checking content yourself have her see the ones about petting and such. When his protests at being handled were ignored he stopped trusting you and has escalated to biting. She can show her love for him in other ways and when she understands when he is okay at being petted he will start getting a bit more comfortable about it.

How about putting a little bed on the sofa for him? He'll be close and it's a clear boundary for your daughter.
That video is sad but makes a lot of sense. If I had to guess, it's a combination of being an old man who has some hearing/sight loss who has lost tolerance even with me at times. Combine that with my daughter who is loud with fast movements who accidently hits him, it's a bad combintion of events. With that said, my daughter is too young to really understand now so I guess seperation is about the best I can do. Will the bed be for him or her (both?). He actually plays with her sometimes (on his own terms) and can sit next to her but he has little patience with her. He gets pissed at me when I try to move him off the couch but then kisses me and lays against me like my best friend. Perhaps just a grouchy old man?
 

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I tear up just thinking about that video!

My grand twins were about 4 years old when they got a large happy adolescent dog that bounced and disliked getting pulled around so I sent my son that link. The kids loved the videos [NOT stop the 77!] and were happy and able to follow ways to keep puppy from bouncing on them and it sure made me feel better that they understood when dog was okay with being petted and when to leave her alone. The family handled the previous dog more than he liked and he snapped a lot. Fortunately he was really noisy and was careful to never make contact but with a new large young dog seemed important to train everybody to watch body language and respect early signals of discomfort so she never feels the need to escalate to growling or worse.

Bed is for dog to lay in and for daughter to stay away from. Look at the petting video, dog comes to you, pet a couple times and wait. If dog stays then pet again then wait and so on. Look at it, it should be fine for your daughter to watch. If dog leaves then dog doesn't want to be petted. Same thing for play especially with an old dog that gets grumpy because he's tired or hurting or scared because things are moving too quickly. His idea of play might be a few seconds. Enjoy, old dog play sure warms the heart.

I had a dog that growled when I wanted him off the sofa. I taught him to get off on cue using little treats. He was terrified of getting squashed by us, was perfectly happy to snuggle once back on the human occupied sofa. Use treats to lead him to his ramp and down. Is it painful to use the ramp? Maybe put a bit of wood under it or inside the lining so you can lift it down. And you are always careful to be sure he's awake and knows you are going to touch him?
 

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I tear up just thinking about that video!

My grand twins were about 4 years old when they got a large happy adolescent dog that bounced and disliked getting pulled around so I sent my son that link. The kids loved the videos [NOT stop the 77!] and were happy and able to follow ways to keep puppy from bouncing on them and it sure made me feel better that they understood when dog was okay with being petted and when to leave her alone. The family handled the previous dog more than he liked and he snapped a lot. Fortunately he was really noisy and was careful to never make contact but with a new large young dog seemed important to train everybody to watch body language and respect early signals of discomfort so she never feels the need to escalate to growling or worse.

Bed is for dog to lay in and for daughter to stay away from. Look at the petting video, dog comes to you, pet a couple times and wait. If dog stays then pet again then wait and so on. Look at it, it should be fine for your daughter to watch. If dog leaves then dog doesn't want to be petted. Same thing for play especially with an old dog that gets grumpy because he's tired or hurting or scared because things are moving too quickly. His idea of play might be a few seconds. Enjoy, old dog play sure warms the heart.

I had a dog that growled when I wanted him off the sofa. I taught him to get off on cue using little treats. He was terrified of getting squashed by us, was perfectly happy to snuggle once back on the human occupied sofa. Use treats to lead him to his ramp and down. Is it painful to use the ramp? Maybe put a bit of wood under it or inside the lining so you can lift it down. And you are always careful to be sure he's awake and knows you are going to touch him?
He is OK going up the ramps but sometimes needs a few attempts. He is starting to growl at my wife and I. He LOVES my wife too. I am trying not to overanalyze everything but I wonder if the lack of eye/hearing has made him oversensitive. He is also eating at his rear so he might need anal glands cleaned but that wouldn't be the culprit. If we wait for him to come to us, he probably won't given he is a lazy old man. I'll do what it takes but I might have to just accept this is the new him...
 

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I'd wait him out. Praise and coo at him all you want though. If you have been overdoing the handling then he may take some time to get over it and want to come to you. Maybe some bribing with cookies? Maybe the best blankie is on top of the humans and he'll get cold unless he comes over for a snuggle?

If he isn't on a pain med maybe it would help. Max got gabapentin for nerve pain when his legs went out and he was so much happier. Even if there is no obvious sign he is in pain the grumpiness could be due to pain. Ask the vet about it. Or glucosamine joint supplement even. It isn't universally accepted that it helps but I know it helped my elderly dogs a lot. He's loosing some oomph if getting up the ramp is hard. Pain can cause that.

We humans haven't a clue as to what full anal sacs feel like. Old animals grumble about things that young people think minor so maybe it is really bothering him.
They can get infected or rupture so take care of it.
 

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Update. In the last 3 weeks or so, we can barely touch him without fear or getting bitten. If he wants to go out to use the bathroom or play, he will let us pick him up. But, on the couch, in his bed, or in our bed, you cannot touch him without him growling and making multiple lunges to attack us. He has NEVER done this to us. It's like he is has split personality. On Saturday, I brought him to the vet and about $1,100 later including various blood and Lyme tests, he got a a clean bill of health including no pain. Some of the blood tests need to come back from the lab but the vet thinks it is behavior. I was praying for lyme given his recent tick in late October as it is explainable but the vet says no lyme. I just don't understand how he can change so rapidly. He gave us a script for xnax that hasn't done anything positive in 48 hours. A few seconds ago, he tried to attack me on the couch. I got him off and he is wagging trying to get back up. My wife is in tears as we are debating making a tough decision for the best of the family but I cannot have my girls in danger. I am lost for words on how a loving dog can go bad so fast.
 

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Have you changed your approach to handling him? Call him to you to pet rather than try to touch him when he's settled down. Lead him off the sofa with treats, do not try to pick him up. You could try picking him up with a cookie in his face.

Since he is losing sight and hearing he definitely could be upset when you try to touch him. Make sure he knows you are about to pet him so he isn't startled. The two dogs I've had that lost vision and hearing didn't do more than jump when startled but the current stinker startles if I so much as shift in the chair so I will have to watch it when he ages and loses sight/hearing.

Sad to say but perhaps you are correct and he is no longer a safe pet. Unless you and your family are able to adapt to his failing health it could be time.

My geriatric dogs lost bed and sofa privilege. One was a bit incontinent and it just plain hurt for them to get off. Both got comfy beds to sleep in elsewhere. Such is life. They were fine with it, I missed the company!
 

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He is a bit better if he try and get him to get up and move towards us on the couch/bed but even a subtle pet could result in a bite. We are making changes to try and make him more comfortable but it's constant fear in literally 3-4 weeks.
 

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I'm saying this with kindest regards and sympathy for your situation... I understand that it's hard seeing the dog in front of you and comparing him to the way he used to be for over a decade. It is evident that this pup is important to you and it can be scary, and feel like a betrayal, when these behaviors arise. Please understand that his sudden reactions are most likely stemming from fear. I would not take it personally. I know this probably doesn't make the situation any easier. But it sounds like your dog experienced some negative handling from your toddler. I am not blaming you; I understand accidents happen between dogs and children. But how often the situation happened, how the situations were handled, and the rest... perhaps created an overall aversion to handling. It very likely could be that age plays a factor. My senior is almost 12 years old (I've had him since he was 12 weeks old) and I definitely notice slight handling sensitivities and lower tolerance for shenanigans.

My best advice for moving forward is to love and accept the dog you have in front of you. Not for who he was, but who he is now. It is not unusual for people to create new routines for their senior dogs. The question is, if you are willing to do it. Not-being-on-the-couch, for example, does not ruin a dog's quality of life. Stress and conflict do affect quality of life. I cannot tell you what to do with your dog, but for what it's worth I highly recommend not surrendering him to a shelter (older dogs have such a hard time).

And honestly, from a behavioral perspective, the problem sounds pretty simple (especially since you seem to have ruled out medical causes). Your dog wants to be handled on his terms. He wants to be pet and held when he wants it. He tells you to stop when he doesn't want it. I know many dogs like this. My own dog has been like this his entire life, even in puppyhood. On top of that, it is VERY common for dogs to change when infants become toddlers. Likely, the escalation in behavior (growling to snapping) is due to a lack of understanding from your child, which is also normal. For example, let's say your dog felt threatened by your toddler's sudden motions. Growling means "please stop". It is a very appropriate and non violent form of communication. If your toddler accidentally continues to try to pet your dog, your dog then learns "growling isn't working. clearly I need to use a more obvious signal". If your dog has not yet broken skin, that is also very deliberate. Snapping without damage is still appropriate, deliberate communication. It means "I mean it! please stop what you are doing. I don't want to bite you so please go away!" It may look scary. But everything a dog does, short of biting and breaking skin... the dog is doing so he does not break skin.

Your little dog is practically begging you to give him some peace and some space. I am sure he still loves you and your children. I hope you are able to find a way to accept him for who he is and create a lifestyle that is comfortable and safe for everyone.
 

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I'm saying this with kindest regards and sympathy for your situation... I understand that it's hard seeing the dog in front of you and comparing him to the way he used to be for over a decade. It is evident that this pup is important to you and it can be scary, and feel like a betrayal, when these behaviors arise. Please understand that his sudden reactions are most likely stemming from fear. I would not take it personally. I know this probably doesn't make the situation any easier. But it sounds like your dog experienced some negative handling from your toddler. I am not blaming you; I understand accidents happen between dogs and children. But how often the situation happened, how the situations were handled, and the rest... perhaps created an overall aversion to handling. It very likely could be that age plays a factor. My senior is almost 12 years old (I've had him since he was 12 weeks old) and I definitely notice slight handling sensitivities and lower tolerance for shenanigans.

My best advice for moving forward is to love and accept the dog you have in front of you. Not for who he was, but who he is now. It is not unusual for people to create new routines for their senior dogs. The question is, if you are willing to do it. Not-being-on-the-couch, for example, does not ruin a dog's quality of life. Stress and conflict do affect quality of life. I cannot tell you what to do with your dog, but for what it's worth I highly recommend not surrendering him to a shelter (older dogs have such a hard time).

And honestly, from a behavioral perspective, the problem sounds pretty simple (especially since you seem to have ruled out medical causes). Your dog wants to be handled on his terms. He wants to be pet and held when he wants it. He tells you to stop when he doesn't want it. I know many dogs like this. My own dog has been like this his entire life, even in puppyhood. On top of that, it is VERY common for dogs to change when infants become toddlers. Likely, the escalation in behavior (growling to snapping) is due to a lack of understanding from your child, which is also normal. For example, let's say your dog felt threatened by your toddler's sudden motions. Growling means "please stop". It is a very appropriate and non violent form of communication. If your toddler accidentally continues to try to pet your dog, your dog then learns "growling isn't working. clearly I need to use a more obvious signal". If your dog has not yet broken skin, that is also very deliberate. Snapping without damage is still appropriate, deliberate communication. It means "I mean it! please stop what you are doing. I don't want to bite you so please go away!" It may look scary. But everything a dog does, short of biting and breaking skin... the dog is doing so he does not break skin.

Your little dog is practically begging you to give him some peace and some space. I am sure he still loves you and your children. I hope you are able to find a way to accept him for who he is and create a lifestyle that is comfortable and safe for everyone.
Thank you (and everyone) for the help. It's a very sensitive issue in my house and my wife broke down in tears last night. Newman almost gave my 3 year old a stitch or two when he bite her in the webbing of her thumb/pointer a few months ago. Since, she has really stayed away away from him out of fear so it is VERY surprising that in the last 3 weeks, Newman won't let my wife or I even touch him when he is on the bed (his/ours) or couch. He will show teeth and growl and lunge to attack. Sometimes there is absolutely no warning -- just ATTACK. I've let my hand in place to see if he will bite and he will. If we use a treat and get him to come towards us in these areas, he might growl a bit but he will let us pick him up -- almost as if it is was on his own terms. In my arms, he will kiss my face and wag (could be angry/nervous wag though). On the bed sometimes, he will lay down on his side and be affectionate but I'm always fearful he will just attack me. He licks my 3 month old on the face maybe to taste/smell and will even play a bit of fetch with my 3 year old. He seems OK while on the ground walking around but, again, if we touch him while in his favorite place, he is a different animal.

I simply cannot imagine life w/o him. He is my first born and the love of my life. I cannot express the difficulty in typing this words but I am not sure what to do. He is an older dog with IVDD and has multiple episodes in which he recovered. He wouldn't do well in a shelter and I cannot even comprehend making or even talking about that decision. But, in my head, my REAL family is first and I cannot risk their safety. Yes -- If I keep him separate he will basically die on the floor away from us as no one wants to touch him out of fear. That's simply not healthy. Given he always wants on the couch, he goes nuts trying to get up on it -- He wags like a maniac and cries to get up and I fear his back so I bring him up but then fear he will attack without warning. Today was Xnax day 2 and my wife pulled him out of the covers and scooped him without issue but he was in a deep sleep -- I hope not byproduct of the meds.
 

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I've let my hand in place to see if he will bite and he will. If we use a treat and get him to come towards us in these areas, he might growl a bit but he will let us pick him up -- almost as if it is was on his own terms.
Today was Xnax day 2 and my wife pulled him out of the covers and scooped him without issue but he was in a deep sleep -- I hope not byproduct of the meds.
Here's the big thing... I don't think you should be picking him up without HIS invitation anymore. I would recommend that you stop testing him. I'm glad it worked well today. But these kinds of surprises are what's causing him to react 'out of the blue'. Just because he didn't bite one time, doesn't mean it was a positive experience. A dog could choose not to bite for many reasons. They may feel more tolerant in that moment, or they are just shut down and unresponsive in that moment. Look at his body language when he is picked up... Is he wiggly or loose and calm with a wagging tail, or is he stiff, mouth closed, tail tucked or low and still, eyes to the side, brows furrowed?

You are testing him and putting him in a position to fail. Instead, try teaching him to come to you when called, get "off" when told by tossing treats, hiding his meds in some tasty snacks... Ways of positively interacting with him without touching him. I am not saying "never touch him". He will solicit petting on his terms and then you and your family can spoil him with attention. You may find that once you're more hands off, he will probably solicit attention even more and be more affectionate.

Like I said, it is NOT abnormal for a dog to not want to be bothered except on his own terms. I understand that it is not what you are used to. But in the grand scheme of things, and also given the size of your dog and especially his age... You lucked out. Your dog has been incredibly patient for his entire life. There are just ONE or two scenarios (dog on his favorite spot on the couch, or bed) that is a sticky point. Give him his own spot. Put a crate on the couch and make that his area. Buy a small and comfy chair just for him. Restrict access (yes he might go crazy but dogs will learn to stop doing what doesn't work). Talk with your family and decide, "The one comfort we'll give him in his senior years is not bother him when he is in that spot", or something. But this is a very common and relatively benign issue. I am not at all trying to downplay the emotional distress this is causing you and your family. Not at all! Again, I sympathize that you are experiencing these troubling behaviors from a dog you've raised and loved for many, many years. But I work in a shelter, and I'm a dog trainer, and you wouldn't believe how many calls we get in that are exactly the same as your scenario. 'Dog bites kid for trying to pet him while sleeping.' 'Dog fine with infant then aggressive when she grows up and starts moving/flailing'. 'Old dog suddenly intolerant of handling'. It is very, very common. It is so common that there is an entire specialized branch of training centered around family dynamics (that 77 project is just one of them).

There is nothing wrong with your dog. He is an old, patient dog who is getting older by the day. He is trying to communicate boundaries.
 

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Buy a small and comfy chair just for him.
This. And buy a pet-specific electric heating pad for it. Use low settings, monitor the temps, and supervise.

Old dogs like body warmth, that's most of the reason why they snuggle up right next to us. A pad can be a suitable substitute rather than just a cold chair.
 

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He is also eating at his rear so he might need anal glands cleaned but that wouldn't be the culprit.
Right, probably not the cause of his recent behaviour change but I'd still have it checked out and remedied if impaction is present. Also, there's a distant possibility that he's chewing because of nerve damage from the bouts of IVDD. Although these dogs will sometimes chew and lick at the hind legs and feet, and base of the tail, as opposed to the actual anal area.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Here's the big thing... I don't think you should be picking him up without HIS invitation anymore. I would recommend that you stop testing him. I'm glad it worked well today. But these kinds of surprises are what's causing him to react 'out of the blue'. Just because he didn't bite one time, doesn't mean it was a positive experience. A dog could choose not to bite for many reasons. They may feel more tolerant in that moment, or they are just shut down and unresponsive in that moment. Look at his body language when he is picked up... Is he wiggly or loose and calm with a wagging tail, or is he stiff, mouth closed, tail tucked or low and still, eyes to the side, brows furrowed?

You are testing him and putting him in a position to fail. Instead, try teaching him to come to you when called, get "off" when told by tossing treats, hiding his meds in some tasty snacks... Ways of positively interacting with him without touching him. I am not saying "never touch him". He will solicit petting on his terms and then you and your family can spoil him with attention. You may find that once you're more hands off, he will probably solicit attention even more and be more affectionate.

Like I said, it is NOT abnormal for a dog to not want to be bothered except on his own terms. I understand that it is not what you are used to. But in the grand scheme of things, and also given the size of your dog and especially his age... You lucked out. Your dog has been incredibly patient for his entire life. There are just ONE or two scenarios (dog on his favorite spot on the couch, or bed) that is a sticky point. Give him his own spot. Put a crate on the couch and make that his area. Buy a small and comfy chair just for him. Restrict access (yes he might go crazy but dogs will learn to stop doing what doesn't work). Talk with your family and decide, "The one comfort we'll give him in his senior years is not bother him when he is in that spot", or something. But this is a very common and relatively benign issue. I am not at all trying to downplay the emotional distress this is causing you and your family. Not at all! Again, I sympathize that you are experiencing these troubling behaviors from a dog you've raised and loved for many, many years. But I work in a shelter, and I'm a dog trainer, and you wouldn't believe how many calls we get in that are exactly the same as your scenario. 'Dog bites kid for trying to pet him while sleeping.' 'Dog fine with infant then aggressive when she grows up and starts moving/flailing'. 'Old dog suddenly intolerant of handling'. It is very, very common. It is so common that there is an entire specialized branch of training centered around family dynamics (that 77 project is just one of them).

There is nothing wrong with your dog. He is an old, patient dog who is getting older by the day. He is trying to communicate boundaries.
It's literally a light switch so I am struggling to understand how I literally 'lost' him one day. I still cannot explain why the SUDDDEN onset of this behavior. Yesterday was a better day but not sure if it it's the Xanax that made the difference. We are using treats to get him off the couch and then he is more tolerant to being picked up/touched/etc. Once I pick him up, he will continue to wag and even kiss a bit but could that be out of fear? If so, I am lost for how he feels that way. I did notice that he will still growl/bite even on the ground sometimes so it cannot be guarding/territory. I will continue the cautious approach and using treats to 'move' him and leave him on the side of the couch to lay/sleep. If he gets angry, he isn't allowed on the couch. Treats are ONLY used after he moves for us or does a trick. No freebies. In bed this morning, my wife was holding him tight but he might just be groggy. He mostly sleeps all day so if we don't touch him in his 'special' area than he will be mostly hands off for the rest of his life. Remember -- I was rubbing/touching/holding him all his life and then one day - no more. If that's what HE WANTS, OK... Breaks my heart literally. The only other issue is that he can suddenly attack if we go near him and make contact or if he gets angry... It's not like I have much warning if I go to make contact and he doesn't like it.
 

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Have you had a certified behaviorist out? Is that something you're willing to do? They can be hard to track down depending on the area, but search google and ask your vet for any recommendations. A behaviorist could observe him and get a better (educated) feel for what is going on. I think there is a LOT of misreading going on on your part - and that's okay, the majority of dog owners don't actually understand dog body language and/or how to read signals they send us. But when there are issues like this, it's our job as owners to do everything we can to solve them.

But also understand that solving the issue may mean teaching him to be confined/left alone (that may be what he ultimately wants, anyway).
 

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Have you had a certified behaviorist out? Is that something you're willing to do? They can be hard to track down depending on the area, but search google and ask your vet for any recommendations. A behaviorist could observe him and get a better (educated) feel for what is going on. I think there is a LOT of misreading going on on your part - and that's okay, the majority of dog owners don't actually understand dog body language and/or how to read signals they send us. But when there are issues like this, it's our job as owners to do everything we can to solve them.

But also understand that solving the issue may mean teaching him to be confined/left alone (that may be what he ultimately wants, anyway).
I'm OK with finding a behaviorist -- I guess I will google. Yes, I am sure I am misreading the situation because it's a complete change in the dog I call smooches whom I was hugging/petting/playing with for 13 years. Within the last 3 weeks, it just changed suddenly with little to no warning. I simply cannot grasp how this situation has occurred. I video tapped me sitting near him last night and he growled and lunged at me. It's mind blowing because I don't recognize this impostor. If he truly wants his space, then that basically means usleaving him to sleep/be alone to make him happy and for us to avoiding being bitten -- That absolutely breaks my heart. But, he cannot have it both ways where he decides to be affectionate and then not be touched at all or he will bite because we will be forced to leave him be till the end of his days as it is impossible to read him when he wags/happy and then turns on us without warning.
 

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I read all of this.
You need to realize that you have two choices here. STOP picking this dog up and handling him and let him be or PTS. The dog has given you fair wind of his boundaries. His boundaries are breaking your heart, so you keep crossing them.. and getting bitten and growled at. Being left alone, NOT sitting next to you on the couch, not being on the bed and 'scooped up from under the covers,' not being handled or approached by your toddler are what you need to do if you love this dog and are willing to respect his boundaries.

It does NOT MATTER if his behavior changed or why it changed or how he used to be. NONE of that matters to the dog. It only matters to you.

He now needs his space. Give it to him. If that breaks YOUR heart, then it is OK to go to the garage and weep for it but in the end it will be acceptance by you or your child will be bitten badly (or you or your wife will be) and then the only choice will be euthanasia. Right now you can stop that from happening.

He cannot be rehomed or sent to a shelter at age 13. That is inhumane. JMO.

Sudden behavior changes can be from many reasons. The physical reasons have been ruled out as far as you know. There are other things you don't know.. from a brain lesion to arthritis. You won't know those things from your vet. You might learn of something on Necropsy but then it no longer really matters.

Listen to the dog, and set your own feelings aside if you want to save him.
 
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