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Discussion Starter #1
Bingo is a rescue pup from a shelter. We got him at 3 months. He's 6 months now.

He was a stubborn puppy to begin with, but super friendly. We are training him up stop jumping at people, pulling at leash and rolling in the mud. He is good with obeying basic commands and he's affectionate. He's completed the AKC star puppy program.

However, he gave us a nasty surprise a couple of weeks back. He growled and lunged at my husband while eating. Since then, husband started feeding him by hand. Then, he was chewing a bully stick and growled at me/husband. We then taught him to "drop" it and he now drops the bone/ kong/toy when commanded.
Then, husband was petting him yesterday, and he growled and lunged suddenly. No provocation, no food around. We left him alone.
Today, he was eating a carrot and I asked him to drop it. He did. I asked him to touch my hand. He did. Then I tried to pet his head - which I've done before without trouble - and his ears went back, eye whites showed and he growled. I took my hand away, asked to shake paw ( he did ) then asked to touch my hand ( he did) but head touch = growl, anxious, lip smacking, eye whites.

What are we doing wrong?

Bingo came to us at 3 months. He's 6 months now. Trouble started a few weeks back, right when his baby teeth started to fall off.

Important to mention that after growling at husband, his ears stay flat, and he hides behind me. Today, after growling at me, he came and sat on my feet.

Now, he's anxious, lip-smacking. We are not touching him unless he invites us, nor engaging in a lot of affection. He walks several times a day, and is going into his crate to sleep - previously, he'd lounge in the sofa or sleep near us on the floor. He;s cringing every time i raise my hand.

Is he genetically predisposed to growling? Is the situation beyond control?
 

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I'd start by taking him to the vet, pronto, explaining his abrupt change in behavior and asking for a full work up. Sometimes medical problems will first show up as sudden behavior changes.

Another possibility might be a growth spurt causing sudden fears or a bout of teenaged puppy behavior. After ruling anything medical out, I'd get back to basics on training and using NILIF and trading games with favorite toys. If it continues or worsens, an animal behaviorist.
 

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Did they do a full blood panel for any thyroid issues? If they did and didn't find anything, then I'd move on to dealing with it as a behavior issue.

I don't think it's beyond control. From what you've described, it sounds more like fear than aggression. If he wanted to bite, he would bite, but instead it sounds like he is giving you a warning that he is afraid or anxious about something. I would probably consult an animal behaviorist and in the meantime go back to Nothing in Life I s Free (NILIF, I think there are stickies for it) and also look at trading games for resource guarding.

I know it can be scary when a dog growls or snaps, but it doesn't mean the dog is destined to be aggressive. It's a good thing that they are trying to warn you that there is a problem, rather than just biting without warning.

Hugs!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks all! We are big believers of positive reinforcement, so we dont hit him or punish him in any way. He "drops" a low-value treat for a piece of turkey, and today I fed him by hand and patted his head and he was fine. I was so worried but thank you for the wise words. We will keep coming back as Bingo grows up!

Here is his latest photo :) IMG_3548.jpg
 
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