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Hello - My wife and I inherited an 11 yr old Shih Tzu when my sister in law passed this summer. Moses is smart, house broken and crate trained - an all around awesome dog. Recently, at night, he wakes up growling and biting. I had been thinking that it was directed at me - his being protective of his mommy. His doing this has become more frequent, with more and more episodes each night. Last night however, he woke biting about every 30 minutes and me being awake saw that there is not really a pattern - whichever way he is facing when he startles awake is the direction he lunges. When morning comes he is calm and as bouncy as any 77 yr old can be !
Any ideas ?
 

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Anytime there is an abrupt behavior change (especially so when the dog in question is a senior) the first stop should be a vet visit to rule out any physical problems. You might also want to discuss the possibility of CCD (basically doggie dementia) I wish you & Moses the best!
 

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Vet visit is the first thing. May be an eye sight issue in dim light (I have a GSD who is having retinal issues, not cataracts, and cannot see well in dim light and it is just part of what can happen to an older dog) or senility (as mentioned).

Crate at night for now until this is sorted out. He may actually do better at night in the crate.
 
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