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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Daisy is a 2 year old shih-tzu poodle mix and my wife and I absolutely love her. Generally she is pretty good. She knows how to sit but other than that she is pretty untrained. We are expecting our first child in the middle of July. Daisy has had a mixed reaction with children (ages 2-5) in the past. She growls at them when they get close to her food, but never growls at us when we do. A about a week ago I brought a babydoll home for us to carry around so Daisy could get used to it. It has had mixed results. She loves sniffing the baby and the blanket. And never acts aggressive towards it.

The past couple of days she has growled at me when I pet her. Not all of the time but some times. With or without the baby even being around. Then when I put my hand by her to see if she is going to bite me she starts licking me. She gets very tense about 50% of the time around me now almost always when she is laying down. This morning she even came to lay on my chest then got tense again when I put my hand on her. I have never harmed her and we used to snuggle together all the time and now I feel like she doesn't even want me around her. My wife thinks that she can sense my anxiety. I have severe anxiety problems which I am on medication for. I tried not taking it the past few days and was an absolute mess so maybe my wife is right? What do you all think? Maybe she can sense a new baby is coming so she is protective of my wife? I just want my dog to let me pet her again :(
 

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I dunno without being there, but some speculations:
1. Some dogs don't like to be 'touched' tentatively, preferring a smooth, confident petting. ???
2. Has Daisy changed how she acts around your wife?
3. Are you at all scared of Daisy biting you? And do you hesitate to pet her, stare at her, hold your breath, or even start to sweat ?
4. Although dogs are more observant to small details and changes, they aren't mind readers, and they usually don't need to 'smell fear.'
5. If you've been acting differently, then your wife should be able to see the difference (if she paid attention), that Daisy sees... You can even tell when someone pets a dog too gently, or different than before...
 

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Is the spot you are petting always the same? If so, the spot might be tender or hurt for some reason and that could be why she's growling.

Pepper does that every so often and I remove my hand immediately. I figure that sometimes he just doesn't want to be petted.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
I dunno without being there, but some speculations:
1. Some dogs don't like to be 'touched' tentatively, preferring a smooth, confident petting. ???
2. Has Daisy changed how she acts around your wife?
3. Are you at all scared of Daisy biting you? And do you hesitate to pet her, stare at her, hold your breath, or even start to sweat ?
4. Although dogs are more observant to small details and changes, they aren't mind readers, and they usually don't need to 'smell fear.'
5. If you've been acting differently, then your wife should be able to see the difference (if she paid attention), that Daisy sees... You can even tell when someone pets a dog too gently, or different than before...
1. She has never had a problem with being touched with smooth or patting, or even confident pets. She sometimes does not like to be physically moved by us.
2. She seemed overprotective of my wife this past Sunday when a friend went to pet her goodbye. She was laying behind my wife and when he stuck his hand out she snarled at him and jumped at his hand like she was going to bite it. It startled all of us. Immediately Daisy realized what she had done and began licking his hand.
3. I have never been scared of her biting me. That is why I put my hand in front of her face when she growls at me. If you want to bite me then bite me, and she never does. She just gives me kisses instead. I do sometimes get a little upset or angry when she growls at me because it just startles me.
5. My wife has mentioned that lately since I tried to ween off of my medication that I have been petty the dog more aggressively. Not in a mean or painful way, but more of a wild way. I took note and have made sure to be more gentle with her.

Is the spot you are petting always the same? If so, the spot might be tender or hurt for some reason and that could be why she's growling.

Pepper does that every so often and I remove my hand immediately. I figure that sometimes he just doesn't want to be petted.
Not always the same. If she is in the mood to growl at me she will growl no matter where I am touching her. This only happens when she lays down though. I don't think she has ever growled at me while she was on all fours.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
A local dog trainer seems to think she is aggressive to protect my wife or the baby.

My wife and mother both think that the dog can feel my extreme anxiety and it gives her a bad vibe.
 

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Dogs do act differently when someone in the household is pregnant and they seem to respond to our emotions as well. We just don't have scientific proof. According to the skeptics, dogs, and other non-human animals, can experience primary emotions such as anxiety, fear, and anger, they still do not accept that "animals" have a sense of self and are capable of sophisticated secondary emotions. Instead, the scientists believe that non-human animals are incapable of understanding the feelings of others around them. Without a sense of self, they say, secondary emotions, like jealousy (he's enjoying that ... but I would enjoy more) or empathy (what a terrible situation that person/other dog is in) are impossible.

This is a complicated argument, and I would prefer to give the dog the benefit of the doubt. For example, almost every dog owner has found out that when they are really sad, their dog acts differently toward them. A dog may approach its disturbed owner with a concerned look and, quite out of character, hunker down next to them as if to provide some emotional support. It is as if they are saying, I know there's something wrong, I don't know what it is but I'm here for you, anyway. Are there other explanations? Of course, there are, but none make as much sense. You could argue that the dog observes your posture and appearance as submissive and, almost reflexively, approaches to investigate or respond to the new situation. Perhaps, seeing you in a submissive posture, the dog feels it has to grovel to remain below you in rank. Yeah, right.

Many dogs slink away and hide or sulk when their human "parents" argue. A major league fight between adults really seems to take its toll on some dogs. It appears from the dog's behavior that he understands discord and does not want to be around it. Of course, it can be argued that raised voices might drive the dog away but I have heard of dogs that sulk even when their owners purposely keep their voices low. It's almost as if you can't hide anything from a dog.

Examples of dogs seemingly picking up on our emotions are endless but still the scientific proof is not there. I suppose it would be very difficult for some folks to accept that dogs, or any animals, might have minds that work in ways similar to our own. I suppose the believers still have a long way to go to convince the skeptics.
 

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Another interesting instance. I go home every day on my lunch break to let her out to pee. Today went as normal as any other day. I opened the door and she greeted me by jumping up and wagging her tail. I made my lunch and eat it while she looked out the back door. I took her outside to potty then brought her back in. When we got inside I picked her up after she ate her treat and she licked my cheek as I hugged her. After minutes later I was about to walk out the door so I bent down to pet her and she got tense. As I got closer to her face she was semi-snarling at me with her teeth.
 

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Go figure! What I would suggest is to go see your vet just to make sure that something else isn't going on there. If she checks out OK, then I would get some professional help as to why she's behaving the way she is. Try giving her a small, low fat treat when approaching to pet her; this way she will start to expect the treat and be glad to see you. I still feel that she senses your anxiety and the treat you offer her will take the focus off any threat she may feel is forthcoming. After some time passes, try approaching and petting her and be sure that she sees you when doing so. I had a dog once that did not me or anyone approaching her from behind. She would snap her head around and growl when anyone did this. As long as he could see you, she was fine.
 

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Go figure! What I would suggest is to go see your vet just to make sure that something else isn't going on there. If she checks out OK, then I would get some professional help as to why she's behaving the way she is. Try giving her a small, low fat treat when approaching to pet her; this way she will start to expect the treat and be glad to see you. I still feel that she senses your anxiety and the treat you offer her will take the focus off any threat she may feel is forthcoming. After some time passes, try approaching and petting her and be sure that she sees you when doing so. I had a dog once that did not me or anyone approaching her from behind. She would snap her head around and growl when anyone did this. As long as he could see you, she was fine.
I am going to let it go a few more days. Since she isn't doing it to my wife I don't think it is anything serious, but you can never been too sure. I'll take her on a long walk after work. She usually loves me after that!
 

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I'd start with a vet visit. Low thyroid can cause these problems, for example. Any sudden change in behavior should be taken to the vet ASAP, just in case. Specifically ask for a thyroid check. It's a blood test.

That said, dogs can certainly sense anxiety, and dogs are predators. Showing fear to a predator can elicit prey drive related behaviors. You may be setting up a negative feedback loop: you're nervous, it makes the dog upset, which makes you more nervous, which makes the dog more upset. Add to that that changes, such as new babies and the new schedules they bring, always upset dogs to a degree, and you have a tense, growling dog.

If it's not thyroid, which is fixable with a daily pill, you may want to consult a behaviorist. You can find one in your area here.
 

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Definately get her checked out by a vet for thyroid, tick born illness and vision issues Also, make sure when you pet her you're not bending over her, appraichi g to pet directly from the front or directly staring at her. All those things can register with an anxious dog as threats/rudeness. Try dropping down to her level (or closer to it) turned at a 45* angle and put your hand out as in invitation for her to approach instead. If she tenses up DO NOT force yourself on her, you're asking her to defend herself.
 

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I'd start with a vet visit. Low thyroid can cause these problems, for example. Any sudden change in behavior should be taken to the vet ASAP, just in case. Specifically ask for a thyroid check. It's a blood test.

That said, dogs can certainly sense anxiety, and dogs are predators. Showing fear to a predator can elicit prey drive related behaviors. You may be setting up a negative feedback loop: you're nervous, it makes the dog upset, which makes you more nervous, which makes the dog more upset. Add to that that changes, such as new babies and the new schedules they bring, always upset dogs to a degree, and you have a tense, growling dog.

If it's not thyroid, which is fixable with a daily pill, you may want to consult a behaviorist. You can find one in your area here.
Definately get her checked out by a vet for thyroid, tick born illness and vision issues Also, make sure when you pet her you're not bending over her, appraichi g to pet directly from the front or directly staring at her. All those things can register with an anxious dog as threats/rudeness. Try dropping down to her level (or closer to it) turned at a 45* angle and put your hand out as in invitation for her to approach instead. If she tenses up DO NOT force yourself on her, you're asking her to defend herself.
Thank you both for bringing up the thyroid. If this continues I will be sure to take her to our vet!
 

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This is a sign of dominance and should be addressed in my opinion. Our 6 year old mini schnauzer has never growled at us for anything when one day she was eating and I reached down to grab her water bowl and she growled. I immediately grabbed her by the scruff of the neck and drug her to the ground and then bent over and put my mouth right near the back of her neck and ear and growled and said "NOOOOO". It has never happened again and I have tested her many times since.

Regardless if it is a medical issue or not, showing aggression to you isn't the proper behavior or way to communicate it to you. I'd correct the behavior immediately and then seek medical attention if you feel it is required.
 

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This is a sign of dominance and should be addressed in my opinion. Our 6 year old mini schnauzer has never growled at us for anything when one day she was eating and I reached down to grab her water bowl and she growled. I immediately grabbed her by the scruff of the neck and drug her to the ground and then bent over and put my mouth right near the back of her neck and ear and growled and said "NOOOOO". It has never happened again and I have tested her many times since.

Regardless if it is a medical issue or not, showing aggression to you isn't the proper behavior or way to communicate it to you. I'd correct the behavior immediately and then seek medical attention if you feel it is required.
Please Please Please don't do this. If for unknown reasons the dog is acting this way towards you because of fear this will only make matters worse. To top it off you don't need to cultivate a problem that way especially if you are going to have a baby....who will become a child and adult, do you really want your child trying that with a dog. Aggression is not a proper behaviour, but growling is generally a warning of some kind, you need to figure out why there is a warning happening (including health related reasons), and find a way that your dog will not feel that there is anything to be uncomfortable about (either uncomfortable manifesting in aggression or in fear based reactions).

If the vet finds no problems you might try to get a referral to a behaviourist....this "might" be something you could deal with on your own, but considering a child is coming soon taking the chance (and the time) might not be the best way to go. Try to take note of everything that is going on and around you when these things happen and compare with when they don't....tell the behaviourist about it all, more information is a good thing.

It also could have something to do with weaning off of your meds....perhaps your behaviour has changes in some subtle ways that your dog is picking up on that no one else is noticing. Would it be possible to wean slower....perhaps even yourself out for a little while before dropping them again. Just a thought, I'm on meds as well and have had to wean off, my Dr. was usually cooperative enough to let me take it very slowly (unless I was weaning off one to go on something else).
 

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Please Please Please don't do this. If for unknown reasons the dog is acting this way towards you because of fear this will only make matters worse. To top it off you don't need to cultivate a problem that way especially if you are going to have a baby....who will become a child and adult, do you really want your child trying that with a dog. Aggression is not a proper behaviour, but growling is generally a warning of some kind, you need to figure out why there is a warning happening (including health related reasons), and find a way that your dog will not feel that there is anything to be uncomfortable about (either uncomfortable manifesting in aggression or in fear based reactions).
I have 30+ years of experience raising, training and even breeding dogs and have always found that when the human is the alpha dog in the pack and the real dog understands that it eliminates almost 100% of dog issues (aggression included). I'm not talking about hitting or mistreating the dog I'm just talking about a correction that reinforces that the human is the alpha in the family pack and the dog needs to follow MY rules (not showing aggression to humans is one of those rules). A correction like I described does not make the dog afraid of you but reinforces the respect in the relationship between the alpha in the pack and the dog.

Dogs are not humans and should not be treated as such. Of course they are members of the family and can be enjoyed as such but they are dogs and need to be trained to understand their place in the family pack (subordinate to all the humans in the pack). Any deviation of this needs to be corrected immediately.
 

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This is a sign of dominance and should be addressed in my opinion. Our 6 year old mini schnauzer has never growled at us for anything when one day she was eating and I reached down to grab her water bowl and she growled. I immediately grabbed her by the scruff of the neck and drug her to the ground and then bent over and put my mouth right near the back of her neck and ear and growled and said "NOOOOO". It has never happened again and I have tested her many times since.

Regardless if it is a medical issue or not, showing aggression to you isn't the proper behavior or way to communicate it to you. I'd correct the behavior immediately and then seek medical attention if you feel it is required.
Doing what this person says will escalate the problem. Punishing g for growling and other warning behaviors will cause the dog to bite without warning.
 

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I am going to let it go a few more days. Since she isn't doing it to my wife I don't think it is anything serious, but you can never been too sure. I'll take her on a long walk after work. She usually loves me after that!
You have about a month before the baby arrives? I'd not be putting it off any longer. First, I'd take her to the vet's and get a complete physical including a tick borne disease panel and a full thyroid panel (both TBD and low thyroid can make a dog grumpy, and both are treatable. THEN with the assistance of a good trainer, I would immediately put her on a "Nothing in Life is Free" program. Since you haven't done any training with her, she may need to have rules and boundaries defined for her. It's going to be easier to start that now than once the baby arrives.
 

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Doing what this person says will escalate the problem. Punishing g for growling and other warning behaviors will cause the dog to bite without warning.
In my 30+ years of experience with various breeds of dogs I've never been bitten or even snapped at because the dogs were trained and socialized properly and knew there was never an acceptable reason for a warning (or bite) to a human member of the family.
 

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This is a sign of dominance and should be addressed in my opinion. Our 6 year old mini schnauzer has never growled at us for anything when one day she was eating and I reached down to grab her water bowl and she growled. I immediately grabbed her by the scruff of the neck and drug her to the ground and then bent over and put my mouth right near the back of her neck and ear and growled and said "NOOOOO". It has never happened again and I have tested her many times since.

Regardless if it is a medical issue or not, showing aggression to you isn't the proper behavior or way to communicate it to you. I'd correct the behavior immediately and then seek medical attention if you feel it is required.
What a perfect way to escalate the situation from a dog who is grumpy to a dog who is biting! Very, very bad advice.
 
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