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Hi I'm Ashley and I chose to foster a sweet 11 year old Yorkie after my Doctors told me I desperately needed a PSA. He is so sweet 99.9% of the time. Then he turns Cujo and bites me or tries to attack me. He was with the same woman from 7 wks old until 5 months ago. His owner had to go into a home and we both seemed to need each other in a strange way that is unexplained from the moment I saw him. His only way he communicates is with a growl. It is sometimes under his breathe which is go outside, others it is to play. I don't know what to do about the attacking and biting. He only does it to me and not my husband. I feel scared a lot of the time to do certain things. Please help.
 

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Has he had a thorough vet check-up? Eyes, ears, teeth, joints, blood panel and couldn't hurt to do a thyroid panel. Random aggression in an older dog makes me think physical issue-- painful joint(s) maybe, ear infection or painful tooth, something that you might be jarring or bumping into and causing him to snap back?

Growling is communication and it isn't unusual for a dog to "talk" (growl) for different needs. But its a lot easier to interpret with the benefit of a long standing relationship with the dog. Growling alone wouldn't worry me, it just has to be taken in context.
 

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I agree, a vet check is in order. What are you doing when he attacks you? If you are reaching for him or touching him, I would think he may be in pain. Some disorders or diseases can also cause random bursts of aggression.

Growling isn't necessarily bad. My dog growls at me for attention or when he's playing or when I have a particularly tasty piece of pizza he would like to try, but I've known him for a while and understand what the different growls mean. If your pup growls, I would just stop what I was doing and evaluate the situation. He may be growling because he wants his space and you need to back up, or he may be giving you "puppy eyes" and growling for your attention and perhaps a taste of your dinner.
 

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I agree, a vet check is in order. What are you doing when he attacks you? If you are reaching for him or touching him, I would think he may be in pain. Some disorders or diseases can also cause random bursts of aggression.

Growling isn't necessarily bad. My dog growls at me for attention or when he's playing or when I have a particularly tasty piece of pizza he would like to try, but I've known him for a while and understand what the different growls mean. If your pup growls, I would just stop what I was doing and evaluate the situation. He may be growling because he wants his space and you need to back up, or he may be giving you "puppy eyes" and growling for your attention and perhaps a taste of your dinner.
The first time he attacked me and bit me, well really clamp on it wasn't just a bite, I was trying to pick up a paper towel that I did not realize he already had. The second time he attacked me I was trying to pick him up because he had jumped into the car and we were trying to get him back in the house. When he turns into Cujo on me it could be anything. Now the growls seem to just be his way of communicating, when he does it under his breath it seems to be he has to go out. When he growls and scratches the floor he wants to play, he also does it the whole time I am cooking. But last night he all of a sudden started humping my leg like crazy which he has never done and I made him stop he jumped and went to the other couch and just started going nuts like acting just crazy I don't even know how to explain it. The lady that I got him from called a vet to get some advice and get a price on bringing him in and the doctor said he sounded schizophrenic. We are trying to call another vet to get him in to see if maybe it's just anxiety from being moved from the lady he was with for so long to somewhere else and getting him on anxiety meds for a short period of time. I've never had to put a dog on medication so I am unsure about this. Is this something that is appropriate?
 

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The first time he attacked me and bit me, well really clamp on it wasn't just a bite, I was trying to pick up a paper towel that I did not realize he already had. The second time he attacked me I was trying to pick him up because he had jumped into the car and we were trying to get him back in the house. When he turns into Cujo on me it could be anything. Now the growls seem to just be his way of communicating, when he does it under his breath it seems to be he has to go out. When he growls and scratches the floor he wants to play, he also does it the whole time I am cooking. But last night he all of a sudden started humping my leg like crazy which he has never done and I made him stop he jumped and went to the other couch and just started going nuts like acting just crazy I don't even know how to explain it. The lady that I got him from called a vet to get some advice and get a price on bringing him in and the doctor said he sounded schizophrenic. We are trying to call another vet to get him in to see if maybe it's just anxiety from being moved from the lady he was with for so long to somewhere else and getting him on anxiety meds for a short period of time. I've never had to put a dog on medication so I am unsure about this. Is this something that is appropriate?
The humping leg thing and then running around like crazy may just be a 'zoomie,' which is a normal dog behavior. They sometimes do it when they get super excited, or when they just need to burn that last bit of energy. It can include running around like crazy, barking, growling, scratching at furniture, or even rolling on the ground.

The paper towel thing may be a bit of resource guarding. It may kind of go away as the dog calms down, because moving is very stressing, or it may be something you have to deal with the rest of the dog's life. For now I would make sure to keep things that the dog might guard out of its reach. If he gets ahold of something he shouldn't, offer him a really high value treat in exchange. And lifting him out of the car may be that he is in pain, or he simply does not want to be held. I would get a slip lead and have that nearby at all times, and just slip that over his head when he needs to be moved, or lure him to the place you need him to go with a treat.

If it does turn out to be an anxiety issue, then medication may be called for. Give the dog a bit of time to settle in, first. If the behavior continues, you may want to work in conjunction with a behaviorist and your vet to see if a medication and training program will be beneficial for the dog.
 
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