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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,

My wife and I got our Rottweiler Enigma when he was 8 weeks old. I put alot of time in self training him. Hes been a very great, awesome dog. Literally my best friend for the past 3.5 years. (lots and lots of belly rubs and head scratches) Hes very well mannered when it comes to food and he wouldnt ever consider getting up on the couch.

Around 1/1/19 he was jumping into the back of my truck and miss the step which caused him to have a complete tear in his back right ACL.
After trying versus things we decided to go ahead with TPLO surgery that was on 2/11/19. 18 weeks ago.
His bone was fully healed at 12 weeks.

Post surgery every was as expected for the first 2 days but after that we couldnt pet him without him snapping at us. Never a growl always a bark / snap. we assumed he was in pain so we just let him him and didnt push the issues. Every few days or so we would try again and it would be the same result.

Fast forward to week 11. He was allowing us to pet him more. We went about a week with lots of normal loving without a snap. Other than that one week though we havent been able to make it more than a couple days without it happening again.

Its really weird because he will approach us and when we pet him he will SOMETIMES snap. We can never trust what hes going to do. Just this morning I woke up in the morning and he was in the living room. As I walked in the room he rolled over with his belly in the air and his paws curled up under his chain for a belly rub. and when I pay him he snapped at me.

Im truly lost one what to do. We cant trust him when it comes to petting him at this point. It really sucks. Hes only 4, its going to be a long next 10 years like this if I cant get it figured out.

Sorry if I didnt catch any typos
 

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Discussion Starter #2
If you arent sure what to say about this and possibly know someone that does have more experience, please let me know.
Im more than happy to give out my phone number if need be.
 

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A couple of things may be going on.
First, anesthesia can do things to a dog's mind. I know of someone who had a nice bitch that got a bit too much anesthesia during spay surgery and she came out the other side a very different dog. Fortunately she did not manifest her changes as aggression but she did manifest tremendously atypical fear. She would offer herself for petting and then piss herself when touched. At 8 (6 years after surgery) she was so afraid of everything she was living in her crate (her choice because the door was open) and pissing herself there.. avoiding drinking.. really not a happy animal and was euthanized as the kinder choice.

So, your dog may have had too much anesthesia.. and there is no real way of knowing.

The OTHER likely thing that could be going on is that when your dog got home he was in pain and while he wanted you near him, touching was what he did not want for fear of pain from the surgery, so he snapped and you backed off. Every time he snapped, you backed off and so he got what he wanted (you backing off). This became habitual...

At this point you are right not to touch him. He offers himself for petting talk to him and move on. Don't pet him. Or ignore him. Or muzzle him. I would most certainly crate or kennel him when anyone comes to the house and make sure no kids or people can get to him. I would absolutely muzzle him if he is being walked in a public place because of the liability.

I am not sure it is a thing you will ever over come and, due to the liability and his random snapping behavior, I would be very cognizant that this dog IS a liability and you may need to make some very hard choices.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Well that is not at all what I wanted to hear.
So your advice is to stop petting him all together even when he offers himself?
Then whats the plan after that? Test the waters after how long?

Most of the time it is obvious when he will snap. He will get very dark eyes with a dead stair. We NEVER pet him when hes like that anymore.
But every once and awhile it will be completely random. like this morning.

He still follows commands when he snaps (Go lay down) even followed by a come here after he lays down.
Should it be a bad idea to show dominance with him? Or is that not at all the issue?
 

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Have you talked with his vet and/or physical therapist about this? Is it possible that he's still painful?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
See this is what we thought at first too. because it seemed like this was happening only after lots of activity (long walks or playing outside) but hes now done it twice in the morning and around 10 times at night.
I mean I have read that the plate in some dogs legs will cause them to limp. and some people even had the plate removed and it solved the limping issues.

I wonder if the plate is causing him issues?

His normal vet retired a month before the ACL was tore. We dont love our new vet but we are taking him in next week to see what they think.
 

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It's definitely something to discuss with the vet. Was it a general practice vet or an orthopedic specialist who did the surgery? If it was a general practice vet, then consulting a specialist might be a good idea.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
It was a orthopedic specialist that did the surgery. When we talked about it with him at 12 weeks. He thought it was just pain related and it would go away with time.
Im just really worried its starting to happen out of habit.
 

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If it's pain related, then the pain should be addressed with medication and/or more therapy.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Ok ill see what the vet says next week.
I still find it odd that there is zero limping and he is rolling over, showing me his belly then sometimes snapping when I pet him other times letting me rub for as long as I want.

but we will see what they say. How do you think they will determine its pain related?
 

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One of the easiest ways is to prescribe a course of pain meds. It it goes away or lessens, then it's probably pain related.
 

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I know from experience that somebody can look quite normal after an operation and be deemed fully healed by the surgeon while still experiencing severe intermittent pain from nerves that were interfered with during the procedure or from scar tissue. If this is the case the dog may well have become scared of the unpredictable pain and act erratically. This type of pain can go away but takes a very long time to fade altogether. I hope this is not the case and you find something to help your dog.
 

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Well that is not at all what I wanted to hear.
So your advice is to stop petting him all together even when he offers himself?
Then whats the plan after that? Test the waters after how long?

Most of the time it is obvious when he will snap. He will get very dark eyes with a dead stair. We NEVER pet him when hes like that anymore.
But every once and awhile it will be completely random. like this morning.

He still follows commands when he snaps (Go lay down) even followed by a come here after he lays down.
Should it be a bad idea to show dominance with him? Or is that not at all the issue?
Do NOT show "dominance" because you do not know the source of his snapping at you. As others noted it could be pain. It could be he has learned how to control you. Dominance at this point in the latter case could be dangerous to you.

It could be that he is 4 years old and is now mature and has learned (through this) how to make you back down. If his eyes go dark (pupils dilate) the best thing to do is change the conversation. Throw a ball. Redirect. Change the subject. The behavior could be coincidental to the surgery. It may be the hard wiring in the dog. You don't know. You may never know.

Like someone else suggested, get a course of pain meds. If the behavior does not improve after being on pain meds, it is not likely it is pain.

How long you ask? As long as you can tolerate it (assuming it is not pain). As long as you can have a dog that is unpredictable. IF it is the hard wiring in the dog it may get worse over time. If it is something else it may get better. There may be no quick fix. There may be no fix at all. OTOH with time it may improve or it may get worse or it may stay the same.

Last, if it is from the anesthesia, it could even be a seizure disorder.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I know from experience that somebody can look quite normal after an operation and be deemed fully healed by the surgeon while still experiencing severe intermittent pain from nerves that were interfered with during the procedure or from scar tissue. If this is the case the dog may well have become scared of the unpredictable pain and act erratically. This type of pain can go away but takes a very long time to fade altogether. I hope this is not the case and you find something to help your dog.
Ill definitely keep this in mind moving forward.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Do NOT show "dominance" because you do not know the source of his snapping at you. As others noted it could be pain. It could be he has learned how to control you. Dominance at this point in the latter case could be dangerous to you.

It could be that he is 4 years old and is now mature and has learned (through this) how to make you back down. If his eyes go dark (pupils dilate) the best thing to do is change the conversation. Throw a ball. Redirect. Change the subject. The behavior could be coincidental to the surgery. It may be the hard wiring in the dog. You don't know. You may never know.

Like someone else suggested, get a course of pain meds. If the behavior does not improve after being on pain meds, it is not likely it is pain.

How long you ask? As long as you can tolerate it (assuming it is not pain). As long as you can have a dog that is unpredictable. IF it is the hard wiring in the dog it may get worse over time. If it is something else it may get better. There may be no quick fix. There may be no fix at all. OTOH with time it may improve or it may get worse or it may stay the same.

Last, if it is from the anesthesia, it could even be a seizure disorder.
Alright, Ill start doing the redirect method while we wait to see our vet.
 

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Since people responded with other ideas, here's something else to consider.

(One) see if you can get more information from a Vet who specializes in the application of anesthesia on dogs. Not just someone who administers it. But the types used, for which kinds of surgeries, and the effects on animals. Does age or breed matter. Drill down and see if your breed has a particular sensitivity. For example is there any such thing as an allergy (or reaction) to some versions? (There are with people). That's why an anesthesiologist will study the patient record and sometimes interview the patient in person.

(Two) it would seem that if only pain is the issue, that pain medications would have mitigated at least in some way. Otherwise it could be a neurological condition (maybe having triggered low level seizures). So you need a 2nd (objective) opinion in this case, because the existing (operating) Vet is going to want to mitigate any suspected faults/blame.

(Three) am wondering if anything physical (frightening) happened in the Vet clinic or in the operating room itself. Can animals have that waking experience while sedated that paralyzes the body but permits them to have an awareness. That would freak out any animal. And it seems like the dog's fear instinct has been activated. Maybe there was a loud noise, or something dropped. Or perhaps a Tech mishandled the dog while setting him up for the surgery, and he now fears touching in general. Remember, dogs also go by a smell instinct, and there may be an association from that.

(Four) there are animal behaviorists who specialize in animal communication (no, not parlor game "Animal Psychics") but someone who has an understanding of animal behavior, and how it is related physically to people. I know one, have used one, who is a person well renowned for helping all kinds of species, doing it for 20+ years, and also has a specialty in Reiki Healing techniques. I am sure she comes across this kind of dilemma in many situations, where only a (so-called) telepathic communicator could work.

(Five) there are also holistic Vets who can make homeopathic remedies that help address certain situations. Certainly in the area of calming. And the dog seems like he should be given every opportunity to be calm, in order to regain his sense of security.

Hope these ideas help! Don't give up on your dog, or make any rash decision!! Just keep everyone safe.
 
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