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I have a 4 1/2 month old mix bread rescue puppy. They say she is a lab mix. We got her 2 1/2 months ago and we love her! She is my first puppy as an adult. She has showed signs of aggression at the vet. The first vet we took her to they had to muzzle her because she was growling. The vet said it was very unusual and one of her recommendation was to put her down! Which seemed crazy to me. I found a new vet. Since then she has done puppy boarding and socialization and we have been working with a behaviorist/trainer. Last week we went to our new vet. She did very well(much better then the last time)for her shots but when he went to look in her ears she snapped at him. The vet seemed a little concerned and recommended we work with a behaviorist, which we are. She does not show any type of aggression at home when we are handling her. She also does not like having her nails trimmed. She does growl and guard her vomit which I have read is not totally unusual. I would love any advise!? Has anyone else experienced this with their puppy?
 

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Vet visits are stressful. The vet and techs confine the dog, lean over the dog and do other things that a dog with weak nerve may find frightening. As a result the dog will become defensive and growl and bite if the growl is not heeded (never punish a growl as it is a warning and punishing a growl can create a dog that does not warn.. just bites).

A dog this young that is very reactive to this degree may be unstable OR may be going through a fear period. You can TRY with a behaviorist and spending money.

We had a dog visit our training club a few weeks ago. The dog was five months old and so defensive and unstable she could not play. She got very defensive and would bite for real (just forget the soft suede leather on a rope being used like a flirt pole). The person is keeping the dog but the dog is the sort that is very unstable and someday she will bite someone for real (out of fear). In fact, she is the so unstable I would not be surprised if she were off leash she would run across the street to bite a neighbor coming out of his/her house to go to work! This dog was recommended to be euthanized.

I am not saying your dog is that.. but be aware that with a mixed breed dog you can end up with a management night mare and a liability because the behavior is genetic. A dog that is unstable and defensive is not enjoying life no one enjoys owning such a dog. This instability usually shows up at around 5 months old and gets worse over time, not better. A fear period will get much better in a matter or a couple of weeks without a behaviorist being involved.
 

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I had the same issue with my 3.5 month old rescue. Growled at the vet, got told that it was a very bad sign and that I had to look into training asap, socialize etc... I took her to puppy play classes, paid for a private session with trainers with yummy treats and all I asked them to do was to touch her all over, and they told me that she was completely fine! I took her out for walks every day but she actually got worse and worse with strangers, barked like crazy at guests, so we hired a trainer when she was 1yo, and it did help some... but she's still pretty wary of them. Honestly... it's part genes, part lack of socialization when she was a young puppy (I don't know her history, but she spent at least 3 weeks in a pen with an old lady only before we got her at 10 weeks)... all the socialization I did when she was young just made things worse... she only got better as she got a bit older.

I sent my husband with her when she went back to the vet a year later and she did fine. Frankly... my adorable newfoundland that I can take everywhere and that just passed his canine good citizenship test was actually way worse than she was! Now she's much better when we have guests and she won't bark at everyone in the street unless they surprise her. I still pretty much try to avoid people though... I cross the street if I see someone in the street, and I still crate her when the little girl that keeps bothering her visits. I haven't dared sending her to the groomer or getting her nails trimmed... I try to manage that on my own (she has light fluffy long hair and it can be a challenge).

What does the behaviorist say?
 

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My 2 year old snorkie is aggressive at the vet - he does not like when strangers touch him and try to take his temperature rectally, and I can't blame him! Honestly if my vet suggested I put him down for that I would be out of that office so fast. My vet knows his temperament and they take precautions - the tech usually holds him with special gloves facing away from the doctor while the doctor does what she needs. For shots they wrap him in a towel. He's been going there since birth and never once was I told anything about this apart from a joke about him being a little dog who thinks he is a big dog. My dog is 10 lbs so may be it would be different for a big dog, but still.

I tried to socialize him when he was a puppy but honestly it was just making things worse. To this day he does not like other dogs and he is wary of people he doesn't know (but is a huge softie with people he has seen a few times). He just needs time and after a few minutes the barking stops and he just wants to play and cuddle. Yes, he might bite you if you are a complete stranger and try to pet him as soon as you walk in - but I don't let this happen. I hold him and ask the person not to touch him until he has a minute to sniff around and make sure the person is not a threat and then he calms down. If we have company over with a lot of kids running around I send him to my parents, or lock him in a bedroom upstairs. This is just the kind of dog he is so we deal with it.
 

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My dog used to growl when he was a puppy. Now he's grown he doesn't do it anymore - instead he shakes and shivers without fail - but he still growls at the groomer.
 
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