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Discussion Starter #1
I am pretty sure this is not a training issue, hence I post it in this forum. I also want to say that we will take Sam first thing tomorrow morning to the vet to get him checked out. Just to tell you a bit more about Sam, we got him from the local shelter when he was 8 months old and he is now 14 months old. Yesterday morning I was stroking the right side of his neck / ear / head area and he went suddenly tense and started to growl at me, something he had never done before in that manner. I simply send him to his basket and all seemed fine. I just thought that hormones are ragging at this age and put a bit more effort into taking leadership, waiting and sitting before the door before going out, we do NIFL anyway, more repetition of commands he knows etc. No aversives or similar, just letting him work a bit harder for the things he wants...

All was fine, we had a real great time at the park today and then went for a quick beer to the local pub. There were already two other dogs in there but after a bit of barking (Sam is leash frustrated / can be leash reactive to other dogs sometimes) he settled down well. Like always he got rewarded for being calm and good. A man came over who knows Sam and started to pet him rather vigorously around the head, mostly just around his ears, something that Sam really enjoys normally, but suddenly he turned / lunged at the guy and growled and snarled. We put this off as him being nervous and the guy having approached rather suddenly and the guy apologized and went away. Then my husband reaches down to give Sam an ear rub and he snarls, growls and (air) bites at him. Something he has never, ever done before! So then I thought to have found the explanation, all three incidents involved his right ear area, perhaps he is simply grumpy because he has an infection / foreign body or similar problems with is ear?

We went home, I put a muzzle on Sam (just for security) and had a good look at both ears. Funny thing he was completely relaxed with that and no growls, lip licking no sign of nervousness at all. The right ear seemed to have a very slightly different smell and being a tad warmer and I think I saw something that looks like a freckle filled with pus (around 2mm size) down at the side of the ear canal. Ok, I wish the story ends here, but just minutes ago I come back to my desktop (I work from home) with Sam laying under it, I stretched my legs and petted gently, like hundred times before, his paws with my foot (no shoes obviously) and he growled and snapped at me (I felt the touch of his teeth through my sock, but nothing more). Now I am very, very worried because some years ago I had a foster dog with serious neurological issues (neurological rage / syndrome see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rage_Syndrome) that had to be put down because of this rare disorder. Now I know that the symptoms Sam shows are very different from those, but still, I am so worried. Please keep us all in your prayers and lets hope it is 'only' an ear problem that made him so grumpy ...
 

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Discussion Starter #3
OK, we are back from the vet and the good message is (relatively) that it is not an ear infection, but a broken side toe (non-weight bearing) that is causing the problem. The toe is now treated and Sam got a painkiller (injection) and we are back for a check-up tomorrow afternoon.
The bad thing is that he was very panicky-agressive at the vet, something he never has done before! I really didn't recognize our dog. I will start a thread in the dog training board to get some input how we can improve his response to stress.
 

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Quick update: I am happy to report that Sam is back to being his usual sunny self this evening! Lets hope it lasts until seeing the vet tomorrow and getting perhaps another dose of painkiller!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Quick update:

The broken claw (not toe, sorry for confusion) is healing nicely. Unfortunately Sam is still randomly growling and snapping at as when petted. I have contacted the vet clinic if they know of anybody that can help with is issue, Sam has never, ever shown signs of aggression to us before. In the case anybody here knows of a good dog trainer / behaviorist in Prague (Czech Republic) that speaks English (or German, or Spanish or French) please pm me! Slim chance, I know, but I thought I try any way.
I am by no stretch of imagination a first time dog owner, but because of previous experience (see end of first post here) I am really bad in handling dog-human aggression and need all the help I can get, thanks!
 
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