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Discussion Starter #1
I was scared! Tonight I was petting and cuddling with my 8 month old puppies as they fell asleep. I had spent most of my time with Bob- Sacha was off strolling through the yard. Before turning in for the night I decided to give a little love to Sacha (she's a pit bull terrier mix.) I walked over, said her name, she opened her eyes, and I gave a very gentle stroke from neck to rump. When I got to her rump she made a lightning fast move and 'yelled' at me. The good: her teeth did not touch me. This happened the other day after lunch, too. Both 'sleepier' times. This time she was actually sleeping, on Tuesday she was awake. (Tonight, I did go back and touch her shoulder, and she curled her lip and made a little growl, which I prefer to the quick move. I took that to mean 'Leave me alone. I'm sleeping.)

Our vet checked out her hips and the general area- no issues.

I do know that her personality is such that when she wants to be petted, it's welcomed, but when she doesn't want to be petted, she communicates that clearly. She's more food motivated than touch/play.
 

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Yikes! Thank goodness she didn't actually bite you. Guess the lesson learned is if is the bedtime do not pet her, she doesn't like it. Especially if you had to call her name to wake her up a bit to do so.
 

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Yikes! Thank goodness she didn't actually bite you. Guess the lesson learned is if is the bedtime do not pet her, she doesn't like it. Especially if you had to call her name to wake her up a bit to do so.
But she wasn't sleeping the first time it happened. I'm not so sure I like the idea of just letting her be grouchy. I was hoping there's a way to train her out of that.
 

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So don't pet her unless she initiates. Easy!

Sleep is an active process of the brain- more active than being awake during dream sleep! Some people and animals have a hard time switching between awake and asleep, hence the nasty behavior. My husband has swung at me when I tried to wake him up by shaking him. He'd sooner set himself on fire than hit me. So, I don't touch him when he's asleep anymore.
 

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I dunno... and I believe that you might consider desensitizing her while she's awake.

My dog loves to be petted, but he doesn't like to be 'touched' lightly or poked. Even if he is watching me, he will jerk when I first touch him in some spots. Otherwise no reaction, but I believe that this is b/c I've done it so much under pleasant circumstances.

It's good that your dog 'snarked' you without biting.. and you shouldn't punish a growl... but I think it'd be safer if the dog learns to accept everything that you do... and that comes from gentle, continual exposure ... without no surprises. Maybe, you'll also get a solid dog that doesn't over-react when surprised...
 

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But she wasn't sleeping the first time it happened. I'm not so sure I like the idea of just letting her be grouchy. I was hoping there's a way to train her out of that.
She wasn't fully asleep but if she was in a daydreamy/dozy state she was not actively ready for physical attention. I don't think there is a way to train your dog in this case. I think it comes down to training yourself to let her initiate the contact. It is not something she is doing wrong really, it is her way of saying "back off I am resting here". Let her initiate the physical affection, or reserve it for those times when you 2 are having active playtime. THat resting time even if she is awake is not a time she wants to be pet apparently.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
That's interesting. The thread accidentally went up twice, and on the other (identical) thread people are saying 'just don't touch her when she's sleeping.' That's all well and good, but what if I'm not around and someone touches her?

I want them to be reliable and not afraid if disturbed, so when they were baby puppies I used to wake them up quickly and give them an awesome treat. Maybe I should start doing that again.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
She wasn't fully asleep but if she was in a daydreamy/dozy state she was not actively ready for physical attention. I don't think there is a way to train your dog in this case. I think it comes down to training yourself to let her initiate the contact. It is not something she is doing wrong really, it is her way of saying "back off I am resting here". Let her initiate the physical affection, or reserve it for those times when you 2 are having active playtime. THat resting time even if she is awake is not a time she wants to be pet apparently.
Well, my concern is if something happens accidentally. Like if a guest were to touch her, or if when we're at the farm, and people come visiting, and one of them strokes her with their feet (as they always do) will she snark at them.
 

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Is that maybe the spot your husband smacked with the stick (you mentioned in another thread)? She may have a bruise on the bone. Ouch. I'd swing, too.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Maybe it is- but it was a twig, not a stick. However, BOTH things happened this week. But I have also been scratching and rubbing the area- it's one of her favorite areas....and this was such a light touch- I'm beginning to think the light touch is involved. I mean like a whisper touch.

And the vet probed all over, so the more I think about it I don't think the twig did it. But this is one of the many problems with corporal punishment- you don't know all the side effects it has (or not.)
 

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It seems it would need to be more than a twig to make a dog yelp. Unless they're very small dogs? Even so, if it made them yelp it probably bruised. How long ago was that?

Fleas can also cause back-end sensitivity. A lot of my cats will swing like that if you touch their backs when they have fleas, that's how I know it's time to treat them ;). And it is coming up on flea season. Well, here in the central U.S.---probably well into flea season in Brazil. If flea season ever ends there :p.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
It's definitely a twig. But I'm sure it smarted. Their yelps were not as bad as when I accidentally stepped on their foot, but a noise nonetheless. They are about 10K each. Even talking about this angers me.

But fleas- we are in the tropics, so it never ends. I can look into that. I honestly don't know what fleas look like, but we've had our share of ticks (under control now.) Do you have any idea why fleas cause a sensitivity in that area?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Hubby and the dogs just got back from their evening walk, they got caught in a downpour (of course, we're in the Rainforest), I dried Sacha everywhere, including repeating the touch I did before, and no reaction at all. Not even an eye twitch. So it must be related to sleeping/sleepiness. What do you think?
 

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I really think this is a case of management. Tell guests not to touch her unless she asks. Or not at all. Get her a crate to sleep in and train her to always sleep there.
 

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So don't pet her unless she initiates. Easy!

Sleep is an active process of the brain- more active than being awake during dream sleep! Some people and animals have a hard time switching between awake and asleep, hence the nasty behavior. My husband has swung at me when I tried to wake him up by shaking him. He'd sooner set himself on fire than hit me. So, I don't touch him when he's asleep anymore.
Same here & same here , my Izze the best friend I had in the world, wouldve taken a bullet for me has 'snarked' at me before when i have startled her by accident when I was stepping overher in her bed to get to the couch (we live in a travel trailer so ther is limited space lol). Sleep can do weird things to us.
 

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Hubby and the dogs just got back from their evening walk, they got caught in a downpour (of course, we're in the Rainforest), I dried Sacha everywhere, including repeating the touch I did before, and no reaction at all. Not even an eye twitch. So it must be related to sleeping/sleepiness. What do you think?
I think your dog has an EXCELLENT warning system and you may have startled her. Was she in her own 'space' (on her bed or other favorite napping area) both times? If so, designate that a safe zone for her and don't go to her when she's resting. Read the book 'Mine' as well just in case it's a form of resource gaurding.
 

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Our dog has always gotten snarky when she's disturbed while laying down. She just doesn't want to be bothered. I've done a lot of training with her to get her to accept touches in this situation, hoping that if anyone else who didn't know the rule tried to engage with her when she was sleeping that she wouldn't bite them. Luckily, we haven't had to test that, but I still do the training. And she still gets snarky, giving anyone who approaches fair warning to leave her alone. She's just wired that way. So my approach has been to make it predictable for her.

Here's what I've done....

1) Don't bother her when she's sleeping or dozing lightly; tell everyone I know the same rule.
2) If I do approach and she gets snarky, respect it and back off.
3) Work on training to get her to accept the approach using a predictable pattern - verbal cue ("Hey Poke, what's momma got?") + treat lets her know I'm coming and that she'll get a treat. I let her smell the treat, do a quick "leave it," and then treat when she backs off. This usually stops the snark. After the first treat, when she's more alert, I lure her out of position, closer to me with another command, usually one that means come closer to me. That gets another treat. I may do a few more simple commands while she's lying down (leave it, touch, shake), treat, pet and walk away. By the time I'm done, she's had a few treats to associate with the approach and has learned I'm no threat, I've given her a few commands with petting to further distract her from the grouchiness, then let her go back to her doze. If at any time she gives me the stink eye, I end the session right there and walk away - no sense in pushing when she really doesn't want me around. I always tell her when I'm leaving so she hears a verbal cue that the torture has ended. :) She visibly relaxes when she hears it.

I've also trained a few other things that she'll let me do when she's laying down, like take her collar off. If she's sleeping and I want her collar off, I approach, say her name and "collar," and she knows I'm just there to get the collar and doesn't snark. For grooms, I use "let me see," which means I'm going to take your paw or look in your mouth while you're lying down - all predictable moves she has learned = peanut butter.

So I've trained her to accept approaches when I need to make them and basically leave her alone otherwise. The absolute last thing to do with a snarky dog? Physical or verbal punishment of any kind.

One other trick: get her to come to you for pets & affection. Don't go to her and expect affection or welcome on demand.
 

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It does sound like a sleep thing. You know what might happen, so I suggest going more slowly than you did with the pups. Also, you might try 'startling' her while she is watching, and then later, while she isn't watching.

>>> I want them to be reliable and not afraid if disturbed, so when they were baby puppies I used to wake them up quickly and give them an awesome treat. Maybe I should start doing that again. ....Yes, but carefully, at first...
 

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you can desensitize her to touch. Start with an area she is comfortable with - touch gently, give a treat, etc. until she is relaxed with you handling her body, I would do this when she is wide awake and comfortable.
But she wasn't sleeping the first time it happened. I'm not so sure I like the idea of just letting her be grouchy. I was hoping there's a way to train her out of that.
 
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