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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 19673
Experience:  Behaviorist /Trainer and Dog breeder 18+ years
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My four year old male rescue dog (we think he is some type

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My four year old male rescue dog (we think he is some type of lab shepherd mix and we have had hime since he was 6 weeks old) has started snapping, he snaps at my 13 year old daughter especially when he is laying on the floor in front of her and she moves her feet. He has never bitten anyone, but he does snap at me usually if I touch his ears (which are always itchy) and he snaps at anyone that goes near his back end. My vet thinks he may need to be put down if we can't improve this, what should I do?
Hi JaCustomer,
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My name is Jane. I have been working professionally with animals especially dogs in both health and behavioral issues for over 18 years. I have over 14,000 satisfied customers. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.
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In order to supply you with the best information, I do need to ask for some additional information. Once I receive your answer, it will likely take me about 30-45 minutes to type up your response. I hope you can be patient.
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What obedience training has he had?
Is he neutered?
It sounds like he usually snaps when he thinks he may be hurt?
Has your daughter ever stepped on the dog?
Does he have arthritis or other health issues?
Has a thyroid panel been done?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I have used Bark Busters dog training. He is usually pretty well behaved. I know he snaps about his ears because they bother him. He has had a full thyroid panel and it came back within normal limits. Everyone has stepped on him a few times because for a 100 lb beast he sure likes to be underfoot. I am wondering if his back leg is bothering him, and i just started him on some Deramaxx to see if that helps his leg. He is about 10 lbs overweight He is neutered. Another thing, he has always been mouthy, he "suckles" his bed he also licks and itches his front wrist (for lack of a better term) I am the only one he generally listens to completely, my husband plays with him more, so i think he sees my husband on a more even level with him and my daugter below him. the last visit to the vet was a mess, they had to obtain a stool sample which as i mentioned he hates having his back side especially his butt messed with and the did blood work, he growled a lot and my vet was using the training she had to show that she was boss,

Carrie,

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Thanks for the information. It is helpful. He sounds pretty dominant to me but the reactions could very well be related to pain. You've ruled out a thyroid issue so that is good but if he has health issue (which it sounds like), they might be causing him pain which causes him to lash out.

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I'd like to see you have his ears checked to ensure he doesn't have an ear infection. With his ears being itchy, some discomfort in his backside and the licking of his paw, I am wondering if perhaps he has an allergy. These things are often seen in a dog with an allergy. You might try some benadryl at a dosage of 1mg per pound every 8 hours to help eliminate symptoms. However, if an allergy condition has caused some sores on his paw, an ear infection and some backside issues, those issues will need to be cleared. You will also need to see if benadry will help stop the allergic reaction or if you can discover the cause of the allergy. Your vet can also give an allergy test or suggest an hypoallergenic food. .If you can take away his discomfort, then you may find him to be less snappy and more pleasant. Right now, these things might cause him pain so he warns you to stay away from them.

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However if it is behavioral, you will need to step up the training. It should be done daily and all members of the family should participate in the training sessions so he sees everyone as higher than him. The following site is helpful for teaching you how to train your dog. Be sure and click on the link to the page on obedience at the bottom. and links on subsequent pages leading to detailed instructions.

http://www.schutzhund-training.com/training_theory.html

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Training works best if you train at least 30 minutes a day (two 15 minute sessions). I would start making your dog work via the Nothing in life is free program (NILF). It is outlined below. http://www.pets.ca/articles/article-dog_nilf.htm

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These things help the whole family be the boss. As the boss, it is your job to reprimand him and not his to reprimand you. This can help any aggression due to dominance. You can also use a basket muzzle to help prevent bites when going to the vet or doing something that you know is likely to cause him discomfort. .

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Hopefully the deramaxx will help with any pain issues which may help the situation. However, even if you notice improvement, I would start daily training practice anyway. Get his weight down as well since being overweight puts extra stess on the joints as well.

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I'd keep a leash on him as well and use that to give a tug and a firm "NO" if he should growl or try and nip someone. It can be used to move him as well. In a pinch you can even make an emergency muzzle with the leash. Be sure to use it to wake him up if he is sleeping as well. .I think you will be pleasantly surprised at the changes you notice if everyone is participating in the daily training sessions.

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I hope this information is helpful to you and you are satisfied with my response. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have ..

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