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I have a 1-year old maltese. He is normally very playful and…

I have a 1-year...

I have a 1-year old maltese. He is normally very playful and really happy and (in many ways), the king of the castle. I have him trained to come, to sit, to lie down, and to stay. He is "ok" with these, but not always consistent. Lately, he has been snapping at me, which is so uncharateristic I took him to the vet to see if he was in some sort of pain, but he checked out ok. He has been snapping more and more -- like whenever my hand gets near his face or body. But -- he USED to love being cuddled to pieces.

Veterinarian's Assistant: I'll do all I can to help. What is the dog's name?

Barnaby

Veterinarian's Assistant: Is there anything else important you think the Dog Trainer should know about Barnaby?

He is a pure-bred maltese. He is smart. And, his behavior has really just changed in the past 3 weeks.

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Answered in 1 hour by:
2/16/2018
Sally G.
Sally G., Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 10,164
Experience: Service /assistance dog trainer,Therapy dog evaluator and trainer, AKC evaluator, pet first aide and member of PAS Animal Response Team.
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Hello and welcome. My name is ***** ***** I have been in the dog field for 25 years. I am a Therapy Dog & AKC Evaluator/trainer/ as well as an assistance/service dog trainer, specializing in behavior. It will be my pleasure to help you today. It may take a few minutes for me to type a personal response or type questions regarding your situation. Your patience is very much appreciated.

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Is he still jumping on and off furniture without hesitation?

Is there any difference in his walking, such as, is movement slower, is there any arch in the back?

Is he still playful?

What is his personality like when he comes in contact with new people or other dogs?

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
Barnaby is very well socialized. He goes to DayCare in Manhattan (and he has done this since he was 5 months old). Daycare is a daily event for at least 9 hours, plus he has access to many other dogs and it is safe off-leash play. He is very active...and the daycare calls him the Mayor becuase of his extraversion.
Customer reply replied 5 months ago
Barnaby is still very playful. He has some bad habits, like jumping up onus and barking when he wants something. He tugs at my pant legs and wants to be dragged around. He likes to play “chase me with my toy,” which im not sure is the best idea.
Customer reply replied 5 months ago
There is no difference in his walking or running or his back.
Customer reply replied 5 months ago
When he snaps, its very unpredictable. We might be cuddling and then he snaps. Or hes asleep and i touch him and he snaps. Or he might be guarding something and he growls. Either way, this is new behavior.
Customer reply replied 5 months ago
He used to wiggle and let me rubhim all over, turn him on his back, put my face in his, kiss his fave. I could brush his hair and wash his eyes and he would just love me for all of it. He never leaves my side. He sleeps on my feet, no matter where i am standing, i think to prevent me from leaving him.

Thank you for that information. Because this just started happening, because he is well socialized, I fear this is more a health issue that your Vet is missing. I would look into IVDD and this may only be seen via an MRI because it involves the soft tissue in the spine.

Now you are saying also that he has a guarding issue, he growls so he may really just be coming into his own true personality that may be squashed or not mentioned at day care.

Resource guarding only gets worse over time if not corrected now. Generally as dogs age you will see a drastic difference once maturity starts. Most dogs you will see this around age two at full force.

So lets go over what exactly he is guarding.

What have you done for the resource guarding ?

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
he jumps up on furniture, but he cannot get all the way up. So he walks around on his hind legs looking at everything on the sofa and coffee table.

Okay that is a good sign , but do watch for issues that I mentioned if any movement seems odd to you.

So it may be his resource guarding and they can become possessive over toys, food, people , or space.

do you train daily?

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
I have not done anything for the resource guarding. Typically, when he is guarding something dangerous, like a paper clip in his mouth, i will go to get a treat, and then he will lose interest in what was in his mouth and want the treat. We have not learned “drop it” or “no barking”

Thank you for that information. When resource guarding starts , if not dealt with it will get worse. So putting health issues aside, I would begin working with him on his resource guarding, because we don't know what is in a dog's mind and what they think is important enough to guard.

I would start by making sure he does not get up on furniture, this puts him on an even playing field as you and you should always be seen as the one in charge in the home.

I would pick up all toys and only take them out when you are ready to play.This removes resources and things to guard.

I would put him on the learn to earn program and I would do positive obedience training with him daily. There are things he still needs to learn , but when you train, you are gaining some respect as a leader.

Are you familiar with clicker training and the learn to earn program?

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When you get a treat to trade for something dangerous I would use the word give and have him put it in your hand in order to get the treat. When you say drop it, and he does drop it to the floor and you go to pick it up, that can then turn into a bite because his resource is laying in front of him.

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
Im familiar with all if these, but ive been rather inconsistent. I taught him to sit, lie, stay and roll-over by using treats and a clicker-type word...”good.” I stopped the daily training months ago.
Customer reply replied 5 months ago
Starting last night, I ensured there are no toys or treats on the ground. Im considering keeping him on a leash to keep him off the furniture.

I would get started on this again and try to do maybe 5 -10 minutes a day. I would also ask for more thorough reports from the day care. They say he is mayor , but this can mean he is possessive and it can get worse.

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It sounds like you see the problem and maybe with a bit more training or consistency he will get better. Dogs need to see that consistency from the humans or they will do their own thing, whatever works for them.

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
Makes sense. Do tou still recommend i take him back to the vet for the MRI?

I would try giving him some aspirin for inflammation and see if you notice a difference after that . If you do , then I would consider talking to your Vet about it. Maybe he/she will offer you pain meds first which would be safer than aspirin. Try to take notes on what you are seeing as far as movements.

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
Thank you so much. If i wanted to soeak with you another time, can i go directly to you?

I had a dog with a disc issue and the Vet pressed all over , found nothing on the exam,gave pain meds and still after 2 weeks the dog was the same .finally went to a neurologist who put him on steroids and he was a different dog within 2 days. So the fact that your Vet cannot find something upon exam, does not mean there is not an illness.

It is just suspicious that this suddenly started happening.

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Sally G.
Sally G., Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 10,164
Experience: Service /assistance dog trainer,Therapy dog evaluator and trainer, AKC evaluator, pet first aide and member of PAS Animal Response Team.
Verified
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Hi,

I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?

Sally G.
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