Possible Aggression or Pain in Young Pup?
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Thread: Possible Aggression or Pain in Young Pup?

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    CarmieCarm's Avatar
    CarmieCarm is offline Junior Member
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    DefaultPossible Aggression or Pain in Young Pup?

    Hello all! I am new here and have a question about my young lab pup Sheldon (Red Fox Lab/Golden Retriever). He is 11 mos old and he grew very fast. From age 3-4mos he gained 10lb/mo until he was about 8mos. He has been around 75lbs since then. I started him on the Costco Glucosamine at 6mos as my older black lab Bella 4yo gets them daily too. I have always been concerned with the rapid rate he grew and fearful that his joints/muscles weren't developing along with the rest of him. From the time he was 5-6mos old he would become agressive (growling) if we touched his back legs/feet while he was sleeping. We just assumed that he didnt like to be bothered while sleeping and have taken steps to ensure that he can sleep undisturbed. He also has had a limp from a sore shoulder for a few months. He has been xrayed and the vet said his shoulder joints and bones are good and it is most likely a muscle that he keeps re-injuring because he is young and won't stay down long enough for it to heal.

    Last night we came home from a weekend trip where we left the dogs behind with our 21yo son to care for them. Sheldon laid down to rest and everytime he would be almost asleep he would lift his head growling and snarling. We thought he was dreaming but after watching him noticed that he never really fell asleep. He would also growl without lifting his head, then settle down again and 10min later sit up snarling/growling and barking. When I would go over to him he was not agressive toward me and would roll over for me to pet his belly and scratch his chest. He played hard yesterday with another dog that came to visit for a few hours so we assumed that he had just overdone it again and needed to rest. I gave him an 81mg asprin as my vet advised to treat him when he gets sore, but that didnt help him at all. After 2 hours of poor Sheldon trying to sleep only to have a snarl/growl/bark fit every 10-15 min which seemed to be getting worse as the night went on. It scared me so bad I put him in the kitchen with his blanket and put the baby gate up so he wouldn't bite me during one of his fits, as he was on the floor on my side of the bed. He continued this behavior for another 30min or so and I called the 24hr vet in town who told me it was okay to give him benadryl to see if it would help him sleep. That seemed to do the trick around 2am. I went to check on him at 4am and he was awake but laying down and wagging his tail, I went back to bed and he woke me up at 6am whining probably cause he was lonely I let him out of the kitchen and he came in the bedroom and curled up on the floor and went right to sleep. He seems to be okay this morning, and we are trying to keep him quiet today.

    Does this behavior indicate that he may become aggressive as he gets older? He is too young to be in that much pain, and I can't drug him every night. I worry that he may not have gotten his glucosamine for the last few days while we were gone, would 2 days without it cause him to be in enough pain to behave that way?
    What a wonderful world this would be if everyone had hearts like dogs!



    MisterMan Lab/Rott 5/1999 - 4/2010
    Semper Fi Red FoxLab/Rott/Husky 11/2009 - 8/2012
    Bella Black Lab/German Shephard 5/2009
    Sheldon Red Fox Lab/Golden Retriever 7/2012

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    amazongold's Avatar
    amazongold is offline Senior Member
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    To me that sounds like he is in pain and needs to be re-checked by a vet ASAP. Growling and snarling when trying to sleep is NOT a sign of aggression, it's a sign that something is wrong.
    Jackie, Champ, and Buddy

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    Crystal87 is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by amazongold View Post
    To me that sounds like he is in pain and needs to be re-checked by a vet ASAP. Growling and snarling when trying to sleep is NOT a sign of aggression, it's a sign that something is wrong.
    I'm definitely not an expert, but I agree. Particularly if no one is 'bothering' him, then I don't see how it could be aggression. Poor guy.

    Jaxx - 12/5/12
    Missy - 12/29/12

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    dogmom is offline Senior Member
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    I strongly recommend recording these episodes and a lengthy consultation at a Vet Specialty center. If he behaves normally at other times I would be concerned that you are actually seeing a neurological event.

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    BigBrownDog is offline Senior Member
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    Sounds neurological to me too. I would see a vet and/or get a behaviorist to observe him.
    Sharon, Blaise and Diesel.

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    Sophiesmama's Avatar
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    Recording it sounds like a good idea. I would be having some tests run on him. If the only time he growls is when he is touched in certain areas or trying to sleep, it is not agression. I think something is wrong. As far as gaining 10lbs a month, the rule of thumb for a lab pup is 2lbs a week and a little more for males. So he is not that far out of the norm.
    ~Pam



    Sophie DOB 04/13/2011 6 mo


    8.5 mo.

    Sophie 15 months, with Skye

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    tammyhuffman is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigBrownDog View Post
    Sounds neurological to me too. I would see a vet and/or get a behaviorist to observe him.
    ^^^^This!
    Tammy
    Maxx & Emma Jean
    Ozzy - 10/16/02 - 06/28/11 - Always in my heart.

    Sometimes the hardest part isn't letting go - but learning to start over.

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    Dog Paddle is offline Senior Member
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    I agree with all above and have nothing to add there so I will address his rate of growth. My breeder would say a 10 lb. weight gain per month is just about ideal. That doesn't mean his problem definitely is not related to growth, it still could be, but he sure didn't grow too quickly. Poor little boy, I hope you resolve this for him.

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    CarmieCarm's Avatar
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    Thank you all for your input. He has been behaving normally all week without incident. I made an appt to have him x-rayed to check his growth plates just in case. I never considered the neurological possibility, I did get a little video clip of his episodes for the vet as well, so maybe that will help figure out what was going on. After watching the video a few more times, it almost seems as if he was remembering something and in almost sleep state was trying to protect himself. I will try to figure a way to upload and post a link if I can.
    What a wonderful world this would be if everyone had hearts like dogs!



    MisterMan Lab/Rott 5/1999 - 4/2010
    Semper Fi Red FoxLab/Rott/Husky 11/2009 - 8/2012
    Bella Black Lab/German Shephard 5/2009
    Sheldon Red Fox Lab/Golden Retriever 7/2012

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