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Hello all, this is my first post to this forum, hopefully someone can help.

I have two dogs, one male and one female. Both are about 2 years old and we have had them both for about 1 1/2 years. The male's behavior just started to change over the last month. When it is time for bed, he sometimes growls or grumbles as he is going to the bedroom. This is almost only when he is tired. He has even snapped at my wife once, but did not bite her. He is usually a happy, playful dog, but he is getting worse. I am not sure what to do, because this is the first time he has had any behavioral problems. He doesn't appear to have anything wrong physically. He doesn't display aggression towards the female, but she is terrified of him when he is like this. Things have changed in the home since we had a baby 3 1/2 months ago, but they still get attention and exercise. I am taking him to a vet this week to get checked out. I will have to get rid of him if we can't get him under control, and that is the last thing I want.

Thanks for taking the time to read this, I look forward to your responses.
 

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Seeing a vet would be my first suggestion, so I'm glad you're doing that.

The addition of the baby may be causing stress that is only manifesting now. There could have been subtle signals that were (easily and understandably) missed in the past months.

Because of the snapping and infant involved, and obvious need for a solid solution, I'd suggest contacting a positive reinforcement-based trainer. There is a sticky in the "training and behavior stickies" section for finding a good trainer / behaviorist.

There is also a sticky for safety with dogs and babies that I'd suggest you review if you haven't done some research already.

Good luck! I hope this is something that can be readily resolved.
 

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I have done some research looking at this particular problem, and there are a lot of people with the same issue, but I haven't seen where someone put up where they actually solved it. Hopefully someone that has experienced this can chime in here.
 

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This sounds like it could very much be him in pain. I'd check for lyme disease and other semi-degenerative diseases. There may be some rare diseases that would cause this sort of snappish behavior to appear only after he's been excercized. If you can reliably say that it never occurs when he's well-rested, the next thing I'd go to is a pain issue.

Although, with a 3 month old I'd also examine places for him to rest. Really quiet place with no baby noise. I'm 5 months pregnant and my dog had a hard time with vacation because I wake her during the night when I go to the bathroom and then when I'm home during the day she wants to be away near me. She's literally fallen asleep standing up. Her go to "I'm too tired for life" mode is whining, whining and more whining. If I didn't have work today the plan was to lock her up in my room and force her to sleep while I did things downstairs. For her, there's no physical pain but her exhaustion is so clear. Granted, she's nearly 10, so I'd expect her to start slowing down soon, but i imagine if aggression was her go-to bad behavior (there's not an aggressive bone in her body) then she'd be demonstrating that. She needs a solid 10 hours sleep a day, period, or she is downright obnoxious. Granted, it's much preferable to aggression, but it's part of the same beast.
 

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My dog didn't know how to play with humans when I got him and he is learning but I have noticed that he forgets everything about proper play behavior when he gets tired. He also becomes very "talky" i.e. he will sit in front of me and just howl/bay at me until I put him in his crate where he will immediately go to sleep. I don't know why he can't settle himself down but it is like an over-tired toddler.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
I can say that this behavior never happens normally, only when he is tired. He also shows no signs of pain anywhere. He can run, jump, be pet anywhere and he doesn't have any problem. As for getting away from the baby noises, she sleeps around 15 hours a day, has her own room, and rarely wakes up from 8PM - 9AM, so I don't believe it's a problem really having much to do with the baby.
 

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I can say that this behavior never happens normally, only when he is tired. He also shows no signs of pain anywhere. He can run, jump, be pet anywhere and he doesn't have any problem. As for getting away from the baby noises, she sleeps around 15 hours a day, has her own room, and rarely wakes up from 8PM - 9AM, so I don't believe it's a problem really having much to do with the baby.
It sounds like an overtired toddler throwing a temper tantrum. Dogs like toddlers can get overstimulated/overtired and need a nap.

While this is referencing puppies the same rules can be used for adult dogs too:
http://goldendoodles.com/train_aict/HTMLobj-11034/Puppy_Nipping_-_The_Truth_Behind_the_Madness.pdf
 

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If the Vet rules out medical problems, you are left with a dog that is probably jealous of the new baby. Time for a really good behaviorist/trainer to help all of you deal with him.
 

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I can say that this behavior never happens normally, only when he is tired. He also shows no signs of pain anywhere. He can run, jump, be pet anywhere and he doesn't have any problem. As for getting away from the baby noises, she sleeps around 15 hours a day, has her own room, and rarely wakes up from 8PM - 9AM, so I don't believe it's a problem really having much to do with the baby.
Jumping, running and being able to be pet anywhere does not equal no pain. Dogs are sneaky little critters when it comes to pain. My dog lept off of the deck and did an unintentional somersault into the icy snow last week. She was visibility limping yet if I touched her paw would straighten up and walk on it. No whimpers--not even a flinch. She's been really injured (cut her paw) and bled all over the floor before alerting me by sitting at my feet and whining. There are many dogs have to be in major, disorienting pain before they let humans know.
 
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