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It could be pain, but then he'd be more likely to do it every time - rather than in the pattern of being moved when he doesn't want to. If someone turfed me out of my comfy chair, I'd be pretty cross with them too.

This isn't uncommon in small dogs, just because it's convenient to lift them. It wouldn't happen if he was a great dane! And the fact he hasn't made contact is positive, it shows good bite inhibition. However, the snap is at the top end of a series of signs that he hasn't been happy about this. They are subtle so you may not have noticed. But, they will have been there, but he thinks you haven't paid attention to him telling you he doesn't like it, so he has had to 'shout louder' by snapping.

It would be a good idea to read up on canine body language so you can spot signs faster - Turid Rugass is a good source but for now, to begin with there is often wide eyes, lip licking and yawning. There is also muscular tension in the body. Then the ones we sometimes do see - growl, snarl, nip then bite. As I said, if the early signals are not seen (or, in the dog's view, ignored) he won't bother with them because us stupid humans pay no attention anyway; so he may go straight to the bite. So it's important never to ignore the early signals or reprimand the dog for giving them; stopping the dog from giving them would be like taking the battery out of a smoke alarm.

Then, I'd do several things.

For now, to move him, lure him with a reward. When he gets off, mark the behaviour with a ”yesss” or click if you use a clicker. Then give the reward. You can also use a word like ”off” as he is coming down, that you can later use as a cue word, once he has learned the association. When he is reliable, fade the reward - sometimes a treat, sometimes an ear rub (if he likes that), sometimes a ”good lad”.

Separately, teach a nose touch. Have a treat in your closed hand, at his nose level. He will nudge the treat hand, as soon as he makes contact, mark with a sound or click , then release the treat. Then (and this is after a few days of practice) hold your closed hand without a treat. When he nose touches it, click and reward with a treat from a table, your pocket or wherever. Now he has learned to nudge your hand for a reward. This is a really simple little trick but you can use it to move him around without lifting him, and you can ask for a longer hold in time, which is helpful for keeping him in position like for vet checks.

And as above, let him come to you for cuddles.
 
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