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I'm a teen living with 2 dogs (they're brothers) and my parents and brother. One of my dogs is perfectly normal. The other dog is smaller (16 pounds as opposed to his brother's 40 pounds). The smaller dog is named Sparky. The normal, bigger one is named Charlie. They are both 8 years old. When they were puppies, they loved to go for walks. Now, as they have gotten older, Sparky has gotten worse. He never likes to go for walks anymore, not since he was a puppy. We have to drag him on walks, while Charlie is happy to go. He growls sometimes at night when we pet him. I don't do it, because I think it means he wants to be left alone, but my family thinks it's a sort of purr. I don't know, but I hate to encourage him to do more odd behavior. They find it funny, however, and continue to do it. Moreover, in the past few years my family has begun walking behind Sparky and nudging him along to get him to go on walks. He was already afraid of being stepped on, but now he jumps out of the way whenever someone walks too close to him or stomps their feet nearby. I'm the only one who seems to notice this, or at least, I'm the only one in my family who cares enough about it. He has also become scared of text message sounds in the past few years, but my family continues to forget to turn their sound off (vibrate scares him even more). Loud noises from the TV have also begun to scare him in the past few years. Fireworks have always scared him, however. He also doesn't really seem to want to play, and just lies there most of the day and doesn't really get excited. On walks we have to drag him, because he moves too slowly for our other dog, even with our 12 ft long leashes we have for each dog. I feel bad, because I think we should be taking them on separate walks to let Sparky go slower and Charlie faster. But we don't have the time, and I'm the only one who would pitch in to do so. I feel like my family's lifestyle has discouraged Sparky from wanting to play or go on walks, because he needed to have that extra care to learn that it is fun to do these things. But rather than helping him, we just let him be himself, and now he has been trained to act this way, scared and lazy. And although he seems content, I am sad because I believe our lifestyle has led him to be his odd way rather than normal, and I feel with proper care he could've been trained to be normal. What should I do, and is this even true, did we cause this? Or does he simply, somehow, just happen to be one of the odd ones, and always was this way, despite us? I feel like I'm not having as much fun with my dogs as most people do. I want them to be happy and I want to do more with them. Please help.
 

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It could be the environment that's causing the dog to change... When is the last time the dog was checked out by a vet? There's quite a few medical conditions that can cause a dog to go "sour" so to speak - meaning it's not really their fault.
 

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I agree about the vet check. 8 is not super old in dog years but its on the cusp of being a older/elderly dog. Which means things like joint sorness or arthritis amoung other things can come into play. It would be good to check with your vet that he is not in any pain, or has any vision or hearing loss especially since this is new behavior.
Other then that he sounds like a nervous/scared dog. Does he only growl if he has a toy? Growling is a dogs way of giving you (in this case) a warning of "hey I don't like that" and if your family keeps pushing him by petting him while he is uncomfortable it could cause him to feel like they are not getting the message and he now needs to bite/nip to get he point across.
If you can, try taking Sparky for walks on his own, it doesn't sound like he's enjoying (and I don't blame him) walks were he's pushed and pulled /dragged along. Take some treats with you on the walk, and every time he walks on his own he gets something good. Try to make walking fun and rewarding for him.
As for loud noises/ring tones, you want the noises to mean extra good things are going to happen to him. Weather that's treats and or praise, so every time he hears a noise that scares him give him a reward.
 
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