Animal Welfare Professionals

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  • 1.  Foster starting to growl and nip.

    Posted 11-18-2019 07:41 AM

    We are new to fostering, but have good experience with dogs. I've had three dogs now and feel comfortable caring for them.


    We decided to try our hand at fostering since we both work from home. We got Chase, a male miniature poodle mix, this past Friday. He is 11 years old and just had 22 teeth pulled and was neutered. We also believe that he had kennel cough. Because of the cough and surgery he's on medication. He started to refuse it yesterday, I put it on peanut butter, and then started to show aggression when I persisted. Nothing to major, no biting. Just growling, showing teeth, and a little attempted nipping if I got too close.


    Then last night he refused to go into his crate and started to show the same aggression again. We eventually got him in the crate and was hoping he'd "sleep it off".  Well, he's still showing a bit of it all this morning again. He's been isolating himself in the other room. 


    I can still approach him and pet him. But he did growl a couple times. This is a total reversal from his previous behavior. When we first got him, he was a total sweetheart. Loved to snuggle up, didn't mind being carried, ate and took his medicine no problem. I don't know if he's just getting more confidence, has some underlying other issue or what.  


    We have two female dogs, a 15 year-old and a 2 year-old, a 13 year-old female cat and a 3 year-old male toddler. It's because we have them that I'm most concerned. If it were just me I'd be easier to work with his aggression, but because they are here, I don't want them to be bitten or otherwise injured, either accidentally or intentionally. 


    I haven't reached out to my foster rep, and I'm hesitant to because we still want to help if we can. I just wanted to see if anyone here had and suggestions, prior experience with this sort of thing or what?  Thanks in advance for any help!


  • 2.  RE: Foster starting to growl and nip.

    Posted 11-18-2019 04:08 PM

    First and foremost I am not a veterinarian but it is my understanding that ANY time an animal's behavior makes a dramatic change (as I believe you have described) one should consider a physical/physiologic/medical problem as the etiology. You have described 2 surgical procedures and medication all with potential side effects or complications. I would encourage you to contact your shelter as soon as possible. In the interim he is doing what you should be doing, segregate him from the others for the time being. You would hate to have him "make a mistake" that then goes on his "record"!! He may be showing signs of aggression out of fear due to not feeling well. I encourage you to get him checked out. 

    Good luck and I commend you on your volunteer efforts as well as your sincere concern the the little guy!!