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Old 04-07-2014, 09:12 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Help! Aggressive sleeping

Hey all, I rescued Jerry Lee (for MAGSR) about 12 weeks ago. He was clearly a stray for a while and very underweight. He also had heart worms but now is completely healthy and recovered. He has turned into one of the best dogs I've ever known. He's extremely obedient and seems to have a heightened awareness to his surroundings. He's getting more protective as he gets comfortable at my house but definitely in a good way and not over the top.

He really is a love bug and lap dog. He loves being close to me, being in my face and will basically allow me to do anything, including clipping his nails and other things dogs aren't keen on. He does nothing but follow me around, pretty much.

He was laying on the couch yesterday with me and I did not know he must have been out like a light for some time. I leaned back to give him a little love, almost hug-like and must have startled him because he woke in a panic and tried taking a few chomps at me. All of this lapsed in about 1.5 seconds. Once he was fully awake he seemed completely fine. It was clearly a panic type defense and it makes me wonder if he had a hard time sleeping as a stray or if something else can cause this.


Has anyone ever experienced their dog do this?
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Old 04-07-2014, 09:15 AM   #2 (permalink)
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let sleeping dogs lie?

how do you react if you are deep in sleep and someone startles you.
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Old 04-07-2014, 09:32 AM   #3 (permalink)
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That's actually a natural reaction for wild canids--awake on your feet and defensive! Since you don't know his history, he may have had to revert to that behavior for his own safety. Time, security and confidence should help. I agree with Carmen--let sleeping dogs lie, unless you awaken him with your voice.
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Old 04-07-2014, 10:18 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Most of the time my dogs are sleeping lightly enough that they wake up whenever I move around, if they're in a true deep sleep I wake them with my voice not physical contact.

My first dog became deaf shortly after I adopted him so I got used to stomping my feet around him so he knew where he way, I did have to 'startle' him awake unfortunately when he was in a deep sleep but he got used to it and never snapped.
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Old 04-07-2014, 10:18 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I certainly didn't mean to startle him or even know he was in a deep sleep. Man-o-man is he a heavy sleeper so its hard to tell but I will be more cautious.

I assumed it was from his history of being a stray, he probably was awakened in the worst of ways out on his own so I chalk it up as my own fault and will be sure to be more careful around him while he's sleeping. It was pretty intense! Jerry was looking like "Officer Lewis: The Killer" for a second there!


I was told by someone that I may want to keep him off the furniture... does anyone see a benefit in that? Not sure I'm quite there yet because he is constantly trying to be next to me on the couch or bed.. or car or anything!
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Old 04-07-2014, 10:22 AM   #6 (permalink)
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since this incident I would keep him on the floor not couches chairs or beds
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Old 04-07-2014, 01:20 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I don't see the reason to stop him from getting on the couch unless you are worried about kids/visitors accidentally waking him like you did. You've learned that he may be excitable when you wake him so just make it a point to give him some space when you need to wake him up.
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Old 04-07-2014, 01:53 PM   #8 (permalink)
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If the dog was actively guarding the couch or bed - I'd kick them off and have them earn that priviledge back. In this case I don't see it as guarding, the dog was startled awake and reacted which is completely different IMO

OP - don't kick yourself, everyone makes mistakes and learns from them. I wouldn't act like I'm stepping on egg shells around the dog, but I would just simply respect him while he's sleeping that's all. Also it sounds like this was the only incident, it may have been a total fluke.
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Koda & Zazu - 5 year old male cats
Alex - Male Cocker Spaniel (rescue) - RIP Cuddlebug 2007-2010
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Old 04-07-2014, 02:57 PM   #9 (permalink)
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my gsd was totally deaf and never snapped when i or other family members would use touch to wake. i would think with time this may change for you. in the mean time use your voice.
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