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I was a active member here before, but lost my account after I switched jobs.

I purchased my last shepherd about 7 years ago he is my first Czech, and definitely my most people friendly one.

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Were active, and go on walks almost every day, this is him tonight 7 years later

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Overall he is great, but has one behavior that has surfaced in the last year that I have been unable to detour.

If he is sleeping at night, and I wake him up. he goes into a weird phase for about 30 seconds to a minute where he will growl and sometimes snap. I have completely ignored the threats, and he always backs off and acts normal about a minute later. He has gone as far as snapping and mouthing my hand, but has never clamped down.

I just don't know what it is that I am doing wrong. What should I do to prevent this behavior?
 

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Discussion Starter #2
I'm 49 and grew up along side this breed. This is my third, and the others never once behaved this way.
 

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I was a active member here before, but lost my account after I switched jobs.

I purchased my last shepherd about 7 years ago he is my first Czech, and definitely my most people friendly one.

View attachment 571869

Were active, and go on walks almost every day, this is him tonight 7 years later

View attachment 571870

Overall he is great, but has one behavior that has surfaced in the last year that I have been unable to detour.

If he is sleeping at night, and I wake him up. he goes into a weird phase for about 30 seconds to a minute where he will growl and sometimes snap. I have completely ignored the threats, and he always backs off and acts normal about a minute later. He has gone as far as snapping and mouthing my hand, but has never clamped down.

I just don't know what it is that I am doing wrong. What should I do to prevent this behavior?
I just don't know what it is that I am doing wrong. What should I do to prevent this behavior?
Don't wake him up anymore ;)
 

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Krypto, Hiro and now Bernie who is a Golden Saint rescue
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I'm 49 and grew up along side this breed. This is my third, and the others never once behaved this way.
At 49, I behaved exactly this way. But my last and final wife trained me not to snap by giving me a treat first, before I woke up.
 

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At 7 for a behavior like to surface is very strange and not likely a training issue or something behavior modification can address. Your dog hasn't presented this before, I would get a vet to look at him. Dogs don't wake up one day after 7 years and do something totally out of character like this.
 

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There’s a member here who ran into almost this exact same thing, but she doesn’t post anymore.

Her male basically started “sundowning” around age 5 or so (to use the human term). He had to go back to sleeping in a crate.

Obviously you can try and avoid provoking the response, but If someone in the family accidentally tripped over the dog in the dark, it very likely would have ended in a bite. Extensive tests revealed zero medical changes in the dog.
 

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Definitely sounds like something genetic/health based. I do know there is something in several breeds they believe is linked to seizures (not sure if that is the confirmed cause or not) that causes very similar behavior. I've heard about it in malinois and GSDs, I think they're working on pinning down a genetic test in mals. Could also be some other things
 

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Are you physically touching him to wake him, or are you using your voice? Sounds like you may be using your hand, shaking him awake? Just use your voice, maybe he's in pain wherever you touch him to wake him.
 

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Are you physically waking him (touch) or just calling him if it's time to go out etc?
I don't physically wake my dogs ever but to be honest, it's rare to see them sleep deeply enough to be able to even approach them
 

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I did not describe this as well as I should have. It only happens in the late evening, and when He gets woke up and asked to move. It does not happen most the time, but occasionally (Maybe a few times a month).

It sometimes happens if he is sleeping on the couch, and Is told to move. If he ignores the command I will pull on his collar to get him off. It has also happened a few times if he is sleeping on the floor, and I call him over or ask him to move.

Its like he wakes up and is in a weird phase, for about 30 seconds. Once he comes out of it he behaves completely normal.

When he is in this phase, he will fist growl after a command, and then when I grab his collar, he will either growl louder, and occasionally snap. When He does snap, he has never bit down hard, but will mouth my hand while growling after I grab his collar.

I haven't tried a treat. My guess is that would snap him out of the mindset right away, but I do not want to reward this behavior.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I also wanted to add, is he never shows possessive behavior when awake. He will glady give me his toys, and I can even move his food bowl when he is eating. It only happens occasionally immediately after he is woken up.
 

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Do you call his name before you touch him? It's a weird behavior change. I would try to wake him by calling his name and when he looks at you, reward him with a Good Boy! Then leave him alone. I personally would not start with treats in order not to make it a big deal for him. If it happens more frequently or with more intensity I would have his brain checked out by a veterinary behaviorist (Dog psychiatrist). I had a 7 year old dog change to aggression in fast progression and looking back he had several symptoms of Rabies vaccinosis. Story is too long to post here.
 

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Do you call his name before you touch him? It's a weird behavior change.
Yes I have tried that, and let him know its ok by saying he is a good boy. It doesn't matter what I say until he snaps out of it.

He is generally very passive, and not a dominate dog. My parents have a terrier that is 1/2 his size that I sometimes watch when they are out of town. He defers to the smaller dog, and will even give up his toys.

If I play fetch with the two of them, he will run up to the toy, but always let the terrier bring it back to me.

Another time, a neighbors 8 month old male retriever pup ran into the back yard a few months ago. He never met the dog before, and instantly started playing with it.
 

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I never touch my dogs when they are sleeping. My first dog as an adult was a different herding breed and he always woke up grouchy and snappy. I learned to always wake them by voice first. If you don’t want him on the couch, don’t let him get up there at all. It seems unfair and arbitrary to let him up sometimes at his discretion and then change your mind.
 

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I never touch my dogs when they are sleeping. My first dog as an adult was a different herding breed and he always woke up grouchy and snappy. I learned to always wake them by voice first. If you don’t want him on the couch, don’t let him get up there at all. It seems unfair and arbitrary to let him up sometimes at his discretion and then change your mind.
Lots of these snapping/growling/biting incidents seem to start with the dog on the couch or bed.
Not judging or anything :sneaky:
 
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