Spud is usually friendly and well-manneredOver the past three years Spud has become grumpy. He growls. It seems this may have coincided with the onset of his arthritis. He had an operation three months ago and is still on painkilling medication.

Spud is a 9-year-old Parson Russell Terrier who is friendly and well-mannered. A dear little dog.[divider type=”white”]

Spud now growls

His lady owner has a new man in her life. which he is finding a challenge. When the gentleman approaches the bedroom, Spud growls and lunges at him from his basket by the doorway. When the lady alone, he’s in bed with her as he always used to be.

The behaviour is getting worse – the man has felt his teeth now. He beats a quick retreat which is just what Spud wants of course.

Worse than that, a couple of years ago Spud bit the little grandson. Like many dogs, he is alarmed when people suddenly appear. At the time he was peacefully in the garden shed with the lady. All of a sudden the three-year-old child appeared in the doorway. It’s likely Spud didn’t mean to bit hard enough to draw blood, but he got the child’s face.

Consequently the now five year old is terrified of him and refuses to go in the house unless Spud is shut away.

Each time Spud has growled or shown aggression, the lady has been nearby. Until recently he had lived alone with her and it seems he feels he has ownership rights and protection duty towards her.[divider type=”white”]

Getting Spud used to the changes in his life

The lady needs now to be behaving a bit differently so Spud can trust her to look after herself.

Very importantly, we have worked out a plan for getting the little grandson and Spud back together again. The lady will manage things so that it’s simply impossible for Spud to hurt him. This is about giving the little boy confidence again as well as Spud. Lots of positive associations need to be used whilst they are near one another. Initially there should be a child gate between them. They will never left together alone unless closely watched.

Spud has free reign to go anywhere he likes. He sleeps where he likes (when the new man isn’t there). He goes outdoors via a dog flap – whenever he likes. There are no boundaries.

No wonder he shoulders responsibility, so this will slowly be changed. Also, he is fed some unsuitable stuff and this could well affect his behaviour – and his weight. I suggest his food should be restricted to his dog food, with special stuff like chicken reserved for making good associations with the little boy – and the man.

As a lighter dog he would probably suffer less from arthritic pain. Possibly he is more touchy and growls due to pain