My Dog Attacked Me When He Woke Up. Why?
Sheryl365 posted:
I rescued my dog 5 1/2 years ago. He is a Sheppard mix around 90 pounds with no aggression issues. He has never even growled at my husband, me or guests in any situation, food, toys, bones, etc.

At around 3am this morning he was sleeping and I woke up because he was making noise in his sleep... as dogs sometimes do. I asked him if he was okay and leaned over to touch him and he jumped up and viciously attacked me. In a split second he had me pinned against the wall. I held my arm in front of my face and was screaming and he would not back down. I really felt as though he didn't know who I was or even what he was doing. It was like a scene from Cujo and I was terrified. When he finally stopped his face looked blank. The back of my arm is bruised from where he actually got me but the skin isn't totally broken. My husband and I are totally freaked out! Other than "let sleeping dogs lie" does anyone have any experience with this?
d_caitlin responded:
I've not personally had experience with this, but it sounds like my nephew's night terrors where he can't tell the difference between dreaming and reality sometimes. I'm sure dogs could suffer from it or it might have even been a simple dream and he was startled and still confused after waking up. The fact that he never broke the skin and he's such a large dog is probably a good sign that he didn't mean it. He could have easily seriously hurt you or kept attacking you. It simply sounds like he was startled and unless that sudden aggression transfers into fully conscious moments, I don't think I would worry too much.
Sheryl365 replied to d_caitlin's response:
Thank you for your comment. He has been his normal dopey self ever since and I have heard of night terrors being something that is difficult to wake up from in humans and animals. I will now be more cautious when he is sleeping.