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DebbieMac5 posted:
This is a question more than a tip, but maybe others out there have the same problem. My 2 year old MinPin/Boarder Collie mix has a strange habit. Whenever I give him attention, like hugs, kisses, even pats, he growles and sometimes even snarls. I know this sounds like an aggression problem, but at the same time he is doing this he is pushing into me for more love. Can anyone tell me why he does this? I am very concerned, be cause he does the same thing to my neighbor, who he does like, but it scares her and her child because it looks and sounds like he is about to attack. Any feedback would be helpful. Thanks.
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AMERICAN VETERINARY MEDICAL ASSOCIATION
Bernadine Cruz, DVM responded:
Dear Debbie,
You are wise to be concerned. You may be correct that this is just a 'unique' way for your dog to show he is enjoying the interaction but it may be the wag before the bite. I would wonder if you have had this dog since it was a puppy. I have a friend with a dog that smiles. The first time she saw this, she thought the dog was lifting its lip to snarl. She reprimanded the dog and spoke to the dog's breeder. Seems as though this was a common behavior in the line.

I would strongly recommend that you have the dog evaluated by a board certified veterinary behaviorist, your primary care veterinarian or a trainer that your veterinarian recommends. You may want to take a video of this behavior so the evaluating the pet has a reference. I would caution you to avoid putting yourself or others in potential harm's way in the mean time.

Best of luck....
Dr. Bernadine Cruz