Dear Cathy: Our twelve-year-old, 13-pound, male Schnoodle has always slept in bed with us. Last year, during the pandemic shutdown, my wife was home 24-7. The dog became very attached to her during those months. As they often go to the bed before I do, he now growls viciously at me when I enter the bedroom and approach the bed. What can you suggest we do to nothing in this situation? — Robert, Long Island, New York
Dear Robert: Your dog’s age and sudden change in behavior are cause for concern. Please have your dog examined by a vet to rule out health issues. If your dog receives a clean bill of health, then you can address the behavior problem.
You didn’t say, but I am hoping that when your dog “growls viciously” at you that your wife immediately says “no” to the dog in a very stern voice and promptly puts the dog on the floor or out of the bedroom entirely , if necessary. Since the dog is protecting her, she needs to let him know the behavior is unacceptable every time he does this and for as long as it takes for him to understand that he won’t get to sleep in the bed if he continues to act this way.
Over the next few weeks, you should take over his care to renew your bond. Feed him, give him treats, take him for walks, play with him, watch television with him, and groom him. You should also introduce some obedience training throughout the day, so he learns to respect you as his leader.