Have you ever heard of a dog doing this?

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We are fostering a dog for my friend who just rescued the dog and now she is saying she can't keep him and wants us to.

He is a small mini poodle mix. He's very cute. He likes my daughter and I a lot. He will come nuzzle up to you but the moment you start petting him, he starts growling and snarling. If you stop petting him, he will nudge you to continue petting him and if you don't, he will try to sit in your lap until you do but then start snarling again when you do.

He was very underweight at first and only started gaining weight when prescribed special food by the vet. Since then, he isn't really growling and snarling at myself and my daughter anymore but he still does with everyone else.

I am not sure if this is a behavioral thing, if he is traumatized by men, if the other people in the house are just petting him too rough and it hurts because he is so skinny. He will snarl at you, then cuddle up to you, it's so weird.
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Not that I’m an animal behaviorist but maybe like some humans he’s got some sensory issues. Maybe people can just start by resting their hand on him lightly and if he doesn’t snarl, praise him. If he does snarl, put him down. Or let him nuzzle without petting. But ask the vet about desensitization. That’s all i got
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Baconqueen13
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Have I heard of dogs doing that.....YES....can I say for certain what is causing it No. could be sensory issue, could be learned behavior. Could be a number of things. Being a rescue it is likely a learned behavior where the dog was shown praise for reacting aggressively. (It happens a LOT with little dogs surprisingly as the humans think it's "cute" when the little dog growls and acts aggressively). The dog needs behavioral training.
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carterscutie85
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My niece's cat does this but I figured it was an asshole cat thing lol.

For the dog are you absolutely sure he isn't in any pain? Since he was neglected it's possible he has some sensitivity when it comes to being touched.
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My best guess is that it's an insecurity thing. Whatever happened to him that caused him to be a rescue in the first place probably gave him a lot of insecurity and anxiety. Our dog, who we got as a rescue, came to us like that. She actually never growled at the 4 of us, but she would absolutely growl at anyone else who came into the house. And here's where she gets kind of funny like your dog. If our guest is sitting down she will go up to them all friendly, ask to be petted, have no issues. But as soon as the guest stands up and starts walking she will growl and occasionally nip. If a guest stays with us long enough (like my sister who stays for 10 days) then she will get used to them and it's no problem. But a lot of the time with guests who are just coming over for a few hours we have to put the dog in her bedroom where she is secure and away from the guests otherwise we can't trust her to not growl and nip.

If you are looking for ways to overcome this I suggest a dog trainer. They should be able to read the dogs body language to give better clues on what's going through the dogs mind, and then also give you things to do with the dog to make the dog feel more secure. We had a dog trainer that came out to the house for a bit. My big fail was that I didn't keep up with it afterwards. I'm trying to get back into the training again for our dog to help her out.
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