Couple Urged to Take Dog to Vet After Sudden Change in Behavior

A couple has turned to the internet for advice about their dog who has left them feeling "defeated".

In a montage of clips, Jaxon the dog can be seen in various situations, such as lying on the owner's bed and sofa. But he isn't just lounging around, he is growling at his owners every time they approach him.

Dog growling
A stock image of a small black dog. A concerned couple has turned to the internet for advice about their puppy who has suddenly become aggressive. wrzesientomek/iStock/Getty Images Plus

The TikTok caption posted by @carleyandmercedes says: "He's bitten us multiple times and we don't know what to do at this point. Also, [I] want to mention we've only ever trained him with positive reinforcement so we have no idea why he acts threatened by us?! This behavior is heart-breaking and we feel very defeated right now."

Newsweek reached out to a dog trainer to learn more about Jaxon's behavior.

Dog Aggression

Joe Nutkins, a U.K.-based trainer with 17 years experience, said: "What I can see from each scene is that the dog gives some very subtle body language to communicate they are uncomfortable with something happening, or that they feel is about to happen.

"Showing the sides and whites of the eyes, pinning eyes back and low on the head, and tension in the face around the cheeks and nose are all signs that this dog is unsure and is giving these cues to try and ask for help. Unfortunately, the signs are so subtle they aren't being seen, so the actions causing the dog concern still occur."

Nutkins suggests taking Jaxon immediately to a vet as the change in behavior could be due to discomfort in the body.


Replying to @Cynthia He’s bitten us multiple times and we don’t know what to do at this point. Also want to mention we’ve only ever trained him with positive reinforcement so we have no idea why he acts threatened by us?! 😞 this behaviour is heartbreaking and we feel very defeated right now. If anyone has advice please feel free so share ❤️ #fyp #foryou #xyzbca #dog #dogsoftiktok #aggressive

♬ original sound - Carley&Mercedes

She said: "To help this household I would recommend that the dog has a vet visit booked for a thorough check over for any pain or discomfort—it is possible to have a pain assessment with canine professionals to look at movement, poise, and checking the dog over. If there is anything showing then this can be addressed."

Nutkins also recommends the owner makes a note every time Jaxon reacts aggressively.

"This can help spot any patterns such as after extra activity and the dog is overtired, or if he's not been walked for a couple of days or had activity at home so perhaps has some pent-up energy and frustration," sshe said.

Lastly, Nutkins urges dog owners to learn about canine body language to understand and recognize when their furry friend is stressed, worried, or uncomfortable.

"It's highly unusual for a dog to react without any warning at all, but the warnings might not be what owners would expect, which leads them to believe that the dog snaps without warning," she said.

How to Tell if Your Dog Is Stressed

The American Kennel Club has listed the following signs that signal a dog is stressed:

  • Stress signs to look for include whale eye (when dogs reveal the whites of their eyes)
  • Tucked ears
  • Tucked tail
  • Raised hackles
  • Lip-licking, yawning, and panting

The Comments

Thousands have urged the couple to seek veterinary advice. Over 10,000 people have commented on the video with 207,900 likes since February 8.

One comment, which received over 39,000 likes, said: "Sudden changes in behavior like this mean you should take him to a vet. Something could be very wrong."

Speaking from experience, one dog owner said: "This happen to me and my girl, she had a brain tumor."

Another person said: "Sometimes sudden aggressive behavior can be related to disease, most associated with thyroid disease."

Newsweek reached out to @carleyandmercedes for comment. We could not verify the details of the case.

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