We have had Buddy the Rotweiller for 8 years and adore him but he is now acting strange. Suddenly though he seems to be very nervous and turn on people. He has bitten two friends in the past two weeks simply for walking into the room. Can you give us guidance on this? He is so loving to us, but we do have friends in and out of the house. Thank you so much
Judi (Gainesville, GA)
Why Might a Dog Suddenly Start Acting Strange
Off the top of my head, whenever a dog starts acting strange out of nowhere, there are two areas I would consider and both assume that this change in personality is truly that – a change as opposed to an extension of some other known idiosyncrasy in the dog’s personality.
When a dog behaves completely out of the character you’ve experienced during the first 3 years of life (acting strange) the first thing to look to is an undiagnosed physical problem. I had a similar case years ago with the same breed. That dog had been trained using a Gentle Leader and damage had been done to the cervical vertebrae so when the dog extended his neck to seek out a pet, he would feel pain and got confused as to what the actual cause was. I think the first stop should be your veterinarian clinic. It is important that you tell your veterinarian you are not looking for a check up. Listening to the dog’s heart rate, taking temperature and the normal cursory review done during an annual check up will not suffice. I would ask for no less then, ear, tooth and skeletal examinations (x-rays) and full blood work.
Another possibility, although he’s a tad young is CDS, Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (dementia). Is he more out of sorts later in the evening rather then earlier in the day? This can indicate a serotonin deficiency oriented cause. Here is a link to a Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome questionnaire to review and share with your veterinarian as it might help you determine if there are other symptoms related to CDS.