Dog is starting to growl when we try to help his paws or nails

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I am concerned my rescue is starting to growl and show his teeth at my boyfriend and I very recently.

My dog has had some issues with tearing his dew claws often because they stick out from his paws some. (Scheduled removal surgery for Oct. 16 after one tore last night for the 4th time.)

In the past when his paw is hurt he acts very sad and gentle and would let me bandage them and cover them with a sock as needed. This last time last night started out that way but the second time I tried to change his bandages he got tense and started to growl. I figured he was in pain but I needed to change the bandage. My boyfriend tried to hold him but also reassure him because I was worried he may try to bite.

This morning it was the same thing when I tried to change his sock. I got him in to see the vet who removed the dangling claw and cleaned the wound. When we got home he kept licking the paw so we wanted to try to put the sock back on and this time when my boyfriend held him and I touched his paw he snapped but ran away immediately into the closet.

I know the growl is his warning and he’s not comfortable but when he does this for his injuries, trimming his nails or brushing his teeth I’m at a loss what to do. We have tried giving treats and reassuring him to trust us with these but he doesn’t.

I know once he has his surgery in October I’ll need to be able to check his stitches. Any advice on how to handle this behavior?

The only other time he growls is when he has tried to resource guard and we are already working on that and taking away the resources he guards (access to our bed). I want to respect his growl but also help him understand I have to help him with this. Advice is appreciated!

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