4 month old puppy handling sensitivity

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sourced from: https://www.reddit.com/r/puppy101/comments/f1q1au/4_month_old_puppy_handling_sensitivity/

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Hey, my puppy has been growling and snapping when we handle him different ways, but it has been changing. I have had a trainer come to the house, and I can’t tell if it helped or made it worse… When I first got him, he did it when we picked him up or put on the leash. We kept doing it and eventually that got better. Then he got an ear infection and snapped when the vet tech tried to put ear drops in, and he’s been doing that every time I clean his ears after a bath ever since… He was always fine with touching his feet and I’ve clipped his nails many times, and this week he started growling about that. Also, he gets cold and has recently started growling when we try to put on his sweater, which has never bothered him before.

Things we have tried: 1. Trainer came to the house and recommended rolling him on his side and holding him down until he was calm, which sometimes works, but he seems scared of us afterwards. 2. Adding positive stimulus like spoonful of peanut butter to uncomfortable experiences (worked for 3 paws, but started growling and growling aggressively when I started working on the fourth)

He is great in the crate, potty trained, and is in obedience class learning basic commands. He’s doing great with all of that. Exercise seems to help, but he growled at someone at the dog park yesterday, which horrified me.

I have 3 children, and they are never together unsupervised. I would like to feel safe enough to let him play with the family more frequently, but if he is off leash, he is too rough with them Which I know is normal for a puppy), and I cant predict when he will act aggressive. I am very concerned about safety. I am trying really hard to prevent a bite, but I feel like his world is getting smaller and smaller, because I don’t trust him not to snap at a child or a guest who touches him wrong… and his preferences seem to keep changing so I can’t predict what will bother him.

I have obsessively googled this. Everything seems contradictory: “Establish dominance immediately by alpha rolling, etc. don’t tolerate any aggressive growling at all.” VS “Growling is your dog’s way of communicating discomfort, so don’t extinguish that behavior-instead, foster a more trusting relationship with your dog and make things less scary, etc…”.

Any thoughts?

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