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Thank you in advance for any input you might have on this situation.
The History:
4 days ago I adopted a 6.5 year old toy miniature schnauzer from a breeder. The dog is 8lbs and very shy. She had 2 litters by time she was 4,and lived in the house until she was 5. At that point, according to the breeder, the other live-in schnauzers started attacking the dog.  The breeder moved the toy to a crate inside the kennel building, where she remained until I adopted her (about a 1.5 yrs). I was told that she spent 3 hours a day outside and was watered and fed in her crate. Before I picked her up she was spayed and all vaccines were up to date.
When I picked her up she was very docile, accepted affection but was not really receptive. She has had issues acclimating to her new environment (as expected)she preferred to stay in her crate until she realized it was okay to sit on the sofa. She is getting use to drinking and eating outside of the crate and walking on a lead. She allows me to pick her up and cuddle her but would prefer if I just left her alone.
The breeder told me she was health cleared by the vet at the time of spaying.  I had her checked out by a new vet who also said she was healthy.
The Problem:
Yesterday she was in my lap and I was petting her. As I touched her neck (near her ear) she started yelping. This happened later in the day as well.  I took her back to the vet and he re-examined her, palpated the ears and neck without any issues.
Last night, before bed, I tried to pick her up from the sofa at which time she started yelping and snapping. She eventually calmed down and I was able to pick her up and crate her. I had 2 mini's for over 14 yrs (until they both passed away last year). I raised them from 8 weeks old. I only saw this type of behavior occasionally when they were in extreme pain. And yet 2 vets say that this new rescue dog is healthy.
I realize that this rescue maybe damaged due to the living conditions she has experienced. She is aloof, unaffectionate and scared. I can work with that if I had some experienced advice.  My concern is the sporadic yelping and snapping.  Is it psychological or physical? Is there some information that you can give me on how to deal with rescued dogs?

Again, thank you for your response.


Two possiblities.... One is that this is her way to tell you to leave her alone and not touch her. She may have been too frightened initially to say/do anything, but now she is gaining more confidence and is telling you where to go and how fast to get there. If you are backing off when she does this... even the least little bit... she knows it is working and will keep escalating until she gets the reaction she wants. Be firm, but patient, and she will hopefully come around if this is the case.

The second possibility is that this is indeed a pain reaction... and this one is beyond most veterinarians as it is "technically" beyond their capabilities. Anyone who runs his dog in agility is quite familiar with this... and that is the occasional need for a chiropractor. I prefer a veterinary chiropractor as s/he can prescribe certain drugs, if needed, that an ordinary chiropractor cannot. Spinal discs can occasionally get out-of-alignment, which an ordinary vet could find through X-rays, but they are not going to X-ray without good reason. Muscles can get sore/pulled, etc. through certain activities (and getting attacked by other dogs would certainly qualify), and a good chiropractor with those magic hands will find those issues fairly easily. One of my daughter's agility dogs got a dislocated jaw from chewing on a rawhide or something years ago, so I massage him daily from the base of his ears, down his neck and into (and underneath) his shoulder blades, along his sides and into his left thigh (chiropractor clued me in to these spots on him). These have been problem areas most of his life now, and he does see a veterinary chiropractor every few months for a "tune-up".

Now, if the second one is the cause, she may not have reacted initially to the pain with you as things like that could trigger an attack from her "pack" or other strange dogs. As she gets a bit more used to you, she is asserting herself more. With a bit of luck and time, you may eventually know the truth behind her behavior.  If you cannot find a veterinary chiropractor in your area, contact a agility organization in your area and someone there should be able to put you in touch with a regular animal chiropractor.  


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Karen Brittan


I have been showing miniature schnauzers in conformation, obedience, and earthdog for forty years, and am a professional dog groomer. I am not a veterinarian and cannot answer questions of a veterinary nature. However, I can give my opinion or share some experiences on some health issues. Everyone should remember that this is a volunteer service, and few of us are up late into the night. Medical emergencies require a veterinary visit, or at least a telephone call... not an internet question which might not be viewed and answered until hours later. If your dog is sick or injured, it should be seen by a licensed professional for proper diagnosis and treatment.


I have taught obedience classes and have taught people how to groom for many years.

Learn more about me and my dogs:

Member of: American Miniature Schnauzer Club; Twin Cities Miniature Schnauzer Club; Twin Cities Obedience Training Club; Elk River Kennel Club; Minnesota Professional Pet Groomers Association; Greater Twin Cities Earthdog Club.

Fifty-one years of living with, observing, and training dogs, along with numerous seminars during that time.

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