I have a 5 year old Australian Shepherd. We've had him since he was a puppy and DS was 1.5. He is high energy of course but he's always been the sweetest, gentlest dog. He is DS's best friend-seriously- we live on a farm without any kid neighbors.
He hasn't been getting as much attention as he used to from DH and I since DD was born 8 months ago, but DS (6) still plays with him daily.
DD adores him! Dog was her first word. She giggles when he walks by and tries to chase him. They don't get much contact though because he wants to lick her face, which grosses me out. She wants to pull his long fur, which I'm sure would hurt him.
He gets plenty of excercise, running around in the yard after birds and squirrels and with DS.
The past month or so he's been just not himself.
He's chewed on nearly every quilt and blanket in the house, so he is now banished to the kitchen, living room or outside.
He peed on DH's toolbox!
He sometimes curls up in the kitchen with a sad (not sleepy) look
I'm most concerned that he is snapping and growling. He's done this to DH and to DS several times this month, seemingly at random times. Today he snapped at DD. I quickly picked her up and shot him an angry look. He looked so ashamed like "I can't believe I just did that"
I think I may make him a vet appointment, but he doesn't have any real symptoms except this grouchiness/misbehaving.
He is not nuetered and I'd really rather not have him nuetered...but if that would help change his behavior I'd consider it.
I would definitely do the vet appointment - some things to consider (I'm sure your vet will have more) are ear or UTI issues cause pain in general can cause grouchiness and snapping (trying to protect whatever hurts). Also thyroid as those can manifest in strange ways sometimes.
Is he used to getting walked? I found that it's a very different experience to go for an off-your-territory walk than just run around. It uses their nose and brain more. Perhaps if that's something that you have done in the past you could consider getting someone to walk him while you are busy?
I think a vet appointment is in order, too. Behavioral changes can be a sign of something else going on. Maybe nothing shows up, but at least you got him checked out.
Maybe he's having too much kid/people time and getting touched out? Maybe he needs some space sometimes just to chill by himself. I don't know how much time he and your son are together but I know my border collie mix gets a bit snippy if the kids decide for the umteenth time to interact with her when all she wants is to sleep on the couch for a bit.
Good luck. I hope you can figure out what is going on with him. :(
Married, part time work from home mom to DS (13 and homeschooling), DD1 (11) and DD2 (9) and a giant dopey newfoundland, a crazy border collie mix, 3 black cats and a cute rat.