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MY COCKER SPANIEL HAS JUST BECOME AGGRESSIVE

Discussion in 'Dogs - small breeds (toy) specific' started by pinkyrat, Jan 21, 2005.

  1. pinkyrat

    pinkyrat New Member

    I found this reply by a breeder re aggressive cockers and pits bulls. I am finding more and more web sites regarding cocker spaniel aggression (not all of them, but a lot of them so I am not alone) Just thought this might be helpful....you may not agree with some of the approaches by this breeder but it is an approach. I don't know what age my pup was taken from her mom and scout may have been too possibly tooyoung.......SO HERE IS THE INFO FYI:

    You got this pup when she was 5 weeks!!! Not putting any blame on you..but she shouldn't have left her mom and littermates until 8 weeks!!!..all blame is on the breeder. Beginning at the age of 4-5 weeks...pups learn very important lessions on how to act properly. Like how NOT to play too rough, to respect authority, bite inhibitation, etc. They also go through an extreamly important fear impression stage from ages 5wks to 12wks...anything scary that happens to them at that time, will stay with them for the rest of their lives. Pups learn that when they are playing with siblings and they bite too hard and they hurt the other pup..that the bitee will yelp and/or bite back...letting the biter know they went too far. If the bitee is the Mom then she will growl or snap at the bitee telling it that it's gone too far. Teaching it self control. The Mom sometimes will hold the pup by the scruff of its neck or mouth/bite the top of its muzzle...letting the lower dog know that She is boss.

    Since your little girl was not given the opportunately to lean these lessions from her Mom/siblings. YOU get the job of teaching her these important lessions. 1st of all, lets talking about her biting. (Like I said) If she was playing with another puppy and bit it too hard..the bitee would yelp... Next time she is biting (and this includes everything from mouthing to out and out chomping on you) Each and every time she BITES HARD You..YELP!!! Yell out the word "OUCH"!!! Act as if it really "hurt". DO NOT grab her muzzle, do NOT slap her..just YELP! You will find that she will be starlted and stop what she is doing. Even if it's for a Nano-second. You also want to remove the item of your body that was just bit with the attitude of "I don't like you anymore..that hurt!" The instant she stops give her something 'proper' to chew on and quietly praise her. **do not get too happy in your praising cause she'll prolly just get all excited and bite you again - just say a quiet "good girl"** However, if she bites you again...YELP again. If she gets too excited then either remove her from the area and crate her for a "time out" or remove yourself from the area...letting her know that if she behaves badly that the game is OVER.

    Once she learns that biting HARD hurts...then teach her that biting MEDIUM hurts...buy acting the same way, ie: YELPING. When she learns that lession...then biting SOFT will now "Hurt"...graduating to biting on CLOTHES will now "hurt"...and so forth. SHE doesn't know that it really doesn't hurt you... But, if you follow that kind of pattern...you'll be amazed on how quickly she'll catch on!!!! (You will also get a lot of funnly looks from the neighbors)

    Ok...now on to her "temper". If you do ANYTHING to her and she growls and/or bites you...it is now time for you to act like "MOM DOG"... It is VERY IMPORTANT for her to learn NOW that BITING AND GROWLING AT PEOPLE IS WRONG!!! Because any bad habits she learns now..as a young pup...WILL ONLY GET WORSE WHEN SHE GETS OLDER!!! And that goes for "protesting" when she gets picked up - to trimming her toe nails. So, next time you pick her up and she growl or snaps at you...tell her "NO" or "NO BITE" in a Very "Evil Growly Voice" Take hold of the scruff of her neck and give her a short, sharp squeeze. You are NOT shaking her (like a terrier does to a rat)..you are just letting her know...that what she is doing is wrong. Not bad...just "wrong". If she is a normal pup..she will prolly "SCREAM HER HEAD OFF" That is her way of crying "UNCLE". Continue what you were doing with her before. DO NOT PUT HER DOWN!! Because that is what she wants you to do in the first place. She has to learn self-control. If she continues to growl or bite you..then tell her "NO" again and "Scruff" her again...this time a little harder and add a small "shake" to the squeeze. If she yelps again...ignore it and continue as with before. Until she relaxes and/or stops protesting. THEN you can put her down. DO NOT put her down UNTIL SHE GIVES IN. Because she will learn that if she bites or growls or cries she will get (edventually) what she wants. And NOBODY wants any breed of dog snaping or growling at them for doing ANYTHING the dog doesn't like.
    You also want her to get used to having her feet/ears/teeth/mouth looked at, handled...etc. You do that by handling her feet, ie: picking them up, spreading her toes, playing with her toenails, etc. Do it in all positions...standing, sitting, lying down, lying on her side and over on her back, etc. You will never know when she will need to have a foot or leg examined and all the work that you do now...will really pay off in the vets office. IF SHE JERKS HER FOOT AWAY/MOUTHS/BITES/or YELPS...remember DO NOT LET GOT OF HER FOOT. For that is what she wants you to do! Don't play "tug of war" with her...you'll just hurt or scare her. If she pulls away...move with her leg until she learns that you are just not going to let go, so she should just "Shut up and Put up". If she BITES you...grab hold of her muzzle (to stop the biting) and tell her "NO!" If you've lost your hold on her foot/leg...pick it up again. Continue until she gives up. You also want to give her lots of (Calm) PRAISE and TREATS for allowing you to handle her without her protesting. ALWAYS end on a POSITIVE NOTE and NEVER end it with her winning...for she'll just remember to bite or struggle that much harder next time. ((**If she is yelping...put cotton in your ears and ignore her - once she learns that THAT won't get her anywhere - she'll stop**))

    Continue such in the same manner in teaching her to accept being handled on all parts of her body and you will be amazed on how nice of a dog she'll grow into!!! REMEMBER she is only a puppy...a baby. She was taken too early from her Mom and you now have to teach her right from wrong. ALSO...look at her as a DOG not as a "COCKER SPANIEL" for she is just a DOG.
     
  2. charmedagain

    charmedagain New Member

    Hi Pinkyrat this information you have put on here i agree with as i do exactly the same with my pups that way when they goto there new owners they are sound puppies.

    The new owners are all told the process as you can be sure when they get to there new homes they are fussed over and allowed to do things till they settle..

    The quicker they learn your the boss and not them the better dogs they become.
    I would also like to add when your sat down to a meal if he starts to whine keep on eating until your finished then feed him he will learn that you eat first.

    When going up or downstairs you go first make him wait anf only follow when your down if he tries to run past stop him and tell him no wait.
    Same applies when your going out on walks you go out of the door first.
    If he tugs on his leash stop make him sit then try again if he again tugs do the same again until her learns he goes no further till he stops.


    Good luck and i really hope this all works out for you..

    Mike
     
  3. pinkyrat

    pinkyrat New Member

    MORE AGRESSION INFO FYI:


    American Cocker Spaniels are a dime a dozen, and most of them are bred and offered for sale by people who don't have the slightest idea of how to breed good-tempered dogs. Obedience instructors and behavioral consultants see LOTS of American Cocker Spaniels with neurotic behaviors, including aggression, biting, moodiness, and general nastiness.

    Due to overbreeding, and breeding of poorly tempered dogs, Cocker Spaniels have become notorious for being biters. If you are considering this breed for yourself, please take that into consideration, especially if you have children. Be sure to get one from a reputable breeder who breeds for excellent temperment. Cockers were listed at one time as being the top biters. Do the breed a favor and spay/neuter your pets- leave the breeding up to the professionals, no matter how adorable YOUR dog is.

    More than most other breeds, American Cocker Spaniels need a great deal of companionship and do not like being left alone for more than a few hours. They tend to express their unhappiness through destructive chewing and barking. If you work all day, this is not the breed for you.

    :y_the_best: :shock: :?
     
  4. puttin510

    puttin510 New Member

    Pinky, how old was Scout when you got him? I've done alot of what the message above had said. The part about picking the dog up by the scruff of the next, well I did only once. I felt she was way to big for that, and I did nearly get bit again. I decided to give her a good firm hold on the muzzle. For my own safety, very firm hold. And told her the no bite. Often times in much pain from the bite. Of course I let out a yell from the pain. She has gotten me good quite a few times, but not in a long time. She has her flash backs, but I'm faster now. She gets put off her favorite spot or what have you if and when she does act up.. When I first got her she would play way to hard. I was always yelping and telling her it hurt. She has gotten sooooo very much better with that. That very well could have been the case that she was taken from her mom too soon. I will never know though, as she is from the shelter. Things can change for you and Scout, it just takes time.
     
  5. pinkyrat

    pinkyrat New Member

    Scout was born 2-11-01. The dealer received him 9-5-01. I got him 9-7-01. Not much nuturing time was it. I also found out that the PROBLEM WAS PROBABLY BROUGHT ON BY THE GROOMER~ I just met another cocker owner while walking on the beach and she said her cocker went to that groomer and started to get aggressive and then that groomer cut him when grooming him, called the owner and told her to come pick him up because he was too aggressive and she cut him, and the groomer was real rude to her telling her not to come back. Then she had to take her dog to get stictches. She said it took a year for her dog to get over it, but now he is fine and is not aggressive anymore. Boy, I wish there was a way to find out about the reputation of groomers before you take one. I had been doing Scout myself but I thought it would be nice for him to have a professional do it, and now I wish I had not done that. But now I know that it is not something I did to scout, as I was in tears and searching my brain for an answer, IT WAS THE GROOMER. Now I will have to do the TIME OUT thing and have him get over his trauma. POOR BABY. :? :x
     
  6. puttin510

    puttin510 New Member

    She had probably nicked his poor paw. Did you happen to notice him licking his foot after coming home from the groomer? I would go and ask as many people you can find in the next few weeks about where they get their dogs groomed. Hopefully he can get past this in a better time frame than 1 year.
     
  7. ChinookLover89

    ChinookLover89 New Member

    Re: GOOD DOG A BIT MAD

    Yeah cockers can be testy they are actually statisitcally more aggressive then pitbulls as a breed at times. He defintalty needs to learn who's boss and im sure he will forgive you.
     
  8. Shineillusion

    Shineillusion New Member

    I don't know the person who groomed your dog, but it is really not fair to blame the groomer for problems that he or she did not create. Bad grooming experiences cause dogs to be fearfull of the grooming shop and aggressive toward the groomer, not aggressive towards their owners. I've been a groomer for over 30 years, and we groomers get blamed for everything, including problems the dog walked in the door with. So stop blaming the groomer.

    Some dogs will act odd after being at the groomer's because it's a stressfull experience. It's a strange environment; it's noisy and has a lot of strange smells. There are strange dogs and strange people doing strange things to them. The fight/flight response kicks in and adrenalin levels skyrocket. His heart rate, temperature and breathing increases, and he trembles from excitement. He can't run away, and fighting isn't getting him anywhere, so he becomes anxious and frustrated. By the time he gets home and adrenalin levels return to normal, he's exhausted, his skin feels odd, and his muscles are probably aching from all the fussing he's been doing. He probably feels like he just had a major workout at the gym, and in a sense, he did. But that doesn't mean the groomer abused him in any way.

    One thing I've noticed over the years; the vast majority of Cockers HATE having their feet handled. They hate having their nails trimmed with a passion. They hate having the hair on their feet combed. They hate having the hair on the bottoms of their feet trimmed. Just pick a foot up and they scream, they bite, they do magnificent alligator death rolls, they do anything to avoid having their foot handled. They have the most sensitive feet of any breed I've ever groomed, and I've groomed just about every breed you can imagine over the years. So if you were attempting to make your dog put his foot on something, that's part of the problem.

    Another problem people are often unaware of; a matted coat hurts. It pulls on the skin, it contributes to yeast and bacterial infections of the skin, if the mats are all over the body, every time your dog moves his front leg, it pulls the hair in his armpits, on his privates, and on his bottom. It's enough to put any dog in a bad temper.

    If you can't afford a behavioral trainer, sign up for plain old obedience classes. You need to establish some ground rules, and obedience training will help you define who's the boss.

    Only resort to a muzzle in situations where it is absolutely essential to ensure your own or someone elses safety. Like trimming nails or a visit to the vet. Muzzling is frustrating and causes anxiety and an increase in adrenalin levels. And if the muzzle prevents the dog from opening his mouth sufficiently, it can lead to overheating and possible death from hyperthermia.

    You should also have a long talk with your vet about the benefits of neutering. Intact males can be much more aggressive than neutered ones. They're also prone to prostate enlargement, which is painfull and puts them in a bad mood, increasing aggressive tendencies. Testosterone is a powerful hormone. Sexual frustration creates a lot of anxiety and can lead to unacceptable behavior.

    From your description, it doesn't sound like rage syndrome is a likely cause of his problems. But rage syndrome is often treated with estrogen. Neutering him shouldn't cause rage syndrome to become worse, even if he does suffer from it.
     
  9. pinkyrat

    pinkyrat New Member

    FIRST OF ALL: I was not blaming all groomers, and now I have found a good one, and I am sure you are the best of best groomers. I have just found out that this particular groomer is not good with cockers. My dog had never been aggressive AT ALL until I started getting him clipped at this particular groomer and there have been several complaints against this ONE PARTICULAR groomer which I was not aware of.

    Hey there are BAD PEOPLE and GOOD PEOPLE in all walks of life so don't you think it is just possible, there might be a few groomers who should not really be groomers? Just like there are some doctors that shouldn't be doctors.

    ANyway, so all of you know, it took a couple of weeks but SCOUT IS NO LONGER HAVING HIS AGGRESSIVE ATTACKS. I have been treating him extra gently, and helping him gently through his nightmares and the nightmares and his trembling are way down and he is my affectionate little friendly boy dog again. I did take him to the vet and he got a clean bill of health.

    So please, my friendly groomer, do not take any of this personally!!!! I have now found a good groomer who is really good with cockers so all is well and I HAVE A FRIENDLY GENTLE GROOMER. I would think that if your balls and near your little private place had gotten shaved too close you might be agressive too --- now wouldn't you. After inspecting Scout, I found where she had cut too close to those areas. Poor Baby. He is not picky about his paws and never has been. In fact, I used to groom him myself since he was young and never ever had a problem.

    So, take a deep breath, take a Valium, and call me in the morning. :shock: :D :y_the_best:
     
  10. Shineillusion

    Shineillusion New Member

    Of course there are good groomers and bad groomers. There are a few totaly horrendous groomers who shouldn't be allowed near an animal of any kind. But even the worst groomer who ever picked up a clipper won't make a dog become aggressive toward it's owner. They create dogs that are terrified of entering a grooming shop, totally spaz at the very sight of clippers or scissors, and eventually need sedation to be groomed.

    These dogs are my specialty. I groom dogs that no other groomer in the area will touch. Most of them are cockers. And I can usually turn them around in 3-4 grooming sessions. During their intake interview, I ask if the dog is aggressive towards them or only aggressive towards the groomer. I get two different answers; No, he's only aggressive towards groomers, or Yes, sometimes, he's always been a little bossy, maybe he's been getting worse over time. The first group were made that way by a bad groomer. The second group became aggressive due to faulty genetics and owners who spoil them and never established who's the boss.

    If or when my own dog bites, or attempts to bite me, as much as I'd like to blame someone else; the vet, the handler, the groomer at the boarding kennel who cleaned him up before I picked him up and brought him home, I know in my heart it's because somewhere along the line, I allowed him to become confused as to who is calling the shots. It can be something as simple as I allowed him to jump into my lap without being invited. The alpha dog always determines who get's attention in the pack, and when. If he demands attention, and I give it to him, I'm blurring the roles, and he may become confused. The top spot is up for grabs, and he's applying for the job.

    I'm glad you've found a better groomer, one who you trust, who will treat your dog with compassion and respect. Even the best bred cockers can be hypersensitive and need special handling. Not everyone is cut out to deal with them. I wish you the best of luck, and hope your dog continues to improve.
     
  11. puttin510

    puttin510 New Member

    Pinky, you know your dog best, if you say he was a good dog before the groomer incident, then It may just have been that groomer that caused it all. Your scout may be a very sensitive dog. casuing him to worry. Getting nicked, it takes time also for the hair to grow back and in certain areas can be very abrasive when walking or just moving. You know him best.
     
  12. pinkyrat

    pinkyrat New Member

    :roll: Scout is very, very, very sensitive. When he was a puppy if I scolded him he would pout for hours. When I had my beagle and she would get scolded, he would almost cry and then be mad at me for getting mad at her. I found that when he growls at me if I take his head in my hands, look into his eyes, and growl back, he starts shaking and stops growling. He is a character and yes, VERY, VERY SENSITIVE, and the love of my life, of course. Good thing I work at home because if I had to go somewhere to work he would be one sad pup. He has to be in every room I go and would will not stay outside at all unless I shut the door for an hour or so. He truly is devoted to me.

    Thanks for all the response and great advice. :eek:
     
  13. mmerrill

    mmerrill New Member

    Re: My cocker tried to bite my son......

     
  14. puttin510

    puttin510 New Member

    Thats very sad. For obvious reasons teddy should not be alone with your son. Have you thought of doing the NILIF approach. (Nothing in life is free). Also you need to teach your little boy that if he hears teddy even begin to growl, he is to move away. Nern is good at these things, Hopefully he-she will stop in here. If worst comes to worst re-homing is an option. I know you love him. But your child need to be safe.
     
  15. puttin510

    puttin510 New Member

    Mmerill start a new thread

    It would be a good idea to start a new thread, since its a whole different dog, others will notice it more. :y_the_best:
     
  16. Jas

    Jas New Member

    Yes please start a new thread! Thanks.
     

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