Cocker Aggression

by Robert T
(Denver, CO)

Golden Cocker Spaniel - Just Beautiful!

Golden Cocker Spaniel - Just Beautiful!

We have a 2 year old cocker spaniel rescue dog (mixed breed, I think). The dog is very lovable towards adults and loves children. However, when I try to walk her, she gets agitated when other dogs bark at her from their houses.

If another dog runs toward her she has one thought on her mind and that is, kill or be killed. It is all that I can do to control her and she's been in several fights already.

Is there any specific training that will reduce this aggressive behavior?

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Cocker Spaniel Aggression
by: Anonymous

It sounds to me like your dog is frightened of other dogs. Do you introduce her to other dogs in the park and let her play with them?

Has she been fully socialized with other dogs?

If not, it might be a good idea if you know someone with a friendly dog, to arrange a 'play date' somewhere safe, like an enclosed yard or garden. Don't put any pressure on them to 'get on', just let nature take it's course and watch them interact.

Don't 'reassure' your dog, just act as if 2 dogs meeting is the most natural thing in the world and there's nothing for her to worry about. If you show that you are anxious, your dog will pick up on that and become anxious herself.

If you get the chance to try this a couple of times a week, and, if possible with other dogs, your cocker spaniel will soon realise that other dogs are not necessarily a threat to her.

Until she gets to this stage, is it possible to avoid walking past houses with barking dogs?

Hope your dog's better soon.

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Aggression Solutions
by: Anonymous

You have mentioned that when dogs come towards your dog they get in fights. Are the dogs that are provoking your dog running loose in the streets? Sounds like something is missing here.

To stop the aggressive behavior you need to find the source. A quick way to check is to take a look at the dog's tail position when you are walking him.

If the tail is standing straight up it is a display of dominance. Also how you handle the leash and the dog will play an important role. I will assume the dog is a good walker and walks behind or next to you. If not that is something that needs to be worked on.

If the dog’s tail is positioned between its rear legs the dog is displaying fear of a situation. Fear is the cause of most aggression problems.

Not knowing all the details, here is simple solution that will help you control and instil confidence in your dog when walking.

The placement of the leash should be just below the ears high on the neck. It is easier to control your dog when the leash is positioned properly. Only allow a loose leash if your dog is walking besides or in back of you. The loose leash is the reward for walking nice.

When walking your dog make small corrections to keep the dog by your side. A little pull with leash is all that is necessary. When you approach a house with a barking dog, pull the leash towards you so that you take control of the walk and your dog’s behavior until you pass the barking dog.

The trick here is maintaining a calm state throughout the walk. If need be you should stop the walk until the dog is in a calm state. This is the only frame of mind that the dog will listen and take direction from you.

Getting off on the right foot is important as well. If the dog is pulling you out of the house when your walk begins you are off to a rough start. A calm state needs to be established. If you show fear or lack control things could get out of hand quickly. As a natural instinct the dog will attempt to take over the dominant role.

To avoid conflict in the streets, with another dog keep your distance. Choose to walk another route to avoid the conflict. Attempt to talk to the dog owner. If that does not work contact the local animal control people.

When you pass the house with the barking dogs, simply control your dog and avoid them from having eye contact. If you drag your dog pass the nuance area it accomplishes nothing. Shorten your leash to gain control of your dog and calmly walk pass the house. Remain calm. It may take a couple of times for your dog to adjust to this new behavior. But by staying in control you will notice a difference in no time.

Again, not knowing all the details it is difficult access the issues. However, the above should give you get a better handle on the situation.

If you are uncertain of what is happening and how to control the situation I would strongly suggest getting help before someone gets hurt

Good Luck
Charlie Draper, Publisher
CockerSpanielTraining.net

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Cocker Aggression
by: Anonymous

I would recommend that you try socializing her with other (friendly) dogs in the neighbourhood. She needs to learn that not all dogs are aggressive.

I suspect the barking dogs are simply being territorial and are not necessarily aggressive dogs.

As far as your dog's 'aggression' is concerned - perhaps you should speak to your vet and ask him to refer you to a dog behavioural therapist? Dog aggression is not something an inexperienced person should be dabbling in.

Good luck!

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