16 month Old Cocker Spaniel Is A Bully
How Can I Change This?

by Karin

My Cocker Spaniel Is A Bully!

My Cocker Spaniel Is A Bully!

I always wanted an American Cocker Spaniel and finally got one a couple of years ago. He became severely aggressive (champion bloodline) and attacked me and bit me repeatedly at 11 weeks of age.

Following expensive behavioral assessment and classes and individual work with a trainer, he continued to threaten me and I was advised to have him put down.

I couldn't bring myself to do this so I found a rescue that worked with severe aggression dogs and he was eventually re-homed in an experienced cocker spaniel home.

Thinking this was an anomaly, I decided to look for another cocker, but this time I went for an older dog with an established personality, a six month old pup out of show stock as well. Unfortunately, the breeder lied to me and said her dogs were never aggressive.

This fellow is not aggressive like the other dog, he's a cuddle bunny, but not to any of my other dogs.

I had been fostering dogs and this cocker felt so threatened by them that he attacked them with a shriek in his bark that was fearsome.

I have established rules, so this no longer happens. 'Cut it out' and 'Settle down' are established stop it commands.

I took him to obedience class and he was the super-star of learning.

I'm not fostering any dogs at the moment.

I lost a personal dog this summer, a mastiff of 12 years. I got an opposite sex mastiff puppy in October and since the get go this cocker will rarely leave her alone. His bullying is full time and he seems to think this is how to play. My puppy mastiff is developing into a fearful dog and I am getting quite concerned for her.

I have now started a zero tolerance of the bullying play, but my cocker continues to growl any time the mastiff comes close to me. Is there anything I can do to change this cocker's possessive behavior?

I am an easy going owner with structured rules to help with the whole dominance issues, but also believe in positive training approaches.

I am quite concerned that the puppy may become fearful of other dogs. She is in a kindergarten class and gradually playing with the other puppies, though it is taking her time to overcome her fear.

Can anyone help me here?

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How Can I Change This?

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Jealous or fearful?
by: Anonymous

I changed my MO with the two dogs a little. I realized that they needed models of affectionate behavior as well as reassurances when stepped on.

So now, I tell Trusty that he won't be hurt if Mallow the huge Mastiff puppy gets on the couch too. I move him away from her paws that sometime crush him, and generally that solves that.

As for Mallow, the huge Mastiff puppy, I sooth her when she gets up near me and Trusty opening her mouth and mouthing, by saying, easy girl, easy, be gentle, and mostly she stops and settles down quietly.

I had to go through a learning experience to figure this out, but basically, I started looking for the reasons for their behaviors and it appeared to me not to be jealousy, except for sometimes, but fear.

Anyway, this has calmed the dogs down with me.

Cocker Spaniel Bully
by: Anonymous

It sounds to me like you know what you're doing, but perhaps your dog is 'jealous' or 'over-protective' of you around other dogs and that's why your Cocker is behaving this way?

Where Cockers get too much attention from their owners, it can sometimes result in 'protective aggression' from their pets.

Zero tolerance on bullying is a good idea otherwise it will continue. Your cocker will learn that you don't like this behaviour and should eventually stop.

Don't forget to give each dog individual attention. It's particularly important for your puppy if she's to grow up strong and fearless, with her own personality!

Good luck!

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