My Cocker Spaniel named Lady has an aggression issue. She was born on November 27th and she was rescued when she was a few weeks old. We know this because she was rescued from my sister's dad's landlord. She was saved from the previous owner who kept her in a cold shed during winter, no blankets or food or anything. We have had her now for over 2 years.
Anyways...to the problem.
She's a very happy, friendly, lovable, kind, playful dog, but at bedtime, when she's eating, has her toy under the table (only sometimes), or is laying with someone when they are sleeping or near darkness, she will snap.
She will jump up and put her paws on someone's waist and look at them and snarl at them. Sometimes she gives a hard nibble on the hip. When she behaves like this, here is what my family does:
Me: I stare her down and tell her to stay down and say "Lady No".
My sister: She won't learn and kinda runs. (She says she'll hurt Lady if she bites her) I wouldn't let that happen if I was there, but now I'm scared to leave her when I'm at school.
My mom: Puts her hands up and yells, 'I have a bigger bite then you!'
She is not an abused dog; she is treated very very well. She's not fixed so she doesn't ever see other dogs, although sometimes she may see another dog in the street, while we're walking her. She goes for walks or plays outside in the yard about 2-3 times a week for about 1 hour and if she's inside we play with her.
She constantly gets love from me I hardly ever leave her and when I'm back I talk to her in a cute voice :)
I can't live without her. She's the most important thing in my life. PLEASE HELP!
My mom says if she bites anyone, she's gone. I'm a 13 year old boy almost 14 and I don't ever want my dog to leave me.
I'm begging for help!
I will never let her be kicked out of the house - I will leave with her even if it means leaving my Mom.
The photo of her is around 1 year and 1 month old.
Reply from Pauline (Web Owner)
It sounds like you really love your dog, and who can blame you, she's gorgeous!
It's difficult for me to give you any real professional advice because I'm not qualified to do so. You really should try and get your Mom to get help from a dog behaviorist.
However, there are a few things you and your family can try, but you must be certain that Lady will not bite you.
Cockers (like any other breed) can become aggressive for a couple of reasons, but what may be applicable here, I think, is either 1. Lady wasn't socialized enough when she was a puppy or 2. she's trying to become the alpha dog and dominate the household, or 3. she's just unruly and needs some manners.
As you don't know whether or not she was socialized properly, there's very little you can do about it now because the best time to socialize a puppy is when they're between 8 and 12 weeks when they're the most receptive.
I recommend you read this article about the alpha dog and follow the advice.
I also think it might be helpful if you take Lady through her training paces again. Go to this page where you'll find all you need to teach her the basics.
Make Lady work for everything she you give her, whether it's food, walks, play. Ask her to sit for you before she get's anything.
She could also just be 'attention seeking' when she's jumping up.
The next time she tries to jump up, why not try this? Quickly turn away from her, or step back out of her way, or step to the side so that she jumps up into 'fresh air' and not onto your body.
If you do this every time she tries it, she will eventually learn that jumping up doesn't get her the attention she's looking for. Don't interact with her when she's jumping up. You can say 'No - down' like you do now, but no other contact. Use a firm voice, but don't shout. Don't give her eye contact and don't touch her.
If she doesn't get the message, you could try a little 'time out' and put her in another room or in her crate for a few minutes.
Speak to your Mom Dylan, she's your best friend (aside from Lady). Let her know how you feel and ask for her help, and your sister's too. You will all have to follow the same 'rules' if you are to help Lady learn better manners.
My heart goes out to you all. I sincerely hope you manage to get this resolved.