Socializing Ziggy!

Max Just Loves The Snow!

Max Just Loves The Snow!

I have just rescued a 2 year old male American Cocker Spaniel. Apparently, he was a handful and his previous owners kicked him outside 20+ hours each day until they finally turned him over to the pound. The majority of this little guy's life has been spent in a yard, sleeping in a plastic dog house at night.

We've had him since Saturday and have seen such a huge improvement in his behaviour. However, he's not social, barking aggressively at strangers and guests, quite uncontrollably to the point of having to remove him from the situation.

He has had little to no obedience training but if he's in ear shot of his squeaky ball he returns happily.

He's getting exercised one to two hours daily and does fine at the dog park and walking trails as long as I am right on him. He is by my side save for maybe a couple hours each day and is very much an inside dog, sleeping at my bedside.

So having said all that it seems the research I've done points to him not being able to be rehabilitated socially, that I'll be able to, at best, slightly modify his behaviour but not change his disdain or fear of strangers. I need to know if this is true - I do not know his breeder so I have no way of knowing if he was socialized before they sold him as a puppy.

I want to keep this sweet guy and change his life. I would like to know if all the things I'm doing will be enough to get him to feel comfortable around people even if it will just take time - it's been less than a week so maybe I'm jumping the gun - just looking for some insight.

"Ziggy" and I thank you!

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Cocker Spaniel aggression
by: Toby

I've just adopted a 1 1/2 year old cocker spaniel called "Toby". After we brought him home on Thursday (it's now Wednesday) it soon became clear he had issues.

Upon checking all the paperwork from the previous owner, this guy has had 3 homes prior to me - he even ended up in the shelter to be chipped and neutured.

I am looking for suggestions as well for his behavior. Same MO as yours.

I have a 4 month old cocker spaniel too. I have had her since she was 6 weeks old.

I hope Toby's barking doesn't start Snickers going!

Socializing Ziggy!
by: Anonymous

It seems like you're doing all you can for Ziggy - poor mite, it sounds like he's not had much of a life so far.

You're right, you may be able to socialise him but it will be a long hard slog.

I would only attempt socialization on his terms and territory.

Ask a friend (someone your dog's not met) to come into the room, quietly and slowly. If you believe your dog will go for your friend, put your dog on a long, loose lead but hold it firmly.

Ask your friend not to make eye contact with the dog and to keep all actions calm and slow.

If your friend has a couple of treats in her pocket she can throw a treat onto the floor in front of the dog - slowly. Don't look at the dog and don't speak to him - ignore him.

Chat quietly to your friend.

She can continue to throw a treat to the dog but don't acknowledge the dog.

Eventually, your dog may walk up to your friend and sniff her.

Be patient and perservere - the dog will make friends eventually.

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