Why Does My Dog Do That?
by Mikayla Thomas
(Prairie du chien, Wisconsin )
My Dog Daisy
Well when my Mom comes to tickle me or something my dog barks at her like she is going to bite her but I recently found out that cocker spaniels don't really bite people to protect them.
Please help so I can know why she does it. Thanks :)xxxxxx. I think there is a pic of my dog.
Reply from Pauline (Website Owner)
It sounds to me like your dog is being over-protective - she is protecting you.
You need to work out why she might feel she needs to protect you before you can begin to address it, but you're right to be worried because if it's not addressed now, it could escalate into biting.
Does your dog have structure in her day; a regular routine? Dog's (just like babies) need a routine. If she doesn't have one - set one up for her. For example, she goes outside early morning for a pee, then she's fed, a little playtime, sleep, a walk, more sleep, outside for a pee again, playtime, grooming,.....I'm sure you get the picture.
Do you give her lots of 'unearned' affection - I bet you do, we're all guilty of this with our dogs, but it can make them very protective of a 'precious resource' (you, because you make her feel good without her having to work for it). When your Mom comes into the room, your dog may be thinking she's going to take you away from her.
By making a few simply changes you will quickly begin to see results.
What to do?
Take your dog for controlled walks (on the lead) make sure you take her where you want to go, not the other way around.
Make Daisy work for everything she gets, for example, make her sit and wait while you place her food into her bowl. Ask her to 'shake hands' and then give the release word to allow her to eat her food.
Another example: ask her to sit while you put on her collar and leash. If she's overexcited, don't take her out. Sit down and wait until she's calmed down before taking her for a walk. I know it's a bit time-consuming, but she'll soon get the message.
I would take her through all of her obedience training again - 3 short training exercises each day until she's responding to your commands immediately.
You will find obedience training advice here.
The bottom line is that when we 'molly coddle' our pets they can become like 'spoiled children' and begin to behave badly. (It's too easy to do when they're adorable like Daisy :-) isn't it?)
However, unlike children, when a dog bites it can cause serious damage and end up with serious consequences. I know you don't want this for Daisy and that's why you're asking for help.
Show this answer to your Mom and ask her to help you. I'd also get all members of the family to interact with Daisy - not just you. Ask your Mom and other members of your family to feed her or walk her from time to time.
How well the above will work will depend on how protective your dog is being, but I'm confident you should see some quick results if you persevere.
Good luck and let me know how you all get on!
PS: If there's anything you don't understand about what I've just said, just send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll try to answer as best I can.