2 year old Springer bitch suddenly aggressive toward other dogs

by Pamela

We rehomed our lovely springer Tilly about six months ago, having been told by the previous owner that she was 'too soft' to be a working dog.

She's always been a very friendly, verging on timid dog. We recently went away on a two week holiday and she was looked after by my friend who house-sat for us. During our holiday and after our return, she started being really aggressive with other dogs to the point that I no longer like to let her off the lead because she's so unpredictable.

She has always dropped to the floor and then sprinted to meet other dogs, but it used to be just to have a good sniff - now she knocks them over and tries to bite, and has given one dog a nasty nip.

She's always had a good amount of exercise but I'm worried that if she has to stay on the lead she won't get as much as she needs. She's absolutely fine with adults and children, it's just other dogs. She isn't due in season for another couple of months. Help!

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Dec 05, 2012
Cure the problem with love and understanding NEW
by: Anonymous

Don't listen to the above comment!!!! It's a perfectly normal response for a female springer spaniel who is very timid and has had a bad experience or three. Cure it with love and understanding.
I think spaniels have a hard time being understood by other dog breeds because of their floppy ears and tails.
Work on the dog's recall in a safe environment, always carry a favourite toy (tennis balls are great) or a treat and make sure that you are the centre of your dog's world when on a walk. That way one CALM word from you and they should be back at your side. Never panic or pull on the lead or shout loudly if off the lead. That way you can glare disgustedly at the poor owner of the out of control aggressive dog who's caused the problem in the first place and walk away. Springers are not naturally aggressive.

Nov 12, 2012
spayed? NEW
by: Anonymous

Can I just ask is she spayed? Because many people do not do their homework when deciding to spay or neuter their animal and just go on the advice of the vet, which is always one sided yes it stops the risk of some cancers, but they never tell you the not so nice side affects one of which is if you neuter or spay a timid dog it can lead to aggression problems. I have a 2 year old boy and my auntie has a 11 year old boy never had a problem no wondering/running off no sexual aggression nothing here is one of the many articles i read before taking my decision
hope things improve but if you want to keep your dog and others safe you have to keep her on lead before your decision is taken out of your hands, and try not to panic when you come into contact with other dogs because she will pick up on your fear and fell the need to protect

Oct 14, 2012
Tough situation NEW
by: Chuck

I currently have 3 springers and I have owned 2 springers prior to these. One of my 3 springers has similiar behavior. I purchased her female sibling at 8 weeks and then kind of rescued her from the breeder a year later. Her aggression seems to be related to the fact that she is timid and submissive. When she meets new dogs, it seems like she is trying to over compensate for the possiblility that she is going to be dominated by another dog. However, once she gets past the uncomfortable introduction, where she slowly sniffs another dog's nose and then immediatly lunges forward and nips them, she will typically settle down and lose interest in the dog, unless the other dog fights back.

If she becomes familiar with other dogs, and learns they are friendly, she is fine and friendly in return. If I take her hunting, and I hunt with someone else who has a dog, she usually ignores them because she's more focused on hunting.

I once took her to a dog trainer to work on these issues. The trainer brought his dog along to help mine work through the issues. We taught my dog to HEEL on leash. He had me place a dog prong collar around her neck. I would walk her past the other dog and as soon as she would start to growl or lunge, I was instructed to jerk on her collar twice, while saying NO!, and then do a quick 180 degree turn away from the other dog. We would repeat this until I was able to walk past the dog without insident. It worked, but you have to practice this a lot.

I know this is a long reply, and I could go on forever with my experiences with this dog. But, I would have your dog evaluated by a professional dog trainer who specializes in aggressive behavior before I would consider putting it down. Also, if you become aware of your dogs' triggers, you will be able to forsee situations that causes those triggers and avoid them. Over time you will become trained, along with your dog, on how to respond to various situations. Life can still be good with your dog:-) Good luck!

Oct 12, 2012
I had the same problem NEW
by: Annette

Please don't feel you are a one off. My purdy is the most soft looking girly. But when she hit 18 months turned into this dog I didnt recognise. Off the lead she would charge up to other dogs and circle them snarling and snapping. I took advice got her spayed which helped a fraction. Then I went back to basics started taking her to socialization classes again looked at her diet put her on JWB dry, took all the hyper food out of her diet and she takes vit B/d/e tablets which help calm her. As long as you stay focused and perfect the recall I use smelly biscuits stay in front of the situation. In her classes she ended up allowing other dogs to walk near her. It's not 100% but we work on it every day. She likes to paddle next to me now and I've been able to take her to agility. So it's not aggression it's fear which has sparked this. No putting the dog down very last resort.

Oct 11, 2012
so sorry NEW
by: cm nixon

have raised springers for 40 years. i can only tell you that i have had the same thing happen. with my best dog Finn. i did not have the guts to do what needed to be done, and it had a very bad outcome. you need to put the dog down, safety first, sorry...

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