aggression to dogs on walks

by Holly Sidney

My 6 year old English Springer Spaniel has always been somewhat aggressive towards other dogs. It began by baring teeth and growing when they came close to her, however now she is pre-empting them and attacking first. This began when we introduced a male chihuahua into the house.

We started by giving her a ball to carry in her mouth which quickly stopped the balking, however now she runs up to dogs growling and shaking her head.

She has never physically gone to bite them, however I am worried that it might escalate into that. I must also add that this is only when we are on unfamiliar territory or we are just beginning our walk when she is extremely hyper. I can't seem to calm her down before I open the gate. How should I proceed in order to stop her showing aggression to other dogs? Thankyou

Holly - sorry but I accidentally deleted that fantastic picture, can you resend it? Just rebuild another FAQ and I'll add it

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Jan 25, 2010
by: Michele

I don't know if you ever watch that show "It's me or the dog", but Victoria uses methods of distracting the dog, and usually does that with a treat. Someone else here suggested that too. Of course, in order to do this, you need to be paying attention to what's going on around you so you can spot the other dog(s) first and start distracting.

My older Springer behaves similarly; barking & growling when she sees other dogs. Funny thing is, she really likes other dogs and once they get up to her she will happily sniff them & greet them nicely.

Jan 24, 2010
by: Superpooky

I'd agree about use of treats. You have to think ahead and have a treat out before your dog sees another dog. It's all about distraction at first. Some training places will help you with dog socialisation so that might be worth trying.

Jan 24, 2010
by: Anonymous

Not sure if it is appropriate to post a link here but it might help you to know you are not alone and other Springer owners have the same issues. Using the clicker to introduce a 'nicegreet' cue might help you - see what you think

Jan 24, 2010
Aggression to dogs
by: April

I have a very similar problem with my Springer, he was attacked as a puppy and now attacks first because he thinks the other dogs are going to attack him. I dont know if this will work for you, but what we are doing at the moment is at our local flyball club at the end of every training session all the dogs are let to run around and play, if they are friendly. We let Indi off, with a muzzle and completely ignore him so he can play with the other dogs and realise that there not going to attack him. Slowly, it is working. He also jumps out barking at other dogs on walks, and what weve found is that he is actually very unresponsive to other dogs when hes been for a good walk. So what we do, is after hes been for a good walk we walk him past dogs and when he doesnt respond reward him lots! If he does respond we just completely ignore him, and when he stops carry on walking, so the walking is the reward for stopping barking at the dog although we only use this reward because he doesnt care for treats when out on walks, so if your dog loves treats use them!
I hope this helps:)

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