Aggressive 8 year old springer spaniel and new baby

Hi, I have an eight year old springer who has battled illness since she was 2. At 2 she was diagnosed with immune-mediated thrombocytopenia and almost died.


After a hospital stay, heavy duty meds and much care she pulled through and beat the odds. She relapsed 3 years later and survived that as well.

She has been a spoiled girl and has always struggled with not being the queen bee. She is very possessive of new toys and if she gets something she's not supposed to have. She will growl, show teeth and occasionally try to bite my husband and I if we try to take the object or if we simply walk near her.

She has been around my niece and nephew her whole life and there has never been an issue however they have never tried to take anything from her. She is basically a sweet girl and doesn't always display this aggression but when she does, it's scary.

We recently had a baby who is 2 months old now and the dog has gotten worse with her showing teeth, growling, barking and biting us. She likes to take the baby's pacifiers and eats them. If you go near her when she has one she will try to bite.

We don't know if her behavior has gotten worse or if we are just more aware of it because of the baby. Our vet advised us to euthanize her due to her age, her illnesses (she's also a highly allergic dog) and the potential for her to cause harm to the baby when she starts crawling.

We are on board and agree but just want to make sure we are not making a mistake. We inquired about a behaviorist even though we can't afford it and the vet said she didn't recommend at this point because there are no guarantees and we just shouldn't take a chance with the baby. In addition, our dog is on medicine daily for her illness. She also pointed out that the dog has shown she is capable of biting and causing harm.
This is very difficult even though we feel it's a no-brainer because of the baby but are curious what others think.
Thanks.

From Anna@love-springer-spaniels.com

Hi there
I am sorry you have this to deal with. It sounds as if she thought she was the boss before your baby came along and the arrival of your baby is making things worse, and at aged 8 its going to be very hard to change this behaviour.

Ultimately you have to make the right choice for yourself and that has to be the safety of your child. The only other option is to enquire about giving her up to your nearest Springer Spaniel Rescue organisation.

Good luck

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Mar 17, 2011
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Aggressive Springer
by: Michele

Wow - tough decision. As Anna said, I would contact a Springer rescue and explain the situation. Sounds like your Springer definitely needs some re-training to set boundaries and understand who the pack leader is. It sounds like it's currently her and obviously, that isn't working out. Some training and a new home without small children could work out for her.

Your first consideration has to be the safety of your child. Once babies start crawling anything is fair game for reaching, touching, pulling. Based on your Springer's track record this is not an ideal situation.

Whatever you decide; re-homing or euthanasia, you should realize your decision comes from necessity. Either choice will be difficult for you and I wish you the best of luck.

Mar 17, 2011
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Dog and baby
by: Anonymous

Hi there

I also agree that unfortuantely rehoming your dog would be the best for you, your baby and also the dog.

Babies do not have fear so they will try and touch anything or anyone and if your dog is nervous/jealous then your ESS with snap at your child.

If you feel a solution would be to seperate your child and your dog from each other then there is always that chance that a mistake will happen, also this is not a life for your dog to be shut away from her 'family' and she will feel more resentment/jealousy.

We had to rehome a collie cross 2 yrs ago who was 18 months old, it was a hard decision to make but it was the best in the long run. This dog was fine with our daughter (who is now 7) but used to show her teeth at children at the park and I did not want to live in fear that one day she would bite as we all know how children like to stroke dogs. I also have a young nephew so our dog would have had to be shut out when he was here or my daughter friends were visiting and this would have been no life for our dog.

I feel that my niece will be in the same predicament shortly as she has a possessive male ESS and she is due to have her first child in April. The dog has already tried to bite my daughter and nephew. They are in denial at the moment but they need to see the bigger picture.

I wish you good luck with your hard decision and whatever it turns out to be it must be in the interest of your family.

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