agression leading to biting

my 3 year old female springer spaniel displays agression

when she is under our coffee table. when you get near her,she growls and strips her teeth. she has lunged at
me once, and bitten me.
thank you,
paul

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Feb 07, 2010
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Aggression
by: Michele

You're welcome, Lyn. I have simply pointed out some things that have worked for me with my Springer that were suggested by a reputable dog trainer. I wish you the best of luck finding the training that will work for you and your Springer.

Feb 07, 2010
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Articles of interest
by: Springer Rescue

If your dog has just started this behaviour and hasn't done it before I would definitely get them checked out by the vet.

If it is resource guarding then you will need to identify what sets the dog off and then put some behaviour modification programme in place to address it. Jean Donaldson has a very good book on resource guarding called "MINE"

I don't beleive in the shcool of eating or pretending before your dog. They are intelligent beings and contrary to popular belief the alpha wolf doesn't always eat first - it is the pups and those who killed.

I also believe in letting the dog eat in peace- if you took my food away from me I'd be cross and growl! Why do we think we need to take things away from the dog all the time and 'dominate' him.

I've attached a couple of links for your interest (It is important to note that the one on resource guarding is for preventing it from happening - it has already happened in your case so you need help to overcome it - but it can be done) but would urge you to get some help from a trainer who looks at the dog as an individual and doesn't think one solution fits all.

Good luck with commitment and hard work I'm sure you will get there.

http://www.clickertrainusa.com/Webpages/Well%20Being%20Training%20System/resourceguarding.htm

http://www.wolf.org/wolves/news/iwmag/2008/winter/alphawolf.pdf


Feb 07, 2010
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agression
by: lyn

thanks michelle yes i am looking into obediece classes, he has been well trained as ex sniffer but must be some underlying issues to deal with. he loves cuddles and is with me all the time, so i love him and need 2 sort this out many thanks

Feb 07, 2010
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Aggression
by: Michele

Food aggression is common in any breed. It's usually an easy fix, but it is something that needs reminding on a regular basis.

To start, try feeding your dog when it's just you and him. Before putting his food down, pretend like you're eating from his bowl. I have to do this with my older Springer. Silly as it sounds I make lots of food eating noises and believe me, she is paying attention! In the wild the alpha dog always eats first. You are the alpha dog, so you eat first. After you've done this for about a minute you put his bowl down for him, but you make him sit/stay until you give the ok to eat. If there is any growling, lip curling or any other sign of aggression you immediately pick the bowl up and set it on the counter. Walk away from it and try again in a few minutes. Again, start with you 'eating' first.

As far as biting while you're petting him - could he be ill or hurt? I would take him to the vet for a check up and be sure to explain the recent aggression. If all is well with his health I would start looking for a good basic obedience class in your area. Most dog clubs offer this for a nominal cost. Personally, I would stay away from classes given at the pet shop.

Good luck. As much as we love our Springers we do have to be vigilant with training. Springers are one breed, among several, that will take advantage of our good nature, if allowed!

Feb 06, 2010
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unpredictable aggression
by: lyn

My rescue spaniel Monty was an ex-sniffer dog. He is well trained and loves LOADS of affection. We have had him 7 weeks and he is now nearly 3 but he has bitten me out of the blue. He was lying by me as I stroked him and he suddenly became very vicious and bit me.

I am in the process of trying to stop the growling when he is being fed, which seems to be working well but I am so confused. I was in kitchen and he is with me all the time, I then turned and gave him a good old fuss but he just snarled at me, why does he do this? 99% of the time he is a perfect Springer Spaniel and I can see no reason to suddenly turn nasty, can any one help?

Dec 07, 2009
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agression
by: Estie

Yes, I've been bitten, also. By our beautiful Sammy. His main problem was resource guarding - just certain items (ie. rawhide). I had to establish who was in charge, which was difficult for me, but with some obedience training, it has all but disappeared. If I see him getting that "hard stare", the command is..."don't you even think about it!" Not very "doggie", but he knows what it means.

Don't get discouraged. It can be managed.

Dec 07, 2009
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Biting
by: Michele

Have you owned her since she was a puppy or did you get her as an older dog? Is this a behavior she has always displayed or has this just started happening recently? The reason I ask is so you will ask yourself these questions. Is she scared? Does she have a toy or something else she's afraid you might take away? Do you have anything going on at home that may be new, such as someone new moving in or out?

If this is a new behavior then my first inclination would be a vet visit. It's possible your dog is sick, thus the vet visit. My next step would be to find a good obedience class. Most dog clubs offer obedience and most of your larger boarding kennels do so also. The cost is normally very reasonable. Personally, I would stay away from obedience classes that are offered by pet shops. While I was looking for the obedience class I would do everything to reestablish myself as the alpha dog, meaning you are in charge! Is your dog crate trained? If she is, as soon as the growling, teeth display or lunging started I would immediately send her to her crate. For my dogs this command is 'House'. When I say House they get up and go to their crates. If she is not crate trained, I would consider getting a crate and training her to use it.

Another way to establish your lead role is at feeding time. Before you set her food down, you pretend to be eating from her bowl. This only needs to last for a few seconds and she needs to understand that you are eating first. The pack leader always eats first. Then you set her food down and she can eat it when you give the okay.

In July one of my Springers bit me. I took her to the vet and made sure she wasn't sick. Since I have already taken her to obedience, I knew that I needed to reestablish the boundaries and that's what I did. I don't think she was being agressive, I think I startled her from a sound sleep, regardless reinforcing who is in charge should be a regular part of ongoing training.

You should take care of this sooner rather than later. Dogs that are allowed to get away with agression become more agressive more frequently and with others. Please post again so we can see how you're doing!

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