My Springer bit me

by Michele

I'm not sure this is a question as much as just looking for some advice. My 10 1/2 year old Springer bit me this morning! Here is some background: We purchased her from a reputable breeder at 8 weeks of age. She has been spayed and sees the vet whenever necessary. She went to basic obedience classes at about 6 months of age and did very well. She continues to be obedient (until this morning). She realizes I am the pack leader and I seldom have any trouble with her. We also have a 2 year old Springer that we've had for one year.

In the past 6 months I have noticed that she doesn't hear as well as she once did and that she sleeps very soundly. Used to be if she were asleep and you walked into the room or called her name she would immediately get up. Now you can walk all around the room and hold a conversation with someone and she does not wake up. I chalk this up to the aging process.

She and our other Springer are both crate trained. They sleep in their own crates at night, which are located in our bedroom. We are very routined, going to bed around 10:00 PM and getting up at 5:00 AM. We walk them one mile every evening at 7:30 PM. So, the dogs are also routined and know what to expect. This morning was no different. I got up at 5:00. Both dogs went outside then came in and ate. Both had water and went back outside. While I get ready for work, they will lie on the bed. My husband does not get up until 6:00 AM.

This morning they had a couple of toys on the floor. As I passed by the bed I tripped on one of them. I picked it up and showed it to our 2 year old Springer. And I said something to the effect of "What's this doing here?" Our older Springer had been sleeping. She jumped up growling and just latched onto my thumb. And she really bit me. I have two puncture marks on my thumb and because I reacted by pulling my hand away I have a laceration too. It was quite painful and bled for a few minutes.

I immediately told her "crate" and she went right into it. I closed the crate door and took care of my thumb. I completely ignored her for about 20 minutes, then I bent down to her crate to talk to her and she was fine, wagging her tail and stretching and wanting to get out of her crate.

I was so upset by this. She has never done anything like this. This dog loves everyone, is very friendly and obedient. She's a love and you couldn't ask for a better dog. In fact, we frequently say she's the best dog we've ever had! I just don't know if I may have startled her awake and she wasn't sure what was going on. I let her out of her crate about 30 minutes after this happened and she was fine. The rest of the morning went on as usual, except that I was a little shaken up.

As I said, I don't know that I have a real question, just looking for some advice.

Hi there
I am so sorry I can only imagine how distressing this must be for you.

It sounds as if she was startled from her sleep and being in her autumn years she may have had a real shock, however you must proceed with caution. If this happens again you may have to consider your options and watch her like a hawk around people, especially children.

Some dogs, as they get older, become grumpy and grouchy (like us) and she could have been in pain, or suffering from something you didn't know about.

My advice would be to reassert yourself as the dominant pack leader and keep an eye on her.

Springer Spaniel Pack

You may want to seek a vet's advice just to be sure.

I hope that helps in some small way, I know how worrying it can be. Good luck and let us know how you get on

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Mar 28, 2012
Biting NEW
by: Michele

Is your dog a sound sleeper? The growling could be due to being startled, but still shouldn't be happening. Your dog is young and I wouldn't let bad habits start. They are difficult to break once the habit sets in. Have you done any obedience training? If not, I would give that a try and be sure to let your instructor know about the growling/biting issue. Be sure you are paying attention to when the growling takes place so you can pinpoint the possible cause and see if it escalates.

Mar 28, 2012
startled rage? NEW
by: Mel Mellinger

our 4 yr old female springeer bit me last week--i had startled her while asleep. Immediately after she ws ok, but seemed to know and acted 'sorry'. Tonight I woke her again-this ime she was in the cage-she snapped at me-eyes went blood red-she bared her teeth; then it was like she 'woke up' and everything was normal. I'm wondering if this is a common response to being startled while asleep?

Jul 25, 2009
by: Estie

It is shocking, and I was so surprised, I cried....cried trying to find the dr. phone #, Cried all the way to the clinic..and poor Sammy, he just looked up at me as if to say, "What did I do?" We got it all straightened out-that was in 2007, and all is so much better now, but every now and then, we have a little refresher course to make sure he remembers!!

Sounds like you are on the right track. I remember one evening down in our family room when Sammy was awakened from a sound sleep and he came at Cassy like a "bat out of hell." Never had done it before, and has never done it since!

Jul 25, 2009
by: Anonymous

Gosh, isn't it shocking to be bit by your own dog? I didn't provoke her, I wasn't even talking to her at the time, but she was just a couple of feet away. She's been fine since she bit me. She's her usual loving self, but I am not responding as much to her. We've been out each evening just going through the basic obedience commands and she's doing well with that. I wouldn't have expected otherwise. I used to make her sit before she could eat, but I had stopped doing it, so now we're back to that. We're just basically re-establishing the chain of command here, just in case the bite was intentional.

My husband thinks I startled her from a sound sleep and this caused her to bite me. I am holding off on the vet for right now, but I am paying a lot of attention to her behavior, not just with us, but with our other Springer too. She is due in August for vaccinations anyway, so unless we have any other problems I'll talk to our vet about it then.

Thanks for your response. I'm sorry to hear you were bitten. Hope that doesn't happen again.

Jul 24, 2009
my springer bit me
by: Estie

My springer bit me, also. I was shocked, and you were. I couldn't stop crying. However, I was an idiot and provoked him, but taught me a good lesson about being "in charge".

In your situation, I'd have another vet check. And don't get discouraged. Evidently, this is not the normal behaviour, so something must be up!

Keep us posted, okay? I'd like to know what your vet says.

Jul 23, 2009
by: Michele

Thanks for your post. I am considering taking her to the vet for a check up, however she had her teeth cleaned about 6 weeks ago and at that time she had a check up and complete blood profile done. Of course, that doesn't mean something couldn't have come up since then.

Honestly, I'm just so flabbergasted. I know if she does it again I will need to consider some choices. In the meantime, I am definitely going to be reasserting our pack roles and keeping an eye on her. I'm certainly hoping she was just startled from a sound sleep.

Thanks again -

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