My Springer Spaniel scratches the door at night and has become aggressive to other dogs when he is on his lead.

by Joanne
(UK)

Our male Springer is almost 3 years old. We have had him just over six months, he came to us from a family with children (ages 12 and 17) when the marriage broke up. The lady found it too much walking him as she worked long hours.


We have children aged 10 and 15, they get along fine with him. I only work 3 hours per day so he isn't left very long and he has 3 walks per day and lots of attention. He is fed once a day at tea time.

He is a really friendly dog and we had no problems at all to begin with, he just settled in to our family. He played with other dogs in the park, no problem. I went into hospital in september and couldn't walk him for about 6 weeks so his walks were early morning and teatime to fit in with my husband's work and he didn't get to socialise much.

Now he can be very aggressive with other dogs when he is on his lead, barking and sometimes snarling at them, but still seems ok in the park off his lead. The other problem is that he has recently started making grumbling noises and growling at bed time, sometimes becoming quite aggressive towards me and my husband.

He also scratches at the kitchen door when we have gone to bed. We have tried talking to him and putting him in his bed, but he just starts again when we leave him. Sometimes ignoring him works. I really want to solve these issues, he is a lovely dog the rest of the time, fussy and playful no problem at all. I would be very grateful for any suggestions.

From Anna@love-springer-spaniels.com

Hi Joanne
I will admit this one is a mystery to me and it sounds like you may have to ask your vet for some behavioural advice. What I will try to do in the meantime is get input from our springer spaniel community on the site by building your query.

Fingers crossed you get a resolution, and I am sorry I could not guve you more direct advice.


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Comments for My Springer Spaniel scratches the door at night and has become aggressive to other dogs when he is on his lead.

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Jun 15, 2012
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Scratching springer NEW
by: Lisa

Thanx for replying. I have ignored Bob for 3 nights and it is working. He has scratched for about 5 mins last night then fell asleep.Woohoo!
I think letting him know who is boss also has helped. They are just so loving it is hard to be very firm, but it does pay off. Thanx again

Jun 14, 2012
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Reply to Lisa NEW
by: Joanne

Things have improved with our dog. We changed our bedtime routine so he now goes out in the garden about an hour before we go to bed. We also discovered that he is frightenend of the wind so he now sleeps in the lounge because he can't hear so much on a windy night. He very rarely scratches now. He isn't as aggressive on his lead now and can happily walk past most dogs. I think this is because I let him off of his lead in the park and let him socialise with other dogs. At first there was a lot of barking, which was more defensive than attacking, but on the whole he is much better now. It has taken a lot of patience and teeth gritting, but I think we are getting there! I hope things improve for you. If I hear any more tips I will post them.

Jun 13, 2012
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Scratching Springer NEW
by: Lisa

My Springer is 3 in september and has started
scratching the kitchen door at night.
He has slept in the kitchen since he was 9 weeks.
For 2 nights now he has scratched all night. I have got up and told him off, I have let him out and I have ignored him. Nothing is working. He has 4 walks a day. Please let me know if you get any help!!!!!

Jun 13, 2012
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Scratching Springer NEW
by: Lisa

My Springer is 3 in september and has started
scratching the kitchen door at night.
He has slept in the kitchen since he was 9 weeks.
For 2 nights now he has scratched all night. I have got up and told him off, I have let him out and I have ignored him. Nothing is working. He has 4 walks a day. Please let me know if you get any help!!!!!

Aug 01, 2011
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Lisa's problem
by: Michele

Lisa - My older Springer will be 13 in October. She has recently started behaving differently also, which I attribute to the aging process. I would suggest you ask your Vet about a very mild tranquiler for nighttime, which would help her sleep. Like us, as dogs age their internal clocks start changing. They can also become senile and this will cause them to behave differently. Older dogs also sometimes start to become scared and again, this caused different behaviors. If you don't already do this, try a walk in the evening. I walk my Springers every night for one mile around 8:00 PM. This gives them some much needed exercise, plus tires them out for bedtime! One more suggestion I have is to give a very small meal or snack shortly before bed. I give my Springers a half cup of something I cook for them, like chicken and rice, or chicken livers and sweet potatoes.

Jul 29, 2011
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Female Springer
by: Lisa

My female Springer Spaniel has started to do the same, however she is nearly 11 years old. She is very fit and healthy, she is sleeping more but I suppose we do with age. She is fine during the evening sitting with us, as soon as we go to bed if we allow her to stay in the kitchen, she lasts 2-3 hours and then scrathes the door, we come down and tell her off, let her outside, she comes back in, go back upstairs and its same again within the hour. Now we leave her outside all night, we both work different hours and I recently went away for a week, my husband said she was a nightmare, crying and moody and stood most of the day in the rain, he had to let her sleep upstairs with him just to get a good nights sleep.... any suggestions...?

Jan 06, 2011
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Calming Collar
by: Sasha

May I recommend you try the "Good Behaviour calming collar"?

My springer is very aggressive towards other dogs after he was attacked as a 7 month old dog by a bulldog and then a staffie at 11 months. Because of this I have also found that he has become very timid and nervous. He was wonderful as a puppy and young dog and with lots of care we are hoping to have him back to his old self. He is now 2 years old and after a batch of destructive licking on his paws my vet recommended the collar. I am very pleased with it and he is much more relaxed with it on and friendlier.

It may be able to help you until you can find a more permanent solution or until he settles in the new home environment. He has had a few major changes (new home with you, new home without you and now your back again) in his life which might affect his temperament a bit. Some springers can be very sensitive to changes in the home environment.

Hope this helps.

Jan 04, 2011
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Aggression
by: Michele

I would agree that you should begin by ruling out any health issues by seeing your Vet. I would also recommend obedience training to reassert your pack leader role.

I would not tolerate any growling at all and would simply say "no' loudly and firmly. Screaming and hand gestures can make the growling problem worse. I am in no way suggesting you do this, just pointing that out!

Springers can be headstrong and usually just need to be reminded they are not in charge, but taking charge needs to be immediate so his aggression doesn't advance.

Good luck!

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