My springer spaniel with other dogs

by Danica
(Mt. Laurel, NJ)

I have a male springer spaniel who is just about to turn two years old. I have had him since he was a pup. We did everything to socialize him; doggie daycare, dog parks, play dates, and k9basics.

He loved all other dogs until he turned about 1 yrs old. In the past year he has shown agression towards larger male dogs. We even had a pretty good vet bill from when he snapped at a Weimaraner who came up to us while I was sitting down.

I figured that could have been prevented for he thought he was protecting me.(even so, not acceptable) Now its every bigger male dog. I don't know what to do to fix this. He knows he is not in charge, I am the pack leader. He is collar trained (he almost got hit by a car chasing a rabbit, so we needed to train him to ignore that instinct). Would you recommend muzzling him? Does that work? My main concern is that we go on vacation every July and one of the couples is bringing their German Shepard. I do not want anything to happen! Help?

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Jun 10, 2010
Reactive Springer
by: Patti

I too have a reactive Springer. He did not start this until he was about a year and a half. I am a trainer and did all the socializing,
puppy classes, etc. He resource guards me. Stan has personal space issues with his face. That is usually his trigger. If you are open to clicker training, there is a wonderful book written by Emma Parsons called Click to Calm. She talks about finding your dogs triggers and thresh holds and how to use the clicker to change your dogs perception of other dogs. Without knowing more, I would be guessing at what causes your dog to react to other dogs, but have found that a lot of dogs that started out a little shy or fearful, found that barking and growling made the scary thing go away. When that happens, it works for the dog, therefore the behavior increases. It's more of a defensive aggression. Emma also has a yahoo discussion group that you can join. If you want more info on this subject let me know.
Good luck.

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