Cocker Spaniel Aggression

Cocker Spaniel AggressionOf course, other dog breeds are also prone to aggression since canines are very territorial creatures. Cocker spaniel aggression, however, is a greater cause for concern for many reasons.

Reasons for Concern

For one thing, cocker spaniels have higher risks for rage syndrome wherein the dog attacks both strangers and pack member for apparently no reason at all. For another thing, the size coupled with the strong jaw and sharp teeth of the cocker spaniel poses a physical threat to safety for most individuals particularly vulnerable persons like children and the elderly.

Also, we must emphasize that any sign of aggression like barking, biting and jumping on people is a cause for concern in any dog. Many fatal attacks have come from what first appears to be mild often playful signs of aggression that the pet owner failed to act on appropriately.

Fortunately, cocker spaniel aggression can be remedied with the right training. The key here is to recognize the aggressive behavior, ask for professional help and then take the proper action through training.

Recognize the Type

The first step is to recognize the type of aggression being exhibited by the cocker spaniel. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that aggression is aggression no matter its subject. Keep in mind that the two different types of aggression exhibit different symptoms, arise from different causes and require different treatments.

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First is aggression towards strangers, which is common especially as cocker spaniels can be extremely wary of unfamiliar people and surroundings. The symptoms are on the opposite ends of the spectrum as the cocker spaniel can appear very agitated by being jumpy, whiny and fidgety on one hand and very still by staring hard at the object of aggression on the other hand.

In this type of cocker spaniel aggression, the main cause appears to be the lack of socialization opportunities. The dog was not exposed to new people, new dogs and new surroundings in a way that will broaden its horizons and, thus, make it learn that the world is generally a safe place to live in.

The second type of aggression in cocker spaniels is directed toward its own family members. This may seem surprising considering that the family members are familiar people living in familiar surroundings but these cases of aggression do happen. The most common causes for such cocker spaniel aggression are:

  • Perceived threats against his property, which is known as resource guarding and is a manifestation of the dog’s territorial instincts
  • Assertion of dominance within the pack. Keep in mind that dogs are pack animals so much so that, when the leader of the pack – the human, of course – appears to be weak, the cocker spaniel will try to step into the role by showing aggression.

Depending on how severe the aggressive behavior is, a pet owner may choose to either train the dog on his own or call in the big guns of professional dog trainers. Either way, the most important step that a pet owner can do in cases of cocker spaniel aggression is simply to start recognizing the problem and then taking appropriate action.


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