Dog Aggression In Cocker Spaniels – Is It Rage Syndrome?

cocker spanielThere are many different reasons why dog aggression occurs.

Dogs respond negatively in many different situations and sometimes dog aggression is unavoidable, for example pain aggression. When a dog has had a severe injury they can become hostile to protect themselves, which is why vet practises keep a healthy supply of muzzles because they know even the most sweet-natured dog can bite when in pain.

Other situations in which aggression occurs are mostly down to the owners. Possessive aggression is a common symptom of Small Dog Syndrome, where the dog is allowed to ‘possess’ the owner by sitting on them whenever they want, sleeping in the same bed, and being carried, picked up or stroked a lot of the time.

This will result in the dog biting and snapping at anyone who tries to come near it’s owner and can turn a sweet little lapdog into a ferocious monster. Attending obedience training for dogs can help avoid, and cure this.

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Other types of dog aggression include:

• Dominate
• Fear
• Territorial
• Punishment
• Predatory
• Maternal
• Dog on dog
• Redirected

When having trouble with an aggressive dog in most cases the cause can be attributed to one of the types mentioned above. Although, in a small, but not insignificant, number of cases a separate, and not entirely understood, type of aggression arises known as Sudden Onset Aggression (SOA), Rage Syndrome or Avalanche of Rage Syndrome

The use of the word ‘rage’ in these titles is misleading as testimonials by owners say that dogs suffering from SOA do not appear to have control over their actions and after an episode may continue as normal or look guilty and come over as though to apologise.

Before a dog attacks they go through several warning stages. These are head turning, staring, growling, lip curling, air snapping and finally biting. A dog that is experiencing SOA will skip straight from a stare to an attack.

Warning signs may include the dog suddenly becoming very alert, it’s eyes glazing over and even changing colour and becoming ‘hard’.

Rage syndrome can occur when a sleeping dog is approached and startled resulting in a sudden outburst of dog aggression.

Although any breed of dog can suffer with SOA its occurrence is very high in Springer and Cocker Spaniels, and is known as ‘Cocker Rage’.

Cocker Spaniels with coats of a solid color are more likely to develop SOA, not that the color is the cause, but because these dogs can be traced back to the same bloodline. Although there is no known cause this strongly indicates that Cocker rage is heredity.

Anyone with an aggressive dog should see a professional dog behaviorist to have their dog accessed. In many cases a pet trainer will be able to attribute the aggression to a normal cause, however in the cases where SOA is suspected there is little in the way of a ‘cure’ and very often ends with euthanasia, as a dog suffering from SOA is impossible to keep around children and must be kept on a lead when being walked. The best dog training in the world is unable to cure this condition.

Some owners do feel that they can handle the requirements of a dog with SOA, but largely it depends on the severity of the condition and whether the dog is physically biting or harming anything. A dog suffering with Rage Aggression in its sleep can be much easier to deal with than a dog that randomly attacks for no reason. Moving a dog’s bed to a safe and secluded spot can minimise the problem and allow both owner and dog to live peacefully together with little trouble.

If SOA cannot be given as a certain diagnosis then attending dog obedience classes is a step in the right direction to combat dog aggression.

Dog training schools that specialize in treating aggressive dogs will be able to show and demonstrate proper handling techniques, as well as help owners modify their own behaviour to avoid causing an episode.

Free dog training advice and videos are widely available on the internet and can help tackle mild cases of dog aggression and help the avoidance of long term problems.

For more information about Cocker Spaniels, check out the highly recommended
The Complete A – Z Guide To The Cocker Spaniel package today.

truth about this breed

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