Please help me with my rescue dog

He is a 9 m/o american cocker spaniel. I adopted him at four m/o & he was extremely anxious, timid, & terribly afraid of men. I noticed the beginning signs of aggression but he was young, they were manageable & didn't escalate. He would snatch toys away from my other dog but was always okay with me and anyone taking toys away from him or taking his food etc. He went through a phase of attacking my other dog (snapping at him) & getting too aggressive. That stopped. Then one time I was punishing him, I said no and shook my finger in his face, and he went to snap at me. Today he attacked my other dog so I went to stop him & he lunged at me, tried to bite me several times & was growling furiously. Today was the first, but it seems like a glimpse into my future with him. I have used four dog behaviorists, spent so much money and no one has helped. He is still aggressive and so afraid of men. I love him, I'm trying to give him the best life & home possible, but I don't know what else to do.

Asked by Cooper on Sep 29th 2012 Tagged aggression, adoption, rescue in Aggression
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Kali earned her wings 10/21/14

Try posting this on the behavior forum on this site. There are more people there to give suggestions. Good Luck!

Kali earned her wings 10/21/14 answered on 9/30/12. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


You have obviously done all you can do to solve your problem but has your dog been extensively checked out medically by your vet? I had a beautiful , very smart & loving cocker
spaniel who as she grew gradually became less affectionate, showed anger & aggression & would only allow me near her. She slowly changed from a brilliant, loving, devoted pet to a vicious attack dog! It broke my heart. After much testing with different vets it was determined she had Chrones disease & a brain tumor that was getting worse as she aged. Well, my beautiful girl lived for almost 17 years but the last years were almost intolerable. I think if the problem isn't physical, lots & lots of love & reassurance will make a huge difference. Good luck!

Member 1133640 answered on 10/1/12. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Fearful dogs resort to reacting and biting because they have found this behavior provides them with the functional reward of whatever is making them fearful retreating. Also, in multi dog households, resource guarding can happen easily so it's best to feed dogs who have issues separately (preferably in a crate or in an isolated room) as well as supervise all play time and keep all toys ad high value treats/items off the floor when not in use. The agression you are describing is redirection, which can happen when the dog cannot reach what they are locked in on so they transfer that agression to the closest thing to them. I recommend two books, When Pigs Fly by Jane Killion which is an amazing book on training the "untrainable" dogs and my personal favorite Behavioral Adjustment Training by Grisha Strewart. Both are highly respected behaviorists who specialize in training dogs specifically with fear, frustration, and agression issues.

Boris answered on 10/10/12. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer