ESS showing aggression

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Member Since
Barked: Tue Aug 14, '12 2:05pm PST 

Our English Springer Spaniel, Charlie, is nearly three years old, and has recently started bearing his teeth and snapping at me, for what seems like no reason. He has always had issues with resource guarding, but this is something new. He can be perfectly calm, laying next to me on the couch and when I start petting him, he sometimes just turns on me. It's like he suddenly becomes possessed. These tantrums only last around 10 seconds, I yell firmly, "No, no, you don't act like that," and he settles back down, leans his head against me, and acts honestly sorry. But it's still terrifying and when people outside the family witness it, they are horrified. A few times, I thought I may have just startled him while he was dozing and figured I'd avoid petting him while he was sleeping, but today he snapped and growled at me while he was fully awake and was leaning his head toward me as I petted him.

He accidentally bit one person who got in between him and our other dog, a beagle, as they were fighting over French fry. I believe that incident was just an accident, but it brings up a second issue: he has started snapping at our beagle now too, and they're usually the best of friends.

I had him checked out by the vet, and she said nothing seems to be physically wrong and that he showed no aggressive tendencies. And indeed, he was his old, sweet self there. She suggested professional training and maybe meds. But until we can arrange for this, these sudden near-attacks without provocation are increasing, and I don't know how to be preemptive and avoid them. Has anyone else experienced this? I could use some advice...

Thanks in advance confused