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Canine Behavior/3yr old Springer Spaniel


Dear Madeline,
I have read your biography and I promise to read and rate your response within three days.  I understand that your time is valuable, that you are most likely spending at least 45 minutes of your time in response to my question, and I understand too that when questioners read and rate your responses fairly that you make random donations to animal shelters to help homeless animals.  In the interest of being appreciative of your time AND helping shelter dogs and cats, I agree that I will rate your response and give you fair feedback! :)

I have a 3yr old male, neutered, field bred Springer Spaniel named Boomer. He is a very nice dog with people and other dogs. The problem I am having is that he likes to reprimand other dogs when he thinks they are acting inappropriately. When he does this it is usually a growl followed by a snap, if the other dog persists. Any time he does it I see it as being justified. The other dog may be trying to hump him, jump on his back, pull on his ears, and just acting very hyper in his face. Sometimes the other dog gets upset that he does anything and they get in a little fight but it isn't started because Boomer goes after the other dog. Once Boomer says he doesn't like it, he backs off and sometimes the other dog charges. But most of the time after Boomer reprimands the other dog it will stop what it was doing and they get along just fine. Boomer does the same thing with little puppies but will never do more then growl at the puppy and just put up with the behavior. With adult dogs he will tell them to knock it off a lot sooner. Like he expects them to already know how to behave politely. What my question is, is this acceptable? I feel like if my dog doesn't like something he shouldn't have to put up with it. Any dog that acts politely and approaches him he is totally fine with. I feel like he should be allowed to tell another dog if something bothers him, without it meaning he is acting badly. Is that right? Or is this a behavior that i shouldn't allow?
Thanks for your time I really appreciate it!

Hi Ali,

Thank you for reading my bio and choosing me to answer your question.

Boomer is a dog with excellent social skills!

Any dog absolutely has the right to communicate that he doesn't like something that's being done to him.  It sounds as if Boomer uses the right intensity, especially with pups whom he is granting a "puppy license" by correcting them in a more gentle, less forceful manner.

Problems arise only when the dog being corrected doesn't heed the correction;, or, when dogs are "over the top" in correcting in an overly intense manner.  However, it doesn't sound as if Boomer is "over the top" at all.

Keep an eye out for puppies or older dogs who do not heed Boomer's "reprimands.". When dogs are allowed to be harrassed, they increase the intensity with which they communicate to toher dogs to "back off," and fights can result.  As well, dogs may become permanently over-zealous in their corrections toward other dogs if they are allowed to be continually harrassed by other dogs.  So, keep an eye out for these, although it sounds as if Boomer is doing just fine in his communications, which is as you suspected, so your instinct was absolutely correct!

Good day, and thanks again for your question.

Best regards,
Madeline Friedman, M.A.

Canine Behavior

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Madeline S. Friedman, M.A.


I respond to public questions only. I'm not a veterinarian & do not respond to medical questions.Suggestions: Submit a question in one area of priority, as what I am able to address in this venue is limited. Provide as much detail re: the behavior & issue as you can. Tell me how & if behavior is a change from previous behavior & when the changes occurred. Let me know what you think may have triggered such changes & what you have tried so far to resolve it, & what the results were. Let me know what you want help with & what are your concerns & questions about the behavior. I have set up a payment/donation to myself for responding to questions. I donate most of it to animal shelters & rescues. I keep a small portion for my time. The minimum donation is $25.00 on PayPal. When I see that a donation has been made, I will respond to your question. You will be prompted to make the donation before submitting your question. When you have read & rated my response fairly, which must be at the time you read it, I will refund $5.00 back to you IF YOU REQUEST that I do so in your rating comments. If I ask for more details, please respond as a "follow-up" & not as a new question. If I don't respond to your question, I will refund your donation less $5.00. DO rate me fairly at the end of our exchange. I will be pleased if you DO nominate me for volunteer of the month - why not, if I was generous in my response? I may suggest something you were not necessarily ready to hear, but I am honest in the interest of helping your dog, & that is my goal. Please keep that in mind. Please do NOT contact me privately about Allexperts questions through my e-mail or website unless I have invited you to do so. That is an invasion of my privacy - thank you for respecting it. If you would like to contact me for actual dog training & behavior consulting, you may contact me through my Web site.


Own & operate dog training & behavior consulting businesses, Hoboken Dog Trainer, and ny-njDogTrainer, in the NYC & NYC Metro areas since 2002. Work with thousands of dog owners & their dogs, & shelter & rescue dogs. Active volunteer in dog shelters and rescues (rescues being "no kill" and shelters being municipality-run urban shelters that can and do euthanize dogs). AllExperts volunteer in "Dogs, Category 701" and "Dog Training" and "Canine Behavior" since 2006. When you submit a question, please make sure it's being submitted in the appropriate category as I volunteer in two different categories. Make sure you agree to the Virtual Contract (the instructions I outline for question submissions) and agree to read and rate my response when I answer in the body of your question. I make donations to various animal non-profits based on YOUR ratings. If you don't rate my response, or rate it unfairly, you have just denied a dog rescue org or shelter a donation. Keep that in mind.

Professional Member of APDT for five years Founding Member of Animal Behavior Associates Behavior Education Network Former Board Member of IAABC, appointed by Founder Former Member of IPDTA in Canada Founding member of Behavior Education Network

Chronicle of the Dog (APDT, peer publication, numerous articles) Popular Dog Series magazine, numerous entries AOL in Tonowanda News Morris County News Vermont News Boston NOW New York A.M. Polo Trace Newsletter The Dodo AOL

Counseling Psychology, Caldwell College Animal Science, Rutgers University Master of Arts Degree Permanent New Jersey State Teaching Certification (teach public school and university level) Numerous workshops, lectures, and seminars on dog training and behavior Ongoing self-motivated study in my area of expertise

Awards and Honors
Best Canine Coach Award, 2006, Rondout Valley Instructor's Training Course Society of Illustrators, second place international competition Jellybean Photographics, second place international competition Fashion Institute of Technology "Commitment to Illustration" award

Past/Present Clients
Testimonials from a number of clients appear on my Web site at under "Reviews." My customers include: Puppy owners wanting to get their puppies off to the best start; owners of mature dogs who want their dogs to have more obedience skills; fosters and owners of rescue dogs or shelter dogs; customers with special needs who need to train or retrain their dogs; housetraining and housebreaking; owners who have behavioral issues with their dogs such as house accidents, aggression towards humans, aggression towards other animals, inattentive dogs, unmotivated dogs, overly-exuberant dogs; and, more.

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