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Cocker Spaniels/Aggressive 9 yr old female Cocker


QUESTION: We have had our 9 yr old cocker since she was 4 months old. She was a rescue from a private house where the male of the house abused her.
She has always been the one to bark all the time at anyone that came into our house especially males, which I can understand due to the abuse.
Recently we have had several people in our home 2 to 3 times a week. Male and female and she would bark but then calm down and be fine. They came to help me medically & professionally, she would of course be near me at all times. Show would bark some if they got up or walked out of the room and back into the room, but would calm down again.
The last 4 to 5 weeks I have noticed when they come into our home she now seems more aggressive when barking. She will bark and run up to them like she is going to bite them. I have used the no command, blocked her from getting near them, told them to ignore her (with me keeping on eye on her) but this is not working.
She has in the last 2 weeks actually gone after and tried to bit at their heels when they are trying to leave our home!
I am shocked and so concerned but not sure what to do! We have 2 other female clockers and they bark when people are entering but want to be petted our played with.  4days ago and yesterday  I had to put them in a separate room for a male technician to be in our home. When he needed to go into that room I leashed the 9 yr old and held her by me, she barked, pulled and growled like she would attack these men.
When I got her calmed down I noticed my 4 yr old started barking at him.
Please help I am at wits end. I need your help and advice. I am disabled and not able to kneel down to look her in the eyes. I can leash her and in a sitting position for both of us tell her no. This didn't seem to phase her at all.
Thanking you in advanced for any help you can give me.

ANSWER: Hi Kathy,
I'm betting she's anxious.  So I'd like to know if these techs are carrying any equipment when they come & go?  Do they stop & connect with her (petting, talking) when they come in the house?
How long are they there?

The biting at the heels is saying "And don't come back" :)

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: The techs have waist belts on with tools. They will talk as far as "hey there, it's alright" they won't try to pet her but have put their hand down for her to smell, but I can tell and I am sure she can tell they are cautious.
They where here apx. 1 to 3 hrs., the medical people have carry bags on their shoulders and are here about 1 hour.
What should I do about her? It is so hard for me to see her like this. She is lovable to people she knows, she just loves my husband to death and is great with our other dogs.
Thank you for helping us.

There are several ways to deal with this but it involves the techs helping out a bit.  It might be easier to send them off on a walk...or confine to a closed room...or outside (I see you're in Florida..where?).

Tell me how far you want to go with alleviating this.  One easy thing is to tell them not to ring the doorbell & leave the door unlocked when you're expecting them.  A doorbell is an "alarm" for nearly all dogs and that sets them off.

Can you get her to "make friends"...yes, but it would take a little bit of time initially by the techs and that may not be possible?  But do try and eliminate the doorbell then have them come in and call her & supply them with a treat or two. (Leave outside door for them).

Another thing that might help is to have someone have her outside (on leash) to greet them before they enter her space.  Again, have them say hello, pet, and give her a treat.  Then they enter the house with her.

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Delores Beck


Health, nutrition, training. Please note: I used to highly recommend Innova products but, unfortunately, as with Canidae, they have sold out to Proctor & Gamble. This guarantees lower quality to a dangerous point so I will no longer be advising anyone to buy it.


20 years of owning this breed.

Psychology, MA

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