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Help! 3 year old springer spaniel showing weird aggressive signs

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by Rob Bartlett, Dec 1, 2020.


  1. Rob Bartlett

    Rob Bartlett PetForums Newbie

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    Hi

    We have a 3 year old springer spaniel called Millie that has started started showing very strange signs of aggression, in the evening (snappy, ears back, staying very still then quick jerky movements) when we try to let her outside. She has always been a very very affectionate dog and we have had no problems from her other than the obsession with socks and tennis balls. Myself and my wife have separated so she spends half the time with me and half the timer with her. It is only at my ex wife's apartment where she is showing the aggression and it is only in the evening and only ever when she tries to let get her out onto the small patio for a wee before she goes to bed. The only other time I have seen the dog like this is when she has got something that she becomes very protective of e.g. a piece of food she has found and thinks we are going to take it off her. I have uploaded two videos below to show her behaviour. Any help or ideas as to what we could do to break this behaviour would be very much appreciated. I have uploaded the video of her behaviour here and another one here
     
  2. JoanneF

    JoanneF PetForums VIP

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    To me, that looks like a dog that really doesn't want to go out there, and the aggression happened when your wife tried get her collar to to make her.

    She was actually giving a lot of body language signals (wide eyes, body tension) that she didn't want to go, and the reason for the escalation in clip one was because she felt she wasn't being listened to so had to make herself a lot clearer.

    The reason for her not wanting to go out could be anything from wildlife, to noise, to a firework having startled her last month to who knows what.

    It looks like your wife is trying to take her out of French doors from a bedroom. What happens when she goes out the front door?

    Oh and to add, your wife told her ”don't do that” to what I assume was a low growl, I couldn't hear it properly. Never ignore or reprimand a growl. It is an important communication from your dog and should be respected.

    Dogs give a series of signals that they are unhappy, but unfortunately most people don't recognise them because they can be quite subtle. To begin with there is often wide eyes, lip licking and yawning. There is also muscular tension in the body. Then the ones we sometimes do see - like in the video - growl, snarl, nip then bite. If the early signals are not seen (or, in the dog's view, ignored) she won't bother with them because us stupid humans pay no attention anyway; so he may go straight to the bite. So it's important never to ignore the early signals or reprimand the dog for giving them; stopping the dog from giving them would be like taking the battery out of a smoke alarm.
     
    LittleMow, kittih, Sarah H and 2 others like this.
  3. Siskin

    Siskin Look into my eyes....

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    Can you see in the video that she shows the white of her eye? This is known as ‘whale eye’ and is a classic sign of o dog who is uncertain or afraid and is showing you this in the only way she knows how. She also goes very still and tries to demonstrate her worries

    See the ladder of aggression in this article
    https://myanimalcare.org/2016/03/31/dog-aggression-ladder/

    pit is a little unfair to say ladder of aggression as it’s more to do with fear or anxiety

    As this is something that is only happening at you ex’s house it suggests that something has occurred on the patio that has made her fearful. She may be happy to go out during the day, but at night it’s a whole different ball game.

    Is she any different if you ex takes her out through another door and for a short walk so she can wee?

    The aggression shown over food items she has found sounds like resource guarding. There is a sticky thread at the top of this board that will help you with this. Basically it’s down to only swapping the item she has with something much better so she feels that it doesn’t matter to try to guard what she has found
     
    LittleMow, kittih, Sarah H and 3 others like this.
  4. Rob Bartlett

    Rob Bartlett PetForums Newbie

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    Thanks for the reply, if she goes out through the front door she is absolutely fine. This is only ever happening at night, not during the day
     
  5. JoanneF

    JoanneF PetForums VIP

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    I think you have your answer then. I'd leave it until the nights are lighter before trying it again.
     
    LittleMow, kittih, O2.0 and 3 others like this.
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