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Is it Cocker Rage Syndrome????

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by don_don11@hotmail.co.uk, May 14, 2010.

  1. don_don11@hotmail.co.uk

    don_don11@hotmail.co.uk PetForums Newbie

    Aug 24, 2009
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    I have an 11 month old English Cocker Spaniel that we have had since the age of 7 weeks. Recently he has been aggressive on 3 occasions and we fear it may be Cocker Rage Syndrome. He seems unaware of what is happening and his face changes completely. His eyes seem glazed and he growls snarls and barks at whoever is nearest. It usually happens when he has something he shouldn't i.e on one occasion he had a sock and had backed under the table so we couldnt reach him. When my partner put his hand under to pull him out he went. Another time he had got something out of the bin and went for me when I tried to take it away. He also went for me when my son had allowed him on his bed and i tried to get him down. We are normally strict with him and dont allow him upstairs or on the furniture. Stan is normally a lovely happy dog and very much loved by all the family. We have children and Im afraid he will do it to them or one of their friends and then something bad would happen.

    Can anyone help us please!!!!!
  2. tripod

    tripod PetForums VIP

    Feb 14, 2010
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    Please go see your vet for bloods, exam work etc. and a referral to an APBC behaviourist.

    "Cocker rage" has so much confusion and myth surrounding it and not a whole lot of evidence.

    Your descriptions of situations don't really fit the idiopathic aggression model but you do need help.
  3. ArwenLune

    ArwenLune PetForums Senior

    Jan 3, 2010
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    It sounds more like resource guarding to me - that's a behavioural issue. Contact a behaviourist to come help you and your family; there's quite a bit you can do about this sort of problem, but you will need skillful professional help.

    For now, don't ever let the children try to take anything from him (toys, food) or bother him while he eats. Let him drag a leash inside the house so that if he's somewhere he shouldn't be, you can gently pull him off/away - or toss a treat away from where he is. If he gets hold of something he shouldn't, try offering something higher value (a favourite toy or a super yummy treat) and swap. That way he learns that giving something up can be fun.

    And get this book, it's great: Mine!: A Practical Guide to Resource Guarding in Dogs: Amazon.co.uk: Jean Donaldson: Books
  4. leashedForLife

    Nov 1, 2009
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    if the avatar is the dog in Q, it is unlikely - SOLID dogs of red, buff (the dilute of red), or red + white, are generally affected.
    that pup is piebald / B + W.

    also as pointed-out in both prior replies, these all have a common trigger -
    defense of a valued resource, so B-Mod is definitely recommended.
    teaching a dog to readily give-up an object or surrender their space (the sofa, etc) is not hard,
    and does not require stern measures, dumbinance / pack theory hooey, or anything other than teaching, with good rewards
    for compliance - starting with low-value items + moving to higher-value items as the dog gets successful. ;)

    HUNKERING /going under-cover with a stolen or highly-prized item is an IMMEDIATE red-flag **not to force the issue or harass or pursue the dog - it teaches the dog to react with greatly increased aggro,
    and leaves them with NOWHERE to retreat.
    we all know about cornered rats, right? :rolleyes: don;t put the dog in that situation - and don;t let kids take that option!
    it is far too dangerous.

    does this dog ** hide ** at any other time, under beds, behind sofas, under the coffee-table, etc?
    if so, calmatives may help enormously -
    Pet Forums Community - View Single Post - dog body-language - and why it matters so much...
    anxious dogs are MORE prone to bite by far, than are any genuinely-aggressive but confident dogs -
    reducing anxiety reduces aggro radically. if this dog has been punished for running-off with various small objects,
    then the dogs DEFENSIVE-aggro is already switched-on when someone approaches or tries to take something away -
    re-teaching from the very beginning to erase those learned defensive mechanisms is imperative, IMO + IME.

    happy B-Mod, :)
    --- terry
  5. Jenny Olley

    Jenny Olley PetForums VIP

    Nov 2, 2007
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    Very unlikely to be rage, just an over guarding gundog, they are bred to be possessive and sometimes it goes into overdrive, they are on a high when they hold something and when they loose it or fear they are going to loose it, they drop down the hedonic scale, which can lead to aggression, get yourself some help asap, it will only get worse. We've treated dogs that guard whole rooms etc, makes life difficult, it will not go away unless you do something about it.
  6. rona

    rona Guest

    I would say not. Your dog has a reason to be aggressive (well he thinks so)
    Cocker rage usually comes completely out of the blue for no apparent reason
  7. don_don11@hotmail.co.uk

    don_don11@hotmail.co.uk PetForums Newbie

    Aug 24, 2009
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    Thank you everyone who has replied. You have really put our minds at rest. We now feel it is a possessive thing and not uncontrolled rage. He is not an anxious dog and only uses the table when have has something. I am definitely going to use the lead idea and the swapping items for treats. I had all sorts of things going through my head about what might happen and now I feel in control again and feel positive that we can make these changes for Stanley.
    Once again Thank you xx
  8. haeveymolly

    haeveymolly PetForums VIP

    Mar 7, 2009
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    Agree with rona, cocker rage is an attack for no reason at all comes completely out of the blue at anyone or anything that happenes to be near at the time.
  9. Lisa2701

    Lisa2701 PetForums VIP

    May 15, 2010
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    I also agree with Rona. My mum show's cocker spaniels, and has had a few litters over the years, and my understanding is that RAGE SYNDROME is a problem that is more in the solid (black and Red) cocker, and the rage seems to happen out of the blue for no good reason. I think what is going on for you is more possessive behavior, and given his age (he is equivalent to a teenager) it would fit. If i were you i would find myself a good dog behavioralist and catch this before it becomes a way of life for him. I hope you get this problem fixed soon.

    Lisa x
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