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Are cocker spaniels safe around children?

(41 Posts)
StuntNun Mon 03-Feb-14 18:03:14

My in-laws are getting a black cocker spaniel puppy and I'm a little concerned about the risk of aggressiveness, particularly rage, in this breed. They are getting the pup from a friend of a friend so I don't know anything about the breeder of the dog or his lines. I am also worried about the puppy in general because my in-laws aren't physically fit enough to take him out for long walks, so he will have to get most of his exercise in their garden.

I realise a lot of people have cockers that are gentle and friendly but at the same time the cocker spaniel is known for the rage issue and I have a 14-month-old baby so I just want to get an idea of whether this is something that has been blown out of proportion.

hairypaws Mon 03-Feb-14 18:10:19

Show me absolute proof of cocker rage cos what I have ever read is unfounded. I have a show type and she is amazingly loving and gentle, a very polite and well behaved dog. She has snapped at my ds when he doesn't respect her boundaries but that is natural for any dog.

Is the pup a worker or show type as this makes a difference on the amount of exercise required but even a show cocker would not cope without at least one big walk a day, they are hyper if full of energy and a garden won't cut it. This probably would also impact on behaviour, a tired dog is a happy dog.

FruitSaladIsNotPudding Mon 03-Feb-14 18:12:53

We had one growing up. He was a nice dog 90% of the time, but was very flighty and highly strung. He bit me and my mother on separate occasions.

However, he was taken from his mother too early, so this could have been the reason as much as the breed.

YoureBeingASillyBilly Mon 03-Feb-14 18:13:18

No dog is completely safe around children. Treat all dogs like a loaded gun- not safe for dcs to handle (other than very controlled petting under supervision) and definitely not safe for dcs to be alone with.

hairypaws Mon 03-Feb-14 18:14:15

I should add that of course there is always the danger of kids being around dogs, especially very young children, constant supervision is the key.

Awks Mon 03-Feb-14 18:14:59

We've had 2 working cockers and both have been kind, gentle dogs. You can't generalise and I've never known a raged cocker.

StuntNun Mon 03-Feb-14 18:15:52

To my mind this is the worst way to get a dog. Their last dog (lab cross) died a few years ago and they have thought about getting another one but never got around to it. Now a friend of theirs says her friend had her name down for a puppy but can't take it so do my ILs want it instead. So they've just stumbled into getting a dog. It doesn't say much for the breeder either as I would expect a reputable breeder would rather take the pup back for rehoming than have him passed on to a third party.

Tiredemma Mon 03-Feb-14 18:17:46

I have a working cocker- adorable, utterly adorable. Bouncy, fun, would happily walk for days on end. No rage at all.

BikeRunSki Mon 03-Feb-14 18:18:47

My mum had a working cocker when ds was born. They adored each other, no rage just "ordinary" cocker highly strung temperament.

catsrus Mon 03-Feb-14 18:22:25

We almost got a cocker - but our vet totally put us off, he said he had seen too many cases of rage to ever risk having one near a small child. We ended up with retrievers. The problem, as he explained it to us, was that it really was a 'split personality' thing - the dog didn't even seen to know it had happened and it could not be addressed by training, it appears to be inherited.

StuntNun Mon 03-Feb-14 18:45:01

From what I've read on the Internet the rage syndrome is rare and I'm sure 99.9% of cocker spaniels are lovely dogs. But I won't always be at my ILs house when my kids are there and my ILs have a tendency to leave my kids unsupervised in one room while they're in another room.

cathpip Mon 03-Feb-14 18:50:49

Any dog unsupervised around children can be dangerous. I have two working cockers and not once have they shown the slightest bit of aggression, they adore my dc and are very protective of them (one we got as a pup when dd was a year old, he is the soppiest!). I remember our old lab growing up, soft as butter but did bite my sister..... I do agree with you on how they are getting this pup, not the wisest way to get a pup!!

ToomuchIsBackOnBootcamp Mon 03-Feb-14 18:55:38

I don't know a lot about them and the "rage" issue but I do know they need a lot of exercise, my friends cocker does get hyper and bonkers, chewing stuff and tearing round the house if he doesn't get enough walks. And by that I mean he's usually out for an hour in the morning (off lead, through countryside, zooming about) and an hour in the evening every single day. Have you mentioned your concerns to the ILs?

Snugglepiggy Mon 03-Feb-14 18:56:11

I have worked with dogs and have known some lovely gentle Cockers - most of them tbh.However 3 dogs I have dealt with in recent years come to mind, all golden from seperate owners ,2 from same breeder locally but different ages, and all three were moody,snappy and highly strung.And all three were well exercised .They were all Show Cockers.Not sure if they are more prone to ' rage' but on the strength of them they are not a breed I would want.
However neither is a Weimeramer because all the ones we have known have been needy,hard work for the owners and also highly strung but I'm sure plenty of Weim owners will say theirs are adorable.
It's hard to generalise about breeds.However when I once discussed the temperament of one of the above mentioned Cockers with our local vet - it had bitten a friend of their sons quite badly- he said if they had asked him for advice about breeds with small children he would not have recommended a solid coloured Show Cocker as he had seen too many cases of ' rage'

Lonecatwithkitten Mon 03-Feb-14 18:57:00

Rage is rare, but you do see it occasionally I see it more in golden cockers though the stats don't bear this out.
Any dog can be a risk with children there is no such thing as a safe dog. I always hold in my mind the behaviourist who pointed to the dog and said 'this one is learning to be calm and well behaved' the she pointed to the child and said 'this one is also learning to be calm and well behaved and if they are left alone together neither of them can learn properly'.

EmmaTeapots Mon 03-Feb-14 18:58:43

I have had three Cockers and one working cocker and they have all been kind and lovely around babies, toddlers and older children.

ditavonteesed Mon 03-Feb-14 19:02:14

looks at my dappy golden working cocker who would break his neck to never let my children out of his sight, rage is a load of crap. (trust me I read everything there was before getting said golden cocker)

LtEveDallas Mon 03-Feb-14 19:04:43

I've never known a 'ragey' cocker and I am surrounded by Cocker and Springer Spaniels. However I would NOT recommend one, or a spaniel cross, to older people. Spaniels need a lot of walking or they are crazy in the house. All the spaniels I know get 2 walks a day at least and for a good hour each time.

SnakeyMcBadass Mon 03-Feb-14 19:07:21

I believe that rage can affect any breed, but was a problem in pure coloured cockers during the eighties due to overbreeding. Any dog can bite, and I personally would never leave a young child and a dog alone together. I have a cocker/springer cross and he is highly strung and nervy, but utterly soppy with people. They are sensitive dogs, though, and do require a lot of exercise. Getting a spaniel and just leaving it to mooch around the garden is asking for trouble imo. The poor thing will be demented.

BeaWheesht Mon 03-Feb-14 19:07:49

We have a pedigree cocker from a rescue centre, he was 3 when we got him, dc were 2 and 5. He is 5 now.

He's fine with the kids, protective of them too eg if we are tickling them and they squeal he comes running through and stands between us wagging his tail pathetically.

However, I would never get another cocker - they are known as a vets favourite patient because they're always ill but never die. It's horrible but certainly for us it's been true, he has cost us thousands and our insurance cover is rapidly running out.

BeaWheesht Mon 03-Feb-14 19:08:19

Oh and I wouldn't leave him alone with the kids, I just never 100% trust any dog.

VelvetGecko Mon 03-Feb-14 19:13:02

I've seen quite a few cases of so called rage, always in the golden cockers but as there are aggressive dogs in every breed it's debatable whether it's genetic.
How this particular dog turns out will mainly be determined by how your PIL treat it and what kind of effort they put into training.
If they treat it like a baby for example then you're in for a world of trouble.

bakingtins Mon 03-Feb-14 19:14:49

Getting a spaniel and just leaving it to mooch around the garden is asking for trouble imo. The poor thing will be demented.


PetiteRaleuse Mon 03-Feb-14 20:44:40

OP I wouldn't worry about rage as such but I would set some boundaries out re the children.

I have the most patient child loving dog but still keep an eye on him all the time with my DC. You have to be able to trust your ILs to never leave them unsupervised.

Whoknowswhocares Mon 03-Feb-14 21:10:14

Rage is the least of the problems quite honestly!

A puppy as an ill thought out whim, from a dubious breeder, with owners not able or prepared to give it proper exercise and likely to leave children unattended with the dog?
I wouldn't want my children there without being in attendance myself in those circumstances, regardless of any 'rage' worries

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