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DDog caught a bird and behaved aggressively towards me..

(9 Posts)
naichick Mon 12-Feb-18 11:17:56

Morning all,

I have a 1 year old cocker spaniel x staff. He's generally very good and we have made sure that he isn't possessive over food etc as we have DC so that was always a worry for me! Anyway I was walking him today and for the first time ever he managed to catch a bird, I never ever thought he would manage it cause he isn't really very light on his feet. So I told him to leave it which normally he does., he then became very cross and was growling at me. I tried to shout at him which normally he is very submissive to but he ignored me. I managed to get his attention and he came out of the bush where he was but when I grabbed his collar to put his lead on her barked very aggressively, so I let him go and eventually after 30 minutes he came with me and left the bird but the whole time he wouldn't allow me to get close.

So any advice? I'm so nervous to let him off again and Im a bit shocked by his behaviour towards me, he scared me tbh. I'm just not sure how I should have handled it, he's normally such a softy.

I do have a video though of what he was doing but not sure if I can upload it here?

missbattenburg Mon 12-Feb-18 11:47:49

Perhaps most importantly, you have a strong dog there and so whilst my comments below apply to every day type problems, only you know if the dog shows more than just a single tendency to aggression. If he does, you need to consult a professional behaviourist and not risk waiting.

That said, even the nicest dogs can get a bit funny around 'real' prey like raw bones and dead birds. Your shouting at him will not have helped and just added more aggression to an already high tension situation. Think about it this way: why would a dog EVER want to return to someone who was clearly angry. You have to make returning to you FUN.

In future, your best bet is to make coming back to you and leaving the bird a game. A dog his age and breed mix should love playing - if you ran AWAY from him, calling him in a cheery play-time voice would he follow you? Few young dogs can resist a good game of chase.

Carry treats with you on walks and reward him for leaving anything you ask him to with a treat. Start with very low value items, like when he moves to sniff a leaf or a bit of litter. Practise often (even stuff you don't care whether he leaves or not) and work slowly up to higher value items.

Whilst many dogs dislike having their collars grabbed (who wouldn't) it is something they need to get used to for their own safety. Some work on that would also be beneficial. Don't wait until a high stakes scenario - inside the house make a game of asking him to sit, grabbing his collar (gently and slowly at first and working up to a full grab) and then giving him a tasty treat. You want him to link a collar grab with something good, not with something bad like being put back on the lead.

naichick Mon 12-Feb-18 12:10:10

Thank you for your reply!

Actually thats a good point normally I do make coming back to me exciting and I that is how I eventually got him to follow me by running and trying to be fun it was just hard to do that initially cause I panicked a bit. He hasn't displayed this kind of behaviour before so maybe it was because he was so amazed that he managed to get something that he wasn't prepared to leave it. I wasn't sure if I he is expected to leave the bird without question or whether its reasonable that he would play with it.

Good idea re the collar grabbing. His recall is good but then he alway try to dart out of having the lead on so thats something we can definitely work on.

Snowydaysarehere Mon 12-Feb-18 12:14:30

My usually placid rottweiler turned into a devil dog when I got her a real bone. Took it off her and binned it. Never again. Learn from the trigger and I doubt it will happen again to you op. Sounds advice from pp.

SwimmingInTheBlueLagoon Mon 12-Feb-18 16:33:34

Excellent post by batten. Just add you said you never thought he would catch one. Does that mean you let him chase them? If so that needs to stop.

naichick Mon 12-Feb-18 17:14:23

Hi swimming,
No most of the time he is walked on the lead and gets off lead walks at the weekend then is he tries to got for them I call him and run in the other direction which normally he's doesn't bother with the birds when I'm playing with him. Today I was listening to my revision notes with my headphones so my eye was off the ball so to speak.

TattyCat Mon 12-Feb-18 18:42:51

Today I was listening to my revision notes with my headphones so my eye was off the ball so to speak.

The bird was more exciting than you....

Just sayin'!!! grin

Chippyway Mon 12-Feb-18 19:37:24

The reason why a lot of dogs become ‘aggressive’ with decent food (raw bones/prey etc) is because it’s a novelty.

I mean imagine if you were given crappy beans and rice for dinner every single day but one day you found an amazing 3 course meal - obviously you’re gunna get pissed off if somebody took it away!

My dog is raw fed. I can give and take her food as and when she pleases. It’s not a novelty to her to have such wonderful food.

One time I was out we saw a fox kill a rabbit. Fox saw us and run off. 10 minutes later my dog came across the dead rabbit and started licking it. I just let her get on with it. She often has rabbit in her meals anyway.

Shouting at your dog is NEVER going to work.

If you don’t make something a big deal your dog will react better

naichick Mon 12-Feb-18 19:48:46

Very good point Chippy!

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