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Springer becoming aggressive to other dogs

(8 Posts)
GreenGooner Tue 12-Jun-18 16:43:52

Hey all. I'm looking for advice if anyone has any experience on this...

I have a (almost) 1 year old springer bitch. She's amazing in many areas, recall is impeccable, we don't work her.

She's recently had her first season. This ended about 6 weeks ago but her vulva and teets are still very swollen. I took her to the vets last week and all is ok physically but he thinks it could be a phantom pregnancy.

She's always been fine with other dogs but recently she's been snapping at their faces and appears agitated when in their company.

She never bites as such (they will be wet but no actual bite marks). This tends to be younger (puppies) or smaller dogs.

I'm really worried about this and don't know what to do. Any suggestions?

AvocadosBeforeMortgages Tue 12-Jun-18 17:29:45

This isn't something that anyone can give informed advice about over the internet; especially not unqualified people like me wink. Honestly, I'd consult a behaviourist before the behaviour becomes ingrained. Nipping it in the bud now is going to be a lot easier than trying to deal with it once she's been practicing for months.

As it's a totally unregulated industry, literally anyone can call themselves a behaviourist (or trainer), and there are a lot of cowboys who may make your dog worse. So, you need someone who is appropriately accredited, with either
a) CCAB www.asab.org/ccab-register
b) APBC apbc.org.uk/help/regions

Note that this is a behaviour problem, not a training problem, so a trainer would not be appropriate.

In the meantime, as an interim measure, muzzle your dog - the very real risk right now is that your dog snapping could cause the other dog to escalate matters, and then you will have a full blown dog fight on your hands - unpleasant to have to break up, and it won't make your dog's behaviour any better long term. You will need to go through a process of muzzle training e.g. www.youtube.com/watch?v=1FABgZTFvHo (Chirag Patel has an excellent reputation). You also need to make sure that the muzzle is of the basket style, not the cloth style, as the latter does not allow them to pant, drink etc.

Nesssie Tue 12-Jun-18 19:10:02

If it’s a sudden change in behaviour then it may well be related to the phantom pregnancy. Her hormones will be all out of whack and this will affect her behaviour.
On lead at all times and give other dogs a lot of space.

Vallahalagonebutnotforgotten Tue 12-Jun-18 19:12:31

If and this is a big If the behaviour has only occurred since the season and the phantom pregnancy then I would totally relax your dog.

Avoid all situations where you dog can react and become reactive -if that means walking at different places or different times (or even stopping walking for a bit)

If the dog is put in a situation where they are practising the behaviour it will become stronger and a habit.

However (as a qualified behaviourist) I would also recommend you get a qualified behaviourist in to assess the situation.

I expect that your dog has been showing subtle signs of stress but they have been hard to pick up -so now she is hormonal she is just letting rip. This is not a criticism of you at all dogs can just be subtle and when your dog is walking alongside you it is hard to see the lip licks or subtle head turns etc -this is where a second pair of qualified eyes can help you.

If you want any recommendations for qualified behaviourists in your area just pm.

PotteryGirl Tue 12-Jun-18 19:17:34

My Springer bitch is spayed and she’s the gentlest, most loving dog but faced with a bouncy, silly dog coming up to her to say say hello well...she’ll see them off in a heartbeat (it can be embarrassing but I tell people she’s grumpy) ..She does not like interaction. She walks with other dogs mind but they don’t show any interest in her and she’s fine..

GreenGooner Wed 13-Jun-18 10:22:40

Thanks so much for taking the time to reply all. It has definitely manifested since the end of her season (we kept her quite separate during so no unwanted pregnancies).

It tends to happen more when she's been 'sniffed' a lot. She tends to run off first and tries to get away but then when they don't give up it's like she's telling them to back off.

I'm definitely going to seek some professional help and had a browse last night. In the meantime I'll keep her away from other dogs in the hope that the swelling/hormones reset themselves. She's a moody bugger at the minute!!

Thanks again

Vallahalagonebutnotforgotten Wed 13-Jun-18 12:06:52

I always work on the 3 second greeting. After 3 seconds the interaction is over with dogs my dogs have not meet before.

It sounds like your dog has tried to be polite but so many dogs have not taken any notice of her polite request for space that she has had to up the anti. If you can stop this happening hopefully her stress levels will drop and she will have more resilience but I would work hard to stop all interactions for a bit.

Hope she feels better soon - from one moody bugger to another smile

GreenGooner Wed 13-Jun-18 12:20:32

@Vallahalagonebutnotforgotten I'll definitely be keeping her away from others for a while.

She's got such a soft mouth but obviously don't want her getting so fed up that a warning isn't enough...

Haha they're such sulkers, mine has taken herself off to bed. I know she's hormonal but I miss my bouncy, naughty girl!

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