Nervous Cocker Spaniel

I have an 11 month old male Cocker Spaniel and a 3 year old female Spoodle. The Cocker started being snappy with some dogs if they approach him on lead and with some people if they try to stroke him and he feels cornered. He obviously shows signs and warns and has never bitten anyone. We now have a yellow lead identifying he’s is nervous and say to people don’t attempt to stroke him as he’s sometimes snappy. We also ask dog owners to recall their off lead dogs just away from him for the same reason. He’s fine with people walking past and dogs if they don’t approach him . Some people despite this just wont take notice and say ah it’s ok if he has a go at my dog it’ll teach them or with the stroking ah he’ll be fine even when I’m saying don’t. So because of this it’s making taking them out much more difficult . We’ve taken him to behaviour classes and he’s training to be responsive to many commands and he is very obedient. He has always come straight back when you call unlike many other dogs I see out. Do I just need to become much more vocal and rude to people? Really if he doesn’t like being stroked by strangers that’s fine I wouldn’t dream of stroking a random dog without sussing out their body language letting them come to me then asking the owner if it’s ok so why do so many others think it’s ok. He’s a happy little dog but One woman who pounced on him stroking his head while he backed between my legs and he snapped at (while he was on his lead) screamed at me that he was a dangerous dog and he should be muzzled or he’ll bite a child. I asked her if he’d bitten and she screamed no but he will and she’d had dogs for 40 years and she would hit him and he wouldn’t do it again! The trainers say keep going with the positive reinforcement and a muzzle isn’t necessary if we avoid the situations that cause him angst , keep him on lead and tell strangers not to stroke his head and give him a treat instead but It keeps going over and over in my mind and I think we’ve let him down a bit not being more vocal to people .

Hello Sue. This morning the forum was moved to another server. Unfortunately, during the process of getting it back online, some of our posts on your thread need to be restored. It is out of my control but I apologise for this. I know that you have read and responded to the posts that Tinyplanets and myself have made. I hope they have been helpful.

The only other thing that has occurred to me is that although my little dog hasn’t the same problem as yours, I have found that a few ‘pyjama days’ where she just stays home and chills seem to be helpful. I have read a number of articles by behaviourists who question whether daily walks are necessary, particularly with fearful dogs. Several of them approve this strategy of de stressing the dog.

The idea is that you stay home and use the time to play some games. Our member Meg has written about several suitable ones and you can find these using the search facility.

If someone does come up to your dog, maybe you could just ask them to help you out by standing away and ignoring him as he is nervous of strangers.

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I have re-posted the links to the threads discussing this in depth as I don’t know if you had a chance to read them. I didn’t see your response before it disappeared so please ask if there is any thing else you wanted to know.

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