Are Springer Spaniels Aggressive?
Springer spaniels are usually not an aggressive dog by nature. They are loving, loyal, friendly, people-pleasers, and an all-around excellent family dog.
They are a happy and friendly dog and typically do not exhibit aggression. Of course, there are exceptions to any rule, which is true with any dog breed, including the springer spaniel.
Read on below to see some points that may be a cause of aggression.
Rules to Follow to Prevent Aggression in Springer Spaniels
Your home is exactly that; it belongs to you and your family. Your springer is a member of your family, but rules need to be put into place just as with children.
There should be no sleeping in your bed. Pack leaders are always higher up than pack members. If you want to allow your spaniel on the couch, that’s fine, but if not, then it’s a firm “no.”
Anything that is not acceptable is always a “no.” If you change your mind depending on your mood, your pup will become confused. Be consistent every time.
Begin all training when your spaniel is a puppy, although older adopted dogs are still trainable. Teach them the off-limits areas as well as the usual sit and stay commands. Training on the leash is also very important. Dogs should be kept on a leash whenever they are out of your yard unless there is a dog park nearby. This is for their safety and the safety of others.
Communication is probably the most crucial part of training and in the prevention of aggression. Use clear, concise words for every command and keep them short but sweet. If you are unhappy with your spaniel, show this in your tone without yelling and screaming. Be firm and calm. When your springer pleases you and responds to commands, show it. Give praise with happiness and excitement.
Come and Go Without Drama
When leaving for the day, say goodbye to your pup but don’t get excited. The same goes for returning home. When you arrive, ignore your spaniel for a few minutes while putting things away and getting settled. Then it’s time to greet them but do so in a calm way without making a giant fuss. This will prevent aggression and separation anxiety by keeping a tranquil household.
Give Love and Have Fun
Along with rules, there must be a time for play with your springer. Give them a lot of love as well as discipline. Love goes a long way. Have fun with them at playtime, a run and fetch session in the park or yard, and even slip into some roughhousing, using care not to let it get out of hand.
Running a close second or even tying with communication is consistency. You always need to be consistent with your springer. Things that are a no are always a no. Changing your mind will confuse and upset your spaniel while showing that the pack leader is not really the boss.
Dominant Aggression in Springer Spaniels
Dominant aggression is a type of aggression. To understand dominant aggression, it helps to understand your springer and every dog’s ancestry. Going back in time to every dog’s bloodline, the wolf is at the center. Every dog is a descendent of wolves.
Dogs are domesticated. There is a pack for wolves and dogs alike, and every pack has its leader or Alpha male. The Alpha keeps the other wolves in line. They eat first, before other pack members. They will only relinquish that right to wolf pups when they become old enough to eat raw meat. With your springer spaniel, you must be the Alpha dog of their pack.
If there are other family members in your household, they will also be higher than your spaniel. Next in line would be the Beta, perhaps a spouse. The Beta wolf is only submissive to the Alpha. Now, this is just an explanation of how the pecking order is among wolves and dogs.
The subordinates would be next in line and would likely be children in your family who would obey the Alpha and Beta leaders.
Lastly would be the Omega, who would be your springer spaniel. In this hierarchy, they would be at the bottom of the pack.
The point of understanding where dogs come from is that the alpha pack leader must be the boss when it comes to any dogs you may have, and all other members are at a higher level than your spaniel.
Aggression begins when your spaniel receives mixed signals and is confused as to who is in charge. The pack leader must always be the boss. No waffling.
Some signs of aggression are a direct stare, a tail that is up, growling, snapping, showing teeth, lunging, and biting. These signs can be frightening, regardless of the subject of the anger or someone else.
Prevent Food and Protective Aggression
Always feed your dog last when you and your family are finished eating. Please don’t feel bad about it. They will learn the drill quickly.
From the start, pet or touch your dog when eating and sometimes take the food briefly and put it back. This will avoid food aggression, which you don’t want, especially if small children are in your home.
Socialize your pup when walking and acclimate them to different places as well as strangers. You don’t want them growling or barking at passersby when walking. You are the leader of the pack and protector, not them.
Your springer spaniel’s genes tell the story of their personality. You can have a dog genetically tested for ancestry, but the results won’t tell you the personality traits they have inherited and by whom.
Different aggression types can be passed down, such as toy and food guarding, aggression against strangers, family, or dogs, fear aggression, and territorial aggression. Different genes, as well as environments, can cause these.
If you are considering adding a spaniel to your family, seek out a reputable breeder. Ask your veterinarian or friends for references. Always visit the kennel and see the surroundings as well as both parents. Check out the parent’s papers. Genetic problems can crop up because of inbreeding.
Puppies need to be socialized as soon as possible. They become adolescents at about 14 weeks, and this begins sexual maturity. If your springer has not been correctly socialized by this time, problems could arise, such as protective barking at strangers along with aggression.
Females in heat can become aggressive, and if female springers are nursing pups, they can become aggressive. Non-neutered males also can exhibit signs of aggression.
Fear or Defensive Aggression
These aggression types can sometimes be seen in springers and other dogs who have been adopted from shelters. If they had been abused at their former home, they can be fearful of everything and bite in defense. Time, patience, and love can help overcome this type of aggression. Sometimes, though, they cannot be helped.
Springer Spaniel Rage Syndrome
Rage syndrome is more common in spaniels but is sometimes found in other breeds. This is a type of unprovoked aggression where the dog suddenly becomes aggressive, often attacking without seeming cause. This is much more common in show dogs who do not get to use their natural working or retrieving instincts. Most often, the cause is genetic and can be helped by behavior modification with a professional.
Aggression can sometimes be found in dogs, and it can have many causes. If your spaniel exhibits any signs of aggression, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. Although possible, aggression is highly unlikely in springer spaniels. Spaniels who have a tight-knit family bond are not biters. They are calm, loving, and well-behaved dog.