View Full Version : help with being aggressive

24th August 2007, 04:10 PM

I have a beautiful two year old caviler called george, he is really friendly and gentle towards me, however if a visitor comes to the house he goes absolutely mad and starts ot get very aggressive towards them, trying to bite their heels.
I have shouted at him to stop and I have tried picking him up and giving him reassurance that everything is okl, but as soon as I put him down he goes for them again.

How to I teach him to stop, as i am afraid he will bite someone

24th August 2007, 04:18 PM
It sounds as if you are inadvertently reinforcing the negative behavior by giving him attention when he does this. I would use a firm voice (insert command) and put him elsewhere if mine did this.

24th August 2007, 07:06 PM
It sounds as though for some reason he's viewing visitors as a threat. Try putting a container of training treats in your mailbox or elsewhere outside where people can grab a handful to enter your house with. We did this to help our Cav overcome her shyness. The scary thing can't be that scary if it has something good--like treats.

24th August 2007, 07:32 PM
A combination of those two things sounds like the right approach -- one that makes going up to strangers rewarding, not scary, and one that doesn't reward unwanted behaviour (yelling rarely helps and may just overexite and cause more problems -- while reassuring the dog is a form of praise that tells the dog you are happy it has done the unwanted behaviour -- tricky!). As often as you can, put the dog in the position of being rewarded for wanted behaviour. A few family friends can really help by doing as Jen mentions.

If your cavalier only does this behaviour in the house, he is guarding you and this can gradually evolve into more serious and difficult behaviour so I'd definitely work to (no pun intended!) nip this. :)

It might help to get a good trainer in to show you some good approaches. I'd recommend finding an APDT-certified, rewards-based trainer.

You can get tips on finding a trainer and find a list of APDT certiified trainers (in the US and internationally) at the bottom of this page:


27th August 2007, 10:25 AM
Hi everyone

thanks for your advise on this. I will put the tips into action immediately and hopefully this problem will go away. I will keep you all updated on how we get on.

1st September 2007, 01:57 PM
Already great suggestions have been made here :D One other little tip though..... do not pick George up when he is not behaving nicely. By picking him up, you are elevating him and conveying to him that he is above the person he is being aggressive towards. You can see this behaviour in a pack of dogs. The one that thinks (or wishes that) he is the alpha will often jump up on something to make himself higher than the others.