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Thread: It's me or the dog

  1. #11
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    What is that show? Is it a reality show? It's not actors, right?

    I had not heard of rage syndrome before. Interesting. At the dog park one night, i was walking up the walk toward a man sitting on the curbside of the walk, there was a bassett hound sitting next to him and a couple of cockers, i'd seen them before on other days, had chatted with him before.

    As we approached, i guess because the man was sitting on the ground, Zack ran up to him and wanted to lick his face. The man said something about one of his cockers getting angry if he paid attention to another dog, but he returned Zack's affection anyway. People always find Zack irresistable. Anyway, as that happened, one of the cockers (they were both golden colored) started snarling and growling aggressively at Zack, the man picked her up and told her to stop, it only lasted a second or two.

    I was not getting what was happening, it was happening too fast. Zack ran up to the man again, as friendly and affectionate, and the dog lunged at Zack, and got on top of him, growling and roaring. Zack was crouching down as low to the ground as he could get, the man was on his feet and was yelling at his dog, and grabbing for the dog, and i was yelling Zack's name and reaching for him, i was about 3 feet away when she attacked him, i picked him up off the ground and walked away to another part of the park.

    She was a small cocker, not much bigger than Zack, but huskier. The intervention happened so quickly, there was no injury, but i was surprised at the sudden viciousness of this dog without a reasonable provocation, she was fine, calm, friendly, wagging her tail as we approached, but as Zack moved up to her owner, she went berserk.

    From a distance, a few moments later, i saw the man get up and head toward the exit with his dogs. It was a sad forlorn image. I don't know if this is rage syndrome--according to the man, the dog only does the behavior if another dog gets near him, otherwise, he says, she doesn't do it.

  2. #12
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    oh my gosh ..this all sounds so heart-breaking and terrible!! i sure wouldnt want to ever be in that kind of situation...is this a tv show that comes on over there?? what is it showing,,like what kind of tv show is it??
    ..i have never heard of the "rage syndrome" before in cockers..i was actually considering a cocker before i decided on the cavalier (best decision ive ever made btw )..but i never knew that that was an issue..i sincerely hope everything worked out ok with the family they were showing.,
    xXNishaXx
    Milo & Monty~ (Males, Blenheims, born 25/11/05 )
    Ally (Daschund - not with me)

  3. #13
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    Cocker Rage syndrome is usually in wholecolours of Cockers and it is just something that happens 'out of the blue'. It could be something that only one pup out of a large litter might get.

    I did quite a lot of research on it before we got Maxx as I was having such a time finding a good healthy Cavalier puppy that I thought I might get a Cocker instead.

    It would appear that in some cases they are now treating for low serotonin levels in the brain and having some success with it too. I have heard of Cockers being given B6 and B12 vitamins and if that hasn't worked they are given a mild dose of Fluoxetine to stabilise the serotonin. In many cases this has worked. Putting the dog on a whole food or holistic diet also has had some successes.

    I really do feel for anyone who has a Cocker with rage syndrome (a friend of mine has one and they muzzle him for walks), but training isn't always the answer. It would be like trying to train a human with Bi-Polar disorder not to have the highs and lows that they get - completely impossible.

    Cockers with rage syndrome quite obviously need their whole beings 'looked at' and diets changed as well as good training and possibly medication.

    They can be extremely loving, loyal dogs and healthy ones have a temperament similar to our beloved Cavaliers.

  4. #14
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    There are arguments that cocker rage is more a media-created problem --and is very rare -- however trainers and rescues I know have all encountered some cockers with this issue. It's not just occasional nipping but a full on attack out of the blue.

    Just on the point of meeting aggressive dogs: If anyone is ever told by a dog owner to be cautious of their dog I would never doubt them for one moment, and would say 'Thanks for letting me know" and either pick my dogs up and leave or get them away immediately. I'd never allow a dog to go up to someone who has given a polite warning about a dog's behaviour. Not only is this a danger to your own dog but can be very worrying for the owner who can't simply tell someone to go away without appearing rude when they've already given a polite caution. Think of their position. By ignoring their warning and allowing one's own dog to keep meeting and greeting it can quickly exacerbate the situation into a full blown fight or worse, a death. An owner of an aggressive or wary dog cannot do much more than warn someone so please do listen to such warnings.

    It's really important to acknowledge that some dogs (including cavaliers) and some breeds simply do not get along with other dogs and it may have nothing to do with the dog's personality or training. It may well be that such dogs were rescued from bad situations in which they were never well socialised. Or they may have been poorly bred with no regard to temperament. Some people are comfortable managing such dogs (indeed they may be the ones who are willing to rehome a dog like the snappy cavalier I am potentially going to be dealing with, or a dog like this programme's cocker) and we as responsible owners need to listen to others when they tell us things about their own dogs, not just assume everyone wants to visit with ours. Problem dogs need to be walked too and a wise dog owner cannot make assumptions, ever, about someone else's dog's behaviour. Even a cavalier can terrify a child or an elderly person, annoy someone who dislikes dogs, or cause a jealous dog to go on the attack -- so remember, dog etiquette goes two ways. Not just what we expect from others but what they expect from us. If a dog isn't excellent on recall, able to come right to your side and stay there when asked, then put it on a lead when another dog or children are spotted, until again the dog can be released in an area away from others. This is just good manners. Personally I HATE other people's dogs with no recall coming over and fussing over me or my dogs while I have to wait around for them to retrieve them. I like MY dogs but I don't necessarily like everyone else's!

    Personal example: I have consistent problems with Lily. She dislikes other females, as some females tend to. She especially dislikes small female dogs. She will sometimes even snarl and nip at them when they are doing nothing more than coming over to say hello. To me it is a constant source of low level annoyance that even when I say to people, Lily doesn't like other females and is inclined to snap sometimes, they do nothing to control their dog. This isn't an issue on cavalier walks where we know each other and are there to meet and walk together, and everyone has seen how Lil barks a bit then settles into a happy walk, but it is an issue when I am on a walk and have her drawn in next to me to part-block her access to another dog she doesn't know, and the people have theirs on a lead and allow the dog to keep coming up to try and sniff Lily. They seem to think I am talking to anyone but them when I give a polite warning. More seriously, this makes it harder for me to manage Lily and harder for me to try and distract and refocus her while the other dog sits or waits at even an arm's length away -- which helps me to de-condition her.
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Jaspar Lily Tansy Libby Mindy
    In memory: Lucy Leo
    Cavalier SM Information site:www.smcavaliers.com

  5. #15
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    Bath Cats and dogs home had a Blenhein cavalier, called Sam, who they reckoned had rage. He was beautiful, but could change into a demon, in seconds. A friend had Cavalier Rescue get in touch to see if he could be helped, but even they felt that he was too much of a risk, incase anything awful happened at a later date.

    When he disappeared from the website, I asked their rep on another forum, what had happened to him, but got no reply. I hope he did get a home.

    The programme, in question,has been widely discussed elsewhere, with people saying that there will always be someone willing to work with aggressive dogs. However, they then go on to say that they can't because of this and that. Sadly, those who will, probably are already, so there's not much help and there are thousands of dogs without issues languishing in rescue or worse.
    Barbara, Monty, Joly and Teddy.

  6. #16
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    From my perspective, and I know from trainers Tara and Lisa's, it's an issue of how risky the dog is. At some point you need to weigh whether it is responsible to try and work with a really aggressive dog that could cause serious harm. And also, to weigh up one's own resources to manage such a dog or rehome it. Very rarely, the responsible decision is -- hard as it may be -- to pts.

    In the case of the cocker, I am disturbed that the trainer continued to advocate keeping it in an open home environment after it had mauled a young child once, not just nipped. I know this trainer's methods are considered controversial by some -- some approaches are good, some are more questionable, I think, though I actually do enjoy the programme. I think in the case of this dog, she was not very responsible and this had a worryingly predictable result -- the dog attacked another child in the family, seriously harming her. I dont understand why such a situation was even allowed to happen.

    I am not a believer in old theories of dogs and dominance -- dominance in the dog world is complex ans subtle. The kind of old style training based on clumsy dominance theories that do not recognise this subtlety have led to aggression problems rather than resolved them. EG pinning or rolling supposedly dominant dogs, eating before them, not letting them be 'elevated' on to beds and couches... More modern approaches to training deal with bad behaviour as the owner problem that it is. Seriously -- it is the owners who need to be taught not to indulge their dogs and give it messages that the bad behaviour is actually desireable behaviour! It has nothing to do with the dogs trying to assert their control of the family in some grand scheme. If the dogs seem to be running the house that is because the owners are reinforcing such behaviour so that the dog thinks it is the right thing to do -- and the reward is that they are allowed to get whatever they want, whenever they want, by manipulating their owners. Put it another way -- a child that tests a parent's limits is not trying to be 'dominant' and run the house, but to get his or her way and to get attention (attention is the root of all eveil! ). So act like a resposnible adult with kids and dogs -- set clear limits, expect certain behaviours in certain situations, and make sure child and dog end up as good citizens.
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Jaspar Lily Tansy Libby Mindy
    In memory: Lucy Leo
    Cavalier SM Information site:www.smcavaliers.com

  7. #17
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    Just on the point of meeting aggressive dogs: If anyone is ever told by a dog owner to be cautious of their dog I would never doubt them for one moment, and would say 'Thanks for letting me know" and either pick my dogs up and leave or get them away immediately. I'd never allow a dog to go up to someone who has given a polite warning about a dog's behaviour.

    Karlin, did it sound like i was using the kind of poor etiquette you were warning against here?! It seems like you could have been responding to my story. If it sounded like what you were talking about, oh dear! That's not what happened. I guess it could have sounded that way. I should provide some more information.

    I had previously met this man and his dogs at this and at one other dog park. He had never mentioned this issue before. He enjoyed and welcomed petting zack in the past, the first time i met him, zack was up on a picnic table he was sitting at and he was enjoying and encouraging zack to come to him, he was talking about wanting to get a cavalier and asking questions about them.

    On the occasion of the attack that i related here, this was at least the third time I'd chatted him, and one of several times i'd seen him and his dogs.

    When Zack approached him, he did not warn me. He reached toward zack to pet him and with both arms, to hold him, and as he was doing that, he mentioned in a semi-humorous tone that one of his cockers was always friendly except if he paid attention to another dog, and immediately, while he was holding zack, his dog began threatening and snarling, it happened so fast, and then his dog backed off as he pushed her away and Zack was approaching him again, and his dog attacked.

    This was in 2 or 3 seconds time. Then I picked up Zack and left.

    Zack is very consistent and good on recall. I don't know why, it surprises me, but ever since we've been going to dog parks (and Yappy Hour) since the age of about 6 months, even when he's in the midst of dogs playing, if i call him, he comes, before having had any training. Now he's had training and he continues to respond immediately when i call him. At the time of the attack, i called him and he tried to crawl toward me, but the other dog was on top of him, i was picking him up, it happened very quickly from beginning to end.

    As for the kind of owner/dog behavior you were cautioning against, i certainly agree. Fortunately it's rare that i have encountered what you were describing at the dog park. Usually, dogs are well mannered, and owners watch them closely and are nearby. maybe that's why no one has been hurt there, and the rare snarling dog fight is quickly stopped by owners.

    In this case, it wasn't a strange dog we had not met before, and it was an owner who did not give any warning until the situation was quickly erupting, he had given the opposite signals, even after the first indication of a problem, and if he had used a different body language and been more emphatic, I would've understood faster--it was just seconds in which it happened.

    I don't know what yours and others opinions are about this, but i think if an owner is aware that a problem of violence and viciousness can happen in such a hair trigger way, the dog should wear a muzzle at the dog park, or else go for walks and exercise elsewhere. This man comes often to the parks and acts casual and friendly, lounging around, talking with people, and there has not in the past been any warning from him to be careful of his dog, he has eagerly sought to hold and pet Zack before and his dog did not attack. However, as i think about it, he has two cockers that color and size. Maybe he didn't have the problem one with him when i saw him before. I guess it's possible. I can't remember now, it's been a while.

    Surely his dog, and all rescue dogs and other dogs, need to be walked. but if a dog is known to be likely to attack under predictable circumstances, i think they should wear a muzzle or be otherwise controlled by their owner, and the owner should, as you described, warn others of a problem, and do it proactively, not just after the dangerous situation has been allowed by him to unfold with the other parties unsuspecting.

    The culture of our dog park is that dogs run free and they approach other dogs and people freely. I know that, he knows that. It's a huge park and there is room for people and dogs to separate if needed, including a small fenced park within the park. All dogs are off leash in the park, that's why people go there. In a culture like that, i consider it the responsibility of owners to make good judgements about safety. No one at that park expects anyone to keep their dog on lead or to be closely controlling their dog, unless there are behaviors in need of control. What Zack did was just normal expected behavior for that park.

    Obviously if i see the man and that dog at the park again, I will keep a distance. He brings his dogs into the small dog park within the big dog park, sits and chats with people for hours, and the only problem i've seen with this in the past is that he has a large bassett hound who is undoubtedly larger than the weight limit of the small dog park, and who slobbers heavily and constantly, and frequently approaches people, strangers, people chatting with the man, and puts his face in their laps or rubs his face on their legs, because he wants to play fetch, and he gets slobber all over people, the only example of this I've seen at this park, he's friendly and sweet and disgusting. I've watched people frowning as they get huge amounts of slobber on their clothes which i can easily see from a distance. I've heard people complain out loud. I have looked at the owner to see how he reacts and he is ignoring the problem or not seeing a problem, perhaps thinking people are jokiing when they complain. When i encountered them the night of the attack, i was worried about the bassett hound, hoping he would not run up to me.



    I have petted his cockers before, chatted with him about them, admired their beauty, their color, and never known or had any reason to think there was a known danger with the one dog.

  8. #18
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    There is a rumour going around that the cocker had already been handed into rescue but when Victoria Stillwell heard of it, she said it had to be PTS and the family reclaimed him from rescue in order to be put down.

    IF that is true, why on earth didn't they keep the dog in rescue until the show had been broadcast?

    If anyone is interested, here's a link to Cockers Online. They apparently have an e-mail address for anyone who wishes to complain to C4.

    I will be complaining but find it difficult to put together a reasonably logical complaint at the moment, because the subject is so emotive.

    My opinion of Victoria Stillwell has gone down substantially .... btw, when I was at the Wag & Bone Show, we witnessed the filming and Victoria appeared to be DIRECTING too. She was definitely the boss of proceedings on that day in any case.

  9. #19
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    Default its me or the dog

    hi hope noone takes this the wrong way but this dog would not have had the chances it had had it bitten one of my children in an unprovoked attack and this would have broken my heart as my dogs are all my babie.Fair enough this dog might have had something wrong with it but these peop[le are lucky that this was not a lot more serious. Also knowing that the dog had already bitten should they not have seeked advice about this I did not watch the show but have heard about it.
    I will apoligise now if my views upset anyone

    Heather Cassie (ruby) belle(b/t)

  10. #20
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    heather,
    i was thinking something similar, i was wondering why the people weren't worried about their kids getting seriously hurt. someone could've lost an eye, or had terrible facial scars for life, and worse. i didnt' see the show, just going by what people here are saying, but it seems like no one was looking out for the kids. The problem is, the dog is a family member too, and when family members, including human ones, are hurting other family members, people often don't know what to do, they go into some kind of denial of how serious things are, and damage gets done. In the case of a dog, if the only option people are seeing is pts, death, then i imagine people may try to see the problem as less serious than it is, rather than face making that choice. When the harm is being caused by an abusive parent, the nonabusing parent sometimes stays in the relationship, despite kids getting beaten. When it's a kid who's doing violence in the home to siblings , that is sometimes minimized by people as just normal sibling rivalry.
    sorry for this tragic situation. Like you, i am sorry to see that such a dangerous situation was being allowed to continue. These people were very lucky nothing worse happened.

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