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I really don't want to get rid of our puppy. PLEASE help!

I love our dog, I really do. We've only had him for a month and already we've grown attached to him as a family. The problem is he is so aggressive! He has purposefully attacked my son, my husband and myself. I don't mean normal puppy mouth play, I mean forceful bites that break the skin. He bit my son on the chest and my son almost needed stitches. (They even had to call animal control to report the incident.)

We have tried so many training tactics and are very consistent with him. He just still acts out! Tonight was the last straw when he bit my husband on the hand twice leaving pretty deep punctures. My husband and I had decided to take the pup to the humane society but now I'm doubting our decision. I just think there HAS to be something we can do.

Can some more experienced dog owners weigh in? Do we have a lost cause on our hands? He's such a good dog except for these random attacks where nothing seems to provoke him. We did discuss having him neutered. Would that help? We also are enrolled in a training class that starts next Saturday. Should we wait it out?

I'm sorry this is so long. I just don't want to give up our puppy if we can do anything to stop this behavior. (If it helps he's a male cocker spaniel.)


Asked by toykeymama at 6:39 AM on Apr. 12, 2011 in Pets

Level 10 (384 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (19)
  • Your dog clearly had a temperament problem and I agree with Acid in the fact that it might be a result of the breeding, i.e. puppy mill or poor breeder/puppy raiser. In other words, probably for reasons out of your control. I have seen a number of puppies who are vicious at the age of 12 weeks. It is abnormal, but it does exist and frankly these puppies have not come from good places.

    Do not beat yourself up, you tried and this puppy was clearly not safe. It might be okay in an adult home with a ton of work, consistency and firm boundaries..maybe.

    So I am glad you are working with someone to find a better puppy.

    My 2 cents, is to look at good dog breeds that are not reactive like a Portuguese water dog, a shih tzu or a cavalier and try to avoid the mixes like shichons...maltishihs...etc.. because it is so much more hit and miss in terms of temperament, in my opinion....*bracing myself for the flak now*

    Answer by spottedpony at 11:46 AM on Apr. 12, 2011

  • Most experts say that neutering an aggressive puppy can calm it down. I notice that you don't state the puppy attacking you much. The puppy might by aggressive towards your son and your husband because he thinks you are his.
    Getting him trained is another thing I would strongly recommend. Talk to the trainers and ask if it is best to fix him first or train him first. This can differ depending on the breed of the dog. The trainers can also at the end of the training let you know whether it is useless or if he has promise. I always try to think of ways to help the animal first because animals are more like a part of the family.
    You might want to get him a muzzle. There are a few that are big enough he can eat through them until he is fixed and has the training. This way he won't be able to bite people, and you can groom him to shorten his nails.

    Answer by blainesgirl at 6:48 AM on Apr. 12, 2011

  • Did you get him from a pet store? If you did, he probably came from a puppy mill. Google puppy mill. If he was born and raised in a mill he was most likely removed from his mother and sold to you before 8 weeks of age. Before that and his mother is teaching him things like bite inhibition and house training and so on.

    Go to your local pet store and ask them for a prong (or pinch) collar. It's a collar that has rounded prongs on it. Put the collar on him and keep a leash on him AT ALL TIMES. Every time he looks as if he is going to "attack" give the collar one, quick upwards pop and say NO, in a loud, firm, voice. People don't like prong collars and I was one of them, until I learned to use it properly.

    Next, if you free feed him, STOP!!! DO NOT, leave his dish down on the floor. When it's time to eat, put his dish down, give him 15 mins and then lift it up until next time. DO NOT let him on the furniture. con't

    Answer by Acid at 9:40 AM on Apr. 12, 2011

  • He needs to start understanding that YOU are alpha, not him. Attacking you and leaving injury is him saying "I'm boss, not you" Neutering will help, but may not completely remove the aggression issues.

    It's a good idea to take him to training classes, but please let the trainer know he is an aggressive dog with the tendency to "attack" unprovoked. You have to be honest in order to work out whatever issues the dog may have.

    Unfortunately, the experts here are misinformed when it comes to the Cocker Standard...and, from the looks of some responses, dogs in general. ALL dogs can be good with kids, it takes training, time, energy, patience, and more time. There is NO bad dog...only owners who got too far in over their head.

    Answer by Acid at 9:45 AM on Apr. 12, 2011

  • MrsLeftLane, QUICK, go to the nearest Guiness office and tell them you talk out of your ass.

    You said some of the most ridiculous, insane things I've read on here and that says A LOT.

    I have two large breed dogs. One is well over 100 pds. When I brought that dog home, I had a 3 year old. She knew, from day one, that you don't pull, tease or bother dogs. WHY?? Because I TAUGHT her so.

    I really hope you don't have a dog...or any animal for that matter.

    Answer by Acid at 11:16 AM on Apr. 12, 2011

  • what kind of dog is it? bully breeds need to be altered as soon as possible. it will calm him down, and make it easier to train him. also sounds like he is dominant over you. the dog needs proper training to learn he is not the alfa male!

    Answer by LoveMyLos at 6:56 AM on Apr. 12, 2011

  • lol. nm, i didn't see cocker spaniel. cockers are known to be aggressive with males and children. but its nothing that cannot be fixed. good luck and i would wait it out, and see what the training session people have to say about it.

    Answer by LoveMyLos at 6:58 AM on Apr. 12, 2011

  • Every cocker spaniel I have ever encountered has been extremely nasty. Not a breed I would have selected with children. Why would the first choice be to put the dog down? Maybe you could look into re-homing the dog.

    Answer by Syphon at 7:07 AM on Apr. 12, 2011

  • I never said I was putting him down? We have a no kill human society here in town. That's where we would take him. And we selected him because we were told he would be a good dog for our son.

    Comment by toykeymama (original poster) at 7:14 AM on Apr. 12, 2011

  • Cockers are generally NOT good kid dogs. I dont know why they are just one of those breeds where you dont know what you are getting. Some can be nice and others aggressive like yours. My former mil had one she rescued from an animal shelter and he was put there for the same reason as your puppy. She didnt have children though so it was ok for her.
    There are many other breeds out there more family friendly. It depends on what size you are looking for. Golden retrievers, Queensland Healers, Shih Tzu, Beagles, Whippets, any sheep dog and believe it or not most mixed breeds are best for a family.

    Answer by gemgem at 7:55 AM on Apr. 12, 2011