Cocker Spaniel Biting
Cocker Spaniel biting is rarely if ever seen in well trained, well bred and well socialized dogs. This is one of the reasons that the Cocker Spaniel breed has been popular in the United States and other countries as a great family dog that is tolerant of children. However, Cocker Spaniels that are poorly bred with no attention to the temperament of the parents as well as the genetics in the lines can have biting problems if improper training and lack of socialization is also a factor.
As with any dog Cocker Spaniel biting can be an instinctual behavior that occurs if the dog feels cornered or threatened. Most often this occurs if the Cocker Spaniel is trapped physically or is grabbed and injured or hurt. In these situations the biting is a self preservation instinct and is not a fault of the dog at all. Humans have to watch for the signs of anxiety in dogs of any breed to prevent provoking Cocker Spaniel biting or snapping. Generally the early warning signs include growling, attempting to flee, tucking the tail between the legs and dropping the head and neck towards the ground. The dog typically also avoids any type of eye contact and may urinate submissively as a clear sign they are frightened and feeling threatened.
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In some cases puppy biting is a problem when the puppy is taken away from the mother and litter mates too soon. Cocker Spaniel biting at the puppy stage is because the puppy has not yet learned bite inhibition. To teach your puppy bite inhibition you don’t have to use harsh training methods, you can use the same technique the mother dog and the other puppies would use. When the puppy bites or nibbles at your fingers or other body parts simply give a sharp, high pitched “no” and immediately ignore the puppy. Don’t attend to the puppy until they are sitting or standing quietly, then again play with the puppy and provide attention when they are playing nicely.
Never hit the puppy on the nose or give him or her a swat as this is only going to increase their aggression or frighten the puppy into submission. Harsh treatment with this breed will ruin their temperament and their ability to bond with humans, creating a dog with behavior and socialization problems. Cocker Spaniel biting is not typically a problem within the breed providing the puppies have been properly trained.
Cocker Spaniel biting because of possessive behaviors over food or toys only occurs if the dog is not properly trained and socialized. By working with the Cocker Spaniel puppy from day one about sharing and giving up their toys and food to you, the leader, this issue can be completely prevented. Never tease the dog with food or remove the food without giving it back very shortly afterwards, typically when the dog follows a simple command such as sit. If, however, the dog growls or snaps when playing, remove the object he or she is possessive of and work with the dog on establishing your role as the leader. Obedience work and socialization are absolutely the keys to preventing Cocker Spaniel biting from becoming an issue with the breed.