Black Cocker Spaniel, TiaTia is absolutely beautiful, and for the great majority of the time she is biddable, well-behaved and gentle.

However, over the past few months she has gradually been developing a behaviour that is not good at all.

It probably started when she was comfortably asleep in the evening and they wanted her to go into the garden before they went to bed and Tia didn’t want to go. She started growling.

This escalated until one evening she bit the gentleman.

Soon she was stealing things – usually personal items like underwear and slippers – and taking them into her bed and guarding them. Gradually she started to do this in other places she likes to sleep.

Tia herself doesn’t really enjoy this game, because she frightens herself. She is tempting fate, if you like, because although she started it she is scared when approached or cornered.

Her family give her attention whenever she wants it. They are going to play a little ‘harder to get’ so that she begins to value them and their attention a bit more, and work on their leadership skills. As she never damages things that she takes, there is no reason for them to play her game. They are going to completely ignore the whole thing rather than always taking things off her as they do now. They should also remove her access to tempting objects.

So far as going outside last thing is concerned, they can outwit her, I’m sure, and avoid all confrontation. She will be going out willingly. If they command her to go her outside or try to drag her out of her bed, they invite defiance. There are other ways!

Coincidentally I have been to several Spaniels of late who take things and guard them. I fostered a resource guarding Springer Spaniel a couple of years ago whose previous lady owner had many bites, and she never did it with and I found her a lovely home with an existing client of mine who knew what to do.

Tia will stop in time I am sure if nobody is willing to play, if she gets no attention out of it, and if the family change their own behaviour with her just a little!

I can help you, too, with these problems or any other that you may be having with your dog.