Jumping Up, Nipping, Biting Young Spaniel

Cocker Maisie goes still when trailing a leadMaisie is a 7-month-old Cocker Spaniel with behaviour very similar to Pebbles who I met a couple of days ago.

From the moment they brought Maisie home at eight weeks old she was a nippy puppy with her needle sharp puppy teeth. If this had been dealt with from the word go, it would have stopped long ago instead of getting worse. Her owners had never had a dog before and they have done everything they can to bring her up right – influenced as usual by TV programmes, things they have read on the Internet and what other people advise.

When puppy nipping isn’t dealt with correctly – and this is not done by scolding or punishment – it grows into a bigger problem as the dog grows bigger. Now Maisie is biting quite hard, for no apparent reason she flies at her young lady owner in particular, grabbing her clothes and hurting her. When she turns her back to Maisie, her back gets the damage.

The lady really so wants to kiss and cuddle Maisie, but Maisie is having none of it. The man, who fusses her less, has more respect.

Just as with Pebbles, in the time I was there, for me she changed into a willing little dog who was eager to please me – with the occasional ‘just testing’ relapse to see if my response to the jumping on me was unwavering. She was soon listening to me and eagerly doing what I quietly asked her to do. She is adorable. They couldn’t remember having had an evening like it when Maisie was so calm.

A strange thing did happen which I have noticed on previous occasions but  to a lesser extent. When I put her lead on to gain more control  – dropping it so she trailed it – initially it was like she became hypnotised. She stood very still.  Normally she runs off when they want to put her lead on (this isn’t because she doesn’t like walks – more because she doesn’t want to be controlled), so they chase and corner her which causes her to cower.

On and off all evening we practised calling her over, asking her to sit, treating her, putting the lead on or taking it off and then rewarding her again. She was willing and cooperative. We were ‘working’ her and putting some demands on her in terms she understood and without getting her excited. She loved it.

I hope the lady in particular can continue reacting in such a way that Maisie doesn’t ‘attack’ her and her clothes or shoes when they are alone together without the gentleman to step in and help. I may need to go again and show them by example once more.

Old habits are hard to break for both the humans and the dog – especially giving commands like No and Off which do no good at all – and only make a dog like Maisie more bolshie and wild.

From email received 9 days later: ‘We have seen a vast difference in Masies behaviour already, she is calmer and all our issues have improved…”
I can help you, too, with these problems or any other that you may be having with your dog.