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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 20179
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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We have rehomed a cocker spaniel who was rescued from a puppy

Customer Question

We have rehomed a cocker spaniel who was rescued from a puppy farm. She is 6 years old, she has taken a dislike to y husband and bets his legs. What can we do
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 4 years ago.
Hi JaCustomer,
My name is Jane. I've professionally worked with animals for over 16 years dealing with both health and behavioral issues. I have over 14,000 satisfied customers. It will be my pleasure to work with you.
I need to ask for some additional information. Once I receive your responses, it will likely take 30-40 minutes to type my response. I hope you can be patient.
How long have you had her?
Who feeds her?
Who takes her for walks?
Is she allowed on the furniture?
Does she only follow him and bite his legs or does she try and bite him all the time?
So is yelling at her the only thing you have tried?
Has she had any obedience training?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
We have had her for three weeks
I feed, walk and do everything for her. She is very attached to me. We adopted her from a charity that rescued her from a puppy farm..
She watches my husband's feet as if he is going to kick her and when he goes near her bed she goes for his ankles! But also, she tears around te house wherever I am and she runs full belt into things and if she bumps into him she barks and goes to bite him. When he comes into the living room she rowls and barks at him but does not try to bite unless he goes close. She is not allowed on the furniture, though at first she tried she accepts that now.
I have tried shouting no and looking very disapproving and she becomes very guilty looking, I have also tried touching her snout with my finger on top and saying stop that and she usually obeys. My husband has been trying to win her over by talking to her and goes to him when I am the for a stroke and seems to be getting more confident with him but today shr seemed to be enjoying a lovely stroke but when he finished and stod up to go outside she ran up behind I'm and bit his ankles!
My husband is blind o I suppose his movements can be unpredictable and he s not aware when she is about to strike.
She is a lovely dog otherwise, so we are at a loss what to do
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 4 years ago.
Thanks for the additional information. The tool bar seems to be not working properly, so if I include links, you may have to copy and paste them into your browser and hit enter to view the pages.
It does sound like you girl is a bit scared of your husband. Some experts will suggest crating her any time she exhibits the ankle biting behavior so she learns it is unacceptable. However, there is another method that works well and perhaps your husband could use that method with her.
For nipping at the pants legs, you need to adopt an exaggerated walk with your heels coming up on the back swing. If your husband walks in this manner, when the dog gets too close to his feet, she will end up getting the shock of a heel coming up and possibly catching her in the jaw or chest. Since your husband is just walking, it will surprise them. It usually only takes a few times before a dog will stop jumping on the backs of legs or biting them. Of course, this will also involve having all visitors do this while the dog is in training. I think you will find most people willing to help.
Your husband can also be elected to help with training allowing you to work with her several times a day when you know she would normally do it. You can also leash her and when she goes to sneak up on him, give a short tug and a firm NO to stop the behavior. Once she stops ankle biting, reward her with tasty treats and praise. This means when she doesn't go for his feet. For each person she doesn't do this to, reward her. She will learn that your husband means treats and are a good thing and that should help stop the biting.
You can also have your husband take over all feeding of her including treats except for training purposes. This teaches her that your husband controls things that are important to her and will start seeing him as the boss or leader. While not always true, there is some truth the the statement of not biting the hand that feeds you. You might also institute the Nothing in Life is free(NILF). It is outlined below.
You will also want to keep a leash on the her at all times initially to grab if she should disobey. Dogs like knowing what is expected of them and they love the little paper thin slices of hotdogs that I use for treats while training. Give this a try and see how it works for you.

In addition, if the situation is not improving using the techniques on the previous website, you may have to consult a professional behaviorist. You can usually find a behaviorist by asking your Vet for a recommendation or you may be able to find one using the following site.
If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have .
If you have questions in the future that you wish me to answer, you may click here and bookmark the page or make it a favorite. It is best to put my name "JANE" in the question as well.
Since there have been recalls on certain foods, please check the following site to be sure the food your animals eat is not affected. If it is affected, contact your vet as soon as possible. Have your dog seen if they have any symptoms.

Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 4 years ago.
Just a quick follow up to see if you had a chance to try any of my suggestions. I hope you found my suggestions helpful.