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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 20217
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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Just rehomed a 6 yr old springer spaniel. She seems to have

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Just rehomed a 6 yr old springer spaniel. She seems to have a issue with men and boys. If they go to stroke her she rears her head as if to bite but does not. No growling or lip lifting when she has done it she then goes very submissive.
Hi Jacustomer,
My name is Jane. I have been working professionally with animals especially dogs in both health and behavioral issues for over 18 years. I have over 14,000 satisfied customers. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.
In order to supply you with the best information, I do need to ask for some additional information. Once I receive your answer, it will likely take me about 30-45 minutes to type up your response. I hope you can be patient.
Are they leaning over her to pet her?
Where are they petting her at? On the top of the head,body, etc?
So once she snaps at them, then she rolls over in a submissive manner?
Does she see them approaching?
Are these men in the house or others?
Has she had any obedience training?
What have you tried so far to correct the issue?
You think she has hearing issues?
Is it possible that she has reduced site as well?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Not always leaning over but sometimes. Yes more at the top of her head and neck. Yes as soon as she snaps she rolls over on her back. Yes she does see them. Men in the house or visiting. She has had some training will sit, stay etc. we have just told her no when she does it. Yes she has impaired hearing due to a ear infection that was left untreated in the pound. We are sure her sight is ok. No issues there
Thanks for the additional information.It is helpful. It is possible that she was abused or mistreated by a male in the past and thus has trust issues with males. Some strong willed dogs will have issues with males as well since they feel they will try and dominate them which can also cause similar behavior.
The lack of warning may be from being reprimanded for barking or growling at men in the past. If that is the case, a dog will frequently stop the warning signs of an impending attack. Instead they just snap as a form of reprimand.
However, you can help her can trust in men again. She seems to understand that she should not be nipping at them but needs to learn to trust them again. The best ways of her gaining that kind of trust again is to give her time. Ask the guys not to push her to accept them and let them touch her. Have them always stoop rather than lean over her. They can stoop and toss her a small treat so she starts to associate them with good things and not bad things.

Additionally, have them work with her daily on obedience training. Use thin hot dog slices (vienna sausages) for treats ans well as verbal praise. Ask them to avoid touching her if possible. The obedience training isn't to teach her the commands but to teach her that when the men give a command and she obeys she gets good things. This helps her learn what to expect from them and gain some self confidence and trust.

It will not be an easy road and if she has hearing issues, you might have to use hand signals in place of spoken commands. It is going to take time. In addition, they can sit on the floor and put treats near them and allow her to come get them. They shouldn't try to physically interact with her. Once she is comfortable coming for the treats they can try putting them in their open palm and letting her get them from the palm. This will help her trust issues as well.

Unfortunately, some dogs that have been mistreated will never fully trust again while others seem to recover quicker. Most will adjust to at least the men they come into contact with on a regular basis.

Now there are health issues that can cause sudden aggression which you can read about on the following sites.

I hope this information is helpful to you and you are satisfied with my response. 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 .
Jane Lefler and other Dog Training Specialists are ready to help you