help-can't walk neighbor's dog

Posted by Hopline
Apr 8, 2010

I have been asked to walk two 8 year old cocker spaniels. One was rescued about a year ago, and is sweet and gentle. The other cocker is the same age, however the "client's" elderly 81 year old mother use to put it on a leash, and bring it a few steps outside, and right back in. Now the mother has died, (sometimes the her caregiver walked the dog). The dog will eat out of my hand. However, when I attempt to put the hook the leash on the collar it becomes aggressive. Not only that, it has put it's paw on me indicating she wants to a pet, but then it snaps and growls when you try to.

I even thought of getting a slip lead. Any suggestions? I read one post, to ignore. Thanks!:eek:
Posted by KOPsRobyn
Apr 9, 2010
Hi there,

It seems as though you are in a bit of a tricky situation there. It is often quite difficult when dealing with other people's dogs because you don't spend that much time with them, it is hard to establish a true hierarchy between you. If you do have to deal with these spaniels quite a lots, it would be a good idea to put in some time training them with the alpha dog principles, because it sounds like most of your problems stem from the fact that the dog is dominant over you.

There are a few things that you can do to indicate to her that she is supposed to be at the bottom of the hierarchy. These include insisting that you walk ahead of her through doorways and when walking on the leash, and feeding her after you have finished your own meal. You must ignore her if she comes up to you for attention, as she has to learn that attention from you is earned and not just given out whenever she wants it. Before you pat her or play with her, give her a command, such as 'sit-stay' so that she will see that your attention is a reward for good behavior. This will act as an incentive for the future. If you are playing a game with her, make sure it is you that chooses the toy and when you decide that you have had enough, take the toy away with you so that she realizes that it is you that controls playtime. When you go over to see her, you should take your time and wait until you are ready to greet her before saying hello to her. She will struggle initially as herself as the alpha dog and therefore being in the submissive position to you, who she sees as a subordinate, is distressing. Soon she will settle into her new place in the hierarchy and should become a more relaxed dog in general.

If she becomes aggressive when you go to put the leash on, don't push it and risk getting hurt. The best thing to do would be to train her using a 'time-out zone', but this will take some time to implement before you see the results, so if you do have a bit of time to spend with them, it is a good idea to try it. Don't speak to her or make eye contact when taking her away, so that she is getting absolutely no attention from anyone at all. This place should be quiet and free of distractions, away from other people and dogs so that she can be left completely alone. Leave her there until she calms down and then make her obey a command, such as 'sit-stay', before releasing her from the 'time-out zone'. If she misbehaves again, do exactly the same. She will soon learn that that is not the way to get attention, in fact it will lead to complete isolation instead, which is the opposite of what she wants. It won't take her long to realize that she also won't get her walk if she doesn't behave herself.

If possible, you should spend some time with her teaching her general obedience, because this will enhance your relationship and increase her respect for you. You will find this easier if you can take her away from the other dog and other distractions, so that her full focus is on you.

I hope this helps and all the best with the training!