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tina dycktina dyck st.catharinesPosts: 163Member
edited 16 April, 2012 in American Cocker Spaniel
Hi I'm a new owner of a cocker spainiel and I was wondering about rage? My blood lines are really good and I have no family history of it but does that really matter? Is it something that can be pervented ? I just got the puppy today so just a bit worried.(my big sisster is narnia I'm kitty!)


  • Sara HoffeeSara Hoffee Bloomington/NormalPosts: 8,936Member
    edited 2 April, 2007
    Honestly, I think spaniel rage is one of those stories that has spiralled incredibly out of control. Yes, there are cases with Cockers and Springers where it has happened, but it's one of those tales that folks love to go on and on about as if it's happening to a vast majority of spaniels. I know a lot of folks who have rescues with unknown backgrounds that are sweet as can be. It is in the breed standard that the cocker be "merry", so since you did so much research when you got her you're off on the right foot! What I would do is treat your new baby like you would any other puppy. Socialize the heck out her! Get her into a puppy class as soon as she's UTD on shots and the trainer thinks she is ready. Make sure she's exposed to as many different varieties of people as possible--tall people, short people, kids, people in hats, etc. etc. etc. Get started with the grooming ASAP--she'll need to get used to the stimulus of clippers, brushes, being handled. In short, anything you can think of that might someday trigger fear aggression, start conditioning her to accept from an early age. Congratulations on your new baby! It sounds like you guys are off to a good start! Can't wait to see photographs! Love, Gretta
  • Angela LoprestiAngela Lopresti LynnPosts: 426Member
    edited 3 April, 2007
    Cocker Spaniel rage syndrome is a real disorder. Studies show that reds and browns are more prone to the syndrome than other colors. Blacks are second. What exactly causes rage syndrome is unclear. Speculation points to bad breeding practices over the years. It is not as common now as it was in the eighties. Springers are more prone to rage than the Cocker.
  • Sara HoffeeSara Hoffee Bloomington/NormalPosts: 8,936Member
    edited 3 April, 2007
    Oh, I'm not doubting the reality of the disorder...I've seen cases of it (in springers) firsthand. It just seems like everybody assumes a majority of cockers are going to get it. People try to discourage cocker ownership based on this disorder, and I can't count the number of people who ask me if I'm crazy for adopting a "rage" prone dog breed. Urban legend has spun the story so far out of control that the general populace only seems familiar with this aspect of spaniel ownership, which IMO isn't as big as common as folks make it out to be.
  • Angela LoprestiAngela Lopresti LynnPosts: 426Member
    edited 3 April, 2007
    I totally agree Gretta, there is a lot of bad reputation associated with Cockers and rage! Lexy's breeder called me recently and asked if I would help her out in talking to a young woman who wanted to buy a puppy but was afraid about the rage issue. It is something that is being "bred out" of the Spaniel lines by responsible breeders. All my Cockers are big cuddle bugs.
  • Reemy HinesReemy Hines Posts: 98Member
    edited 3 April, 2007
    Narnia, Congrats on the new pup!!! The good news is that it's entirely unlikely that you'll have to worry about Rage Syndrome. In the rare event that you do face it, there are medications used to treat, but not cure, the problem. Phenobarbital is sometimes used (as some believe the problem is related to a seizure disorder), and sometimes anti-depressants are used (as some believe it's related to serotonin levels). Often people think they're dealing with Rage Syndrome when really it's just typical dominance or fear aggression that can be handled well with proper obedience training. Gretta, I completely agree with you! Thankfully it's becoming rarer that people even use terms like "Cocker Rage" or "Spaniel Rage" as Rage Syndrome exists in MANY non-Spaniel breeds, too. Most Spaniel breeding clubs completely reject those old terms. The idea of "Cocker Rage" has caused plenty of good pups to be given up or PTS because people mistake common obedience issues with rage. I find it very upsetting that you still hear the sort of warnings that you're talking about. "Oh, don't get a Spaniel! They're crazy!" Statements like that leave me feeling a bit a rage myself ;) It's a huge problem for Cockers in need of rescue, as many think that getting a Cocker without knowing it's breeder history is asking for trouble. It's just not true! There are so many great Spaniels in shelters that need homes. One of the best things we ever did was adopt Onyx -- this is his third home, he has an unknown breeder history, and no one could ask for a more perfect companion. Here's a great article on the subject: Cocker Rage Syndrome: Fact or Fiction
  • tina dycktina dyck st.catharinesPosts: 163Member
    edited 3 April, 2007
    Kitty has no signs of agression at all. She was so good at the vets unlike narnia who almost had the vets hands for lunch!
  • Sherry ChewSherry Chew Posts: 1Member
    edited 16 February, 2012
    I can assure you that "Rage" is real. So real that our poor cocker will be put down on Tuesday due to this very problem. I never imagined in a million years that I would ever have to do something like this with an animal. However, he has attacked my boyfriend and my son on multiple occasions. He looses his mind, goes into some sort of trance and attacks. I've never seen nothing like it before. I never heard of this when we were looking for dogs and had I known it was even a possibility I would have never bought this dog. I did however ask the breeder a bunch of questions regarding behavior of cockers. Not one time did he mention this possibility when I told him i have a child. I have tried rescue leagues, I have tried no kill shelters and regular county shelters and no one would take him! He can not be in this house any longer. I do love this dog, he has never reacted this way toward me but instead partially because he is "possessing" me. He possesses his food, toys, and me. Even my other dog knows (by the way he tenses up and stares at him) when to stay away from the cocker. He has become a terror and no one is willing to help. I have to keep myself and my family safe. I would NEVER recommend a Cocker Spaniel and that is no lie!
  • Mindy MalletteMindy Mallette Posts: 24,408Member
    edited 16 April, 2012
    Eeks. My former cocker, Cotton was so even tempered and mellow that the idea of "Cocker Rage" used to make me laugh. Just the image of her actually losing it in that way. Now, Cookie is not as mellow, but not surprising considering her history. (She is a rescue) And in fact, she did seem to go into a "trance" at one point and when startled, she bit. This is not good, obviously. But someone on Dogster gave me the advice of always alerting her by clapping hands or calling her name before approaching her, so she isn't startled. This has been working. I am not sure what happened with her was Cocker Rage at all...just a dozing dog with a history of abuse that was unwisely startled awake. All better now.
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