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We have a 5 year old English Springer Spaniel named Junior. We rescued him from a shelter as his previous owners bought him at a pet store in a mall. They didn't realize the level of energy that Springers have and kept him in a crate on their front porch. I know he has a traumatic history.

He hasn't gotten a lot of exercise lately as our NE winter is kicking our butts so I know I need to get him outside more.

He has always been aggressive towards other dogs, thus limiting our time at the local dog park. He barks and whines and cries loudly when we are walking and come across another dog, even across the street.

He has begun to attack our cat (who himself is blind and deaf and a rescue). This usually only happens when Junior has a raw hide chew and the cat enters his sight lines. Recently he attacked the cat and caused bleeding and now our poor cat has two stitches in his paw. It took both of us to pull our dog off the cat and was very scary.

This morning I was drying Junior off after our walk (it's raining, again) and he again growled at the cat. I was able to get him out of the room without incident, but it's cause for great concern. We have the cat quarantined to our mud room until he has the stitches removed.

I am at a loss as to what to do. It isn't fair to the cat to have to keep them separated at all times in different rooms (nor good for our lifestyle).

I have contemplated giving him up to a good home without children or other pets. We are planning a family soon and we don't feel comfortable with him in a home with a new born.

I have read a lot about ESS rage and don't feel that this is the problem, just increasing aggression toward the cat. He has never attacked either of us, but has bitten our male friends a few times as they enter our home.

I need help! Any idea what could be the issue? We really can't afford a personal behaviorist and all the trainers in our area (Suburbs of Philly) appear to do more with agility and puppy training than behaviors.
 

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Welcome to the forum.
How long have you had him?
When did he start attacking the cat? Can you think of anything that changed?
Have you had any blood work done to make sure it is not medical? You might want to have his thyroid checked if this is a new behavior that just started out of no where.

Exercise is very important for a high drive dog. You make or buy a flirt pole (toy on a string) to help burn off some of his energy.

Do you have a crate for him or can you baby gate him in a room? You could switch out freedom between him and the cat until you figure out what might have happened. Only give him a chew when he is kenneled so he does not feel the need to protect it.
 
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