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Yup, do thyroid, bloodwork, and if those show up clean maybe another member can advise if you need to do xrays (not sure how to test for tumor/cancer). If nothing's going on medically, I would look for either a behaviorist or trainer with behavior mod experience, both who focus on PR mainly.

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Oooops some how I missed some post....I would have his thyroid checked. I had a giant schnauzer who would growl and show me all the teeth in his mouth just saying "no sir" from a distance. Blood work showed his thyroid was off. He was put on thyroid medication and never did it again.
 

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Discussion Starter #24
Do you have ticks in your area?
Hmmmm...you know, I have no idea. We live in Northeast Ohio. I'd assume there may be and we have a large yard. I know he checked out fine for fleas.

The schnauzer story gives me hope. I am just baffled why he's so good other times, but tends to growl in the evenings if we're on the couch together. We sit on that same couch other times of the day, and he's fine. I have no problems with him otherwise...
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Hello, I see this is a few years ago but I am interested in how it turned out. We are having exactly the same issues with our 2 yr old springre. Exactly!
 

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Discussion Starter #26
I saw your PM too, but I'll answer here for other people as well. I wish I had a happier ending to my story, but I ended up giving my Springer to a rescue group after getting bit six or seven times. He almost acted like he was in a seizure or trance-like state when he would latch onto my arm, stomach -- whatever he could get his teeth on. I had gotten to the point where I never interacted with him out of fear, and that was no way to live with a dog. The rescue group who took him said he still showed signs of aggression to his foster family, but as far as I know, he didn't bite them. I was the only one he did bite in my household. I was told by a breeder several years later that show lines often exhibit this behavior, and he was a mix of show and field lines. So maybe that had something to do with it. But the whole situation remains a mystery to me. I went to trainers and they weren't of any help either. I wish I had a solution, but in my case, there wasn't one. Sorry about that!
 

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Similar problem

I am up tonight, not sleeping because our old Springer Spaniel is on my mind. My girls were crying for Charlie today, begging me to go get him. We had to surrender him a little over a yr ago after he attacked my husband. Our Charlie was a beautiful, big boned Springer from European stock (which I thought would protect him from Rage Syndrome). He was always dominant but didn't really start showing aggression until he was about 4. Within 9 months, he bit 2 delivery men, and a male neighbor. He would growl at my husband when he was told to get off furniture or not to eat off our counters. He was deemed healthy and we hired a very expensive (and good) behaviorist. He improved in some ways, but then one night, when my husband gave Charlie the simple command to go to his bed, Charlie attacked my husband badly enough he had to go to the ER. At that point, I knew Charlie had to go, but I was still thinking we could rehome him. That is, until I went to say goodnight to him and he turned his head with those wild eyes (it was like he was in a trance, pupils fully dilated) on me, growling ferociously. He had never done that before. I was so scared to walk past him to my room that I climbed onto the kitchen counter. I didn't sleep all night, thinking "what if one (of our five young children) gets up in the middle of the night and he attacks them?" The breeder said put him to sleep. I just couldn't do it. No rescue would take him, so we surrendered him downtown. They said they couldn't adopt him out but would try and get a specialist to take him. I didn't follow up because I just can't take knowing for sure that they put him down.
We've had dogs all our lives- Great Danes, German Shepherds, collies. No aggression at all until this one. Charlie was awesome and loving 98 % of the time, but the other 2% were terrifying.
 

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Discussion Starter #28
I'm the OP. That was my dog's name too! Charlie! He got the nickname "Charlie Manson" because of his behavior. I know what you're going through -- giving him up was hard, but it has been a relief not living in fear these past few years.
 

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I am really hoping someone can give me some advice. Our 3-year-old springer spaniel has been recently showing signs of aggressiveness. It started several weeks ago, when we were sitting on the couch together, and I absent-mindedly reached over to pet him. He suddenly turned toward me, teeth bared, growling, and snapped at me. I figured I had just startled him out of a sleep and tried to refrain from petting him while he was sleeping, though sometimes I'd forget and he would turn on me again. Then he started doing this when he was awake. My groomer said I should be firm with him, show him who was boss by saying loudly something like, "No, you don't act that way!" And for a while, this method worked and he'd lower his head like he was embarrassed, or lean up against me with that "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to do that" look. I took him to the vet, who said he doesn't seem to have a mean bone in his body or any apparent physical issues, and advised me to look into behavioral therapy. But his aggression escalated last night, when we were, again, sitting on the couch. All i did was say his name playfully, which used to make him turn toward me and push for pettings, but this time, the teeth-baring and growling started up again. I told him to stop, like always, but instead of calming down, he lunged at me, biting me on my stomach and then on my hand. He drew blood on both bites and my hand ballooned up today (just got back from the urgent care center).

Most of the time, he is a sweet, loving, and obedient boy, but this recent behavior has me and my husband frightened. Does anyone else have experience with this kind of behavior? How did it come out? Is it rage? Please note, he's not guarding any toys or food when these "couch attacks" have occurred. He has exhibited resource guarding aggression in the past, but he would always give up as soon as I'd correct him, which makes this recent aggression and last night's bites all the more baffling.
Ok. I am the owner of the best ESS ever. Does she occasionally get super irritated, yes, but don't all women? :) it is a problem with us thinking like a human and not realizing that we are not dogs and they are not human. If they do not get the exercise they need and the sleep that they need as a result, they can revert to the Wild side emotions, hence sudden aggressive behavior. Most likely, due to their genetic resemblance to the pack wolf. Startling a ESS, not fully rested, simply by petting her unexpectedly, can have her respond in that Wild response. This can be dealt with by realizing that even the most lovable dog ever, like mine, requires owner adjustments. Like marriage, know what to do, exercise, good healthy food, and comfortable sleep time (sounds like humans to me) and what not to do, not recognizing when to just leave her/him be, no matter how cute they are. They will come to you when they want attention. Give it to them then. They love it. I have had several dog breeds, and my ESS is by far the most loving, intelligent and clean dog, except for the shedding, that I have ever had. Oh yeah, no loud discipline, remember, discipline yourself because you fell into the trap of not recognizing a mood of your best friend, again, a lot like marriage! Enjoy your ESS, the hell with RGing.
 
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