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Welsh cocker
Member
Posts: 10

Just wanting some experienced opinion on whether people have witnessed cocker rage. I recently read an article which identified cockers as the 'most aggressive' breed in the UK, followed by boxers, and then Rottweilers. The article referenced Cocker Rage as the cause, blaming a neurological condition inherent in some breed lines similar to petit mal seizuresn epilepsy. 

I researched the breed fully before getting a wcs, especially as my partner and I are expecting our first child. My understanding was that this aggression was more to do with training/socialisation issues, and not exclusive to the breed. Also, it was more closely associated to show line due to reported 'in breeding'. However, on further research on the internet wcs owners have challenged this by providing their own personal accounts of a previously well trained and calm wcs, attacking their owner (or someone within the home) suddenly and without warning!! Especially solid colours.

We have a black 16 week old bitch, who has so far shown no evidence of aggression. In fact, with the right training, exercise, and mental stimulation she has proven to be an ideal pet. We are experienced dog owners having springers and collies previously, but this latest information has unnerved me somewhat.

As a specialist forum for workers, I wondered what peoples experience and/or views were about this. I recognise that this can be a sensitive topic, but would really like to get the insight of those who have worked and homed this line of cocker spaniels (rather that read preconceptions of those with little experience of the breed). 

January 24, 2014 at 1:12 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Keith61
Member
Posts: 505

Hi,

Forum Home>General Discussion>Colour=Temperament might be a start.

Member- John Irwin might also be able to help you, perhaps if you PM him?

There is also 'confusion' IMO that is related to ignorance (deliberate or accidental) between 'temperament' and 'rage'. It is not uncommon for incidence of bad temper to be reported as rage (something that flawed previous studies into Cocker rage).IMO true 'rage' is extremely rare and IMO statistically far more prevalent in other breeds. Temper is not the same thing. IMO temper begins with breeding and is then moulded by circumstance...

If you worry about true rage, I'd give up crossing roads- you have more chance of being run over by a bus.....


--

"Outside of a dog, a book is probably a Man's best friend and inside of a dog it's too dark to read."

Groucho Marx

January 24, 2014 at 6:06 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Cass
Member
Posts: 94

"Rage" is something associated more with show lines, not working dogs.

January 25, 2014 at 11:43 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Hartshay
Member
Posts: 64

Just because someone has written an article it does not mean it is true. 

January 25, 2014 at 12:41 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Welsh cocker
Member
Posts: 10

Thank you all for providing a realistic view. You have put my mind to rest :)

I will stop paying so much attention to articles that generalise this wonderful breed based on some peoples misunderstanding of behaviour problems that can occur across all dogs. 

February 2, 2014 at 3:36 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Carson
Member
Posts: 22

I have two working cockers. They have to be of the temperament that allows them to mix with up to 20 other dogs who they have not previously met on a shoot day. Sometimes I have to shove them in the back of a car with 3 or 4 other dogs and sometimes strange dogs are shoved in with them. I've never had any problems. True gun dogs have to be like that otherwise we wouldn't be welcome in the shooting field. I have noticed some aggression in some black labs but never in the cockers.


February 2, 2014 at 4:10 PM Flag Quote & Reply

MillyMills
Member
Posts: 33
I've taken my WC she's only nearly 7 months on two beating days this year for practice with other dogs noises etc anyway like the above comment, working dogs have to be sociable and tend to get on very well with people, dogs. Nothing seems to phase them, and my dog, so far has shown no aggression at all even though she has been attacked by 3 black Labradors!!! She must repel them because other colours are fine with her!! I think the rage is more associated with show types maybe be because of bad breeding, I don't know.
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Jenny

February 3, 2014 at 4:05 PM Flag Quote & Reply

MillyMills
Member
Posts: 33
Also I adore Labradors and my dog is fine, maybe not attacked but pounced on aggressively, growling etc!! Just before I get accused of hating Labradors!! :-)
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Jenny

February 3, 2014 at 4:07 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Tony Osborne
Member
Posts: 10

Welsh cocker at January 24, 2014 at 1:12 PM

Just wanting some experienced opinion on whether people have witnessed cocker rage. I recently read an article which identified cockers as the 'most aggressive' breed in the UK, followed by boxers, and then Rottweilers. The article referenced Cocker Rage as the cause, blaming a neurological condition inherent in some breed lines similar to petit mal seizuresn epilepsy. 

I researched the breed fully before getting a wcs, especially as my partner and I are expecting our first child. My understanding was that this aggression was more to do with training/socialisation issues, and not exclusive to the breed. Also, it was more closely associated to show line due to reported 'in breeding'. However, on further research on the internet wcs owners have challenged this by providing their own personal accounts of a previously well trained and calm wcs, attacking their owner (or someone within the home) suddenly and without warning!! Especially solid colours.

We have a black 16 week old bitch, who has so far shown no evidence of aggression. In fact, with the right training, exercise, and mental stimulation she has proven to be an ideal pet. We are experienced dog owners having springers and collies previously, but this latest information has unnerved me somewhat.

As a specialist forum for workers, I wondered what peoples experience and/or views were about this. I recognise that this can be a sensitive topic, but would really like to get the insight of those who have worked and homed this line of cocker spaniels (rather that read preconceptions of those with little experience of the breed). 

I have two WCS  7 & 4 years old.  Both have superb temperaments and have never put a foot wrong.

Our whippet puppy absolutely pesters the younger one and he puts up with it impeccably.

I did have a friend in the 1970s who had a Cocker which was a true example of cocker rage.  It was so bad, most people would have it put down, however she persevered and luckily for the dog it was allowed to live its natural span.  She lived on a farm with no kids, so not a huge problem.

However,, at the time I was considering getting my first cocker so did a lot of research.

According to the info I accessed, this rage was due to selective breeding from a single hugely succesful show cocker.  I can't remember the name, but it was apparently from a line of Welsh show cockers.

i understood it has been eradicated, and have never heard of a WCS SHOWING THIS TRAIT.

February 23, 2014 at 2:27 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Lazar
Member
Posts: 18

I had to put my black WCS to sleep this morning i went to work last night my partner was standing at the work surface in the kitchen and she called me at work saying he was under the kitchen table growling i told her to leave him alone. Next thing my son rang and told me to come home he came out from under the table he was round her legs tail wagging she bent down to stroke him she said there was a change in his eye's and he went for her face she quickly moved but he grabbed her arm enough to take her to hospital. I'm distraught what do you call that rage or aggression to me it was rage i came home he was as loving as ever told him to go to his bed followed him outside just as he was taking the last step into his run he turned on me lucky he did not connect.Darcy was just over 2yrs of age coming on fantastic at agilit trained to silver standard in obidence and a fantastic loving pet. First thing the vet said when i took him in was Cocker rage.

July 4, 2014 at 10:34 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Lynn
Member
Posts: 217

So sorry to hear that Lazar.  There is a topic on page three of the forum which may be of interest to you. Title - 8 mnonth old wcs bit 4 year old - Sarah D

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July 4, 2014 at 12:28 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Breezybrook
Administrator
Posts: 255

Firstly I am sorry to hear of this incident. Whether it was rage or not I do not know, I was not there to see if any circumstances led up to it etc etc.

Personally I have never encountered rage, I have owned many, many wcs over the years, I currently have 10. I often have other WCS to board and I just put them in the yard with my own dogs. There is no fighting or agression and never has been. Perhaps this is down to pack leadership (I am the leader)

If I had to recomend a breed of dog as a family pet I would recomend the WCS. As this has been my own experience over many years I have trouble in believing in rage in WCS, but anything is possible.

But what does anoy me are coments from vets who have little or no experience of the condition, making off the cuff coments such as "it is rage" How do they know? Do they know the circumstances? Have they experienced Cocker rage?

This is what gets breeds bad reputations, a vet is asked a question, he/she wants to appear knowledgable especially as they are charging for their time, so saying "I am unsure, there are many factor's that could lead to such behaviour....." is not a good answer (albeit honest) they say something like "it is rage" as it is a positive diagnosis and they sound as if they know what they are talikng about.

A vet cannot be an expert in all canine behaviour, he is a specialist in physical workings of the animal body not the mind.

The best thing would be to speak to people who have owned and bred the breed for years. The Cocker Spaniel Club is the breed club and many breeders would be able to give more knowledge of rage  (mainly show type breeders) than any vet

Sorry to rant on, but vets do not have the answer to everything


--

Jacquie

Breezybrook Gundogs

www.breezybrookgundogs.co.uk           

www.breederscan.co.uk 

.

July 5, 2014 at 5:16 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Lazar
Member
Posts: 18
Would like to thank you for your reply's they do help we as a family are feeling lost and num without him this morning.
July 5, 2014 at 6:35 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Neill
Member
Posts: 1280

Lazar

so sorry to read your post, I agree with Jacquie 100 per cent.

I have not heard of any cases of true Cocker rage for a long time, and then only with the golden show type.  We can't know why your dog behaved like that,I guess the same happens with people as well.  Like I say, you have my sympathy.




--

Every time I take my dog out for a lesson, he never fails to teach me something!!!!!!!

Neill

July 5, 2014 at 8:33 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Lynn
Member
Posts: 217

Lazar,

Believe me, when I say that I know just how distraught you and your family will be feeling right now. But please be reassured that you have done the right thing. It would be nigh on impossible to ever fully trust your dog again, following an incident like this and you would never again see him in the same light. If you have read the other forum posts, you will know that a similar thing happened with our first cocker, (Worker/Show ??) and although we decided to keep him, our lives became totally dominated by his behaviour and unpredictability, and the measures we had to take in order to manage him. We would not do the same again.

Reading between the lines, I am guessing that you did not have your dog from a pup, so you may not know if anything happened to him prior to you getting him which may have affected his behaviour. If I have learned anything from my own experiences, it is that a pup’s early life experience can and will shape their future lives. Many never totally get over a bad start in life and it can cause problems to re-surface later on.                                                                                                  

I suspect this may have been what has happened here.

Lynn

                                                                                                                                                                                                               Lynn

 

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July 5, 2014 at 12:36 PM Flag Quote & Reply

jackiep
Member
Posts: 3

The whole subject of "rage" has interested me immensenly since purchasing my first cocker.  Although I rather doubt I will have a issue with my dog I have read much on it and when I came accross this video on youtube of Cesar Millan working with a well trained working lab that was considered a rage case by many I watched this video with intense interest.  

If you scroll through the video to 26:31 you will be able to take a look at the case of the lab.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WInYxum2fU8&list=PLskJpj_Xfd22BemPxIpTQ0VkDXzk33iVZ

Although I can see that it would be hard to trust this dog going forward it really is wonderful that they seemed to be able to work through the issue.  

July 6, 2014 at 4:52 PM Flag Quote & Reply

keez
Member
Posts: 1

Lazar,what a terrible thing to happen,sorry for your loss,i am a bit suprised that the vet put it down to cocker rage tho, maybe your dog had a problem that wasnt showing itself?? my friends dog had a marked change in behaviour ,and sadly they found he had a brain tumour :-(

July 7, 2014 at 4:02 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Lynn
Member
Posts: 217

jackiep at July 6, 2014 at 4:52 PM

The whole subject of "rage" has interested me immensenly since purchasing my first cocker.  Although I rather doubt I will have a issue with my dog I have read much on it and when I came accross this video on youtube of Cesar Millan working with a well trained working lab that was considered a rage case by many I watched this video with intense interest.  

If you scroll through the video to 26:31 you will be able to take a look at the case of the lab.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WInYxum2fU8&list=PLskJpj_Xfd22BemPxIpTQ0VkDXzk33iVZ

Although I can see that it would be hard to trust this dog going forward it really is wonderful that they seemed to be able to work through the issue.  

Watched the video jackiep. IMO this is not true ‘rage’. IMO the Labrador is showing classic signs of guarding what he feels is his territory (kennel) and his food.

‘Rage’ as I understand it, happens suddenly, and for no apparent reason, a dog may turn on their owner, or on an object. It is as I understand it a neurological disorder, and can happen quickly, randomly and just as quickly will subside, the dog seemingly not realising what has happened.

As Jaquie quite rightly points out, it is often miss-diagnosed by vets, and this was the case with our own dog, who was diagnosed by a vet as suffering from ‘rage’. We did not accept this however, as we knew that from day one with us, he did not act like a ‘normal’ pup. He would freeze when picked up, did not play, cowered down at every little noise, and spent his first weeks with us hiding behind the sofa. He showed extreme fear of many things (people with walking sticks, Dustbins, People wearing hoods, other dog in particular Rottweiler’s etc.etc.) The only aggression he ever showed as a pup was around his food; he would curl his lip up and keep one eye on you while he ate. We tackled this problem by feeding him from our hand for a while.

He was, in our view a sad case of what poor breeding, neglect and severe early trauma can produce in a dog. Most people would have had him put to sleep, but we decided, rightly or wrongly that we would try to work through his problems and hopefully cure him, as we realised that his aggression only came out of fear. We did have some success with him, but realised later on, that his demons ran far too deep and we would never totally overcome them.                      We just felt he deserved a chance! ...... He was put to sleep, aged 5, suffering with Lymphoma.

Definitely not a case of ‘rage’ though.

 

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July 8, 2014 at 6:38 AM Flag Quote & Reply

jackiep
Member
Posts: 3

Lynn...I agree that this is not rage but it is what many consider (and diagnose) as rage. True rage is very different and very very uncommon from what I understand. Fear is to me a much harder thing to deal with than aggression and I take my hat off to anyone that tries to work through problems that come along with dogs that suffer from fear issues.  I would find it a very frustrating process to bring around a fearful dog and think that it takes a special person to give a dog like this a chance.  I am sorry you eventually lost him but am glad that you were there to help him recover from some of his issues.

July 8, 2014 at 9:17 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Averil
Member
Posts: 6

I have just been told by the behaviouralist at my local vet that my WCS has cocker rage,except it's not called that anymore. She has attacked my husband several times for no apparent reason in a very savage way. The last time was when my husband was kneeling down to clean out the fire, Sasha came over for a cuddle and my husband was petting her and she was loving it and then suddenly she went for him and savagely bit him on the hand. There was no warning and as quickly as it happened it was over. You may wonder why the previous attacks were tolerated and she hasn't been put down. She was my father's dog and I took her when he had to go into a home (July 2013) and he passed away last December. He was a big shooting man and she was his pride and joy, a super wee dog, fearless in the field and steady and his one consolation was she was with me and happy, so my husband and i will hold off that final journey as long as we can, but I am running out of hope. We have been recommended to do a complete health check to make sure there isn't any underlying medical reason for this so she is at the vet on Saturday for a series of checks. The behaviouralist also thought that Sasha thinks the hierarchy of the house is me, her, then my husband and my other dog (a flat coat - who doesn't care where she is in the line up as long as she gets fed, walked and has someone to lick!) and said we had to do something to assert my husbands position above her but then didn't really give any suggestions that my husband was comfortable with (he should take a lead role in training her to do agility which I would think would put him right in the firing line so to speak). I have always found the posts here very useful and informative so is there anyone out there that could help and advise me on how to deal with this? Happy to give a longer case history but didn't want to write an epistle.  

January 29, 2015 at 6:37 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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