Dear Dog Talk: We own Max, an 8-year-old springer spaniel. He has started growling at family members. This behavior has gotten worse over the past six months.
Max approaches all of our family and growls, while wanting us to pet him. He has not bitten anyone, but it is a concern.
We also have an 18-month-old chocolate Labrador retriever. The Labrador has helped Max with some of his issues, such as not walking on a leash and a fear of loud noises. Around the Fourth of July, we could not get Max to go for walks. He wakes us up several times a night to get out of our bedroom, and he sometimes wants to go outside.
Right now, he is sitting on an ottoman, just growling for no apparent reason. Can you give us suggestions to get Max to stop this behavior?
Dear Concerned to the Max: I don't know what is going on with Max. Some lines of springer spaniels are afflicted with a condition know as Springer Rage Syndrome, but I don't know a lot about this condition. My understanding is that Springer Rage Syndrome is a type of seizure that causes the dog to act violently aggressive.
I recommend that you research this condition and see whether any of the symptoms correlate with Max's behavior.
If Max were my dog, I would have a veterinarian do a complete physical, including blood tests. I also would ask for a referral to a veterinary canine behaviorist.
As far as Max's fear of loud noises is concerned, many dogs share this fear. It could be related to the growling behavior, but maybe not. A behaviorist might be able to determine this. …