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I know a friend through a forum, they bought a mixed cocker spaniel puppy, love him and raise him as their own kid. Now the dog just turned one year old, and started to show rage syndrome, attacking the owner for no reason. The bite was quite bad (they showed me the injury picture)...and this is not the first time attack.The young couple was thinking of giving up the dog for adoption.

I personally think it is not easy to find a good home for him, as the adopter has to be very experienced in handling this kind of rage syndrome dog. But to euthanize the dog also very cruel too...any other suggestion?
 

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By giving the dog up for adoption they are simply passing the problem on to another owner.

I have seen rage syndrome in cockers - although only in the solid colours - black and the golden cocker, and it is not a pretty sight.

They either need to get professional help, or as hard as it sounds it may be better for the dog to be put to sleep - you say this is not the first time it has happened, and it will happen again. I think they should also contact the breeder and find out if they were aware of this problem in any other dogs from the litter.

Sorry for being so negative but sometimes you have to let your head rule your heart and not the other way around
 

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True rage syndrome is believed to be a form of epilepsy. They need to consult a neurological specialist and see if putting the dog on phenobarbitol and/or potassium bromide is a reasonable solution.
They should NOT give the dog up for adoption, I'm so sorry to say euthanizing would be a better option if the rage syndrome cannot be controlled with meds.
 

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I had heard from multiple sources that it was thought to be a type of seizure disorder. But apparently vet behaviorists do not believe that at this point in time, and it's thought to be an extreme form of conflict aggression.

They need to find a vet behaviorist ASAP and go over their options with that qualified professional. I would not suggest giving the dog up for adoption because the stress and work to deal with any severe behavior problem is so great...and there are so many 'normal' dogs needing homes.

If the severity of injury is great, and they are making plans with a vet behaviorist (not a vet specializing in behavior, not a 'trainer'.).... the dog should be closely managed at all times so there is less chance of injury.
 

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True rage syndrome is believed to be a form of epilepsy. They need to consult a neurological specialist and see if putting the dog on phenobarbitol and/or potassium bromide is a reasonable solution.
They should NOT give the dog up for adoption, I'm so sorry to say euthanizing would be a better option if the rage syndrome cannot be controlled with meds.
Here is an article which might shed some light on what some term "springer rage". It's from the ESSFTA (the national springer club) http://www.essfta.org/Health_Research/aggression.htm

Oops, meant to add that I agree with Hotel4Dogs.
 

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Legally, you cannot re-home a dangerous dog. If he were to attack or bite while in the care of his new owners, you could be held responsible.
This is the advice we received years ago when faced with the decision of what to do about our dog who had attacked and bitten on two separate occasions.
 

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True idiopathic rage is quite rare. It's not the same thing as an aggressive dog. Either way, an aggression problem should be dealt with by a skilled trainer who is experienced in complex aggression problems, a certified behaviorist (certified by the Animal Behavior Society as opposed to a graduate of a proprietary training school) or a veterinary behaviorist, of which there are very few in the country -- 36, I believe.

Very few bites happen out of the blue and for no reason. More often, owners don't see them coming b/c they don't know what to look for. I think working with the right trainer is an important step. A good trainer is often a helpful tool in deciding what to do -- be it attempt behavior mod or euthanize the dog. Sadly, euthanasia is often the most humane answer for everyone, including the dog.
 

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If it is SOA, they need to have the dog put down. There is no cure, it is beyond the dog's control. It gets worse as the dog ages.

I've dealt with it before. It is heartbreaking. See Rage syndrome, Idiopathic Rage Syndrome, Sudden Onset Rage Syndrome.

A behaviorist or vet needs to make the call. Trying to rehome the dog sets the dog up to fail and could get some hurt or killed. Could get the dog beaten to death or worse depending on where it ends up, too.

I worked with vets, a behaviorist, etc. My dog weighed 150lbs. We ruled out a LOT, tried meds, etc.

But he became a great danger to everyone very quickly. He would snap out of it and be oblivious to what had happened. Episodes were more frequent, and he experienced fear and terror along with the rage. There was no way he could be a happy dog, so the kindest thing was to put him down. It is not a simple thing with an easy solution, even in 2017. The professionals will council putting the dog down sooner rather than later once things that can be cured are ruled out.
 

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My golden retriever is just over one year and is showing more aggression towards myself and others, with a few bad bites already. He will begin growling and if he is not calmed down will snap and bite. He seems like a totally different dog when this happens and then a few minutes later he is happy again. Very confusing to us because we don't know what sets him off. We think it is SOA but not sure what to do? We are contacting a behaviorist this week to see our options. Any one have this with a golden and how do you know for sure if it is SOA?
 

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My golden retriever is just over one year and is showing more aggression towards myself and others, with a few bad bites already. He will begin growling and if he is not calmed down will snap and bite. He seems like a totally different dog when this happens and then a few minutes later he is happy again. Very confusing to us because we don't know what sets him off. We think it is SOA but not sure what to do? We are contacting a behaviorist this week to see our options. Any one have this with a golden and how do you know for sure if it is SOA?
Just from what you're saying, it doesn't sound like SOA. We had a dog that was thought to be suffering from SOA, but after meeting with a lot of behaviorists, etc. it was determined to be a different neurological disorder (assuming SOA can be classified as a neurological disorder) causing his problems. One of the things that helped rule out SOA was that during these episodes of aggression, he would usually follow commands, which could effectively stop or delay an attack. From what I learned, in the case of Rage Syndrome, you cannot calm the dog down or stop an attack (other than through physical restraint) which makes me think that's not what you're dealing with. Their eyes will go hard, glazed, and dilated, and the attack is usually vicious.

To be clear, I'm not an expert, but I've spent countless hours researching Rage Syndrome and talking with vets, trainers and behaviorists about it. From what you're saying, it sounds like something is triggering your dog, causing the aggression, maybe something you haven't picked up on, even possibly something illogical. That doesn't mean something else couldn't be wrong medically leading to that behavior. Have you had a full workup done by the vet? There are a lot of medical problems that can lead to aggression that seems random - from liver shunts to Lyme Disease.

No matter what, meeting with a vet and a good behaviorist is your best option. If you can, record videos of the behavior whenever it happens, since that will help the behaviorist analyze what's going on. Good luck to you and your dog - I remember the frustration and helplessness of going through something similar, and the stress of constant vigilance. Until you meet the behaviorist, make sure that the situation is constantly controlled. Muzzle and securely contain to protect from another bite.
 

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Have you had a full blood panel work up by the vet? Is this a certified veterinary behaviorist? Even if it isn't rage syndrome there can also be seizure-like issues that can result in scary behavior seemingly without a trigger. I am sorry you are dealing with this, a dog you can't trust is an absolute nightmare.
 

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Have you had a full blood panel work up by the vet? Is this a certified veterinary behaviorist? Even if it isn't rage syndrome there can also be seizure-like issues that can result in scary behavior seemingly without a trigger. I am sorry you are dealing with this, a dog you can't trust is an absolute nightmare.
Thank you for your reply, I appreciate it during this time as it does get very scary with him sometimes. I am getting blood work tomorrow and will ask for a more extensive result. I am trying to contact a behaviorist, one of few in Canada who is licensed as so and is not far from us to visit. We will see what she thinks. Thanks again!
 

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Thank you for your reply, we really appreciate it as this is really weighing on me. He will randomly change moods, sometimes we can identify his triggers like over the last few weeks. Other times it is really random and he just seems cranky but we can deter him out of it and then hes completely fine. Did you have any success with your dog? Any info will help. Thanks again!
 

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Thank you for your reply, we really appreciate it as this is really weighing on me. He will randomly change moods, sometimes we can identify his triggers like over the last few weeks. Other times it is really random and he just seems cranky but we can deter him out of it and then hes completely fine. Did you have any success with your dog? Any info will help. Thanks again!




If youre responding to me, we did have some success - we put him on anti-anxiety meds and that helped decrease his triggers. We also had him neutered and found after a couple months that it did help some. We had a strict protocol of how we should interact with him from our behaviorist, and he was always muzzled in public and either muzzled when he slept or in the crate, since his issue was tied to sleep and the aggression would normally happen right after he woke up.

Unfortunately he passed away at 15 months from a heart attack very unexpectedly. In the last month he was showing a lot of improvement and we felt like we had our normal dog back (the problems started at 7 months). He was the picture of health outwardly and had a great pedigree - no history of anything like this in related dogs.

I wish you luck, I remember how difficult it was.
 

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If youre responding to me, we did have some success - we put him on anti-anxiety meds and that helped decrease his triggers. We also had him neutered and found after a couple months that it did help some. We had a strict protocol of how we should interact with him from our behaviorist, and he was always muzzled in public and either muzzled when he slept or in the crate, since his issue was tied to sleep and the aggression would normally happen right after he woke up.

Unfortunately he passed away at 15 months from a heart attack very unexpectedly. In the last month he was showing a lot of improvement and we felt like we had our normal dog back (the problems started at 7 months). He was the picture of health outwardly and had a great pedigree - no history of anything like this in related dogs.

I wish you luck, I remember how difficult it was.
So sorry to hear about him passing, that's awful but I thank you for your feedback. Ours has only been neutered for just over a month, so hoping that will help as time goes on. We got a blood work panel done yesterday so we will see if anything comes from that. I am also going to contact the breeder to see if they knew about possible aggression in the parents or if any other puppies from the liter are having this issue. And, of course contacting some behaviorists to get there opinions.
Thanks again!!
 

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I can say that with mine, who was not a PB Golden, but rather a mix of (we believe ) Irish Wolfhound, Pyrenees, and Standard Poodle, the early symptoms did not concur 100% with full-blown SOA.

Finnegan initially had 2 things that were concerning, which might or might not have been related, and they began manifesting when he was around 12 months.

One (A) was a period of what initially was mistaken for resource guarding, but I later realized was just him on his bed, not wanting anyone to approach, hunkered down and wary. If anyone walked near, he'd warn with a growl. They initially lasted 10-30 seconds. I just asked him to go to his "house" (kennel) and he would...he felt safe there, and everyone else was away from him and safe. He was a sweet but timid and skeptical dog in many ways, some of that attributed to his Pyr side, because they prefer to seriously go off and be with their flock and not play, and some because we did not know much about his earliest days...found on the side of a road with his sister in Arkansas when he was what the rescue thought was 7 months, but what was later determined to be closer to 4 months...(he was huge).

Two (B) came a little later, and seemed a little like dementia. A member of the family could walk into the room, all other conditions being normal, and he'd react as if a strange animal has gotten into the house...tension, fear barking. Usually 15 seconds or less, and he'd snap out of it when I spoke to him. Being very sciencey, I tried to track these. Time of day, lighting, temps, when he'd eaten, etc. No pattern, not regularity at all.

A appeared to be fear-based, but we started at the vet looking for hidden wounds or conditions that could be causing pain and the behavior. Nothing. Began anti depressants. No real response. Referred to a behaviorist. Discovered the antidepressants were under-prescribed (needed 3x the dose at least) and to take in the morning not evening. Also got him on things for anxiety, not depression, changed his hair, did some training. This helped a lot with his general demeanor and increased playfulness. Went on tweaking it for 2 years, but never fully eradicated A, which happened less often, but began to last longer, sometimes 10 minutes. He learned to go into the library with me or by himself during the "spells". Treats, etc did not distract much, but sometimes could.

B continued unaffected by the meds and anything we did, but he always came out of the fear when I spoke to him, and I was careful about containing him if I was not going to be present.

The change finally occurred, which could have been 1st occurrence of SOA, or that something in his brain was developing and reached a critical mass of some kind, or that SOA develops over time and matures.

One day, seemingly out of nowhere, he turned on my other dog while we were outdoors - as if my other dog were the devil. Mind you, we have guest dogs here all the time; he's friendly to and with strange dogs. This was different from fear or failure to recognize. Other dog immediately began running for his life screaming in fear (fortunately smaller and faster), while Finn was making a sound like something from a horror film and seriously snapping on his heels. Finn did not respond to my voice AT ALL and the chase went on for 45 seconds or so (forever) and covered a LOT of ground (huge yard). I was on the deck, unable to reach them, and had 5 other dogs with me, who obeyed me and got into the house. My small dog outran Finn and came up and I moved him into the house. Finnegan suddenly, in the middle of the yard, snapped out of it and went to go smell something.

He came to me as if nothing had happened. I went in, secured all, brought him in, kenneled him with a chew toy, moved everyone out, let him out and got on the phone trying to reach the vets. Naturally, a weekend. during that time, he had a lapse that put the normally dominant cat on top of a high shelf and all puffed up.

That night, he had an episode of A that lasted 2 and a half hours...he shook with fear. Was growling. I could pet him, and he'd wag his tail, but couldn't stop growling or looking at door and windows.

Within a few days, all the guests dogs had gone home, and vets concurred the safest thing for everyone was to put him down, which I had done here in my home. He was a huge, 150 lb dog. I consulted many medical professionals, including a few human friends in oncology. Even if it were a tumor and not SOA, and we were able to find it, and try to remove it, odds of a good outcome without it returning and with him having good quality of life for more than a few months were really low, like 18%. His skeptical nature and worry would have made such treatment, being hospitalized, etc like torture for him, which he could not have understood. And he could have seriously hurt someone while were were trying to do it. Since he was very young, and I'd lost a 14 year old just one year before, this whole thing was a very difficult shock. But I wanted him to have a happy life, and when it became clear that he was not going to be able to be happy, that was enough.

If he'd bitten a human, in this state, he'd have to go be quarantined. If he'd hurt or killed another pet, it would have been heartbreaking and unfair. and it wasn't like I could just give him a beer and talk to him when he was in the fear episodes. We'd tried Xanax, and it really did not help.

All this to say that early warning signs may be somewhat different from a developed condition. I see some female dogs develop signs of female dog aggression around 2, also...even those spayed young; it appears to be a thing some are simply prone to, more than others. I also see some dogs who have anxiety disorders seem to start or get worse around 1-3 years old. Which also speaks to brain development with hormones, and not situational conditioning in SOME dogs. SOA is not well-understood. It's never seen in puppies, as far as I know.

So if you have a young dog exhibiting signs, yes, see a vet. And of course, rule out things like ear and dental infections, slipped discs, infected anal glands, and physical conditions which can seem "okay" and then cause sudden, sharp pain - which can cause dogs to lash out. (Saw one dog in rescue; turned out his hair was matted around his collar...it pinched anytime anyone touched his neck area. Once treated, he was a sweetie) Keeping notes on instances when things occur, and what was going on, times, time of day, and your reactions, will help a behaviorist work with you. Also, your dog's diet.

I would not anyone to assume that any bite is SOA. Some dogs also have panic conditions that make them reactive...they can definitely get help. And this does not come from lack of love any more than humans who get panic attacks were abused by their parents. It's medical. And we can treat many mental illness and imbalances in dogs today. Just not all of them. If a dog DOES have SOA, bear in mind that this makes the dog at risk for bad and confusing things to happen to the dog.

Making decisions about these dogs is hard, because we feel guilt that we should have to make such decisions at all.

For me, focusing on my dog's point of view...what little he could understand...helped. He could not understand why he had to be away from his friends, for example. If he'd killed his friend that day, he would have snapped out of it and grieved. And been upset by my grieving and my state of mind, too. they are very sensitive to us and our moods as you all know.

In my heart, I believe he's whole now on some other plain, frisking around with his friend (the 14-year-old), and some of his other friends who have followed since then, and free from the surges of adrenaline and fear and whatever else was going on here in his imperfect body. Not my plan for him, which was getting older together. But what was better for him.

Maybe too much writing, but I hope it is helpful.
 
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