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From: Rebecca (
Subject:         A food aggressive, socialy timid and paranoid dog
Date: November 25, 2009 at 8:58 am PST

I have a three-year old English Springer Spaniel, Abbey. She is a bit high-wired due to the fact that she was bred specifically for, trained specifically for and is used for hunting birds. An amazing, friendly and overall great house dog as well.
She is very food and possession aggressive. With food, whenever she eats she tucks her tail, lowers her head and growls (while hunched over her food) if you enter the room, leave the room, move in the room or even just look at her. Abbey was born the runt of the litter, but when we went to pick her up from the breeders, she was the biggest. Also, her stomach didn't used to produce a bacteria that helps the absorbtion of nutrients. When she was a puppy, her body was practically starving herself. After visiting the vet and getting medicine to fix the problem, she is perfectly fine (her body produces the bacteria now, on it's own). Is this problem even fixable, since it may be a mental issue from birth?
When you take her to play in the park, she snaps at other dogs if they go near her ball (with the exception of two dogs). She also steals other dog's balls. How do I fix this?
Also, Abbey is very timid in social settings, often flattening herself on the ground with her tail tucked and averting meeting eyes with other dogs (extremely friendly with people). If the dog comes up to her, she bolts behind my legs, cowering. I took her to puppy classes and socialization classes when she was a pup, but around her 1st birthday, she started being timid. If she is in an off-leash area, she either ignores other dogs completely or runs from them, tail tucked. How do I fix this because I don't want her to be scared in public, for her happiness and safety.
Lastly, Abbey is very nervous in general. If you pet her when she isn't expecting it, she curls her lips back in a snarl (no noise or growling though) and her eyes bulge out. She will then either start to pee, try and climb onto your lap or run, growling, to a toy or where she thinks a toy is. Solution? Abbey also has the need to almost constantly have some sort of physical connection with a person. She will paw and whimper until you touch her.
Any help, if possible, to any or all of these problems would be greatly appreciated. I don't want my best friend to be unhappy or feel unsafe at any point in her life.
Thank you

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