Rage Syndrome.... no, it isn't what you get when a red hummer cuts you off and nearly destroys your car.
This genetic disorder is found in dogs, and mainly effects the Spaniel dog breed.
Imagine you're sitting there with ole Fido enjoying your day and with no apparent reason he goes into a fit of anger growling with a cold hard stare at nothing, pulling his head back as if uncontrollably.
This description is exactly what any dog owner who has a rage syndrome pup might experience. It is defined as an epileptic bout of rage which effects the emotional part of the brain. Most the time the dog can not control their actions and doesn't even realize it is happening. Almost like a seizure of some sort.
Though some dogs are able to stop it, some go into a bout that leads to them attacking without even realizing they are. For some dogs, there is a triggered situation which causes it to happen. Sometimes it can be from suddenly being wakened from sleep, or certain words that cause them to have their attack such as aggressive negative commands ("bad dog", "go lay down in your kennel", etc.)
Often people believe it is a training issue or the onset of rabies, but that is rarely the case in certain breeds.
However, as bad as rage syndrome sounds it is something that can be tolerated. Other than those situations where the dog is seizing with rage, he is still your sweet baby dog. The dog comes out of his rage and is completely normal as if unaware anything has even happened. I would imagine this makes it very hard to be mad at them. It's almost like puppy tourettes.
Treatment for rage syndrome is limited and often involves finding a canine neurologist.
Some other dog breeds that this can happen to is Papillon, Rottweiliers, English Bull Terriers, and Golden Retrievers.
December 19, 2011