Can anyone provide current information on sudden rage in cockers. I've been told it is a trait seen more and more in this otherwise gentle breed.
"rage" is controversial, and more heard of in English Springer Spaniels than Cocker Spaniels.
OTOH, due to over and poor breeding, American Cockers (to differentiate from another breed - the English Cocker), have a LOT of aggression. Careful research of a good breeder is essential.
Janet Boss
http://bestfriendsdogobedience.com /
Can anyone provide current information on sudden rage in cockers. I've been told it is a trait seen more and more in this otherwise gentle breed.

Here's an article that talks about rage syndrome:
http://www.essfta.org/aggression.htm

Matt. Rocky's a Dog.
Janet,
I agree with your comment about poorly bred cockers. It isn't rage, it is more like very poor temperaments.

Carol J
Cocker Spaniel Rescue of BC
www.csrbc.petfinder.com
Is this something that can be overcome? How can one know if he/she is adopting
a dog with a bad temperament when just a year old and only seeing them at a shelter where they are probably scared to death.
Is this something that can be overcome? How can one know if he/she is adopting a dog with a bad temperament when just a year old and only seeing them ata shelter where they are probably scared to death.

Depends on the dog and the humans involved. Some dogs have been bred so recklessly that they are missing most of their screws and can't be helped. However, most of them just simply need a structured household with obvious human leaders, where their BS isn't tolerated, to do fine.

Emily Carroll
Fluttervale Labradors: www.fluttervale.com
CPG: www.geocities.com/cyberpetgame/
Is this something that can be overcome?

It depends on how bad the temperament is, and I wouldn't use the term "overcome" when talking about genetically bad temperament. You can certainly train and manage a dog with genetic brain quirks, and if you raise them from the beginning you can give them as many tools as possible to help deal with the issues, but you can't change the dog itself.
And such dogs find it much more difficult to overcome problems caused by mismanagement, neglect, etc. - just as dogs with innate extra-good/stable temperaments overcome them more easily.
George,
Good question.
I'm sure many dogs have been pts due to their fear in the shelter.

I pulled a frightened black cocker out once who would bare her teeth at me if I even looked at her.
I spent 30 mins outside her kennel (which was in the very back as she was deemed aggressive).
I finally, after 30 mins, started tossing in treats and I started to speak to her in a high tone, telling her she was a good girl etc. I finally saw her tail wagging. Once I got them to unlock the gate and I could take her out...she was the best little dog. That was over a year ago now and she is living happily ever after.
Your average pet owner might not know to do this and just see an aggressive dog.
I can only suggest that you go through a reputable rescue group who has fostered and assessed the dog first.

Carol J
Cocker Spaniel Rescue of BC
www.csrbc.petfinder.com