Cocker spaniels are affectionate and sociable. They are energetic animals and generally happy. However, this happiness is highly dependent on human companionship. Cocker Spaniels are unlikely to stay happy if they are left to spend a lot of time alone.
Some cockers can appear a bit “depressed” if left alone regularly or for an unusually long period of time; Others may exhibit full Cocker Spaniel separation anxiety symptoms.
Before describing these symptoms, it is important to note that when a cocker spaniel, or any dog, experiences separation anxiety, they are not intentionally “getting back at you” for leaving them. They are basically in a state of fear or panic. They are not considering, or even aware of, the “good” or “bad” of their behavior. They are simply reacting. Punishing or scolding your Cocker Spaniel will only make things more difficult for both of you.
There are several behaviors that can indicate that your Cocker Spaniel is experiencing separation anxiety. It can seem endearing, and indeed flattering, when your puppy follows you from room to room. Maybe he or she just loves you very much, and very much, which I’m sure the puppy does, but it could also be a sign that your Cocker is afraid of you leaving and doesn’t want to lose you from their sight.
It is also adorable and flattering when pets greet us with great enthusiasm when we return after being away for several hours. Some days, it can be nice to know that someone is glad to see you! However, if your Cocker Spaniel is furious when he returns from a quick trip to the mailbox, there could be a problem.
If your cocker spaniel is normally domesticated, but urinates regularly or does other indoor business when left alone, it could be a reaction to separation, provided it is for a reasonable period of time and your pet has been released before your departure. Again, this is not how your pet punishes you. It is a reaction to stress.
Dogs, including Cocker Spaniels, who suffer from separation anxiety can sometimes cause minor to significant property damage through destructive actions such as chewing (nervous) and / or scratching doors and windows in an attempt to break free and track you down, like a furry. little stalker.
They often vocalize their distress by barking, whining, and even howling while you are away. If there is enough distance between you and your neighbors, this is not a big problem for your neighbors; but if you live in a duplex or apartment, it’s not that great!
What can be done about Cocker Spaniel separation anxiety? You love your Cocker Spaniel but you are feeling frustrated and stress is getting to you. Don’t give up, help is on the way.
The following are suggestions to help you with Cocker Spaniel separation anxiety. There are many more suggestions that trainers can provide, but for now this would be a good start. The important thing to understand and remember is that separation anxiety can be corrected. A key point is to make sure your Cocker Spaniel gets plenty of exercise and is persistent in retraining it for normal behavior.
1) The first thing to do is check with your vet. They can run some tests and eliminate any underlying medical conditions or problems. Dogs, like people, can often be treated with the same antidepressant and anxiety medications that some humans use for anxiety disorders. Before medicating your dog, it would be good advice to consult with a trainer about his Cocker Spaniel separation anxiety problem as well.
2) Gently calm your cocker spaniel before you leave and use the same words each time so your dog will eventually become familiar with the phrase and what it means.
3) Leave scented clothes or bedding in a pile on the floor for your cocker to sleep and / or roll up. An old blanket works well.
4) Do not try to excite your dog when you return from being outside. Wait a couple of minutes after returning to give your dog attention.
5) Consider cage training. However, be sure to properly train the puppy before attempting to confine your pet for extended hours. Cage training has many benefits, but keeping your pup locked up all day is not one of them.
6) Leave the radio (talk station) or television on. Hearing human voices can calm your dog by allowing him to believe that there are people nearby.
7) Desensitize your cocker spaniel to your absence by gradually increasing free time (within reason).
8) Dog care is a very viable and affordable alternative. A dog sitter will visit your puppy at a set time during the day, giving him some playtime and relief. If you are going on vacation or on a business trip, join a Cocker Spaniel rescue group. Members often provide dog sitting services in their own homes at very reasonable prices.
9) Do not punish your dog, it will only increase the problem and cause confusion with the puppy.
10) Be patient and keep taking corrective action. Many dogs improve dramatically in a reasonable amount of time.
A simple solution that has worked for many people is to leave the puppy in a crate for no more than four hours. Before packing, take your pup outside so he can revive and get some exercise. Make sure the box has soft bedding, water available, and some attractive toys. Leave a radio on. Lure the puppy into the cage with a treat. In fact, I have had dogs that would enter the cage alone if they thought I was leaving the house. Get out slowly and you’re on your way to resolving Cocker Spaniel separation anxiety.
If none of these suggestions help with your Cocker Spaniel separation anxiety problem, it’s time to visit your vet again. Medications for anxiety can help with retraining.
Good luck in your training.
Charlie Draper, editor
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