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Please help me with my spaniel!

(8 Posts)
curiousgeorgie Tue 21-May-13 14:17:50

My cocker spaniel is 6 years old, pretty well trained if a bit crazy. Has been to dog school and is intelligent enough for 'tricks' like rollover, head down etc.

We had some trouble with him just after my DD was born (2.5 yrs ago) and he bit someone in a garden centre but we had a police dog handler come for home visits and re affirm his place in the pack (and had him nuetered) and since then he's been great.

Until now!!

Everyday for the past two weeks he's messed on the floor when I've been out... He's not left on his own for long periods of time, and one instance was only 25 minutes to the post office! He does it everytime without fail even if hes just been outside before ive left. He also treads in it and walks it everywhere! I thought about putting him in the laundry room when I go out to contain it but that feels like punishing him before he's done anything and also just accepting the problem.

He has started to bark crazily as well... Not just when someone's at the door but randomly at night etc like he can hear someone and no amount of 'no barking' (which used to work!) works...

Does it sound like something's wrong or do I have to start over and retrain him? I'm expecting DD2 in max 5 weeks and moving house in 3 weeks and really don't want him to make our neighbours hate us, or have to worry about the baby's arrival making him worse?

We are totally committed to him, he's our first baby and we would never get rid of him but this just can't go on.. Aside from anything else I'm starting to not be able to get on my hands and knees to scrub the floor so easily!

Help please!

curiousgeorgie Tue 21-May-13 14:18:42

I should just add, he doesn't seem poorly. He's eating fine and has a cold nose. (which is the extent of my expertise!)

TataClaire Tue 21-May-13 16:04:29

Oh dear...When you say mess - do you mean poo? wee? both? lots? or normal amounts/type?

curiousgeorgie Tue 21-May-13 16:05:44

I mean both! Normal amounts but trodden everywhere...

moosemama Tue 21-May-13 16:16:55

It sounds like you have a lot going on at the moment, new baby, house move etc and it's possible that he's picking up on your stress.

My first advice with any sudden change in character or behaviour is to get the dog checked out by a vet. He could be in pain or feeling under the weather, without it being obvious to you.

RedwingWinter Tue 21-May-13 16:43:08

I agree with moosemama that you should get him checked at the vet, as he could have something wrong with him and you need to rule that out before you consider behavioural problems.

If the vet doesn't find anything wrong, it is possible that all the changes in the household are proving very stressful for the dog. The Dogs Trust has a great leaflet about dogs and babies, with some advice on helping a dog to adjust, here.

Just so you know, techniques designed to 'affirm the pack order' are out-dated and run the risk of making things worse. If it turns out not be a veterinary problem, behavioural approaches using lots of positive reinforcement are better. Best of luck at the vets.

OrangeFireandGoldashes Tue 21-May-13 20:47:37

Agree with moosemama and RedwingWinter re vet check and also training methods having moved on.

Assuming that physical issues are ruled out in due course, if he is stressed then making him a safe 'den' in the laundry room might actually be a positive thing for him. Is he crate trained? If not, try putting his bed in a quiet corner of the room, plug in an Adaptil pheromone diffuser, put some food nearby (dogs tend not to 'go' next to their food) and leave him with something to keep him occupied, e.g. a Kong filled with treats and stuffed up with e.g. Primula cheese spread or similar. Don't make a big fuss when you go out or come back.

Re the barking, there are some good techniques here which you might find helpful.

curiousgeorgie Tue 21-May-13 22:21:01

Thanks everyone, I'll book a vet appointment and try setting him a den up in the laundry room smile

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