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Should I worry that she's too calm?

(16 Posts)
Toastandstrawberryjam Fri 22-May-15 11:49:26

Sounds like a daft question I know!

I have a 4 year old cocker spaniel. Had her since a puppy and she was the usual bouncy crazy spaniel pup. Over the last two years she has gradually calmed down but this has been very noticeable over the last few months. She is like a totally different dog. She is relaxed on walks not tugging to go faster, she spends most of the day dozing rather than chasing the cats round the garden. She waits patiently for her dinner rather than barking like a loon.

The only change a few months ago was DH moving out, although he never really paid her any attention but the atmosphere was very toxic for about a year. So I'm not sure if maybe it's calmer here so she feels calmer. Or I'm not sure if she's depresssed? Can dogs get depressed? She doesn't seem that keen to do anything, like chase a ball or go for a walk. She's at her happiest sleeping on my feet or laying in the garden with a chew.

She spends some time on her own most days but she isn't excitedly greeting me when i get home, it's more a case of sleepily looking up at me and wagging her tail.

I had her checked at the vet and she is ok, no heart problem. She has always had a floppy larynx but as long as she doesn't get overheated she's fine.

Sorry for length of post, can you tell she's my first dog!!!

pigsDOfly Fri 22-May-15 20:53:56

I'm interested to read your post Toast as I've been having the same concerns about my 4 year old dog for the last few months.

She's not a spaniel, but was pretty nuts as a puppy. She now seems to spend quite a lot of time sleeping and although happy enough to go on walks has lost that mad eagerness, also she seems to get a bit bored after a short while on certain walks if there's not a lot going on.

We've also had a very disrupted time over the last six months or so. Nothing as tough as yours but difficult nonetheless, and I did wonder if her calmness was a reaction to that or maybe to my now happier outlook.

I too have been thinking of getting her checked out by the vet but there's nothing really wrong with her that I can actually pin down iyswim, just the increased sleeping and calmness, otherwise she seems healthy enough. Although I do plan to mention it when she goes for her routine jabs in a month or so.

The mad greeting with me has never been something she's big on, but she's still greeting others as if she never meets another human being.

I do wonder if it might a case of the way some dogs mature and become the calm adult dogs they will be for the rest of their lives.

I sorry I'm not able to offer any advice, but as I say I was interested to read your post given that our dogs are the same age and seem to be going though the same thing.

She's also my first dog and like you, I'm still finding my way with dog ownership; sometimes it very hard to know what is normal behaviour when you've nothing to compare it to.

As far as depression goes, did your vet think this might be an issue for her?

Toastandstrawberryjam Fri 22-May-15 21:08:30

I will admit I didn't ask the vet that, I was worried I would sound like a complete idiot! But I keep getting comments from friends about how placid she is now and from strangers who remark how odd it is for a cocker to be so laid back.

I will admit to starting to be really worried about her, im having to work a lot more these days and I'm not sure if that is having an impact.

She started heading towards a biscuit left on a plate on the coffee table today. She used to be able to spy things like that and grab them in a split second. This time she walked over to it and stopped and waited until I took it away. She didn't even try and swipe it!

KatharineClifton Fri 22-May-15 22:23:48

She sounds very well trained. This is how I am hoping my little reprobates will be when they reach middle age.

Toastandstrawberryjam Fri 22-May-15 22:28:21

But I haven't done anything to make her like it! That's what I don't understand. And it's such a difference to how she was.

pigsDOfly Fri 22-May-15 22:50:38

Animals can react quite strongly when things change, and someone leaving the house and not returning could have quite an impact I imagine. If at the same time you've started being out of the house more too I can see why she'd be down. Could you get a dog walker or someone she knows to come in during the day so she's not on her own for so long? Or even putting her into doggy day care a couple of times a week.

How's her appetite?

Might be worth while having another chat with the vet and asking about depression.

SqueakyChicken Fri 22-May-15 23:00:02

I would get hypothyroidism and/or Addison's disease ruled out.

Saying that, dogs are much more sensitive then we give them credit for. Maybe she is responding to the calmer atmosphere in the house, as well as growing up a bit?

Toastandstrawberryjam Fri 22-May-15 23:02:15

The most she's left during the day is 4 hours. As far as I can tell she just sleeps then. She went to a dog sitter last week for a day who often looks after her and she commented how happy and calm she seemed.

Her appetite is the same, loving her food!

She sleeps in different places now too. Before she would spend the evenings on her bed in the kitchen (her choice), now she sprawls out on the lounge floor or across my feet if I'm doing ironing or similar.

Toastandstrawberryjam Fri 22-May-15 23:07:12

She's so much better when my DC friends come round, she used to be jumping up at them and trying to get their attention, barking if they shrieked, etc. Now she wanders over, sits and waits for them to stroke her then wanders off. It's made so much difference to the household because I was forever having to keep her separate from any visitors in case she got too boisterous and knocked little ones over.

pigsDOfly Fri 22-May-15 23:14:53

It does sound from your last two post as if she's just more relaxed and doesn't feel the need to bark and try to control her uncertain world.

If she's still eating and showing an interest in people I'd be inclined to just keep a watch and see how she goes.

Unfortunately it's all to easy to get very worry about them when you love them so muchsmile.

Toastandstrawberryjam Fri 22-May-15 23:17:34

If she stopped eating I would really worry!

It took me a long time to bond with her and it's probably only now I really have. DH was always talking about getting rid of her because she was such a tie, and I didn't want to get too attached in case she went.

It's bad enough worrying if my kids are ok, at least they can talk and say what's wrong.

KiwiJude Sat 23-May-15 03:09:00

It sounds to me like she (and the household in general) has shed stress since your DH left and is happy. Having had a dog who was depressed when our other dog briefly lived elsewhere, your girl's behaviour doesn't sound anything like she's depressed.

Toastandstrawberryjam Sat 13-Jun-15 20:59:10

Turns out my little dog was actually really poorly sad

After a few weeks of back and forth to the vets with a recurrent uti the vet did scans on Wednesday. There they found a very large bladder stone (quarter the size of her bladder) and a bladder in a very bad state indeed. She is recovering well from the op but the vet is of the opinion that this has been forming for a number of months. And that it would have caused her to sleep more and be quieter and calmer, basically because she would have been in pain and worn out from it.

I'm absolutely gutted to think of her being in that state. So I guess this is a cautionary tale - if you think your dog is behaving strangely there may well be a good reason for it!

pigsDOfly Sat 13-Jun-15 21:49:26

Ah Toast I'm sorry to hear that. Poor little love.

It's so hard to know sometimes what's going on with animals because they are so good at hiding pain; obviously their survival depends on not appearing vulnerable.

I hope she gets better quickly and is back to her old self very soon.

EasyToEatTiger Sat 13-Jun-15 22:33:38

Thank goodness you were worried enough to go to the vet. Hope ddog gets well soon!

KiwiJude Sat 13-Jun-15 23:51:33

Oh poor darling, so glad you got it sorted. Obvs don't listen to me when it comes to web diagnosis! grin

Our first boxer was very stoic, if he ever got hurt you would never know unless you saw it happen or when it was crippling him or impossible to otherwise hide.

Curious to know what her behaviour is like now, or when she is fully recovered. Now that it's just you and the kids maybe she will remain more relaxed smile

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