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Help! At wits end with spaniel

(5 Posts)
MerdeAlor Tue 29-Nov-16 09:36:02

We recently rescued a blind American Cocker. He was actually living in the refuge owners house with 20 other dogs in dire conditions (we are not in the UK). We took him because he was in a terrible state with eye, ear, paw and mouth infections. He is eight and has never lived with a family.

He's had a total overhaul and we've worked hard to clear all his infections and introduce him to family life and walks.
He's a lovely chap, placid, friendly and gets on well with our other dogs and cats. BUT he has two issues we can't seem to overcome.

1. He wakes up at bang on 5.30 every morning itching and scratching. We have just bought him some new food for sensitve skin so hope that and time will break this habit. He wakes us all up so are on our boots straps with tiredness at the moment.

2. He poos and wees in the house. We assumed that he wasn't house trained so have spent lots of time training him to go outside with food treats and praise when he is successful and firm nos when he goes to the toilet in the house.
He is marking over food as he often pees directly in his food bowl and as he previously shared with lots of dogs this is understandable. Trouble is he is peeing elsewhere too, over all our things and damaging the house. He is not making any progress with the house training - could his blindness be a factor?

We intend to have him neutered and hopefully that will help. We tried to hang a bandana around his neck that smells of his urine in the hope that he thinks he has already marked. It didn't work.

Any help or guidance please? We are at our wits end.

WeeCheekyBird Wed 30-Nov-16 22:56:59

Hi - just thought I'd stick my oar in here smile

Behavioural issues are a nightmare - my dog was rescued and spent all her time alone in an upstairs flat and developed some anxiety problems to boot.

The itching and scratching thing - are you sure it's his skin that's causing the issues? Reason I'm asking is because there are loads of ways a dog can exhibit anxiety - and that can be one of them. Mine does that sometimes too and it drives me insane as I know there's nothing wrong with her skin. Sometimes she does it for attention and she does it in the morning too as she seems to know this will wake us up. She is also a bad paw-licker (and does it during the night to wake us up if she can't sleep). Sometimes keeping them in another room at night is the easiest solution for that one (though not always practical) although we've had this issue for a few years now and can't seem to stop it (other than telling her not too - but that creates an anxiety circle...)

Second issue with the toilet - My daft dog used to do that too. Due to your dog being blind it could make the issue worse but dogs mark their territory and if he is going to the toilet in the house, he will usually continue to go in that same spot each time (or in the general area) - being blind means he might not quite realise where that area is.

Bitter apple spray is your friend here. Spray it on areas he is going to the toilet and it should work as a deterrent (dogs hate the stuff). Put it on the carpet (it won't damage it) and around the areas you want to keep him away from. Obviously don't do this to his food bowl smile

Hope that helps a little. I'm not an expert but I've had dogs all my life, and some rescues need that little extra bit of patience. He'll come round eventually - If not - it might be worth speaking to a dog behavioural expert (your vet can recommend one for you)

Sorry that's quite long - just wanted to get as much info across as I can!

I'm a dog owner novice with no experience of problem rescues. I did rescue a puppy that regressed with toileting (or was never trained in the first place). Probably obvious but are you cleaning the spots he goes in inside immaculately? And then using anti dog urine stuff over the area? That final step was what worked for me, as well as time and consistency, but I know mine was a totally different and easier case.

The anti urine stuff was pretty cheap and was supposed to mask any scent remaining after clean up to stop them associating the area with a toilet. Probably a similar idea to what the poster above suggested.

MerdeAlor Tue 06-Dec-16 12:26:19

Thanks for your suggestions both. I will look into anti urine spray, my vet may know where to get some.

Yes his scratching could be habitual or anxiety related. I guess changing food may rule it at as a cause at very least.

I suppose that having never lived with a family he displays less than normal and predictable pet behaviours. I'm not sure that at eight he's finding it all that easy to adapt.

We have started to crate him but it's an unpoular choice as he howls hmm

WyldFyre Tue 06-Dec-16 12:30:28

I would add - don't tell off peeing in the house. Dogs don't understand no - and as humans have a tendency to use it for everything it's no wonder (instead of "no" you need to be specific - "off" for no, get off the sofa. "Stop" for no, don't chew. IYSWIM)

All a telling off will achieve is to make him avoid going in front of you.

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