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Why can't I bond with my dog

(17 Posts)
Michelleayre24 Mon 17-Apr-17 03:38:19

Please help me, I have three dogs, the baby is 6months old,she is a cocker spaniel. Since we got her I can't bound with her,
she is so boisterous, she will bully my other two, she eats everything, I can't leave her as she will either poo or wee the minute she is left alone
We put her in the crate for bed time and she crys and then poo's or has us up at silly a clock but want go back into her crate, can't leave her out of the crate as she destroys everything, for example I don't like locking her up but she has eaten my carpet, my sons xbox, shoes, toilet roll you name it she's ate it
I know she does this either because she is anxious or spite,
When I put her in the back garden she will go in the grids which results into her being sick
When I take her out she is amazing and I love taking her out,she responds to me, we play fetch, she does all of her commands.
But once at home she runs around every where jumping of furniture pulling and biting my clothes doesn't respond to any commands, she goes crazy stops insist on sleeping on me, the minute I move or there is a distraction she goes bonkers again
Am at the end of my wits with her, I don't want to come home after work because am afraid of what she's done.
I don't want to rehome her, when I ask people I get she's a puppy she will grow out of it, or I get what do you expect she's a cocker, both don't help me, I've tried training she's excellent at training just not at home,
What can I do I want to be close to her but at this minute I just wish we hadn't got her

BiteyShark Mon 17-Apr-17 05:25:02

I have a cocker but he is the opposite. Calm in the house and mad when out. Firstly cockers are smart so ignore the attitude that is what you should expect with a cocker. I got that from a trainer and didn't go back because they are working dogs (although you don't say whether yours is show or working) and can be trained.

Is your dog getting enough stimulus outside. There are many good articles that state walking miles with a spaniel won't tire them out just make them fitter. Have you tried doing retrieves and hunting for objects when out which is what they 'do'. Do you work on general obedience such as getting your dog to sit for longer and longer periods and also stay etc. Are you doing this in the house consistently in one room and then others.

My dog tried to eat everything. I picked my battles and the stuff that would hurt him I use the leave it command. I don't treat him as he would do it more but if he eats something he shouldn't and ignores the leave it I remove him from the situation or I don't let him inside so he now knows to leave it when I say (well most of the time as mine is just over 6 months so still puppy).

I have the issue of distractions when out and you have to work on it constantly to get them to stay or ignore. You need to be doing this all the time and be consistent. It is so easy to not bother or ignore but you have to keep at it.

You said you have tried training. Have you done formal training with someone who understands spaniels? I would 100% recommend finding a gun dog trainer. They will be able to help you. I would not recommend a general trainer unless they understand the breed.

BiteyShark Mon 17-Apr-17 05:34:49

Just seen you have other dogs. I would suggest you train both inside and out your cocker separately if you don't already.

Start with crate training and getting used to you being away. Mine used to cry but would settle quickly and now loves his and he would get treats pushed through the bars of the crate when he was quiet as a reward. To be honest we never had much of an issue with getting him used to the crate apart from the early weeks so can't really advise much but I would suggest you look up some tips on how to get them used to it and work from there.

BiteyShark Mon 17-Apr-17 05:57:53

Just thought of something else. When she runs around and jumps on furniture etc how do you react? Are you rewarding that behaviour? Take a step back and be critical with yourself. Are you giving her attention when she does something she shouldn't?

I have play time with my puppy but when he is meant to be calm and is not then he gets a short time out (either crate or in another room) until he has calmed himself down and is then allowed back. He does not get stroked if he jumps up either on me or the furniture, he gets told off and ignored and when he comes back and stays on the floor he gets attention.

Michelleayre24 Mon 17-Apr-17 08:34:59

Thank you so much, she is a working cocker, most of the time I'll say no down and she just repeats the behaviour until she gets fed up of me she will move on to something else mostly rough play with the other two dogs but I will try everything you have just said

Rubberduckies Mon 17-Apr-17 08:52:04

Working spaniels need a hell of a lot of stimulation. Like a pp mine is the opposite to yours, much calmer in the house and a total loon outside but if I just left her to her own devices inside I think she'd be a nightmare.

I do lots of 5 min training sessions with mine inside to keep her mind occupied, so while the kettles boiling will do a bit of heel work round the kitchen, during the advert break will do some crate games, if I'm busy on the computer I'll chuck her a treat every time she lies down on her mat by my feet. If she's looking a bit bored and looking for something to do I'll hide her toys around the house and send her off to find them.

If she's struggling with the crate you need to crate train from scratch, look up on the internet but the crate should be the best place in the world, I shut mine in every so often and she settles immediately and sleeps, and chooses to sleep in there in the evenings and at night without the door being locked.

Do you use treat balls/kongs/brain games etc to keep her occupied when she's alone?

Again if she's messing in the house you need to start from scratch with house training - use the crate to help stretch the times out and take her out every hour.

It's frustrating, but try not to think that she's being spiteful - dogs don't do things out of spite, they do what they've learnt works for them to get food or attention, or to avoid things they don't like. You need to step back and look at what she's getting or avoiding with her behaviours and try and replace that.

Puppies are hard, especially when you have other dogs and children. Working puppies are a million times harder, they're bred to be on the go all day so you have to be smart about how to tire them out, and physical exercise isn't the way.

Rubberduckies Mon 17-Apr-17 08:56:28

The other thing to check is that's she's got a good quality food - cheaper foods can definitely affect behaviour.

How old is she and how long have you had her?

JoinTheMicrodots Mon 17-Apr-17 09:23:42

I know she does this either because she is anxious or spite

Dog are not spiteful; you are assigning an emotion/intention to her that dogs are not capable of feeling or having. hmm hmm

Anxious, on the other hand, she might well be. Cockers are highly strung, often desperate to be close to you (literally touching you) at all times, and are notoriously difficult puppies.

Is she your first cocker? What made you get a working cocker?

Ylvamoon Mon 17-Apr-17 10:16:30

Sounds like she is getting a lot of negative attention. I agree, training away from the other dogs is key! Once she has mastered the basics you can run training sessions with all 3 dogs...

Floralnomad Mon 17-Apr-17 10:45:01

Can I just ask a few questions what are you doing about the house training , how many hours is she left at home and is she crated in that time , how much exercise is she getting .

Tinseleverywhere Mon 17-Apr-17 11:13:04

I once read an article about a man who trains drug sniffer dogs and he said the sort of dog who is a difficult family pet because it is too busy and boisterous is ideal for him. That's the difference with working dogs. They want and need to work for hours each day.

At the same time if you are willing to put in that sort of training and activity you are going to have a dog who is full of potential. That dog will love to learn tricks and be out and about. She might do well at agility if you like organised things. Or just learning tricks at home. That dog is going to find your lost keys down the back of the sofa one day! Then you will be glad you spent hours playing find my keys.

SparklingRaspberry Mon 17-Apr-17 12:12:18

It worries me you think this dog behaves a certain way to spite you especially after owning two dogs already confused

Dogs do not think or act like that

One on one training.
Better diet if she's on crap food.
Plenty exercise and mental stimulation

Michelleayre24 Tue 18-Apr-17 01:57:22

Thank you for all your comments, she is on tails from tails.com. I will take on board all your suggestions, she is my second cocker the first was a rescue she was amazing she died in October, my other two are like lap dogs, they are never left for long periods of time as there is always someone at home. The reason I said spite is she only ever does it if she is left alone even if it's seconds i.e. Shower, hoovering etc, she does not receive loads of negative responses, if she dirties in the house we ignore it, when she jumps up at you and nips me I do say No, as it's a behaviour I don't want from her, she is only ever in the crate at bedtime 10pm and if there is no one in, which is not that often and maybe 1 hour max,
I've bought her kongs, balls with holes in we play a lot, only she can get really boisterous and bits my clothing, other dogs

BiteyShark Tue 18-Apr-17 05:52:22

OP my cocker is a similar age and occasionally gets nippy. I can sometimes see this starting and I get him into his bed and stuff an antler in his mouth. Sometimes he is just in that kind of a mood and starts biting feet and getting very nippy and won't stop. I say no a few times and if it doesn't stop I shove him out of the room or in his crate ( trying to avoid his teeth) and close the door. He now knows if he does this he doesn't get to be with us and after a few minutes he is usually calmer and he comes out and behaves. It sounds like you need to work on calming techniques to calm your dog down rather than trying to tire her out as it may be that she is overtired or has just got too worked up.

For the toileting I was thinking about what I would try if this was my dog. I would wait until she has just been for a pee and poo and then using a baby gate put her in one room and keep going in and out, ignoring the behaviour and if she messes then clean up and again keep going in and out. When quiet and calm I would treat her and keep repeating building up the time she is alone in the room etc. If doing this daily didn't seem to help I would then get a behaviourist in to help me with other strategies.

Michelleayre24 Tue 18-Apr-17 07:04:01

Thank you for the advice xx

Rubberduckies Tue 18-Apr-17 07:41:20

So when she gets overexcited and nips at your clothes, try to distract her with a toy or chew. If that doesn't work, stand up and move away from her, or put her in her crate for a couple of mins and repeat. They do get there eventually. My 1 year old usually grabs a toy herself now when she gets overexcited or will go and find one if I ask her to.

Agree with a pp about getting her used to being left, if she's messing as soon as you leave a room she may be anxious about being alone. Have you got a room with a stair gate? Stand other side of the gate. Chuck a treat over. Go back to her and give a treat. Go out the gate, wait 1 second, chuck a treat. Go back. Increase by 1 second at a time. When she can do 30secs of you standing right by the gate, take a step away and repeat the whole thing, then 2 steps etc. If she gets anxious go back a few steps, try to make sure she can always succeed. Depending on your house layout build up slowly to going out of sight for a second, chuck a treat round the corner, return. I sometimes chuck treats down the stairs for mine so she learns to wait at the bottom for me without following.

Tails.com seems to have mixed reviews, have a look on the allavoutdogfood website for some other ideas.

What you describe is normal puppy behaviour, especially for a working spaniel. The key is consistent and constant training and stimulation. Do you go to a puppy training class with her? I would definitely suggest that.

BagelGoesWalking Tue 18-Apr-17 17:03:23

Have a look at this group www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=dog%20training%20advice%20and%20support

Loads of info in their Files section. You can post and wait for replies from the admins - you'll get help.

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