Puppy Forum and Dog Forums banner

1 - 4 of 4 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi, My girlfriend and myself have started a trial run with adopting a 6 year old spaniel. The current owners are moving to america and posted on a facebook page. A friend of ours told us about it as they knew we were hoping to get a dog. We went and met him and the owners to ask a few questions and agreed to a trial run over this weekend.

Toby, the spaniel got dropped of to us friday, and is a fantastic dog but we soon started to realise that he was VERY clingy and wanted lots of attention. All through the night he was running from one side of the bed to the other and gave us a sleepless night, the following day he was again after lots of attention, He will follow your every move and won't even eat his food unlesss you stay next to him. If I am in one room and my girlfriend in another Toby constantly runs from one room to the other. Also If my girlfriend and I have a kiss or cuddle Toby becomes super jealous and begins crying and jumping.

Now, I am aware that spaniels especially are prone to seperation anxiety and need to be trained not to beg for attention when pups. My girlfriend and i have already become quite attached to him as he is in most other aspects a perfect dog. We had at this point agreed to give things a go and attempt to train him.

The big problem occured today. The previous owner told us that he was ok being left alone through the day although she seemed a bit unsure when we asked the question. We tried to leave him alone today for 2 hours as we are both away at work this week (9-5 5 days a week). I decided to leave my webcam recording whilst we were out to see how he responded to being alone. When we got home we found the door had been very badly damaged beyond repair from chewing and scratching also the window sils etc had been scratched and clawed. From the webcam footage i could see toby was in alot of distress crying, howling, barking and jumping around alot for the complete 2 hours.

What do you guys think? my head says give him back but my heart says keep trying afterall its only been 2 days. Any advice, opinions or thoughts are welcomed.

Many Thanks Sam
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
192 Posts
Aww, bless his heart, he's probably terrified and doesn't understand what's going on. He had no idea you'd only be gone for two hours, it sucks we can't explain that to them... all we have are patterns, and those take time. Two things come to mind, a Kong and an intense day of positive reinforcement. Kongs are stuffed with peanut butter and kibble, it can take them hours to get all the food out.

As far as positive reinforcement is concerned, you and your wife are going to step outside, together. Wait 30 seconds, come back in, give a calm hello and a treat. Repeat 3-4 times. Then do something else for an hour or two, so the new info can sink in. Then do the in and out thing again, this time wait a whole minute. Keep increasing the time throughout the day, if that doesn't get a firm connection, at the very least it will get a firm foundation started! If you guys can find a way for someone to do a half day of work tomorrow, that would be great! Keep working on stepping out and increasing the time. It's going to take some time, so he might still bark, but hopefully the destructive stuff will stop.

As to the following, this will taper off. He's just learning who you guys are and what you do. It's like he's in one of those language immersion schools! He's just learning all about you! Holding is ok, but on your terms. It needs to be a clear invitation, not one time it's ok and another it isn't. Emmett followed us a lot the first few weeks, I ended up making him cheap cuddler beds for the rooms we spend the most time in; the dogs have beds in the family room, bedroom, and den. He isn't allowed to stand and whine, nose me, or paw me. If he does, he gets taken to a close bed, told to lay down and redirected with a chewie bone or toy.


Make sure he's getting enough exercise. After all, "the idle mind is the devil's playground." If he's tired, he can't have a panic attack, he'll be sleeping! We walked Emmett 30 minutes in the AM and PM. After a while Emmett has started to relax and we found out he likes to play fetch, so now we can supplement some fetch for the evening walk. One last thing about exercise, 15 minutes of training will wear a pooch out the same as 30 minutes of walking. (think back to the last time you were "mentally exhausted," same idea.)

It's going to get better, it just takes time and vigilance.

Please be sure to let us know how you're all getting on, we'd be glad to help any way we can.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
192 Posts
also, you might want to look into some of Patricia McConnell's books, they're great for getting a good understanding of dogs.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,350 Posts
That's good advice! I would just add my thoughts: dogs don't understand what we do or why we do it. So, YOU know that you are kind, generous people and are taking him for a trial run because you want to make sure it's a good fit. But, the dog doesn't know that. All he knows is his humans took him somewhere he doesn't know, and left him with people he knows nothing about. Then, on top of that, THOSE people (you!) left him alone, too. He was scared and unsure.

I seriously doubt that you will get a good indication of his true personality from a trial of a few days. Right now the poor thing is too frightened and nervous to settle in. And, as good an idea as a trial for several days sounds, it really won't give you a clear indication of what the dog is really like.

I would not say for sure that this dog will have separation anxiety. Many times a dog in a new environment will be upset for a week to several weeks, to even a couple months, gradually getting better as time goes by. I know that's probably not what you want to hear, but, it's all new to him, and he has no way of knowing if you are nice, or will love him, or if he's in a safe, forever home.

As Zoey's Mommy says, there are things that can help occupy a dog left alone, like a frozen, stuffed kong, or just tiring him out with a nice, long walk before you have to leave him. Good luck!
 
1 - 4 of 4 Posts
Top