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A little unsure of what to do to help my two dogs. I have a male Cavaliar King Charles Spaniel of 3 years, and a female cross-breed of a Poodle and a Westy of 4 years. The concern of the female is her "sulking" - I initially thought that they would comfort each other if I'm not at home with them for several hours, and I still don't know if they do. She'll also sleep most of the time if she's with me, and the male appears to "copy" her (e.g. he's not a cat chaser by nature, and would run from the sight of a cat but had started to chase them shortly after noticing that the female does this). As a solution for now, I've started to leave them out in the garden for the day, since that's the only place they'll at least do something (oh, and despite having toys the female still doesn't seem to play with them unless someone new is invited inside). However, I've also wondered if giving them their own territory would help (e.g. a room, or some area of a room).

The remaining concern is of the male "marking" his territory. I've had to remove carpet and entire furniture, and I've committed to the typical "rub his nose in it" but to no avail and have given up on punishing him. This also frequents more often if I have something new in the place, albeit I expect this of him. I'm wondering however of what I could do to alleviate/prevent this without having him "nuted"?

Thanks!
 

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Most dogs sleep off and on for a large portion of the day. I'm not sure why you care if the dogs are dozing while you are gone. Toys usually aren't all that exciting either when the dog is hanging out alone- maybe a chew toy that tastes good but many other toys are interactive (tug, fetch).

If you offer a fun activity like a walk or a car ride (or whatever the dogs enjoy), do they seem excited and get into the activity? Most dogs sleep if there is nothing better to do and then wake up for something fun. If the dog doesn't seem active enough to enjoy something, I think a vet check is in order. But I cannot see how the female sleeping when you are not doing anything "fun" could be considered as "sulking", its just normal. My little foster dog will curl up and sleep the entire evening next to me while watching tv etc after she has had a gone long walk (for which she shows plenty of energy).

The marking is a housebreaking issue for the most part- clean everything with an enzyme cleaner (like white vinegar and water mix), and then back to potty training 101 (crate or pen when unsupervised, tether him to you, frequent trips outside with rewards for peeing outside) and as you have learned, don't rub his nose in it.

Is the female spayed?
 

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Why do you want them to play together all day? Dogs sleep between 12 and 18 hours a day. My dog wakes me up at 5:45, we walk for 25 minutes, he spends about 10 minutes eating, then, according to my husband, he sleeps until 12:00 when my husband takes him out. Then they play and train for a while, he naps for 2-3 hours, I come home, take him out and feed him, he hangs out while we make and eat dinner, then it's sleeping from 7-9, another walk and then bedtime. That's totally normal. There's no reason to lock your dogs outdoors to make them play. Nobody's sulking, they're perfectly normal.

Do not rub your dog's nose in his pee. That teaches nothing other than you are a scary person who hurts him. If you don't want him peeing inside, housetrain him. Neutering does help with marking. Is there some reason you don't want to neuter him?

How else are you training the dogs? Do you use punishment to teach everything? That will seriously damage your relationship with your dogs and could explain why your dogs don't particularly want to play with you.
 

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The male can be taught to stop marking. Don't rub his face in it. That doesn't work.

Neutering a dog that has already established marking habits often does not stop those habits. It'll most likely take specific training no matter which way you go. With marking males that often means introducing them to each room tethered to you and waiting for their sniffing behaviour (the one that proceeds their leg lift). When they move their hip to the place they just sniffed to "lift and mark" make sure you have a hand with pressure on that hip encouraging them to keep that leg down and to not mark. When I trained mine not to mark I was lucky enough to have two other homes I frequently visit volunteer to allow me to do this in their homes as well. He then learned not to mark in ANY home and has been consistently reliable that way.

Many dogs sleep the day away.

In regards to toys NONE of my dogs, after the puppy ages, play with toys unless I am on the other end of the toy inspiring the play. What do you do to inspire play with your dogs?

SOB
 

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My 10-month-old, bursting with energy when play is initiated, dog will sleep almost the entire time I'm gone (except for short breaks to dig dirt in the backyard). When I come home, it's clear she's been snoozing by the indentation in the couch and that half-awake look on her face.

She'll wake me up at 5:55am so she can go downstairs, only to snooze some more in my lap while I'm eating breakfast.

After her dinner and a walk and, if she hasn't been at daycare, play time in the backyard with me, she's asleep again by 8pm.

Even though she's still technically a puppy, she will only rarely play with toys by herself, and that's generally just to throw the toy around a bit and then chew on it. Otherwise, I need to initiate play.
 
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