Cocker Spaniel Separation Anxiety Training Tips

A common problem you may hear from Cocker Spaniel owners’ concerns separation anxiety. Many owners don’t realize that it can affect their dogs to a point of being a nervous basket case. With good reason they are concerned about the behavior and what to do about Cocker Spaniel anxiety.

The truth is we can’t be with our dogs all the time. We need to leave our dog alone sometimes to take care of basic things like going to work, buying groceries and taking care of children and so on. The trick is to train our dogs to accept that we are leaving and will return. Very often we reward the wrong behavior during the process. There are a few opinions on this but the bottom line is to support and reinforce the correct behavior when leaving and returning. This article shows you how.

Cocker Spaniel Separation Anxiety Dangers

Separation anxiety can lead to depression, health problems and destruction of house belongings. The anxiety begins when you leave the house or must leave your pup alone for short while. The dog interprets this as being abandoned. To the dog this may seem like the end of the world. As a canine instinct no dog likes to feel or be abandoned.

The separation anxiety expressed by the dog is often mistaken for excitement. In fact the Cocker Spaniel shows all signs of being exited with its tail wagging around and bouncing up to greet you. In actuality the dog is expressing an anxiety it has felt before. If not handled properly this is where the pup’s behavior can take a turn towards the worst and possibly cause injury to itself. There is no need to feel guilty about this the dog just needs to be retrained.

When Cocker Spaniels Become Anxious

Separation anxiety can be linked to the dog’s pack mentality. They may feel like they have been dropped from the pack order. On a more serious note, the dog will act out and become anxious if a clear leader of the pack has not been established. It will attempt to take the role of the alpha dog.

Take for instance; in the wild the pack leader will often leave the pack to going hunting for food or to patrol and scout the area. If the dog feels it is not part of the pact it will get upset when it sees you leaving and look at you as a follower. This is where your job is to clearly demonstrate that you are the only leader of the pack and show the pup that you will return every time you leave. Your dog will be less stressed out and less anxious if they can trust you.

Leaving and Returning

This may sound cruel but it is of the up-most importance if you want to curb separation anxiety.

Dogs want a leader that will protect them. The following are the first steps.
When leaving your pup alone, the goodbye ritual should be stopped. Most people get their dogs all exited by heavy petting and playing just before leaving. Do not excite your dog before you leave. Rather, leave your house when the dog is calm. You can leave a treat in the crate, but do not reward the dog for you leaving. The trick here is instilling in your dog that everything is ok and that you will return. Never leave your dog if it appears to be agitated. If you do you can expect the pup to get busy as soon as you leave and possibly cause destruction.

On returning to your home the dog will attempt to jump and greet you with tail wagging away. Of course he’ll be happy to see you and will be very excited. Rather than submit to the pups advances simply walk into the house and leave the dog alone to acknowledge that you have returned for at least fifteen minutes. Once the dog has calm down its time to say hello and possibly go for a walk.

To further enhance your efforts a good walk before you leave will make it easier for your dog to handle you leaving. You should also walk your dog after you’ve returned home. Make sure to wait out the fifteen minutes before greeting your dog. The walks will also help satisfy the Cockers needs for exercise. The main point is to leave your house in calm state and return to your home in a calm state.

Cocker Spaniel Needs and Wants

This may also sound a little cruel but this point is one that must be understood if you are to train your dog to rid Cocker Spaniel separation anxiety.

Treat your dog like a dog and not as if the pup is a human being. In reality, you will be providing a much more stable environment and the protection your pup craves. Have no misunderstandings here, your Cocker Spaniel is keenly aware that it is a dog. Too many people make the mistake of humanizing their dogs and eventually find themselves in a position of correcting bad behavior with bad behaviors. In other words, getting nowhere fast and making the situation worst. You have seen this in people that have no control over their dogs. The dog reverts to its natural instincts and has stepped up to be the pack leader. The dog has now managed to train its human keepers to do what it wants. Sound familiar?

All Dogs need to part of a pack. They must feel like the pack leader will protect them and provide a stable den to live within. They also need an adequate amount of exercise. Only then will you be able to effectively train your pup to meet your expectations. Be persistent, firm and calm in your efforts and you’ll realize positive results faster than you may think in fixing separation anxiety.