Being highly and affectionate dogs, cocker spaniels are a delightful breed. But as every breed has it specific characteristics, cocker spaniels are identified to have separation anxiety as their most endearing yet problematic trait. It is important for prospective dog owners to consider buying or adopting a cocker spaniel if they have a hectic lifestyle or schedule where the dog would be left alone in its own company for long periods or stretches of time. While this problem can be treated and the dog can be trained for it specifically, it is a trait that must be reckoned with before making a decision.
Although they are energetic and happy dogs, their happiness to a large amount is dependent on the companionship and bonding with humans. One very crucial thing to understand is that cocker spaniel separation anxiety is not a behavior in which the dog is seeking revenge from the owner for leaving it alone by getting back nor is the dog trying to express its feelings of deep love. It is a simple state of panic or an anxiety disorder, quite similar to the one experienced by human beings themselves. Cockers don’t even consider the relevance of the right or wrong of their behavior as it is a mental condition that gets aggravated naturally.
While it can be rather endearing or even flattering at times that the dog wants to be with you all the time and keeps following you everywhere and goes ballistic when you comeback from somewhere, several like behavioral signs can indicate that the cocker is suffering from separation anxiety. In most cases the reason for this anxiety id that the dog feels that you are leaving it and is afraid of letting you out of this sight.
Cocker spaniel separation anxiety is a very genuine problem among these dogs that needs to be dealt with carefully and with a lot of tact to avoid further traumatizing and punishment or scolding in such cases is to be avoided at all costs.
Apart from the fact that this breed to generally predisposed to having this problem, the root cause of cocker spaniel separation anxiety also lies in history of abuse and neglect, premature or early weaning from the mother and even sudden changes in the household.
Many symptoms of this separation anxiety are also related to medical conditions among cocker spaniels and it is important to go for a thorough medical check up to rule out any underlying health concerns. If the cocker is announced as healthy, then separation anxiety is the problem to be focused upon.
Symptoms of cocker spaniel separation anxiety include urinating or defecating in different places in the house including the crate in spite of being housebroken, causing minor yet significant damage through destructive actions like chewing and tearing household items or scratching nervously at doors and windows when the owner has to leave for somewhere, licking or chewing in an excessive manner on the parts of the body including skin and coat, refusing to indulge in any activity like eating, drinking or playing and whining, howling and barking for long periods of time when alone.
There are a few effective methods of correcting cocker spaniel separation anxiety problems. With proper consultation with the veterinarian and a professional trainer, anti-depressants and anxiety medication can be administered. Before leaving for somewhere, the owner can indulge the dog with some soothing exercises and communicate to it that the owner will positively return. One can leave anything, for example, old clothing with their scent for the dog to sleep in. after returning, it is advisable to not make a fuss over the dog and wait for it to calm down before meeting it. Crate training to a great extent helps in controlling this problem where the cocker learns to relax in its individual personal space. Nowadays, dog sitting is also a viable and affordable option where dog sitters check in on the dogs according to a specific schedule. This is mainly for people who are away frequently on long trips. Another good option is to get another cocker spaniel, a friendly canine of another breed or a canine friendly cat so that the dog has sufficient company to keep it occupied.