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Think I'm going nuts- Awfully long winded

July 15th, 2005, 02:01 AM
I am going insane.. I'm about ready to throttle Cider.. *I really won't just an expression but it's about how I feel*.

Background info for those not in the know.. she is a 10 month old cocker spaniel. Purchased from a petstore, most likely from the dunville mill..
I told my roomie about the evils of mills but she bought her anyhow..

I didn't purchase her. My roomate did, and then decided she was going to dump her at the spca when she became inconvenient. Horrified, after being up late nights for potty breaks, through months of training classes, and more I took her home myself. I was attached. I am attatched although she is not a breed I would chose for myself.

I have done more research than I know what to do with, and tried to educate myself early on about absolutly everything possible, since my roomate did not. I've tried to a good puppy mommie, but I'm at my wits end..

Cider is a velcro dog. She can not be anywhere I am not. Not to go outside in the fully fenced yard and potty without me standing directly over her, not to eat dinner in the kitchen without making sure I am firmly sittiing somewhere with no intention on moving. If she can be certain I'm not moving, she'll go cause puppy trouble.. but all puppies do..
If I look like I am getting up, she is directly under foot..
She finally likes her crate and will go in by choice. She can go in and cause no trouble.. but the more velcro she gets the worse that is getting. It does not seem to be separation anxiety.. at least not from what I read/ understand. She will whine and bark, but when the front door closes my parents tell me she settles down immediatley, She voices her displeasure at being away from me, or other people if she has to be with them.

Depending upon the day she can be crated no fuss, or she is causing destructive trouble lately, that I will crate her to go to the bathroom myself. The minute it takes me to go and come back she's complaining and scratching and making a ruckus.

I spent months ignoring the behaviour because I was told that she would see no attention given and stop. Wel lshe is so bad about these short bursts of time that I can't help but reprimand her... people are often sleeping..

She now is talking back like mad.. barking at people (until now she only has barked because she wants her pack back) and tonight she snapped at my face while I was sitting on the couch. She was begging for a family members food and I told her enough.. Next thing I knew if I hadn't moved backwards she would have bitten my nose. I probably shouldn't have alpha rolled her... but the behaviour horrified me..

I was leashing her to me every moment of the day trying to reinforce behaviour. My family members often don't correct bad behaviour, and she was back sliding. It was getting better.. and now it just seems to be mediocre. Good behaviour here and there, and bad behaviour the rest of the time.

I know she is a puppy. I don't expect her to be perfect. But I am starting to wonder if she has overly crappy genetics and I have one of those 'infamous cockers' that everyone thinks are the norm.

She bared teeth at me and snapped when I tried to brush her last week... she's always been okay. I assumed I was hurting her tryign to detanggle matting.. but she just seems ot get a little worse each day.

I am almost wondering that even though I was attatched if taking her home was a mistake since I am at wits end now.

It was one thing to leave her for 2 minutes to go to the bathroom and find her destroyign something of mine when I got back. That would be my fault for leaving her alone. It's another for her behaviour to seemingly be changing.

I'm not sre if this is just a pointless rant..

I would be open to advice.. since I now really don't think I have a clue what I'm doing. It's to the point where her behaviour makes me mad far too often, and it isn't things like not supervising what she is potentially getting into..

It doesn't help that no one in this house wants to enforce any form of rules... just yell at her when she's finally done something bad. Or reprimand her for something bad in a 'oh what a good puppy voice'. I started advanced training with her, but it was the class from hell. So I went back to working with her on my own. She is still learning, but it isn't helping with her behaviour as of late.. I was hoping confidence might create less velcroness..
So now, my mother likes to refer to the dog as an endless money pit, so I doubt there will be formal classes again in the near future.. but I'm not so sure that would have exactly helped with the current issues I've been having either...

I'm doubtful the hot as heck weather helps.. but I try hard to keep her well excersised so she is tired, and played with so she isn't bored. I try hard.. I just feel like a really big failure right now and am nearly in tears..

Help me?


July 15th, 2005, 07:06 AM
Perhaps she was taken away too early, as mill puppies often are. Can you get her together with another, older, better behaved dog for playdates? Maybe she would pick up a few pointers. I guess part of the problem is inconsistency between the way you and your family deal with her, but I don't have any solution for that. Very disappointing, when all you wanted to do was help. Tenderfoot is away but you can contact 'Dave', an associate, through their website.

July 15th, 2005, 09:04 AM
There's not much you can do if everyone else isn't doing their part, it's confusing the dog just like it would a kid.

This dog #1 need obedience class asap

and #2 I can't tell you the number of times I've known a cocker to bite so if you dont get this under control now you are in for BIG TROUBLE.

This dog will end up out of control and someone will just be fed up and a young little mill dog once again will be in a shelter or PTS.

I'd say have a serious talk with everyone in the house and post a set of rules for obedience on the refrigerator. Tell them if the dog isn't trained properly she will probably become very alpha of the house and could in fact bite someone.

It may seem all very cute to someone to have an attack cocker but warn them, it may not be YOU that dog could be a little kid while you're out for a walk!

Seriously, I understand your frustration but the obedience class is a MUST and definitely start some socialization with other dogs. Don't let this go on much longer.

Wish you loads of luck!

July 15th, 2005, 09:09 AM
Just an add on.....

too bad you didn't mention this before Tenderfoot went away camping...but remind yourself to contact upon return.

Feeding is a big issue, this dog gets fed in the crate and only once she has settled down to behave IE SIT and wait for the bowl to be put down. Once done remove the bowl and praise. How and what is this dog eating as well, being so young it should be eating 3x a day.

Destructive behaviour can be attributed to boredom especially with pups and young dogs. How much attention and direct exercise / play is this dog getting?

Read these links, print it off and let the others read as well:

July 15th, 2005, 12:48 PM
The behaviors you described are not that uncommon among puppies, I wouldn't giver her a verdict as being the "infamous cocker" just yet. Often times our own human emotions tend to get to us in time of stress, and that at times there just seems hopeless to ever have a well trained obedient dog.

EVERYONE in the family must reinforce the same set of rules. I know it's extremely difficult with some family members (like my parents, I never let them supervise/walk my dog), but you must let your family know that you are serious about training this dog.

Lot of luck! :grouphug:

July 15th, 2005, 01:17 PM
My beagle was a handful growing up! I understand some of your frustrations. First thing, everyone in your family must enforce the rules. I believe that Cider may be confused about the rules. When she is being reprimanded/corrected, a stern voice is needed, no yelling and no baby talk. She definitely needs to attend obedience classes, a trainer will be able to help you out with all her behaviour problems. She may be testing you and your family members. Her place in the hierarchy must be enforced. I would definitely contact Tenderfoot and see what she says.

July 15th, 2005, 01:45 PM
I'm not labelling her an evil dog yet or anything... just lately things have been awful..

She was socialized a lot until I moved home, and then no one I knew seemed to have a dog to play with.

Yesterday was just such a crappy night that I had to vent.

She has good behaviours, and has beyond basic commands down well. She has a meal time, and has t osit by her water bowl while I get the food and doesn't touch it until I tell her to go ahead.

We worked on behaviour a ton.. and she is better.

But now she is occassionally trying to jump onto the dining room table. Gets excited and jumps up on people non stop, but knows the command off quite well. It's that whole puppy not listening thing :)

We graduated basic class with flying colours, but advanced class was beyond boring for Cider. It was liek a reprise of the middle of basic and the trainer hated us both.. Kept asking why we could do this or that so well, and when I said we'd done all this in basic, she just got worse about it. Kept saying it should all be new.. but it wasn't.

I've been looking for dogs for Cider to play with and still am unsuccessfully. I haven't looked into training schools here cause I'm sure it will start WW4 here, but I'll see what is around.

Thank you all for listening to me vent/ offering advice. It helps.

July 15th, 2005, 04:48 PM
Well, from your second post things don't look so bad as to blame her behavior on bad gentetics. She's 10 m/o now and is going through adolescence, so it's normal for her to be less obedient. I'm afraid I don't have the knowledge to offer you specific advice. Just be very very firm and have patience. I'm sure things will work out in the end. :)

July 16th, 2005, 01:00 AM
I think you are making far too many excuses for her behavior. Like these:
If she can be certain I'm not moving, she'll go cause puppy trouble.. but all puppies do.. I know she is a puppy. I don't expect her to be perfect. I assumed I was hurting her tryign to detanggle matting.It's that whole puppy not listening thing
Don't assume anything about your dog's motivations and reasoning. If a behavior is wrong, correct it. This dog seems to be incredibly dominant in your home, and it has to stop. Backing away from the behaviors, saying, in a variety of ways, "I don't think she meant it..." doesn't solve the problem. It doesn't assert your role as the alpha dog in the home. If a dog doesn't listen consistently, it is because the commands don't come out consistently. The more stubborn the dog, the more consistent you have to be. Rules should be black or white. Things are either right, or wrong. When something is right, it must be praised every time she does it. And when something is wrong, she must be corrected every time. If you don't get up to enforce your rules once, it tells her that the behavior might be ok sometimes, so there is no reason to stop it. If EVERY time there are consequences, then the dog will grasp the concept a lot easier.
tonight she snapped at my face while I was sitting on the couch. If you are ever having dominance issues, as in snapping issues, "talking back" issues, growling issues, etc, NEVER let a dog get on the couch, or anything higher up, including picking the dog up. This puts them at your level, and confirms for them that they are equal to you.

I suggest putting a leash on the doggy in the house, and when a behavior occurs, you can assert more control. I really don't suggest doing an alpha roll until you have more confidence and are certain to be not afraid of your dog. For now, just try to get the dog to lie down. Dogs who don't respect you won't lie down. Work on that.

What I would do as well, is give her sort of time-outs. If she acts up, grab her leash, take her to a designated spot and make her lie down there and stay. If she gets up, you quickly go back to her, make her lie down in the same place, and stay again. When she looks like she won't go anywhere for a while, then you say your release word. You have to be so consistent with this though.

Eventually, when you have more respect, you can have the doggy lying on her side during the time-outs. But that may take a while.

The other thing is, even if nobody else in the home is doing anything, you can still be the absolute alpha dog. The others should not affect how this dog reacts with YOU.

I admit, I train my doggies a little more aggressively than others, but for me, safety is the most important thing when having a dog. If you become afraid of your dog's reactions, it's time to step up. If a dog even gestured to bite me in the face, it would be lying one its side for a looonnnnnnnng time. Long time. But there is a path to get to the point where a dog will respect you enough to understand your limits, and obey them.

One of the main reasons smaller dogs bite and tend to be aggressive is because the owners are not assertive enough. They think, well, how can a dog this small be dominant on ME? The fact of the matter is, little dogs are picked up all the time and are very frequently at people's level- be it in someone's arms, or on the couch, etc. Cockers are not that small, but they are on the border of the size of dog people let get away with murder. Small dogs jump up on people all the time, and no one says a word. I firmly believe that jumping up on people is a way of getting higher up, closer to our level and is a sign of dominance. No jumping up should be tolerated either, and having the leash on will help you control this as well.

Go to a dog park, without your dog. Watch how the dogs behave with each other. Watch how they handle other dogs misbehaving. Learn from them.

As for being removed from the litter too early- usually that causes aggression with other dogs, and a closer bond with people. Aggression with people can be genetic, but I don't really see that here. I just see a dog who can get away with telling its people what to do.

I also STRONGLY suggest you stay away from other dogs until you have more respect and better control. If she gets into a fight, what will you do? If you can't handle her snapping at you, how would you handle a full on fight? Please work on being firm, and being the alpha of this dog before introducing her to more distractions.

Did that help at all?