Standard Poodle Q&A
Hello there, we just rescued a cockalier. He is 1 year old and adorable BUT he has major seperation issues and will not leave my mothers side. He can not be left alone and he is he goes balistic. Also when people walk into the house or he is introduced to a new face he brks and howls and hides behind my mother. Is this normal? And can it be corrected? ASAP!!! lol In adition his barking has become loud and annoying. I understand it's about his seperation from his family but what can we do to help him through this without spending an arm and a leg on tons of training?
I am not a dog trainer, but I do have a cockalier who had the same issue. We worked with her on our own and she is now able to stay out when we are gone and she does fine and has calmed down drastically when people come over. The main thing you have to understand is its not a quick fix. The dog is scared. Cockaliers usually want to please though, which can come in really handy when training. So since he is attatched to your mother, your mother needs to show how she is displeased with him. I would have her work with gating him in another room when she is home, if he starts to bark she needs to correct him immediately. When he is quiet she needs to praise him. I would do this for awhile, eventually lead up to her leaving and standing outside the front door. If he starts barking she can come back in and correct him. Cockaliers want to make thier owners happy therefore she is who he sees as the lead dog. Therefore she needs to set the boundaries with him. When people come over perhaps have your mother introduce them to him as well. I woul work with the seperation anxiety first. Once he begins to feel more confident there he will probably show signs of more confidence in other areas, at which time she can introduce him to guest, or have him gated when you bring guests into the home. Than let him out so that he won't be so overwhelmed.
I have a cockalier who would freak out when I left as well. I would start by crate training, give him a space that is his own. Leave for five minutes, reward him for being alone. Try it again for 10 and work your way up. Eventually you can move to the room, and then a section of the house. It took my pup about 4 weeks to catch on. At 7 months he had full range of the house (bedrooms and bathrooms excluded since he really likes toilet paper and socks) He is anxiety free now, we still see it ocassionally when he is tired but I am guessing that will fade as he ages. As far as the barking, I wold suggest a clicker. When he barks, you click it and say "NO" - I would then have the person walk out and walk back in. When he is good, reward the behavior. This can also be helped by socializing him at the park or places with lots of people.
My family and i re-homed a cockalier when he was about 2 and he sort of had the same issue. He would bark and any strangers and the first time we met him he wouldn't come to us. We just gave him lots of fuss and attention until he became used to us and if there was anyone he didn't like we would show him that they weren't a threat until he accepted them. I think, although this might not be very helpful, that you just have to let them get used to their surroundings by theirselves. Although, with Riley, reward based training also works really well!