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Training an Older Cocker Spaniel

We just adopted our second Cocker Spaniel (a male) from the animal shelter. He is 5 1/2 years old. The first Cocker miniature (female) that we adopted (7 years old) was crate trained and is just perfect. So we bought a crate for him to sleep in but he just shook the door so badly over and over that we let him sleep on the floor in our bedroom.

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I am wondering if there is any way to teach him that he will be ok if he goes in the crate to sleep or is it too late as he is already set in his ways? Since he seems like he has some separation anxiety we are going to have to put him in there when we have to leave the house for short times so that he doesn't destroy anything. He was left inside once while my husband mowed the yard and he scratched at the front door and had an accident on the floor.

We found out that his owner just let him go as he was getting too old to care for him, so he was picked up as a stray. He is a beautiful dog though and seems to be good otherwise. Any suggestions would be most helpful.

Thanks.
Wanda in Nebraska

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August 14, 20050 found this helpful

Will he be okay with a leash on him? We attach a short leash to our cocker spaniel's collar at bedtime and leave her attached to it in the kitchen overnight. She does not chew on it so we just put a material leash on her. Also, when we leave home, we tie her up. She will not get into the garbage then or have accidents. Both she is prone to do if we forget to tie her on.

What about doing this, close to the other cocker where he can see her? I realize the other cocker will be in a kennel. I am wondering if you bring the new cocker into the home and allow him to sleep in the bedroom, on the floor, whether you will then cause jealousy in your female? You may have to use a short chain rather than a leash he can chew through.

If your 7 1/2 year old cocker female is not spade and the male is not also...puppies can be a lot of fun!!! :)

I hope also, that you shave both cockers on a regular basis, yourself? The hair in the house and the cost of grooming can both be unnecessary. I keep our cocker shaved down, except for her ears and find it quite easy to do.

Good luck! Cockers are such nice friendly dogs, we really enjoy ours!

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By guest (Guest Post)
August 16, 20050 found this helpful

Both of my dogs were crate-trained; one of them is a rescued dog I got last Dec. at 5 yrs. old. To start with, I put the crate at eye level next to my bed. Now I have the crate downstairs and, when I and my other dog go upstairs, he settles down in his crate. He even goes in it to rest throughout the day. Don't think of crates as doggie prisons. Look at them the way they do....as their dens.

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September 19, 20100 found this helpful

I would highly suggest you continue with the crate training. A dog is never "too old". I agree, you should put the crate in your bedroom where the dog can see/smell you. However, don't put it at eye level. The Alpha sleeps in the best/highest area. In your room is good enough. I would suggest you put something in the crate with the your scent on it. This will comfort him. Don't worry about the fact that he scratches at the door or cries. He will stop and you know he is safe and ok.

Crates are not a prison, they are a safe place for the dog. If you don't use the crate as punishment and leave the door open when it isn't bedtime or a time when no one is able to watch the dog, typically the dog will begin napping in the crate. Remember, they are den animals. They feel safe in the den.

We have 3 cockers of our own. My daughter shows cockers, so we care for quite a few. They are smart dogs and never too old to learn. One more suggestion, work your dog. Throw a ball, let him chase the kids around, take him to a park, participate in agility, whatever you can do. This allows him to work off his energy. Reduces stress and forms the bond with you that he needs to get over his separation and abandonment issues. Working your dog also makes him much easier to train.

While you are crate training I'd suggest you really tire him out right before bedtime. The more tired he is the less energy he has to scratch and cry. :)

Hope this helps.

P.S. Valleyrimgirl, please crate train your dog. It is very dangerous to keep a dog tied up, especially in the house. It also isn't comforting to the dog like a crate/den is.

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