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Up Topic Dog Boards / Behaviour / 11 Week old springer spaniel - help?!
- By Hannah1228 [gb] Date 31.05.17 10:37 GMT
Hello I have a 11 week old English Springer Spaniel puppy called Piper. Before me and my partner got her we needed to be sure that someone would always be in the house with her as dogs IMO shouldn't be left hours on end while people go to work crated and lonely. I wanted to make sure she would have someone with her for the mental stimulation and play in the day. I currently work 8 night shifts every fortnight 10pm-8am however I only need to sleep in the day for 3 of those. My partner works days and leaves the house 7:15am and is typically home for 5pm. That means I spend every waking minute with our girl and on the 3 days I sleep she will be going to a doggy day care to play with all the other dogs so I can get some rest for the next shift. I love her to death, but I'm finding it very tiring having a little pupper with me all the time.

I try my best to occupy her little brain with hiding treats around the house, freezing peanut butter in ice cubes and filling up kongs and water bottles with treats. She also has a mountain of toys to choose and play with and free run of the garden (when she's not eating the flower heads or stones) :lol: :twisted:. I've been teaching her the basics, sit and lie down and stay which she has mastered very quickly using clicker training. She's got the hang of toilet training and I make sure to take her out every 1/2 hour into the garden so she can do her business. She's crate trained and on a night time she gets in with no fuss from about 10:30pm then up at around 5:30am for the toilet and back to bed until 8am when I arrive home.

However the only problem is if I leave the room she follows me, to the toilet, into the kitchen - everywhere. We haven't left her by herself yet to go out anywhere as she cries and howls. So if we need to go out for a friends birthday or a meal or whatever it may be we have our in laws come to 'doggy-sit'. How can we make it so we are able to go out for an hour or so and leave her without her getting so upset? Any tips?

She is always under my feet and I often want to do housework or clean my fish tank or hoover etc but I can't because she's there and chewing and biting everything. She has her second jab on the 9th June so as soon as she starts her 3 daily walks I'm sure she will be tired out more however I just feel like my whole life is taken up by her at the moment, I can't do the things I used to do, for example if I want to do my makeup she has to be sat in a crate next to me or she will howl and cry. I know she's only a baby and I'm her number #1 right now, but it still feels like I'm loosing myself.

Any advice for me? Please no negative comments I'm trying my best for her.

Thank you!
- By Nikita [gb] Date 31.05.17 11:16 GMT
Firstly I'd be teaching her a very informal 'stay', using small actions on your part that mimic real life.  So start with moving a step away in different directions, much like a normal stay, but then add in other things such as heading for the door (and building up to going through it), playing with the TV, looking at the paper, sorting cushions on the sofa, etc etc - basically anything and everything that you might do in real life.  The only rule is that if she stays put, she gets a treat.  It also tends to work better if she is in a relaxed down position first - so laid down with hips to one side (easy to lure) - as dogs are less likely to get up from this position and in and of itself, it is more relaxing to be in.  When you reward her, use quiet praise and pop the treat between her front feet.   That helps keep her down there.  I also don't use a clicker for this, as it tends to get them more excited!

Once you've got her to the point that you can wander around, go in other rooms, to the loo etc without her following, you can start to leave her for gradually longer periods., always with quiet praise and the odd treat when you return.

At the point, try and leave her fairly often - IME the number one cause of separation anxiety is when puppies are not left alone at all because people don't want them to get separation anxiety! And it does sound like you're heading down that road at present.  By 11 weeks she should be able to cope with being left for a short time indoors, if not you leaving the house altogether for short periods.

I would also reconsider doggy daycare: it certainly has value, it has its place if it's well run, but from what you've described, you are setting her up to need constant input and attention and no off switch.  If you are at home and asleep, provided she's had some stimulation and has got something to chew on or otherwise occupy her, and loo breaks of course, she should settle along with you even at that age.  Daycare is not always a great environment for dogs too, to be frank - have you been along to see how the other dogs are?  Too many just throw a load of dogs in together and it becomes an excellent training ground for bullies and OTT players.

By the by, the above exercise will also help to teach her that off switch that as a springer, she will need if she's to be a well-rounded, contended adult.  I'm all for giving dogs plenty of stimulation and many do not get enough, but it is also possible to provide too much and end up with a wired dog that cannot settle until bedtime.
- By Hannah1228 [gb] Date 31.05.17 11:50 GMT Upvotes 1
I've been to look around the doggy day care, and it's well run. There are 3 sepearate areas, dog agility where they do flyball etc and a large field and outdoor area with a small pool and sand pits for digging. Piper would be in a junior class with dogs 3months to a year so that she is able to socialise without being overwhelmed by big dog play. A friend of ours 3 dogs attend and they are much calmer and more sociable due to this. It is something that has to be done due to me needing to sleep undisturbed as I need to sleep through for 7-8 hours rather than up every few hours to toilet her otherwise I struggle to get back off to sleep and my health would suffer working nights on little and broken sleep. I will try the informal stay with praise, and see how she gets on.

Yes, we were worried about separation anxiety however we want her to grow up to be a well rounded dog that can be left for several hours etc. I will try and work on this and being out of her sight until she is comfortable enough without my presence - I just feel bad for the neighbours if she was to howl and bark for hours on end.

She has no problems settling, when she is wired I try to burn off the energy she does have and then I take her to her bed, say lie down and she will rest for 1-2 hours at a time. I don't want her to end up wired all the time, I know springers are working dogs with busy minds so I am just trying to find that balance for her.

Thank you for your help, I will try and implement your advice and see how we get on.
- By Nikita [gb] Date 31.05.17 13:04 GMT
Ok, that sounds better.  Good stuff :)  Re. the daycare - it's not just about big dogs but how the individuals behave.  In a group like this, small dogs can be just as bad at bullying so she'll need to be somewhere where the staff are clued up on play, body language and behaviour (not that common, sadly) so that if any dogs are starting to bully, they can intervene early and keep everything fair.

I'm a little wary having seen the results just from badly run one-hour-a-week puppy socialisation classes, never mind three full days but a well-run one can be very useful!
- By Hannah1228 [gb] Date 31.05.17 13:44 GMT
Yes of course, the staff have assured me there is 2 staff members to 5 dogs so fingers crossed the play is well managed. I'm a little apprehensive as she is my baby :smile:. A couple of the staff members are also trained in behaviour so I'm hoping they will know the warning signs.

I don't know what other option there is as having a family member or friend or dog walker come by 2x in the day to let her out for the toilet and exercise will wake me up. So ideally she needs to be out of the house. They will come by the house and pick her up at 8:30am and bring her home again at 4:30-5pm. Hopefully she will do alright with it.
- By suejaw Date 31.05.17 19:14 GMT
I understand that you want someone with her at all times however she needs to learn that someone not being there isn't am issue otherwise you're setting her up to suffer from seperation anxiety.
There are lots of tips about starting this and I'm sure someone will post the best way of doing this. I'm currently walking one of mine as I type I need to sit down and word it out correctly.
- By Nikita [gb] Date 31.05.17 20:04 GMT

> Yes of course, the staff have assured me there is 2 staff members to 5 dogs so fingers crossed the play is well managed. I'm a little apprehensive as she is my baby <img class="fsm fsm_smile" src="/images/epx.png" title="smile" alt=":smile:" />. A couple of the staff members are also trained in behaviour so I'm hoping they will know the warning signs.


That sounds good then, you've found one of the good ones.  Excellent.
- By monkeyj [gb] Date 31.05.17 23:06 GMT Edited 31.05.17 23:08 GMT Upvotes 1

> She is always under my feet and I often want to do housework or clean my fish tank or hoover etc but I can't because she's there and chewing and biting everything.


This is normal, puppies demand our attention and we do our best to provide that, as you yourself do by playing with her, giving her plenty of toys, kongs and mental stimulation. House chores - usually you get the chance to do those when the puppy falls asleep, just like when you have a small child you arrange your day around the puppy's playing/sleeping times :smile:

> How can we make it so we are able to go out for an hour or so and leave her without her getting so upset? Any tips?


The only way - teach her gradually. From few seconds of you being absent from the room she is, to few minutes, to one hour, to longer. Each time you leave the room and come back you must behave as if nothing is about to happen/has just happened. In particular never praise or make a fuss on come back. To leave her in a room you could use a baby gate to start with, so that she doesn't feel completely shut off and can hear you moving in another room, and then proceed to closing the door, and then to leaving the house completely (each time gradually from minutes to longer).
- By Xavi [gb] Date 05.06.17 19:56 GMT
Hey :smile:

You say she is crate trained, well I would pop her in crate with kong etc when you want to do something without her following/harassing you!

My pup is 21wks old now and I wouldn't expect him to behave perfectly and not follow me at all during times when I'm busy and doing house work etc. He is either in sight or in crate when I need to go upstairs or doing things which he accepts as his time out and enjoys watching me, or sleeping.

I tried rushing his training and development but realised that it takes longer, and that you need to allow them to be puppies at the same time as learning along the way.

Enjoy this time, knackering I know, but try and have fun too!x
Up Topic Dog Boards / Behaviour / 11 Week old springer spaniel - help?!

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