Accident Prone Cocker Spaniel - Separation Anxiety

Hello, I have an accident prone cocker spaniel!

She's a little girl spaniel (Zoe) and she's just turned 1 year old. She's fully house trained and has no accidents while I'm home. 

Recently (within the last month) she's taken to urinating during the day (while I'm at work). I keep her in the bathroom (she's always hated her crate) and she usually urinates on her bed. I'm gone for about 8-9 hours, but she has no problems holding it all night (up to 10 hours) and on the weekends.

The vet is stumped as to what's going on with my accident prone cocker. She's been tested MANY times (at least 6) for a urinary tract or bladder infections and they've always come back negative. 

She's been fully checked out by the vet and there were no issues or explanations.

Head and shoulder shot of a black and white cocker spaniel puppy lying on the floor.It wasn't me...honestly!

Any suggestions or information that you have would be greatly appreciated - I know Zoe and I are both getting frustrated with this. 


By: Michelle O'fallon, Illinois

Accident Prone Cocker Spaniel

By: Pauline
Website Owner

Hi Michelle, 

Poor Zoe, it sounds like your accident prone cocker isn't having such a good time of it, doesn't it? 

Rule Out Underlying Health Problem

Because Cocker is fully house-trained, the first thing I would recommend is that you rule out any underlying health problem, but as you've already done that we can be certain that she doesn't have any health problems causing her to pee - so that's one ticked off the list! 

9 Hours Is Too Long To Be Left Alone

I understand that you need to leave Zoe while you work, but 9 hours is a long time. At night, it's different because she's asleep and her body is on 'autopilot' and she won't necessarily feel the need to pee. I don't know about you, but I don't pee during the night either!

If she simply can't hold her little bladder during the day, and it's a genuine accident, is it possible that you could return home at lunch time to let her out for a pee break?

If you can't, is there someone you could ask to do this for you, a good neighbour for instance?

That should help her get through the day without having to resort to peeing in the house.

It Sounds Like Your Puppy Has Separation Anxiety!

Zoe's peeing may be down to separation anxiety - Zoe may be missing you and feeling lonely. I'm not saying this to make you feel guilty Michelle, but there is a chance that your little girl is lonely, bored or both.

Do you walk her before you leave for work to tire her out? If you do, and then feed her just before you leave, chances are she'll sleep for a couple of hours which will give her less time to 'fret'. 

If you leave her a few toys, or a Kong stuffed with a few pieces of kibble and other goodies, it may keep her occupied for a while. I leave Max a chew bone with a little bit of peanut butter (or Vegemite/Marmite) smeared on it. He loves it!

You might also like to leave a radio on for her. I always leave the television on for Max (don't have a radio downstairs) tuned to a chat show if possible. I like to think that the sound of voices and occasional music makes him feel that he's not alone.

I think you'll find these articles useful: they'll help you understand the problem better and will give you some simple steps you can take to overcome your puppy's anxiety.

Separation Anxiety in Dogs: What Exactly Is It?

Puppy Anxiety: Learn The Signs and How To Overcome It!

Dealing With Your Pet's Separation Anxiety

Good luck with your accident prone cocker, and to you too, and please do let us know how you get on.

Comments From Our Visitors

Accident Prone Cocker Spaniel
By: Anonymous 

Hi, I would say Zoe is very lonely, cocker spaniels do not like being left alone for long periods of time. 

I would never leave my cockers inside for that long, it is very cruel. 

I would consider other arrangements than keeping her inside. Cockers need to run around and have fun. What fun is she having being cooped up in a small space? 

Surely you should feel guilty to do that?

Accident Prone Cocker Spaniel - Thanks! 
By: Michelle 


Thanks so much for the input, I really appreciate you taking time out to respond and offer the advice! 

I take Zoe for long walks (30-45 min) every morning and evening, but I started coming home during lunch to take her out for a break and walk - it seems to have done the trick!

I also put a small radio with her, I think that may be helping as well. We've had some issues with her food, the vet suspects that she has IBS and that it may be a contributing factor. 

She's a great little girl, lots of fun and she's my first dog, so I'm trying to adjust to the learning curve and change things up in a way that works for her and I appreciate the advice! 

Thanks so much again! :)

To Anonymous: 

While I appreciate and admire your love for cockers, Zoe is in no way being subjected to cruelty. I do not appreciate the guilt-laden insinuation that she is being mistreated or that the home I've made for her is sub-par. 

She's a wonderful girl whom I love very much. I adopted her from a local rescue organization upon learning that she was to be euthanized. I've done everything in my power to give Zoe a good, safe home filled with love. I can (and do) ensure that she has access to the best veterinarian care possible, has tons of play dates, spends fun days at doggy day camp, gets plenty of exercise and yummy kibble, goes for car rides and gets to enjoy every experience a dog possibly can.

Unfortunately, for me (and for most of the world) the bills must be paid - I don't have the luxury of not working full-time. I feel plenty guilty about leaving her every morning and of course I wish that I could stay home with her but such is life.

Additionally, while a bathroom or kennel is considered a small space to many humans, for dogs these areas are comfortable and comforting places, not unlike a den in their natural habitat. I've followed the advice of both Zoe's vet and a reputable dog trainer Zoe and I see. 

Any canine specialist or simple internet search will confirm that information.

Accident Prone Cocker Spaniel
By: Pauline 

You're very welcome Michelle, I'm really pleased to hear that things are beginning to get better for Zoe now that you've worked out what's causing her problems.

You obviously care for Zoe a great deal and you're doing a sterling job!

She is so beautiful - please give her a hug from me!

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