Behavioral and/or Breed Issues In Cockers
(A New Oregonian Transplant by Way of California LOL)
My Cocker Spaniel Has Issues!
I have had my American Cocker Spaniel for about 5-years now and he (Lucky) had been mistreated (beaten) in the past, by another owner, and had been left alone without any food or water to drink when he was found by his first owner (She owned the bitch that gave birth to him).
First, he tends to gulp his water and then he will like 'burp it up' onto the floor (I don't know what else to call it) on a fairly regular basis and I don't know how to get him to stop this.
Is this a common trait among Cocker Spaniels?
I just know that I don't particularly like cleaning it up ALL the time and would like to get him to stop this behavior.
I feel like I'm the Gestapo or something by making him not drink his water so much or just shortly after he starts drinking his water I'm yelling at him to stop :-( because he won't listen to me otherwise.
When I try to get him to stop drinking he just gulps (A LOT MORE OF IT QUICKER) before I can get him to stop.
Second, he poops (A LOT...and I mean A LOT!).
He can poop sometimes twice during a potty break outside (not walking him - although he does that, too) but just letting him outside in the backyard to do his business.
From reading this page/blog I am going to start doing some things differently especially since he is overweight. I keep his food out all day and let him eat when he wants - especially due to the fact that I have another dog (Chihuahua) as well.
Third, I have just moved recently from my Mother's house, (as well as my sister and brother-in-law), where we had six dogs in our household (between all of us) and now it's down to just my two dogs and me. Lucky has always been a happy-go-lucky dog (LOL) and things didn't seem to phase him because he was so mellow until I moved.
Now, when I leave my apartment he throws such a fit - howling and jumping at the door. He's started to leave a potty mess for me to clean up when I get home - even when I take him out to go potty before I leave the house, whether it's for an extended amount of time or just a little bit.
He's 8-years old now, is he suddenly having separation anxiety issues or what here?
I really would like some help with this issue before my neighbors start to complain to management or something.
He's a very loving dog and loves kids even though I don't personally have any myself and he has a great temperament.
After reading this page/blog I am glad I don't have any of the issues that other owners have - mine are enough to drive me insane.
My Mom also has a Cocker who only has ear problems, but is getting massive warts, due to her age I guess - she is a big licker.
I would recommend this breed to anyone that has kids. <3
Thanks in advance for any/all of your help!
Reply from Pauline (Web Owner)
First of all, let's look at the problem Lucky seems to have with drinking water.
Does he have access to water all during the day?
If he does, and he's still drinking too fast, there are one or two things you can do here. You could add ice cubes to a little water which may help to slow down his water intake. That won't work all day (obviously, as the ice won't last all day), but it's a start.
Another option is to place several small bowls of water around the house and yard, filled only with small amounts of water.
Adding small floating toys to his water bowl may help too as he will have to nudge these out of the way to get at the water, thus reducing his drinking speed.
You could also try only offering water after he's eaten or exercised, but only if it's not too hot. If the weather is warm, he'll need access to water pretty much all day.
You could also try raising his water bowl off the floor to help him 'digest' it better. Keep an eye on him though as this may cause Lucky to drink faster, which would only make the problem worse.
Finally, his food may not contain sufficient water for his needs. If you're feeding him dry kibble (and I recommend this) you also need to be aware that it contains much less water than 'wet' foods.
Personally, I would be more concerned to know 'why' he's drinking so much and so fast and then sicking it up. There is a condition called Mega-esophagus that would cause this. It's where the muscles in the esophagus are partially paralyzed and causes problems with keeping food and water down. I don't think this is the problem as it's usually identified earlier than this, but it wouldn't do any harm to visit your vet just to make sure there's nothing else causing Lucky to drink so much, so fast.
Debi, if your dog is 'free feeding' he will eat and eat and eat, and in turn he will poop and poop and poop. ;)
I would recommend you buy some kibble specially formulated for overweight dogs (usually called 'light' or specially prepared for neutered dogs) and split his daily food allowance into two and feed him twice each day, morning and evening.
No treats and plenty of exercise.
If you'd like to know more about overweight dogs just follow the link.
Messing in the house and howling is pretty characteristic of separation anxiety. Your little boy is probably missing his previous home (your Mom's) and his previous 'pack' (your Mom and the other dogs). It's only natural that he's feeling lonely.
There are lots of things you can do to help alleviate this and rather than go into them here, I suggest you read these two articles on separation anxiety in dogs, here and here.
Good luck, and please let us know how you both get on.