Rescued Abused Cocker Spaniel
I'm Not Donna's Dog, But I'm Cute - My Name Is Kronos
I recently adopted a Cocker Spaniel from the pound - he had been extremely abused and is very quiet and nervous. I've never owned a Cocker before but his kind eyes broke my heart.
I understand that much time will be needed to help him heal.
Any suggestions you might have towards helping him adjust to our home would be helpful. He is 6 years old, and has had 12 of his teeth removed.
Also, he poops 5 times a day, is this normal?
Reply from Pauline (Web Owner)
Rescuing a Cocker Spaniel is very commendable, however, some abused adult dogs may come with one or two problems and unless you know the specifics of the mistreatment, rehabilitation can often prove very difficult.
You’re right, lots of time will be needed along with a good deal of patience and loving, however, it sounds as though those big brown eyes will help to give you all the patience you need.
If your dog is very quiet and nervous, the best you can do is try to keep a calm and quiet household, with no sudden moves that could startle him.
Take time out to bond with him, perhaps some quiet time where you both sit quietly together. Stroke him if he’ll let you – if he’s nervous of human hands, don’t touch him unnecessarily.
Settle him into a routine, dogs like that - it makes them feel secure.
Your cocker spaniel may already be well-trained, but I would practice some basic puppy obedience training commands to help the bonding process. If he’s never been trained, then this is your chance to shine!
Allow him his own time and space, a crate perhaps, where he can go to feel safe. You can learn how to crate train your cocker spaniel in our article entitled Crate Training Your Puppy.
Depending on how seriously he’s been abused, and how timid your dog is, you might like to consider taking him through the socialization process to try and get him used to everyday household items to show him that they can do him no harm.
This is likely to be a fairly difficult task, because the socialization ‘window’ closes at around 12 weeks. It’s not impossible, but it may take quite some time and you may need to accept that there will be some things you will never be able to acclimatise your dog.
(For example, if he’s been hit with a broom handle – he will likely cower whenever a broom handle is near – quite understandably, it’s unlikely that he’ll ever forget that it did him harm!)
Patience and kindness is the key.
As for pooping 5 times a day and whether it’s normal or not, it depends on what, how much, and when you feed him. I personally always feed my dog dry kibble which is specially prepared to give him all the nutrients he needs to keep him fit and healthy. Feed as directed on the packaging to avoid overfeeding your dog as that can lead to ‘over-pooping’.
Tit-bits should be kept to a minimum, particularly because cocker spaniels are prone to obesity and can easily become overweight dogs, especially in their senior years! Training treats are okay while you're training, however, they should be offset against his food allowance.
You can feed your dog once a day or twice each day – once in the morning and again at around 5 or 6 pm. If he’s fed at regular times, it should help to regulate his bowels.
If it continues, you may like to have a quiet word with your vet - just to be on the safe side.
Always ensure there’s a supply of fresh cold water available for him, especially after his meals.
I sincerely hope this advice helps you and your new Cocker Spaniel – why not let us know how you get on?