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View Full Version : Separation Anxiety?



Holly
19th April 2007, 12:20 AM
Not sure that's really what you'd call it... Oliver follows me EVERYWHERE I go (which I bet is typical of Cavaliers). If I am sitting on the couch and go into the kitchen, he immediately gets up to find me. He only does this to me and will ignore everyone else if I am around. His eyes are on me wherever I am if he can see me in the house. I don't mind him following me- I think it's sweet, but I heard a trainer say that the dog should feel comfortable enough that the owner doesn't always need to be in sight.

Although he has grown up around people and other dogs, it takes him a while to warm up to other people. Once he has sniffed them, he mostly ignores other dogs, unless he knows them, too. People at the park always want to pet him and he will have no part of it, he either ducks his head away or he will bark at them- so embarrasing! :) Once he knows the person and has met them a few times, he will go to them. I think he may be too closely bonded to only me?

Any advice on these behaviors?

*Pauline*
19th April 2007, 12:41 AM
I would try and close doors sometimes so he can't follow you all the time. Good for him to get used to being on his own for short periods. What's he like when you go out? What's he like when you go out and others are in the house? Does he pay them more attention then? I'm asking because I once had a possessive dog. She did all the things you describe. When I went out, she "shut down" even if someone else was there.

Karlin
19th April 2007, 12:57 AM
I heard a trainer say that the dog should feel comfortable enough that the owner doesn't always need to be in sight

Well, true to a degree, but not completely with this breed, which specifically was bred over generations to bond very closely to people and want them nearby,

Many cavaliers also typically bond specifically to one person.

Oliver should be independent enough that you can leave him on his own if and when needed. But it is typical of the breed to follow you around in this way. :lol:

Jaspar is fine if I leave himin a room when I am out of the house -- even if I am in the house and need to put him in a room, he eventually settles (because I have gradually trained him to accept being alone -- that is something everyone should do with any dog). But -- he will scream if I go out of sight if I head to the bathroom when I have him at the DTI training centre. :rolleyes: Yet at home I can go close the bathroom door, take a shower -- and he'll just sleep out on the couch (when younger, he wasmore anxoious and wanted to lie on the floor of the bathroom if allowed). So he doesn't have separation anxiety exactly -- he can happily be left on his own in many situations -- but he does have an extra clingy cavalier personality in *some* situations.

Likewise, I work at home in an upstairs room and most of the time if I get up to go downstairs three little cavaliers also all get up and follow me down. Then they all get up again and follow me back up 5 minutes later, and so on and so on through the day. If they don't actually all come down, they line up across the top stair and peer down at me to see what I am doing and if it is worth their time to come settle downstairs. :rolleyes: I know very few cavaliers that will just stay in one room while their person disappears off to another part of the house, but some do.

I actually get cavaliers handed into rescue primarily because they are this clingy. I make it really clear to people that this is the breed personality and if they want a more aloof dog, they need to consider a different, more independent, breed. I find some breeders do not even explain the basics of the breed to puppy buyers and this can cause problems when the dog they get isn't the independent, outdoor family dog they were looking for. It's why it is really important to research breeds as much as possible and not just get a dog because of its looks or size. :)

Two things about meeting people -- carry some treats in your pocket -- lots of small kibble pieces are good -- and when someone approaches, toss a treat down on the ground before Oliver so that the arrival of a person is a GOOD thing in his mind! Hewill likely be distracted by the treats too and foget to bark. Just keep tossing them now and again while the person is there. And ignore any barking' don;t even look at him. He will look to you for reassurance when barking and verification that he's doing good -- making eye contact reassures him that yes, this is a helpful thing, and keep doing it! So you don;t want to pay attention to him when he barks, but praise him quietly while the person is there if he is quietly looking at you in expectation (of a treat!) or keeping busy with the treat. You can also work to teach 'quiet' and then use that when people come up but he needs to learn this well first.

Second: most dogs actually do not like being pet on the head. A hand moving over a dog's head is quite threatening in dog language. They tolerate this and many learn that tolerating it brings enjoyable attention and stroking anmd will relax. But dogs much prefer being pet on their chest or their sides, gently, NOT their heads. In rescue people are always saying things like 'that dog was beaten because he shies away from hands' but this is simply not true for most dogs -- they just dislike being touched on the head, especially by strangers, especially if they feel stressed (as some will by strangers). None of my dogs likes being pet on the head and all will duck away from a hand approaching its head, for example. So just ask people to pet him on the side, eg on his shoulders, or gently on his chest, sitting down perhaps (dogs also dislike someone arching over them). See: http://diamondsintheruff.com/bodylangspaceinvaders.html

tonic
19th April 2007, 12:58 AM
I would try and close doors sometimes so he can't follow you all the time. Good for him to get used to being on his own for short periods. What's he like when you go out? What's he like when you go out and others are in the house? Does he pay them more attention then? I'm asking because I once had a possessive dog. She did all the things you describe. When I went out, she "shut down" even if someone else was there.

Your cav sounds exactly like mine. My youngest (now 13 months) follows me everywhere. If I get up and leave a room, she waits for a few seconds and then gets up to follow me. She has gotten a bit better about not getting up to follow me right away, but she still does follow. If I go to the bathroom and shut the door, she will lay in front of the door waiting for me. If I am sitting in a room full of people, she will lay in my lap. If someone puts her in their lap, she will get up and move back to mine.

Now, when I leave.. she will lay in other peoples laps or follow them around (ie. my husband or pet sitter). But if I am there, I am the one she wants to be with.

I have no advice, but this behavior doesnt worry me. She is super sweet and is fine if I am not around. She just prefers to be around me.

*Pauline*
19th April 2007, 01:08 AM
I was talking about a Yorkie in my post.

Dylan (my Cavalier) loves me to bits but is very happy on his own too. You won't hear a peep out of him if I leave him in another room. He loves to be in the garden running about with his ball on a rope or his Persil wash ball :rolleyes: We have practically a wall of glass in my lounge the French windows are so big, I keep an eye on him when he wants to be alone. Today he wanted to be alone outside with his teddy :o :eek:

paulio99
19th April 2007, 09:52 AM
Marly does the same, if I move he moves !

But the strange thing is he doesn't seem to do it when my partner moves, she will get up and he will just sit there or carry on with what his doing.

If I move its straight up and investigate what Im doing.

In the last few weeks if I go out the house without him and my partner stays at home he will go and scratch at the front door.
But if she goes out and he is left with me he is fine.

Clearly Im his favorite ! (hehehehehe)

I have seen Cavs described on this website as 'Love Sponges' and 'Velcro' both phrases are certainly correct.
Personally I wouldn't have it any other way.

Caraline
19th April 2007, 10:18 AM
Yep, my 4 follow me absolutely everywhere too and when I am sitting on the lounge, I can usually be found under a pile of dogs. They love my husband & will snuggle up to him if invited or if I am not around, but I seem to be their security blanket, and their first port of call.

Holly
19th April 2007, 12:50 PM
Thanks for all the responses and ideas! I figured it was typical of Cavaliers but just wanted to double-check after hearing the trainer talk about how dogs should be more independent. Personally, I love how he is stuck to me like glue, but just wanted to make sure this wasn't a problem!

Pauline, in answer to your question- he is fine when I am not here. He doesn't bark or have any destructive behaviors when I leave. In fact, he was really easy to housetrain- very few accidents and he never chewed anything in the house and I got him as a baby! I got really lucky in that area! I think the crate was a huge help with this.

He will snuggle with other people if I'm not around, but only if he knows them pretty well. My mom gets her feelings hurt when she comes to visit- she tries so hard to get him to come and sit with her and he will have no part of it! My dad on the other hand will ignore him, and he pays more attention to him and then my mom gets more upset! :)

I will try taking a handful of small treats to the park for when he meets new people- he loves frozen green beans and baby carrots!

Holly
19th April 2007, 12:56 PM
And, Karlin- thanks for the tips! I never really kknew that about petting dogs on their heads. That is really good to know. When he ducks his head and shies away like that, I always feel like people are wondering if he was abused, when really he couldn't more well-loved than he is! :)

Justine
19th April 2007, 01:50 PM
alfs is the same he follows me every where,the toilet is the worse,if i am on the toilet i shut the door,alfs will hit it with such force it smashes against the wall then he starts to sniff around the toilet then starts on my knickers thats it, then i chuck him out all i get is the dirty look.lovely................

Lani
19th April 2007, 02:05 PM
Lucky is the same way. I call him my little "velcro dog" ... :flwr:

Scouty girl
19th April 2007, 09:33 PM
Scout will follow me around most of the time, unless she has a 'chewie' or something to occupy her. For the most part though, she follows me. She will go off with other people and leave the yard if she's not confined or on a leash.

Breeze, the newf, however, does not follow me around the house, i guess because she's so big and it takes more of an effort to get up. But, she WILL NOT go out of the yard with anybody but me. I've tried to see what she would do. My Mom only lives one house away. I let Breeze outside with her and I shut the door. My Mom calls her and she starts to go, but turns around sees I'm not there and turns around and stands on steps looking for me. My cousin tried to coax her around the back yard one time while I went through the house. When I got around back I said, where is Breeze? She said she won't come, and she called her, no Breeze. I said what is she doing, She said standing on the step looking up at the door for you. I called her name and she ran around to the back. I hope Scout can be like that. It's like have a built in Safety Catch. LOL

Kodee
20th April 2007, 01:00 AM
My cousin tried to coax her around the back yard one time while I went through the house. When I got around back I said, where is Breeze? She said she won't come, and she called her, no Breeze. I said what is she doing, She said standing on the step looking up at the door for you. I called her name and she ran around to the back. I hope Scout can be like that. It's like have a built in Safety Catch. LOLThat was a cute story!

Jessieca
23rd April 2007, 01:19 AM
My cavalier also does this! I am glad to know it is somewhat "normal". If I go to even take a shower, as soon as I open the bathroom door to come back out, I will find him sitting on the other side. He is like this with me, and also my boyfriend. Thankfully he warms up to most people, but he is definitely incredibly attached to me. I think it's cute cavtiny . Recently when I was at a dog park recently though, some other dog owners commented that he was rather "needy" because he liked staying beside me. I guess in a way it can be a bad thing, but I think it's rather cute that he loves us so much :luv:

Remali
23rd April 2007, 04:32 AM
Bentley follows me everywhere I go around the house, no matter where I go or what I'm doing, he is there with me. He isn't too afraid of people he doesn't know, but there have been a few times where he has seemed a bit apprehensive with some strangers, I think it is just normal. But, he really is glommed onto me, like glue!

nursejess80
23rd April 2007, 04:42 AM
Ruby follows me EVERYWHERE. She loves my husband and snuggles up to him even when I'm home, but as soon as I leave, she cries. She goes up and down the stairs and into every room looking for me. It drives him nuts. She's weird, though. She spent a whole day with just him last weekend, and then whined and searched for him for about an hour the other day when I was with her and he was at work. She seems to cry more for me, but she still is very attached to him. I'm hoping that she continues to love on us both a lot and maybe not be SO clingy to just me. We're even taking her with us tomorrow to my husband's grandmother's funeral (not the funeral itself) because we're worried that she would freak if we left her with my parents, my sister, or a kennel. If we're both home and I even try to go upstairs without her, she whines and fights her way through the baby gate to get upstairs. She's SOOO happy to see me when she finds me. It's like it's the best treat for her. What a funny little breed!!!

cavlover
23rd April 2007, 01:58 PM
My two follow me everywhere too, my husband laughs as soon as I get up from the chair and go anywhere they are both right behind me. When I am in the bathroom I can hear them smelling under the door.:D
judy

Justine
23rd April 2007, 03:03 PM
i loved lani nick name Velcro dog.reading your stories,hubby laughs at alfs as soon as i leave the room he follows,when i come home he is so pleased to see me he will jump at me from about 2 feet away its so funny to watch.if i go out alfs will search the house for me,it is sweet.

Julie S
23rd April 2007, 05:47 PM
Well, granted I've only had Scout for 3 days :rolleyes: but I can already tell how attached he is - more than any other dog or puppy I've ever seen. Obviously it's a "puppy thing" as well, but I've never seen a dog so cuddly and so attached to ME (hubby too, but mostly me ;) ).

DanielleJ
24th April 2007, 07:59 PM
I too have a velcro Cav... Lilly sleeps right up against me, waits for me on the bath mat when I am in the shower, sits on the toilet seat while I dry my hair, follows me room to room in my condo (which is small!), goes to work with me (she's on my lap right now), etc.
Much like a human toddler, she tracks my every move. She always wants to know what mom's doing!
She'll handle being left with her grandparents, but she constantly searches for me when I am gone. I hope I never have to leave her for a long period of time-- this could be a big problem!

Has anyone tried that "Rescue Remedy" tonic or the Comfort Zone plug in with calming canine pheromones?