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View Full Version : Cavalier trait or littel dog syndrome



alfiesmummy
8th April 2012, 10:00 PM
Hi,

I am having a couple of problems with my little Cavalier. He does not like other dogs and he barks when someone knocks at the door etc etc. I called a behaviourist and she asked me if my little dog followed me around etc etc. I said, yes, but he is a cavalier and its there trait. She says its not and he is guarding me??? Does any other Cavalier owners cavalier follow them everywhere?
I have been following the advice from the dog listener book. I dont want to try and stop my little dog following me if its a cavalier trait. I would not say its a problem. He is crate trained and goes in his bed fine. He does what he is told generally. Any advice would be great.
Thanks for reading xx

dellis
8th April 2012, 10:11 PM
hi, two of mine follow me around the house and garden quite happily whereas the other one is very independant about what and when she does things. i've got to say i love their company :)

Calandra
9th April 2012, 01:10 AM
Chloe is definitely my little shadow at 7 months. Everything I read about Cavaliers said to expect this - it's in their breeding. I find it adorable that when I walk out of a room with Chloe on the couch sleeping, she's on lookout for me with her paws on the arm of the couch when I come back a few minutes later. :) She doesn't cry for me when I leave for work or anything, so she's not overly attached I don't think.

NurseSophie89
9th April 2012, 04:02 AM
Lola is my shadow, or if my mums home she'll follow her and same with my stepdad. Its just how she is. She likes to sit and watch what's going on, I think its nosiness more than anything. She'll sit on my knee while im trying to dry my hair for example, going between watching me and looking at herself in the mirror lol! But she settles down well in bed when we go out and that, doesnt cry or anything. Lola would also bark when the door knocks or if someone walks past the house outside, infact I took this picture of her looking out the window barking at someone as they went past! She doesnt bark though once people are actually in the house. I think cavvies are just nosy personally, anyone else agree?

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7265/6886944726_927d09de9b.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/75772322@N07/6886944726/)

MadeleineSarah
9th April 2012, 09:54 AM
Oliver follows me around most of the time but if I am cleaning (boring) he goes and sits in the lounge looking out the window.

He will bark in the garden and out of the window at other dogs. But doesn't bark at dogs on walks (he shouts at me to "throw the ball" though lol).

He doesn't have any separation anxiety but is always very pleased to see me come home. :)

I would say that Oliver is nosey and can't tolerate that I might be doing something interesting that doesn't involve him. But he isn't guarding me.
Trust your instincts. Do you think he is guarding or being nosey?
When Oliver shouts in the garden he is definitely stating it is his territory. When he follows me around he is hoping I will play with him or drop some food! ;) lol

I am trying to train Oliver out of shouting in the garden but wouldn't dream of stopping his nosey nature. ;)

M&O

tealcisgod04
9th April 2012, 10:30 AM
Hi,

I am having a couple of problems with my little Cavalier. He does not like other dogs and he barks when someone knocks at the door etc etc. I called a behaviourist and she asked me if my little dog followed me around etc etc. I said, yes, but he is a cavalier and its there trait. She says its not and he is guarding me??? Does any other Cavalier owners cavalier follow them everywhere?
I have been following the advice from the dog listener book. I dont want to try and stop my little dog following me if its a cavalier trait. I would not say its a problem. He is crate trained and goes in his bed fine. He does what he is told generally. Any advice would be great.
Thanks for reading xx

Tails follows me and Lily around but I never get the feeling he's guarding. I think he's just always hopeful that something interesting might happen and doesn't want to miss it if it does!

Karlin
9th April 2012, 11:10 AM
I said, yes, but he is a cavalier and its there trait. She says its not and he is guarding me???

Oh dear -- that is typical advice from really crap trainers and please do not use that person. I also would not use the Dog Listener book -- there are some good things in it (and in the past, I interviewed the trainer for my newspaper and attended her seminars) but the stuff on guarding etc is just really outmoded -- eg eating before the dog and so forth. Plus: you have TWO different and totally separate issues here and only ONE is a problem. :thmbsup:

On the issue that is NOT an issue -- as you rightly believed in the first place, cavaliers normally follow their owners around; this type of desire to be a constant companion and always have you in sight has been bred into this breed's background for hundreds of years! Also, just about any dog will bark when the doorbell goes -- indeed most of us actually WANT such behaviour as it is a good warning and a good deterrent (better, police say, than an alarm) -- though of course you want a people friendly dog when people actually come into the house. :) How any trainer could think this totally normal behavoiour is 'guarding' or a problem is beyond me -- this is why I only recommend trainers who actually have some proper training and certification, and have proper knowledge of normal dog behaviour (too many just call themselves dog trainers because they have read a couple of books and think they are good with dogs -- a lot of them are anything but :( ). There isn't such a thing as 'little dog behaviour' that is any different from big dog or medium dog behaviour, either :). There are however some breed behaviours and cavaliers like to be people's shadows. How sad that a trainer would jump to a potentially damaging conclusion and suggest what could easily be a training approach that could cause real anxiety to your cavalier and cause new problems!

If you want a decent trainer, get someone with a CPDT or APDT certification (preferably the first). Their website will list trainers internationally near you. :)

Now: the actual problem you have is a dog that doesn't like other dogs. That IS an issue that can become more and more serious. Can you explain more about this? Dogs that do not like dogs generally are like this because they weren't adequately socialised to lots and lots of dogs as a puppy (the first year is very critical for this) and also because they are not continuing to meet enough friendly dogs each day and week. For example if a dog never really meets any other dogs but others that share the house or the same one or two that belong to friends, then they can become dog aggressive/fear aggressive towards other dogs because they lose their ability to read other dog's friendly signals and/or ignore them and lose the abillty to socialise in a normal friendly way.

One of the best ways to help a dog avoid the sad fate of not liking other dogs is to do a fun, rewards-based training class at least once and better, two or so when under a year, so the dog meets lots of different dogs and people. :D And then regularly use a good doggie day care, or do at least one fun class a year, or get involved in dog activities like agility or obedience, or find a group that meets for dog group walks or playdates. :D

But as for where you are now: I'd look for a good CPDT- trainer run GROUP class and go along and talk to the trainer to see if your dog would benefit from that as a starting point for learning how to again mix with other dogs. If not, your dog may need solo work with you and the trainer -- there are things you can do to recondition your dog to not be aggressive/fearful of other dogs (and this is a very hard life for a dog to live; very stressful for the dog and the owner on walks, travelling etc). BUT this does take time and commitment from the owner -- there are no quick fixes and this cannot be done inside the house but requires slow work outside the house with your dog on a lead, giving positive feedback (NEVER punishment) to slowly have the dog associate good things with other dogs, not bad things as now.

You can read more about why you may have a dog with fearfulness issues here: http://www.dogstardaily.com/training/fearfulness -- also http://www.dogstardaily.com/training/preventing-adolescent-problems -- all this applies to meeting other dogs as well as people. Addressing issues with a fearful dog is best done with a rewards based, CPDT trainer as it is very hard to do on one's own and not risk creating further problems. :thmbsup:

Mindysmom
9th April 2012, 11:47 AM
I think that is great advice. Rylie, who used to be fearless around other dogs went through a stage where he was quite fearful. Incidents that may have contributed to this were are a very large Golden puppy (a year or so old but still puppy brain) who thought Rylie would be an excellent playmate. My poor guy got rolled once or twice when we babysat her. His class is larger dogs and there is one border collie who is rather moody. She has told him off a few times when he got too close to her space (this hasn't happened for a long time as now both her handler and I manage the situation). To try and deal with this I volunteered to babysit my friend's gentle, large dog. Rylie was quite nervous at the start of the weekend and indeed the big dog wanted to play and was quite disheartened that I was the only one who would play with him (he prefers dog play). He never even accidentally touched either of my dogs though. By Sunday Rylie was playing tug with the 85 pound dog who was so desperate for a playmate he let Rylie "drag" him around the room. The next time we went to the dog park Rylie was back to his feisty self and wouldn't give up his stick to a larger dog. He's still more cautious than Max meeting new dogs (unless he has a stick in his mouth) but I don't think cautious is a bad thing when you weigh less than thirteen pounds.

waldor
9th April 2012, 01:21 PM
alfiesmummy - there is a reason Cavaliers are called "the Velcro dog". ;-) Our Sophie will even follow me into the bathroom. They love their humans and there is no way she is guarding me.

It's quite normal for a dog to bark when someone is at the door. I wish our Sophie would do that! Instead, she is quite misguided and only barks at people out on the street. Once they are on our property and especially at the door, she believes they are her BFF (Best Friend Forever) who have come to visit her, and only her.

meljoy
9th April 2012, 03:21 PM
Great advice from Karlin. Leo follows me everywhere. I dont find it a problem I love his company, its why I got a cavalier:l*v:

The barking thing isnt a problem wither. Leo barks when someone knocks at the door but thats ok as its just his way of saying "There's someone at the door" and also if its a stranger they may think we have a big ferocious dog......its a good alarm system.

It does sound like your puppy needs to be socialised though, he's missing out if he doesnt have doggy friends too. Try a small friendly puppy class that focuses on socialisation skills.
Good luck

Alana
10th April 2012, 02:52 AM
Ha so true about the BFF and visiting!

If you know of any Cavalier owners around that you could have a play date with it would be beneficial because they have similar temperaments. Whenever I take Bella to a play place for dogs she goes straight for the Cavaliers, she feels safest with them, mind you she doesn't have a problem with other breeds. If there are big dogs playing she will watch but not join in because she knows she will get squashed! She usually goes around and meets everyone until she finds a friend that plays with her the way she likes. I suggest a dog play group with people you know that have nice dogs to start with.

Soushiruiuma
10th April 2012, 05:57 AM
I always have my "entourage" with me. This is certainly not guarding behaviour, cavaliers are just adore their owners.

JessieAndMe
10th April 2012, 07:11 AM
I always have my "entourage" with me
http://www.kolobok.us/smiles/he_and_she/girl_haha.gif http://www.kolobok.us/smiles/he_and_she/girl_haha.gif Too true.

Jessie is a huge sticky nose, he wouldn't know how to mind his own business. Thank goodness we live in a quiet little court.
He follows me around from room to room, and where it's a room that he isn't allow into (the toilet) he waits outside, lays against the door
and apparently tries to look underneath to see your shadow.

He isn't too fond of bikes, scooters or motorbikes though and will bark and growl until they are out of sight, it must be anyone in motion
where he can see them, as cars don't phase him, as long as they don't park in his driveway or out the front of his house. He barks only
at select people when they come to the door, he doesn't like the postie wearing his helmet, but happily welcomes the Auspost delivery
guy bringing eBay goodies.

I've got more photo's than I can remember of Jessie perving out the window (like NurseSophie89's Lola)

NurseSophie89
10th April 2012, 05:20 PM
http://www.kolobok.us/smiles/he_and_she/girl_haha.gif http://www.kolobok.us/smiles/he_and_she/girl_haha.gif Too true.

Jessie is a huge sticky nose, he wouldn't know how to mind his own business. Thank goodness we live in a quiet little court.
He follows me around from room to room, and where it's a room that he isn't allow into (the toilet) he waits outside, lays against the door
and apparently tries to look underneath to see your shadow.

He isn't too fond of bikes, scooters or motorbikes though and will bark and growl until they are out of sight, it must be anyone in motion
where he can see them, as cars don't phase him, as long as they don't park in his driveway or out the front of his house. He barks only
at select people when they come to the door, he doesn't like the postie wearing his helmet, but happily welcomes the Auspost delivery
guy bringing eBay goodies.

I've got more photo's than I can remember of Jessie perving out the window (like NurseSophie89's Lola)

Funny you should say that, Lola HATES motorbikes with a passion and goes nuts at them. I always thought it was the noise though, as she'll start to back when she hears it before shes seen it.

alfiesmummy
11th April 2012, 04:08 PM
I did think it was strange as i know other cavaliers and they all follow there owner but the behaviourist swears, when i called her its guarding behaviour. I have no problem with his behaviour whatso ever. I quite like my little shadow :-)))

The bit about Alfie not liking other dogs i really cannot figure out why?? We bought Alfie at 13 weeks old. I can only think that he missed the socialiastion time. Since having him we have took him to training classes. Alfie is whistle trained and knows this different whistle tones, similar to a gundogs. He walks the heath everyday and sees other dogs everyday. We do an hours off lead walking a day over the heath, so it cannot be lack of excercise. He is much better off lead with other dogs than on lead. When off lead he only barks and chases a little. On lead when another dog comes he goes nuts! I have taken to Alfie to every dog show walking last summer. Every show that you can take a dog to, he has gone. It seems like it had gotten worse beginning of winter when the shows stopped but the walks over the heath have continued. He lives with a springer spaniel and he is absolutely fine with her. My husbands springer is not bonkers at all. She is very calm, esp for a springer and gun dog trained. Alfie is actually more bonkers by miles than my husbands springer!! Thanks for all your advice xxxx

Kate H
11th April 2012, 05:19 PM
Being OK with other dogs off-lead but not on-lead is very normal, because off-lead dogs know that they can run if anything goes wrong. On-lead, they can't run, they are likely to get tangled round their owners legs, and are sitting targets for getting attacked. It may be something as simple as having been roughly bowled over as a puppy that makes Alfie nervous when on lead - his barking is warning off rather than being aggressive. Oliver has been attacked three times from behind by staffies when sitting quietly on-lead at bus stops. He now barks furiously at any dog who simply resembles a staffie, especially if he doesn't see them coming (and he's shortsighted, so that includes most black, brindle or black and white dogs!) - I call it 'getting his swearing in first', but it's really warning the other dog off. Introduced on-lead to friendly, well-behaved staffies, he's perfectly friendly, also with staffies when loose in the park.

Kate, OLiver and Aled

alfiesmummy
22nd April 2012, 08:24 PM
I wanted to thank everyone for replying to my thread. I have been reading a book called the Dog listener by Jan Fennel. I have taken some tips from her book. Since writing the thread i never saw any hope of getting Alf into the show ring again because of his dislike of other dogs. Today i have managed a full 5 hours at a dog show and Alf has not been a problem with any dogs. When i saw the signs of him going off on a barking fit, i got a piece of chicken out and got him to sit and i rewarded him with the chicken! It took his mind off of barking! Within half an hour i didnt have to use the chicken anymore, he was fine! He even had a husky bark at him and he ignored it! I have also used the same approach with the chicken, with barking at the door and the fence and slowly the barking is decreasing! I would suggest to anyone who was going to shell out 150 for a behaviourist, not to bother and buy a copy of this womens book and watch her youtube videos!
From reading what others have read on this web site, i dont think Alf has little dog syndrome. He is doing what cavys have been breed to do.

Many thanks for all your help xx

Kate H
22nd April 2012, 09:55 PM
Please use Jan Fennel with extreme caution! A lot of what she says has been disproved by more recent research. All this stuff about alpha males and dominating your dog was based on research done with wolves in captivity who were living not in family groups but in unnatural groups of unrelated wolves who had - as all groups of animals do - to sort themselves into some sort of hierarchy in order to relate with humans at close quarters, which they would never have to do in the wild. The most modern dog training methods are based on motivating your dog to co-operate with you, not bullying him into compliance. What you are doing with Alf (and I'm delighted it's working) is distracting him with something he values more than the need to bark at other dogs - ie chicken! Nothing to do with domination, but a good example of making it worth his while to do what you want. Training is a matter of exchange and mart - you ask Alf to do something, with a reward, and he decides it's worth his while to do what you want (and also worth getting your approval). Part of the improvement is also no doubt due to growing up. However you do it, I'm glad it's working, so that you can eventually relax and enjoy Alf without always being on the look-out for other dogs.

Kate, Oliver and Aled

alfiesmummy
23rd April 2012, 10:23 AM
Thanks for that! I have used the ignoring for 5 minutes when you come into the house (its so hard!) and it has stopped both my dogs jumping up. I am not sure how her ideas of thanking the dog for barking at the door works, so when people come round i put both dogs into there crates and i greet people. Once there in and quiet i let the dogs out again with the 5 min rule for all! This seems to work too.
Yesterday i was so thrilled with Alf. The behaviourist said she was unsure whether Alf would go into the show ring again! I was so pleased as you can imagine and sorted out in 30 minutes! Thanks for all your help and advice x

NurseSophie89
1st May 2012, 01:52 AM
Lola now has this other new thing shes started doing to me which is kinda like a cuddle but not really. If i ask her for a kiss sometimes she'll push her little face into mine really hard, or else into my shoulder. Almost like shes nuzzling right into me, too damn cute!!!

Soushiruiuma
1st May 2012, 03:54 AM
Lola now has this other new thing shes started doing to me which is kinda like a cuddle but not really. If i ask her for a kiss sometimes she'll push her little face into mine really hard, or else into my shoulder. Almost like shes nuzzling right into me, too damn cute!!!

Those seem to be a cavalier trait, they've been discussed before. Guinness does them too (I call them smash cuddles), but only when he's absolutely euphoric. Thistle doesn't do them at all.

NurseSophie89
1st May 2012, 10:51 PM
Those seem to be a cavalier trait, they've been discussed before. Guinness does them too (I call them smash cuddles), but only when he's absolutely euphoric. Thistle doesn't do them at all.

Too cute, I didnt know. Smash cuddles, I LOVE THAT!