SpringerToday I visited Molly, an eight year old Springer Spaniel. It is strange that I have recently been to two or three dogs that seem to be going through an unusually withdrawn and ‘worried’ phase.

There has been upheavel in Molly’s life, similar to Maisy I saw a week or so ago. There has been bereavement in the family which has meant Molly has been completely out of routine. She has been left with friends for days at a time, the comfortable daily pattern of accompanying her lady owner on her gardening work has been disrupted, she must be picking up on the grief around her and, to top it off, at the start of it all in January she was spayed.

The problem with owners being unhappy is that they like to take comfort from their dogs. Because this comfort may be a bit extreme from the dog’s point of view by way of cuddling and so on, their negative emotions can transfer.

Molly never did like sudden loud noises, but now she goes and hides if the TV goes loud; she doesn’t like raised or high voices nor the bustle of lots of people. If the gentleman shouts at his football team she beats a retreat behind the sofa. She is doing a lot of hiding. She has lost her former joy in walks and after a few yards simply lies down and refuses to budge. Since January she has developed various behaviours that she didn’t do before, and existing ones have become more extreme.

This again is a sort of leadership issue. She now needs strong owners to behave like her ‘rock’ and not to fuss her. We all know that if we are feeling depressed or nervous, lots of fussing isn’t what we need. We want support and people to be there for us, but we also like to be left alone. In nearly every aspect of Molly’s life she is making the choices, whether it’s where she sleeps, when she eats. when she comes in, where and whether they walk and so on, and this would be a big pressure upon a child let alone a dog in a human’s environment.

Molly’s humans are going to consider life from Molly’s perspective as a dog and make a few personal sacrifices, take some of the decision-making from her shoulders and just be there for her, giving her the sort of support she needs to get her old mojo back.

I can help you, too, with these problems or any other that you may be having with your dog.