The RSPCA rescued Bella with her sister at nine months of age.

After a brief stay in rescue kennels they were adopted together.

Then a short while later she was re-homed with the young lady and gentleman I’m working with.

This is her fourth ‘home’ in her short of life.

Bella needs reliable routine in her life that she can trust. 

Eleven-month-old Bella is a beautiful, gentle Cocker Spaniel.

In the first few days with them she exhibited no problems at all. I would guess everything was no new (again) she simply shut down and played safe. She would have been looking for some kind of pattern or routine in her new life.

Now two problems are developing.


She is developing an over-attachment to the young lady. They can’t go out and leave her. alone.

Yet she’s happy left alone with the lady’s mother’s dog. She has lived alone with another dog for most of her life, after all.

They have a good arrangement at the moment which will help with their separation work. Bella stays with the mother’s family for three days each week while the couple have to both work.

Then they pick Bella up and bring her home for the other four days. It’s an hour’s drive.

Systematic rituals and routine

So they won’t have to leave her alone at all while they do their systematic work.

This in a way though means yet another home to adapt to and more upheaval. But it’s a whole lot better than the alternative.

They will now work on separating Bella briefly from the young lady in a very systematic fashion. They will build a reliable routine with set departure rituals that Bella will trust.

Overwhelmed and insecure

When they took Bella in they wanted to make her life wonderful. They immediately not only took her to their family homes but also on a large variety of lovely walks.

Now she will only walk if the young lady is with them.

The man tries, but she refuses.


So now they want to make Bella’s life predictable. They will walk her the same walk only for a while. Let her build a pattern of what will happen that she can predict and trust.

When the lady is out, the young man wants to take her out. He will now no longer worry and try to make her go when she refuses. No walk won’t harm her at all.

He can do other things with her instead, at home where she’s happy. He will do everything he can that will help her.

There has simply been too much change. Bella is overwhelmed.

Give her life a predictable shape

Now they can build some routine and rituals. This should start to give Bella’s life some predictable shape.

I’m sure she will then relax and allow the lady out of her sight. She will choose to walk with the man again when she knows just what to expect.

NB. For the sake of the story and for confidentiality also, this isn’t a complete report. If you listen to ‘other people’ or find instructions on the internet or TV that are not tailored to your own dog, you can do more harm than good. Click here for help