There are two over-excited Cocker Spaniels in the household I visited yesterday that I shall name Eric and Ernie – not their real names. Foe a reason they prefer their dogs to be anonymous

Cockers do have a trait for being excitable and very vocal, as we Cocker owners well know![divider type=”white”]

Spats

The most concerning symptom of the underlying excitement problem is that the dogs have spats, mostly due to their redirecting onto one another when particularly hyped up. At other times they get on famously.

My ‘plan’ for them has a recurring theme, ‘do all you can to calm things down’.

From the moment I walked in the door they were jumping up at me and continued to do so when I sat down. It’s like they are competing for attention. We have a plan to teach them that it’s calm behaviour with feet on the floor that gets them the attention.

Bedtime is manic with Ernie having to be carried while Eric screams as he runs up ahead. We have a plan for a calm bedtime.[divider type=”white”]

Over-excited from the time the rise

First thing in the morning is manic from the moment the man puts his foot on the floor to get out of bed. We have a plan for a calm start to the day.

Feeding is hyper with dogs jumping up and barking as the meals are prepared. We have plan for a calm feeding routine.

Getting into the car is a screaming contest as is getting out of the car the other end. We have a plan for the car.

The over-excited dogs ‘explode’ out into the garden, screaming and barking and sometimes redirecting onto one another. We have a plan for calm exits.

If they hear something outside or if there is a bird in the garden, Ernie starts the barking backed up by Eric. We have a plan for that!

The dogs are walked separately, because otherwise Eric screams all the way down the road. Calm needs to be established at home, before the door is opened.[divider type=”white”]

Wrong kind of stimulation

The people will need to be very patient and outlast the dogs. The dogs have learnt that ‘shouting’ gets them what they want and it is continually being reinforced. The couple will need to change the order in which they do things because the noise and excitement starts in anticipation of a regular event.

Every time the man lets them into the garden they think he is going to play with them and they go ballistic. The dogs will get time out in their crates with something to chew (they love their crates) when they are getting over excited.

Making things calmer is only one side of the issue. There is too much stimulation of the wrong kind – stuff that winds them up further involving lots exercise, agility, fly-ball and excitable play. Moreover, it’s excited, manic and noisy behaviour that gets them the attention.

They need to be working their clever brains more! I am encouraging the couple to use clicker training with their dogs, one dog at a time, to get the dogs really working and doing something useful for their attention. This should help them to learn some impulse control too.