Lost girl, lost doggy.
June 19, 2010 3:51 PM   Subscribe

How can I teach my dog to play with me or by herself now that her buddy is gone?

My wife and I have split up and she took her Pug with her. Now, my Cocker Spaniel is really lost. Her method of playing was waiting for the other dog to grab a toy and then stealing it or just chasing and rough housing. Now I can't seem to get her to play at all. Also, rather than play she is stuck to me like GLUE. I've gone through the handful of toys we have and she isn't interested at all. She is too lazy for Kongs (she gives up in 2 seconds and ignores it). Bought her a rawhide bone, she wouldn't touch it. Squeaky toys scare the crap out of her because in her doggy brain, toys shouldn't squeak apparently.

I got on my hands and knees to try and wrestle with her, which we have done plenty of times in the past and she ran and hid!

I've run out of ideas and I don't have the money to buy a bunch of toys in the hopes she might like one of them, I'm starting to take her to the dog park because I know she desperately needs more socialization with people and other dogs. Other than that, here's two tough questions: how do I re-teach her how to play and how do I pry her off me? It was cute at first because I knew she was comforting me but now I wish I had my personal space back.
posted by CwgrlUp to Pets & Animals (11 answers total)
I realize this may not be the advice you're looking for, but have you considered getting another dog? Cocker Spaniels are pretty high energy dogs, and they need a lot of exercise - along with interaction...
posted by krisak at 3:56 PM on June 19, 2010

If it really concerns you, maybe it would be best for your dog if your ex took her in along with the pug.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 4:09 PM on June 19, 2010

Best answer: Wait, how long ago did the pug and your wife leave? Its possible your cocker is just adjusting, and having seperation anxiety. Playing is not acceptable because it distracts her from the very important task of watching you ALL THE TIME so you don't leave, too.

Animals can adjust; had your pug died, you'd understand that your spaniel is sad and give her time to adjust. I'd wait it out and spend time in the park with other dogs. The best way to get the dog off you is to exhaust her, frankly.

Otherwise, she's where she needs to be: making sure you don't leave.
posted by DarlingBri at 4:20 PM on June 19, 2010 [3 favorites]

The above suggestions are things you should look into, but keep in mind that it can take time. You don't say how long ago your wife left, but it doesn't sound like it's been a long time. It could take a month or more for you Cocker to adjust to not having a buddy.

But yeah, Cocker Spaniels are pretty high-energy and it might behoove you to get her a brother.
posted by InsanePenguin at 4:21 PM on June 19, 2010

Response by poster: They've only been gone a couple weeks. Our breakup was financially motivated, so the ex sure couldn't afford both dogs (not that I'd have let her take her anyway) and I can't afford a new sibling either.

I didn't even consider her being afraid I'd leave. Duh. Thanks for pointing that out.
posted by CwgrlUp at 4:38 PM on June 19, 2010

Definitely seconding separation anxiety. I've been gone two weeks on a family emergency, and radiofiance reports that our Corgi is very distressed.
posted by radioamy at 9:03 PM on June 19, 2010

{Slight derail} Radioamy, have you tried talking to the dog on the phone? My Lab always knew it was me when I called from college and had my parents put the phone next to her ear. CwgrlUp, was your Cocker bonded with your ex?
posted by brujita at 9:42 PM on June 19, 2010

Response by poster: No, not really. She probably misses her pug playmate more.
posted by CwgrlUp at 9:01 AM on June 20, 2010

Response by poster: We've had a bit of a breakthrough! Bacon-flavored bones, that's the ticket. Yay.
posted by CwgrlUp at 9:02 AM on June 20, 2010

Best answer: My lovely puppy came into my life while I had a roommate who also had a dog. They quickly became BESTEST friends, basically only separated at night when they would each sleep in our respective rooms. Then about 1.5 years later my roommate had to move states to help take care of her mom. My dog was not pleased about this.

It took about 2 months before I could leave him home alone without him crying (something he never did before). It was about a month before he would play with me, we call it the blanket game. I put him under the blanket and basically poke at him and he "attacks" my hands. He never gave up on being attached to my hip (and I took him almost everywhere with me so probably partly my fault) in the eight months my roommate and her dog were gone. We're lucky in that they are back now and he is as happy as can be but we would have gotten through it eventually.

Dogs like their packs, it takes a while for them to adjust to half their pack disappearing but they do adjust.

posted by magnetsphere at 9:48 AM on June 20, 2010

Another thing to think of is fostering for your local humane society or dog rescue. Your dog gets a temporary buddy and you typically don't have to pay for food or vet care.
posted by yeahyeahyeahwhoo at 10:13 AM on June 22, 2010

« Older Fix This Floor   |   my book opinions, let me show you them..... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.