I have a 3 year old English cocker, Sophie, and an almost 11 year old Golden retriever, Jake. My work schedule is very variable--sometimes I work nights (and am home with them most of the day and husband is with them at night), sometimes I work days, and some weeks are pretty intense long days. When I work days, I have my father and his dog come over in the morning and a dog walker in the afternoon.
The problem is that Sophie seems to not have an easy time with being separated from me. She is not destructive and does not have accidents in the house, but last week my dad said she was very reluctant to come to him (really unusual for her) and the dog walker (unfortunately, a sub for their regular walker) couldn't even get her to go outside to potty the first day. She said she warmed up a bit, would take a treat and go outside with her, but she couldn't get her to go on a walk by the end of the week. I could understand the dog walker, but my dad? She's known him since she was a puppy and is usually thrilled to see him. I think part of the problem may be a change in my the pattern of my schedule so I've been on nights for awhile, and they didn't have their usual routine of having someone else with them during the day for a couple of months.
Sophie in general is pretty timid with people she doesn't know very well, as well as dogs she doesn't know. Jake is totally thrilled to see any human and most things he does she wants to do, but this hasn't seemed to wear off on her. Does anyone have suggestions for getting her to be more flexible/confident? I did lots of socialization stuff with her when she was young, it didn't seem to "take" very well. She is well housetrained, but I'd like her to be more comfortable with the routine (or lack thereof).
Thanks for any ideas
how does Sophie behave when you are with her a lot? Is she following you when you are inside? Is she jumping on you at any time? Is she deciding when to play, what and for how long?
I think it is important for her to get confidence that everything is ok even when you are not around. If she is very close to you during the days you are at home a lot, i would try to stop that - but i know this is hard! She must not follow you or jump on you or decide anything. You should make the decisions, you should tell her not to follow you even if you have time. The problem may be that she got used to spending a lot of time with you, to deciding this and that and now that you are gone during the day, this situation has completely changed.
Try to work on making her comfortable without you even when you are around.
All the best
Hi--thanks for the reply. When we are at home, she often follows me around like my shadow, then sometimes she'll just stay where she is when I am doing things, I haven't noticed a pattern. She is pretty "bossy/needy" but gives up easily if I don't go along with what she wants.