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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 20218
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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My 10 year old springer spaniel;

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My 10 year old springer spaniel has, over the last few months, starting acting very strange - he is used to being left alone for up to 6 hours at a time and it has never bothered him before but suddenly he has started to act really strangely - we moved house over a year ago and are having work done on the outside but recently when left he will try to get out of the bungalow by means of jumping up at the window, jumping on worktops and getting out of a small kitchen window - we started to shut him in his cage which he has happily been into since he was a pup but twice now he has broken out of it - squeezing out of the smallest gap and today losing a tooth in the process -please could you suggest anything we love him to bits many thanks He also becomes very snarly, growling barking and bearing his teeth when he is put in the cage which is most out of character for him

Hi JaCustomer,
My name is Jane. I have been working professionally with animals especially dogs in both health and behavioral issues for over 18 years. I have over 14,000 satisfied customers. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.
Given his age and breed, I would recommend you have a complete health assessment done including a thyroid panel. Dogs with a thyroid imbalance often display a variety of abnormal behavior including aggression. Read about this and other reasons for sudden aggression.
In addition, your dog quite elderly and may be experiencing Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS). There is a wonderful site that explains it well and also explains how to document your dog's behavior and discuss it with your vet.
The good news is that there is a drug called L-Selegeline (Anipryl (R)) which has been recently approved for use in the clinical indication of cognitive dysfunction (CDS) in dogs.
Please see this site for more information and other causes that may exhibit the same symptoms.
If your dog is suddenly experiencing separation anxiety, then perhaps a dap collar would be helpful as well. They are proven to be helpful for anxiety disorders. These can be purchased at pet stores and online as well as the vet office. You could be best getting an escape proof crate as well. One is called the empire proselect crate and is made of square aluminum bars. You can see one here, there are other similar cages.
Here are some training techniques if you think separation anxiety is an issue. Practice putting him in the crate, leaving the house, opening the door immediately and rewarding him with a hot dog treat if he did not scratch, bite and carry one. This teaches him that you leave but come back quickly. Once he seems to not do anything when you initially leave, lengthen the time he must be quiet for you to come back in. Change the time as well. Make it 2 minutes one time and 10 minutes another, so he never knows if you are gone for an hour or gone foe 2 minutes. It helps him stay calm for longer periods of time, just be sure you reward him when he is good.
Another thing that helps is to do things that might make the dog feel you are leaving and then don't such as putting on your coat or picking up your keys. Or leave without doing those things. This helps remove things that might trigger the dog to become anxious.
These should help his separation anxiety. It will not be an overnight cure and will take work on your and your family’s part to be consistent in your interaction with him. Here is a site that also offers idea to combat separation anxiety.
I hope this information is helpful to you and you are satisfied with my response. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have .
Jane Lefler and other Dog Training Specialists are ready to help you