Charlie at 5 months

It’s been a little while since I’ve written an update so thought I would share some of the latest pictures and adventures we’ve had with Charlie.

He is 5 months now, I can’t quite believe we have had him for 3 months. My husband says it still feels like we’ve borrowed him, but I can’t imagine our home without our little Charlie dog in it now!

I took Charlie for his puppy check with the veterinary nurse last week and he is 9.7kg. I’m really not sure how much he is likely to weigh fully grown, if anyone has a working cocker please let me know. I’ve done a few google searches but it seems he could be anything from 12kg to 20kg! This is difficult when working out how much to feed him, as the guidelines go on their adult weight… how are you supposed to know this now?!

Since he has come off his prescription diet he seems very happy with his current puppy food, plus the extra treat every now and again. He is very active and we are strict with weighing out his food every day so he seems to be ok with having treats at the moment. His absolute favourite are pigs ears. They keep him occupied for ages and he goes mad for them!

We’ve really settled into a proper routine, which took a little while after all the excitement of Christmas and then our week away in January. I take Charlie every day to the woods nearby. I know I’ve said it before but I love it there! I can let Charlie off the lead (he is so much better off the lead than on it, I really need to do some proper lead training with him – as usual, your tips are greatly appreciated on this one). There are lots of other people walking their dogs there, so Charlie gets lots of socialisation and interaction. Lots of other dog owners comment on how nice Charlie is with other dogs and how well socialised he is, which make me feel very proud. I feel like I’m actually doing something right!

We do seem to be having a bit of a battle as to who is top dog though. When my husband isn’t around Charlie seems to think it is him! I think he is getting to the age where he wants to be dominant, but he only seems to do it with me. As I mentioned before, Charlie is great with other dogs, and when there are other people around he is pretty well behaved, but when he is on his own with me he jumps up on the sofa (not allowed), jumps up at me and tries to bite my feet. Has anyone else experienced this? Any recommendations on what I can do to try and stop it?

Working Cocker Spaniel puppy at 5 months

Charlie at 10 weeks vs 20 weeks - he's definitely grown!
Charlie at 10 weeks vs 20 weeks – he’s definitely grown!

Working Cocker Spaniel puppy at 5 months

Mucky pup after rolling in puddles
Mucky pup after rolling in puddles
Chilling out by the fire
Chilling out by the fire
Charlie's favourite ball
Charlie’s favourite ball
Loving the snow in Norfolk
Loving the snow in Norfolk
Yes I know it's a Christmas blanket but Charlie's favourite spot is on this under the radiator!
Yes I know it’s a Christmas blanket but Charlie’s favourite spot is on this under the radiator!

Working Cocker Spaniel puppy at 5 months Working Cocker Spaniel puppy at 5 months

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6 thoughts on “Charlie at 5 months

  1. Oh my gosh, I cannot stand the cuteness!! I could look at photos of him all day 🙂

    As for the whole dominance thing, I do not subscribe to dominance theory – it has been scientifically debunked, and holds no place in the dog world. I think I blogged a while back with some links about it all…of course feel free to do your own research, but here are some things to read if you want 🙂

    https://scarlybobs.wordpress.com/2013/11/10/dominance-in-dogs/

    Of course you should be a parent / teacher to your dog, your dog should respect you…but train through kindness, make him *want* to please you rather than feeling he has to through fear.

    For stopping him jumping on the sofa, you would show him what a great idea it is to chill somewhere else – this can be in a crate near the couch, on a bed etc. He can have chews, frozen Kongs etc. You can teach a cue (eg. “go to bed”) and then he gets rewarded every few seconds for staying there – over time the rate of reinforcement will go down. You’ll also need to work on an ‘off’ cue so he knows what you want, and you can get him off without scaring or getting angry with him. Finally if you can spot any warnings he’s about to get onto the couch, you can ask him to sit, or do something else that means he couldn’t jump up.

    For jumping up / biting feet, you want to remove the fun from doing that. We had this problem with Raiden, when he was over-excited he would jump and bite at us – is Charlie excited when he does it? Partly it’s about management (we watch for signs Raiden is getting to the point where he will jump up, try keep him calm etc) and part of it is training – we use a mixture of asking him to sit (he can’t sit AND jump!!) but if he’s too wound up we simply pick him up until he is calm. This resets him and he can go down again.

    Other options are to leave the room when Charlie jumps up, tie his lead to furniture and move out of range etc.

    Remember too that he is an adolescent now, this will most likely be the toughest period of his life…when Raiden’s having a bad day and I’m exhausted, I remind myself this a lot 😉

    Sorry for the essay…!

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    1. Thanks so much, I love your advice! I’m glad you like the photos of Charlie 🙂 It’s pretty tough with knowing what to do sometimes as there is so much conflicting advice on the internet/books/speaking to people. We’ve never had a dog before so it’s a huge learning curve!

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      1. Aw, thank *you* so much 🙂 Haha trust me I know what it’s like…Kasper was my first dog, he came to me with all these issues, and I was kinda 50/50 – I used positive reinforcement, a clicker etc, but I also thought he was dominant for pulling on lead; I yanked his collar, yelled at him etc…eeek!

        And yes, it’s SO hard knowing what to believe when there are so many differing opinions…the best you can do is spend time researching and form your own opinion. The hardest thing is that most vets and even a fair few trainers are still pushing dominance as a thing, so it is tough.

        There are several good dog trainers on YouTube too…Pam’s Dog Academy, Kikopup, and I think Sophia Yin. Let me know if you’d like me to send you some books I like too!

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  2. My puppy Rhea also acts differently when she is with me than with my partner. I do think it’s not so much about dominance at this stage yet, as much as energy. You probably have a softer, more playful and more excited (excited doesn’t necessarily mean happy) energy so Charlie feels allowed to do all these things. Plus, he is also testing to see where your boundaries are. What is really allowed? Do you actually mean it when you say no or will he get away with it if he goes ahead and does it? What I would do, would be to insist on the command that you have for each situation (for example, maybe “off” for the couch?) and then wait very patiently not only until he goes off the couch but until he has shown he is completely over the idea of going on it again and challenging you (if he lays down or sits down-the further away from the couch the better- it’s a good indication that he gave up and you won the argument 🙂 ). That will let him know that a) you do mean it when you say ‘no’ b) you are more patient and persistent than him and thus c) there is no point in arguing with you because you will always win. Build on this “exercise” and he should start understanding your “authority”, let’s say, over your things (couch, etc.) and yourself (jumping should decrease, too).

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    1. Thanks for the advice! It doesn’t seem to be dominance anymore actually, I think because he spends the majority of his time with me he is just testing the boundaries. And I think I’m a bit guilty of letting him get away with some things (I have stopped this now though!) Patience and perseverance!

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