Ask Dorrie

Dorie

I am Dorrie, I am a trained Therapy dog and I work with a famous Therapist named Mom. I have been doing rescue and have been a cocker spaniel for many years. I know a lot! And if I don’t know the answer to your question I will find a professional to help me answer it.

Send your questions to me, Dorrie at elizabeth.mazzetti@cox.net

FAQ

Behavior

Q: Dear Dorrie, I was a year old when my mom adopted me. I am a perfect dog with my mom but when anyone else tries to pet me I get scared and bite. Mom is expecting her first grandchild and is worried I will bite the baby. Is there anyone who can help me lose my fear?
Yes! Positive reinforcement training works for cockers with aggression problems. You were not socialized when you where a  puppy so now every new person is scary and you have learned that biting or growling at them makes them go away. Positive reinforcement training pairs yummy treats with new people. When you do that over and over again for weeks/months at a time then there is a change in your body chemistry. Before you get a shot of adrenaline when you see a new person. Now, after all those treats, your body starts thinking about goodies and you get a shot of serotonin instead of adrenaline. New people are big treat machines coming your way. Oh boy!! Find yourself a true positive reinforcement trainer who is comfortable with aggressive dogs (not all trainers are good with aggression). With time, work and commitment you will see results. Nothing is an instant solution.

 Q: As soon as it rains my cocker’s house training goes right out the window. What is up?
Most Cockers hate to pee in the rain or get their feet wet. Find a dry spot when it rains and wait them out.

Q:My cocker is out all day playing then as soon as I come home she comes into the house and pees on the floor. Why?
Yes, she is outside playing all day. Not thinking about doing her business just thinking about playing. So when you come home, go outside with her and take her to her favorite pee spot. then give her a treat after she does her business and tell her what an amazing girl she is. Better yet, put it on cue and when you get home take her to her spot and say “go potty” or what ever your cue is. Dogs with empty bladders don’t pee in the house.

Q: Dear Dorie, When I was little, Mom put me inside my crate bed at night, and took me outside to use the bathroom during the day. I got so I knew what she wanted, because she’d say “Good Girl!” And give me a cookie. Now every once in a while, I get excited and forget to use my doggy door. Mom gets a deep voice, and shows me what I did, saying “potty outside” I don’t understand why she gets so upset. How can I remember to use my doggy door? Or what can Mom do to help me remember? 
Mom can look into positive reinforcement training. It works so much better on cockers! Until she gets that part figured out tell her to take you out on a regular schedule. Dogs with empty bladders don’t have accidents. Then give her a big kiss as a treat.

Health

Q: How do I deal with my cocker’s chronic ear infections?
Chronic ear infections in any breed of dog are due to food allergies. Wheat, corn and now chicken are most often the culpert. First try a grain free diet. If that doesn’t work then try a limited diet with only one protein and one carb. Get a small bag and feed it for a couple of weeks. See if there are any changes. Once you  have the right diet you can then treat the ears and the infections will go away. If your dog looks like he is allergic to chicken then keep them off any poultry including eggs. Read those ingredient lists on every bag of food you buy!

Q:  If my dog is already on grain free diet we still get hot spots. What do we do?
Allergies mostly skin and ear problems are a huge cocker issue. If you are still getting hot spots with a grain free diet then 1-check your ingredient list of the food and all the treats you get. Do you see wheat anywhere? It is common to buy grain free dog food then feed treats with wheat. 2-If there really isn’t any wheat in your diet then you are allergic to something else. Try a no poultry diet. If that doesn’t work try fish then lamb then beef then venison until you find a protein that they can eat. This problem is all about your diet.

 Q: How does your mom get your coat so shiny?
My mom uses coconut oil both as a supplement ( 1/4 tsp a couple of times a week) and on the coat before a bath.
“Dear Dorrie;  So glad we asked you about the shinny coat you have.  See I have really bad allergies to the outdoors and sometimes like recently I have to be bathed every three days with the Ketochlor shampoo and it really hasn’t worked very well.  So Mom purchased some organic virgin coconut oil…she took about a 1/4 cup straight out of the jar and rubbed it on like a paste and this stuff has healed my sores in about a week.  We have been able cut back on the number of baths and not using that other medicated shampoo…inbetween baths she melted about a 1/4 cup of coconut oil and put in a sprayer bottle with distilled water and sprays some the sprays me lightly before going outside to put a barrier on me to ward off the pollens, etc., she also spray a hot spot or two.  Now the coconut oil does get hard in the sprayer bottle, but if you just a some warm water in a bowl and place the sprayer bottle in the bowl in melt an spritz, spritz it working again.  Not to hot of water it will ruin the coconut oil.  Thank you for sharing and my coat is starting to shine like yours.”
imageQ: My cocker is always hungry even after I feed him. I’m thinking of upping it. Do you think that’s ok? 
Cockers will eat until they explode (just kidding). Only up the food if he looks skinny or you will soon have an enormous boy. Cockers LOVE to eat. It makes them easy to train but difficult to keep their waistlines down. You want to be able to see a “waist” in between your dogs rib cage and hips. You want to be able to feel their ribs when you lightly run your fingers along their sides. You don’t want to see the ribs.

Misc.

unnamedQ: How do you take really good pictures of your cocker? My pictures do NOT look as good as yours do! What is your secret???
Great question! When I take pictures, I always select the same spot in my yard where the sun shines into the pups face… Especially those gorgeous black cockers.I place them on a blanket, solid colors or animal prints for light colored dogs, mostly pink, green, or yellow, or white (for black dogs), telling them to stay, and giving a very small piece of favorite treat. I take several ready cameras with higher pixel. I use my IPhone with 8 MP, and a smaller Canon with 14 MP. I use one prop, can be a large ball, stuffed animal, a large urn, or basket. Make sure the background behind the dog is a pretty view or green bushes, or green grass. I move the next treat all over taking pictures constantly… Sometimes 30 or 40 or more in order to maximize my chance of getting a great shot. Get close-ups and portraits. Can use a cute child, which is always adorable. Download and edit and narrow down to about 10 of the best! Good luck!

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