Coton seperation issues and probably needing to rehome.....

by MJ
(USA)

We have a Coton who will be a year next month and we are having a very hard time with him. He is our first coton and everything I read about the breed made me fall in love. We got him at 4 mths old, I dont work and stay at home with my 3 kids (7, 5, and 1) and they love him to death.


Problem is he doesnt want anything to do with them. He is EXTREMLY attached to me. I can understand somewhat since I am home most of the time but he isnt super spoiled. I dont take him everywhere, hold him all the time, and make every move around his needs and never have.

Things are just getting worse the older he gets. He is housebroken (YAY!!) but he cannot stand to let me get out of his sight. He follows me everywhere and when he cannot be right underfoot he whines nonstop! I have my work room with a baby gate (no kids or animals allowed inside) and he just stares at me and whines and whines. He wont go to anyone else (like my husband) when they call him. He wont sleep with my kids in their bed he prefers his crate. I dont/wont let him in my bed but if he cant be next to me he would just assume go to his crate.

There has always been a small problem chewing on the kids toys which I get because of being a puppy but no matter what I do it isnt stopping. I had to go out of town a few months ago and my husband and the kids stayed home and he was here with them. While I was gone he got into the window behind the couch and chewed/scratched a huge hole into the wooden frame. He wasnt alone I just wasnt there. Everytime I step outside he gets in the window and whines and barks and has a fit. I dont make a big deal about him when I leave or come in so that cant be it. He chewed a hole in the wall outside my work room because he couldnt get in there with me. He just sits and stares and whines at me all the time. We play with him and he has TONS of chews and toys.

We have done beginner and intermediate obedience class. He is neutered. We take him on vacation with us. He cannot be left alone in the house unsupervised anymore because now he has chewed into the other window frame. The other day he started chewing on the coffee table right in front of me. I dont know what to do!! I took him to the vet and we decided to try prozac, he has been on it a month with no improvement. The vet said 6 wks and we would wean him off. He has now started running away when we let him out to potty so now he has to go out on a leash. We are adding on to the house so cannot put a fence up until thats done. If I spend more time with him its 100% worse the next day. I dont know what to do. Short of having him in my lap all day (which is totally impossible).

I dont know what to do other than find someone who can give him that. I didnt get him, spend so much money, add him to our family, and drive 10 hours to get him to give up and not keep him but HE isnt happy and we are not happy and I dont know what else to do. Any help or suggestions? or any place to start looking to find him the right home? I have called and left a message with the breeder and I am waiting for a call back... she is kinda hard pin down and it will probably take me hounding her to get her on the phone for advice.

Comments for Coton seperation issues and probably needing to rehome.....

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Jun 25, 2013
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Work space issues NEW
by: Anonymous

As this thread is 6 weeks old, you may not still be following it. After reading your comments, one thought comes to my mind. Why keep him out of your work area? Rather than fight yet another separation episode, train him to sit near you- on your chair or a small rug or towel at your feet. It's definitely not play time for him, but is a chance to cozy up to you and feel secure. My two Cotons are always in my space, one needing to sit with me and the other somewhere nearby. But once there, they settle in quietly until I move elsewhere.

May 11, 2013
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issues NEW
by: Vicky & Jonah (Az)

One more thing. I grew up rural PA where in 4 h u could do agility. Now alot of places have dance with ur dog ur 7 yr old may enjoy. Our 8 yr old granddaughter does agility & loves it. Here is a link frm my agility website where a 13 yr old girl taught her cat agility after a couple yrs of practice. Not an easy feat. I hope this works by pasteing into ur browser.

www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=UbvqSCs-FoE

May 11, 2013
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Coton NEW
by: Vicky & Jonah (Az)

Sounds like u r doing things right. A 1 yr old is a puppy until at least 3. When u leave crate. Then ur home is in one piece and u r happy.

My female Silky once tore up carpet all the way down arcadia door I learned to crate. 1 yrs. old is a little early to leave to their own. It sounds like u do not have to do it to often either.

Jonah really has never cared to sleep in the bed he will start in the bathroom move to the crate then to the ottoman at the base of the bed.

Thou Cotons r wonderful dogs they r full of antics. Also as u work on behaviors w'dogs u r trying to get rid off they will give it 1 more hooray before it becomes obsolete.

During the day while working in ur office where u need to concentrate crate him. If he whines shut the door so u do not hear. Try putting on smooth music smooth or tv. Patience, it may take a couple days but routine, routine, routine. They r baby puppies. It does not hurt them to have calm time or u can call it nap time.

Just like kids out of sight is trouble. Do not let ur mind tell u a crate is bad. Dogs r den animals. U will find as they also get older when tired or need peace from the kids they will go to their crate where kids need to respect they then need their rest and down time.

Living in the country and not coming is bad. Buy yourself a bag of plastic whistles at a party store. Put one in every room of the house and a treat bag of cheerios w/every whistle. Start by blowing the whistle (can be a toot does not need to be loud). With the dog in front of u Toot, treat at least 10 times.

Then practice as u move between rooms in the house. Toot when he comes treat. U can even throw the word come in there. U may need to call him after u toot the 1st couple times thats ok. Never toot and not treat.

Once confident the dog gets it go outside & start doing it all over ur yard. Remember to the dog a toot means a treat. To u it means he comes.

Now a puppy's attention span is 5-10 mins. so this does not take alot of time 3 times a day. But if he gets out of the yd. that whistle sound will come in handy to hear u to come home. Remember to the puppy this is a game keep it happy if he makes a mistake start at the beginning by toot treat 10 times in a row again.

I live in AZ if u decide to rehome. I foster also. If I can help again I have been on this site for at least 4 yrs. or can give u my email.

It's not unusual 2 get overwhelmed plus u have 3 kids. Just remember once they learn something does not mean they do not need practice.

Also it is not unusual 4 a 1 yr old dog not to bond much w/that young of kids. Their all still learning each others gentle pts. as far as ruffness goes. U probably r the food, most treats and as u say home the most. Just remember the crate is ur friend and u need peace sometimes too. Just try thou when they come out of the crate and have been good they deserve 5 mins play time & potty. Good luck u will b great.

May 11, 2013
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Whinning and Crating NEW
by: MW

Hello again, I am the owner of the Coton that is almost 4 years
and has separation anxiety(soils crate when left alone). I just thought of some suggestions that might help.

I learned this from my dog trainer and I have been using it to my foster dogs when they whine. Have a water spray bottle ready and for you, go in your work room and put the gate up as you usually do. When the dog comes to the gate and whines go to him and spray water on his face and say "NO". This will get his attention. Go back to your desk and if he whines again do the same thing again. When you hear him stop whining or you see him relaxing at the gate pet him and praise him and go back to what you were doing. Eventually your Coton will relax and watch you from the gate. The key thing is that you want to praise right away when you see the behavior you want to see. And when he whines water spray again. It has worked for my dog and the foster dogs that I take care of. You are not hurting them by spraying water on their face. It just gets their attention. It might take several tries and even more but they do catch on to "Hey, mom wants me to be quiet and I get praised when I am ".

As for the crating, there are many people who leave their dogs in the crate while they are gong for 8-9 hours. Is that preferred, NO, but it is keeping the dog safe. Dogs are den animals and they feel secure when they are in a small space. I think when he is chewing the wall or the window, he is trying to get out of the house to so that he can find you and get close to you. So keeping him the kennel will help him calm down and you do not have to worry about him getting hurt or sick. If it is only once in awhile he has to be in the crate for 8 hours, it will not hurt. Take him for a long walk and give him lots of love when you get home.

As for chewing furniture in the house, when you see him start chewing on anything in the house that he is not supposed to, give him his favorite bone. My dogs loves the bully sticks. They can be pricy but they are low in fat and healthier then raw hides. Because they are expensive I usually time about 20 minutes and take it away. This might help your dogs chewing problem. If he thinks that chewing the bully stick is yummier than chewing on the wall or the window, he will stop chewing the wrong stuff.

Well, I hope this helps. I really hope that you can work it out so you can spend some enjoyable time with your dog. Best wishes.

May 11, 2013
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Coton issues NEW
by: sherry cotton candie

HI MJ, seems like we all have our opinions on trying to solve your problem with him. Cotons are really prone to this devotion and attention need. We got our little girl Cotton at 5 months, she bonded instantly with me and for whatever reason would not even respond back to the breeder who had raised her. She will be 3 in august and is like yours. She barks and whines whenever she cannot be with me, if i work outside as long as I am in view she is ok, if not she barks. When i am gone she lays on the couch and watches for the car -BUT-she has never chewed furniture or been in any way destructive. She has the run of the house except for the bedrooms. We thought getting a playmate for her would comfort her while we are away. We got a rescue dog last July, they get along great but now I have two needy dogs plus a jealousy issue with cotton. I am retired and have no children to tend to so this for me is not a problem, however, in your case I would not even consider getting another dog. (at least not until he gets better.)

I do feel for you as I know how upsetting it is. Its hard to tell someone else what to do but try not to beat yourself up to bad in whatever decision has to be made. I personally do not like to crate a animal, but with the destruction issue guess you have no choice. I wish I had a solution for you, just know we have all had some trying times but not as extensive as what you seem to be going thru. As for the anxiety I do not think it will end, I am followed from room to room most of the time, sometimes they will just lay in the middle of the floor and watch as I go from room to room, other times in they come. Never do I dare close the bathroom door. Guess I am so used to it that I never think much about it..............The chewing though is a real issue. It is hard to correct an animal if you are not there while they are doing it. I would have thought one of the trainers would have some advice for you about that.

We wish you the very best in whatever your decision turns out to be. Like Mitch says please do not just turn him over to a shelter.
The breeder should take him back or perhaps find a home for him in the event that is what you chose to do. He is young enough and he will adjust if needed. Our rescue was 4 when we got her, it was not easy for any of us but after 9 months she is finally relaxed and a real member of our family.

They really are an amazing breed and I just adore mine, they are time consuming and if I had 3 kids to deal with I probably would not be able to handle them to. I truly hope it will work out for you as he does love you so much. GOOD LUCK and let us know how things going for you.


May 11, 2013
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Don't Give Up NEW
by: Chloe and Terry

Crating is the answer. When we first got our Chloe we started with crate training. Like you we didn't like leaving her in the crate but it is very necessary for them to get used to one and now Chloe vetoes to her crate un demand. these dogs are very inteiiigent. They will learn that their crate is where they go when they can't go with their family. We.ve had many dogs. I can say and I'm sure other Coton owners would agree that this bred is one of the most intelligent breeds out there. Having said that, they are very much like children, they need to be taught their limitations. Our little sweetheart whines for attention also. If we have time we give it too her but if we are busy we say later Chloe and she will eventually stop whining and we are always sure to follow thru on our promise for later. Chewing was a problem for us. We have many toys to keep her busy. None with stuffing however as she loves to pull the stuffing out of them. Colton's are persistent and quite demanding but with time and some training you can get them to behave. Our Chloe will be three in July. She has learned "no bark", go to crate, the basic commands like sit, stay, down, come, etc. and more. We have taught her with rewarding her with treats that she loves. Once she got it we weaned her down to occasional treats but she knows sometimes she will get a treat and sometimes she won't. Since your time is limited you may find that it will take you longer to get your dog trained but you can change the behavior of your dog. Please be patient and don't give up. Look for the orange colored ball in your Pet store, they are trat balls, you fill them with treats that are no easy for them to get. They will work at this for hours. Chloe will go to the cupboard in the evening because that is when she has learned that evening is the time for that activity, she'll give a little bark at the cupboard and sometimes she knows that she might get it and she might not. But now she also understands after some training that she doesn't get to persist with barking until we give in. So she finds something else to play with or just lays down if told to. This might work good for you when you are in your office. This might keep your dog busy while you are working and if she can see you that's okay as long as she's entertaining herself. I hope this helps. Good luck....and I know if you are patient and consistent it will all work out.

May 10, 2013
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Thank you NEW
by: MJ

I appreciate all the responses. The one thing I hear over and over is crate. When we leave he goes in his crate, when I am working in my office (that's off limits to kids and dogs) he's in his crate, he sleeps in his crate at night, his crate goes on vacation, etc... I believe in the crate and we use it. Would I like for him to be able to not have to stay in his crate when we are gone for long periods... Yes! There are times where we are gone 8-11 hours a day. Not often by any means but i hate him being in there. We are very rural and don't have the luxury of trainers coming to the house, dog parks, or even doggie daycare for socialization. We went through 2 rounds of obedience class, beginner and intermediate. I am looking up and reading everything I can on the subject (thats why i am here) and working with my vet. If it were just any one of the problems I've named I wouldn't be here asking for advice. I would be fine if he just decided that I was going to be his one and only without the destruction but I cannot have him eating holes in the walls. It's not safe and healthy for him and its tearing up my house. To be honest I had no clue they were this needy. The information on these dogs available online has more than doubled if not tripled in the last year. I would never dream of dumping him anywhere. I love him very much. If it comes down to finding him a new home it will be the right home for his needs. We have to be right for him just as he has to be right for us. I know that he is young and this can be reversed or improved... What I don't know is if it can be done with us. If our lifestyle isn't right for him, it seems it won't matter how much training he has. He just has certain needs that he will always have. We are trying hard as a family to improve the situation and work through this. We don't have a deadline, like if it isn't right by July, it's over. It's just been declining a lot all the sudden and that's why I am reaching out :0)

May 10, 2013
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Dog NEW
by: Mitch

Well if you cannot learn how to train him and deal with the separation issues then let me know, I'll take him.

Nothing you have said warrants giving up on that dog. Coton's are very attach types of dogs. My Moriarty was identical (and still is) to what you are saying. I read a LOT about this bread before I got him. I used the crate to train him to live with separation. I used the kennel to teach him how to be potty trained and I used toys and warm water bottles at night so he would feel that I was around. Another thing I did was when I was teaching him to be alone when I left was to leave the TV on all day. The noise made it so he wouldn't get scared from noises outside the house.

He will never get over you being gone and this bread is very one person. Moriarty doesn't really play with others, only me. He plays fetch only with me, he follows me around all the time. He sleeps with me at night and he drives with me on long trips. He was trained early to drive in the car and sit in his doggy seat and when I am a passenger he sits in my lap (because the passenger seat is HIS seat).

So I am here to tell you that is how they are, but you need to train him with the kennel/crate to help alleviate some of the issues you are having. If you do not, he will never change and he will never change much, because that is how the breed is.

But if you decide to not keep him, I would be honored to take him. I think Moriarty would be a good influence on him, after all the same issues Moriarty has turned out to be a great dog, even though he follows me around everywhere and he is a one person dog, I am sure with time and training and love, your little guy could be the same.

purchase @ maladomini . com if you decide to part ways, don't give him to the SPCA or pound, no loyal dog deserves that fate.

If not good luck, keep at it, given enough time and effort you can help change him a bit.

May 10, 2013
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Separation anxiety NEW
by: Anonymous

I can relate to your feelings. My Coton is now almost 4 yrs old. I got him when he was 3 month old. I studied the breed and knew there will be some separation issue but did not know what it would be. There are so many ways that the dog would express their anxiety but it started the moment we left the breeders house. My dog soils the crate when he is left alone. When we got him he was not house broken and he would soil his kennel. I came home to a dirty crate every day and felt overwhelmed. I am only away 4 hour a day at the most. The breeder did not want to help me at all and I did not know what to do. What helped me was my husband hired a dog trainer and also the trainers at the pet shop really helped me out. I followed every direction they gave me and kept trying new things. It will take awhile to train your dog but it is worth it. Now I can not think a day with out him. I guess what I want to say is it might help to have a dog trainer. By the way, my dog is house broken but still has separation anxiety and will still will soil the crate, but I learned to keep it to a minimum. I wish the best for you and for your Coton.

May 10, 2013
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dont give up
by: Trudy's mama

Sorry to hear its not working well. I was worried sick when we got ours because i've never been a dog lover. My little Trudy has changed that forever.

here is some tricks that worked for us :

for 3-4 weeks we kept the dog into an enclosed space to make sure she was very familiar with the area and till she showed she knew where the door was (to let us know she wanted out)

after that we left her to more space of the house..but closed bedroom ect.

this might be more what you need : whenever we left or wanted to be left alone with put her in a kennel..(not as punishment however) and whenever she was in her kennel i told the kids its her alone time and no one was to bother her.

she is very attached to ALL of us but if one of us is really busy she learned to go to someone else r go take a nap in her kennel. for the most part she is happy just sitting next to where we are and observe and lay there.

dont give up. you might want to call a trainer and ask for a few tricks maybe.
Happy family is important. hope it works out for everybody

May 10, 2013
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Crate
by: Annie

Try not to feel bad about crating him when you're gone. That can provide him with a sense of security. Leave treats that he likes in there and a cozy bed; if there's a treat he likes that he could work on for along time that would be good. If he's going to turn water over, consider a water bottle, like for rabbits, fastened on the outside of the gate. Sounds like he already likes his crate so that may be a place he likes, and needs. Structure can do wonders. Good Luck with him. Sounds me me like you're trying to do everything you can to make this work for all of you.

May 10, 2013
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Thank you!!
by: MJ

Thank you for the responses, I do have my kids walking him a couple of times a day. We live in a very rural area with no real streets to walk (dirt road and people drive very fast so it's not safe to walk on) we do live on 7 acres so they walk laps around the yard. Another dog isn't an option at all. We did talk about it and I would think that really would help but I cannot take on anymore. Besides with 3 kids and 2 dogs it would be impossible on vacations and such. They would have to go to a boarding facility and that defeats the point of our family dog. I keep saying to hold out cause I know it has to get better but it's getting worse. He is not our first dog so it's not total ignorance on my part. I just hate to see him have to stay in a crate every time we walk out the door and I just know he is needing something that I don't have or can't give. My husband wants to work through it so he's very supportitive. I'm just praying someone has a pretty similar situation that can offer advice on something that worked.

May 10, 2013
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Coton separation issues
by: Sandy

I totally agree with the other comment about another dog. We had a dog when we got our Coton-de-Tulear. They are always together. If one goes outside the other goes, if one goes for a walk, the other goes. I think they put their love and loyalty into their best dog buddy and still have plenty left over for the people in their home.

May 10, 2013
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some similarities
by: Anonymous

Sorry to hear that you are having a hard time with him because we just adore our coton. However, I decided to respond because we also have three boys and our coton really would rather not have much to do with them. He does love them and is affectionate with them on his own terms, but he will never go on a walk with them without us and he sits at the window and waits for me or my husband to get home even when the boys are here. He still kind of growls at my older two who are teenagers but strangely not the youngest one who is 9 now but was only 4 when we got him. He has never chewed anything, not even bones! However, he is only happy when he is right up next to either me or my husband. Good luck and I hope it will work out for you.

May 10, 2013
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Separation Issues
by: Libby

I feel your pain. They are definitely a one person dog. We got ours when he was 6 mos. and he had to be kept on a leash for a good month or more or we would not have been able to catch him for anything. We have had him now for 2 1/2 years and he is just now getting to go to husband when HE feels like it. However, we do have another dog in the house. A Golden Retriever and they are best buds. Have you thought about getting a playmate for him. Don't know if that would solve all your issues, but it might help with some of them. Maybe worth a try. There were certainly times when I wanted to give this one away but was determined to make it work. It took a long time but I feel it was definitely worth it. Good luck.

May 10, 2013
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Hope this helps
by: Anonymous

Poor boy and poor you, he is so loyal and he will loose his family because of it.
You don't mention exercise would it be a good idea for your husband to walk him to the point of almost exhaustion so when he comes home he is too tired to think about fretting for you. Also the walking thing with hubby could make him forge a good relationship with him.
I have a girl cotton and she settled down around the age of 18months, she didn't do the things you mentioned but she was very mischievous and quite hard work.
. Please plod on with him as he sounds a bit insecure and rehoming him could make him feel worse, goodness knows what sort of a start he may have had to make him feel this way when he was with the breeder.
Trust me things will get better and as for the chewing keep him in his crate more when your not there( it could be he feels more secure in his little home)
I wish you luck x

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