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So, I have a 9 year old Springer Spaniel who, up until about a year ago, was a very well behaved dog.

We used to get him out for a half an hour walk everyday, and then about 3 days a week we would take him to a field behind my old high school and let him run around off leash for about 30-45 minutes. However, around this time last year, we started to notice that the day after we would take him for a run in the field, his hips seemed stiff. He'd have a hard time jumping up on the couch, or climbing on beds, or getting in the car, etc. So we decided to stop taking him because we thought maybe he was developing arthritis or something.

So we bumped up his walks to twice a day. Half an hour in the morning, an hour in the evening. Our house is basically at the bottom of a hill, so 50% of the walk is up a fairly steep incline.

However, since then he's developed some less than desirable habits. He used to have free range of the whole house, but then one day we came home to toilet paper strewn all over the house, something he hadn't done since he was a puppy. So we started closing the bathroom door when we leave. Then about two months ago, he came into my room and ate a bag of rat food I had sitting on my shelf (Yes, I have pet rats. No, they aren't gross or vicious.). I'd been keeping their food there for months at that point, and he'd never shown any interest in it. Anyway, after that we started closing my bedroom door while we're gone. Today I came home, and found my door open (don't know if he opened it or my mom did and forgot to close it before she left), and all of my rats' food and treats scattered all over my bedroom floor. All told, about $50 worth of supplies.

I should also mention that it might be separation anxiety. He is really attached to my mom. Like, really attached. He follows her around the house, even to the bathroom. He's constantly licking her, and asking her to pet him, and has recently started sleeping in her room (he used to either sleep in his crate in the living room or on the kitchen floor). And she's super protective of him. Doesn't like strange dogs coming near him. Anytime someone accidentally steps on him or something like that, she freaks out. He's also epileptic, and anytime we're even half an hour late on his pill, she flips out.

So, is his destructive behavior due to too much energy? Or separation anxiety? And is there anything I can do to prevent it?
 

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Is he maybe more hungry than he previously was? My childhood dog always had impeccable food manners, would never get into food items, left plates of food alone, etc. As she aged, and began to develop heath issues (heart disease, and eventually hemangiosarcoma, which is a type of malignant tumor), she stole food off of plates left near her several times. After she died, I realized that she may have been hungrier due to the tumor growth, despite being pickier in general because she wasn't feeling well.

If he's on phenobarbital for the seizures, that can cause increased appetite as well, so maybe consider that if his dose has recently changed.

It's possible too that he's just having difficulty adapting to the decrease in exercise or even change in his normal routine, and those items are just conveniently available.

If he were my dog, I would probably be inclined to have bloodwork checked on him if he hasn't had any recently. That can rule out or in a number of organ problems, and help eliminate any concern of a physical cause. Also, a general exam and weight check to see if he's maintaining the same physical condition and maybe try to nail down the source of his discomfort after exercise. If that all turns out ok, maybe try adding a joint supplement and see if he tolerates you bumping his exercise level up a bit to see if that remedies his new behavior issues.

If his relationship with your mom has changed recently, that's another possible cause, but I'd imagine you will have little luck changing her behavior, so it'll probably be easier to rule out the other possibilities first.
 
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