- Without a doubt, the cocker spaniel is such a beautiful looking dog, known for their outgoing, loving, and friendly personality.
- A soft natured dog and very good with children.
- Devoted to the family and obedient.
- Due to their sensitive nature, they do not respond well to harsh training methods
But there are some traits which are not so good, such as:
- Just like any other dog, if they are not appropriately socialised, they could be snappy or aggressive.
- Their coat needs regular brushing to prevent knots etc.
- Regular exercise of 1-hour minimum.
- Just like some other breeds can be challenging to housetrain.
- Has a sensitive nature and takes a while to mature.
But all that said, the cocker spaniel is just a joy to own and a delightful family member.
As with a few other breeds of spaniels, the cocker was initially bred for hunting and would be used for their sense of smell and for flushing out the game to be shot, such as woodcocks, hence their name cocker spaniel.
There are two breeds of cocker spaniel, the American cocker spaniel and the English cocker spaniel, the main noticeable differences being that the American is slightly smaller and has a shorter back and muzzle.
While the cocker was initially bred for hunting, today your more likely to find them cuddled up on your sofa next to you in the evening.
General Health Information.
A lot of what you can do to keep your cocker fit and healthy boils down to common sense really, and It’s even a bit like how we look after ourselves, such as watch their diet, give them plenty of exercises, regular brushing of teeth, and call the veterinary practice if you think something is going wrong.
Be sure to stick to the regular yearly checkups and anything else that your vet suggests.
Please consider pet insurance, A for your peace of mind and B so that if god forbid your cocker needs surgery or incredibly expensive cancer treatment, they will get the best treatment without the monetary considerations that would generally be put on it without insurance.
Dental disease is the most common problems found in any breed of dog or cat, and by age two eighty per cent have issues such as gum disease.
And it is quite surprising what other serious problems can arise from dental disease. Incredibly such as damage to their heart, liver and joints, their lifespan could also be reduced by one or two years, so good quality chewing sticks as well as regular teeth cleaning is the order of the day for healthy teeth and gums.
All dogs are susceptible to viral and bacterial infections, and the cocker is no exception! The main three are parvo, distemper, and rabies. Almost all of these are preventable with vaccinations and the boosters that are required as suggested/recommended by your local veterinary practice.
Now, this is a big one because it is so incredibly common, how many times when you’re taking your dog for a walk do you see an overweight dog on your travels? We can’t help but spoil our pets with treats, it’s the softer side of our nature, we see a little face with big round eyes looking at us, and instinctively we either offer up something nice that we are eating, or we reach for the treat cupboard.
Instead, we should take them for a walk or give them a brush with cuddles which would be much better for them, but who am I to talk when I’m the first to reach for the treat jar! Ok so less treats is better then ill try that.
On the subject of food, next time you’re in your pet superstore getting your supply of dog food, check out a few of the other dog food brands and read the ingredients list carefully, you may find like I did that I was feeding a working dog mixture without realising it. And that’s no good for your average dog that has a trip out to the park each day and doesn’t work for a living like for instance a sheepdog where they are on the go for most of the day.
If I remember rightly back then, I picked up the bag of working dog feed because of how cheap it was in relation to the other feeds on offer (some I found to be incredibly expensive ). It wasn’t until I got the bag home that I started to read the ingredients list as well as spotting those magic words ( working dog feed ) that I realised my error and realisation that I didn’t want a dog bouncing off the walls with unused energy, but hey we live and learn.
There are all sorts of parasitic worms, bugs and everything in between that can make your cockers life quite miserable, including ticks, and fleas as well as a whole host of others, invading internally and externally. These can be picked up quite innocently by either walking on the contaminated ground or drinking dirty water, and then there’s the obvious of from another dog! We all know that some of these can be transmitted to ourselves and our family members. It’s always an excellent idea for your cocker to have regular veterinary checkups.
Also when we are grooming our dogs brushing their coat brings you in close contact with them so allows you to scrutinise them, paying attention to their ears, eyes, and their health in general. If you have any concerns as to your pets, general condition or health, the veterinary practice that you use will only be too glad to advise regarding any matters. Incredibly I have come across people throughout my life that have pets and have never seen a vet apart from the obligatory vaccinations that are required yearly!
Neuter or Spay.
You must consider the following: ( female spayed ) ( male neutered ) Spaying or neutering reduces the risk of certain strains of cancers and stops the chance of unwanted puppies. While your cocker is undergoing surgery, the vet will advise you of any problems he may find or foresee for the future.
Routine Exercise, Diet, And Care.
Start by building your cockers routine care into your daily schedule, and this will ensure that they have happier lives throughout their lifetime and live longer. I cannot stress enough the importance of a proper diet and exercise regime.
- Treat your pet as you would a small child and keep all the doors closed. Don’t leave anything that you value laying around because the next time you look for it, you will find it being half-chewed.
- Brush the cockers coat at least once a week paying careful attention of the general cockers condition.
- Three times each week is best for teeth brushing, inspecting the mouth area as you clean.
- Ear cleaning is also on the menu weekly, even as a puppy, their ears need washing and rigorous drying.
- A cocker is ideally suited to apartment life, providing that they get daily walks enhanced with play sessions.
- Remember their sensitive nature, so gentle training methods and ending on a positive is the way to go.
- This breed of dog is very smart and has lots of energy so look to keep the mind active as well as the body.
- Invest in good quality food and keep it consistent without changing from this to that, avoid giving our food; it just doesn’t have the right ingredients for them.
Contact the veterinary practice for the following reasons.
- If there a noticeable change in water consumption or appetite.
- Any broken teeth, sore gums, bad breath or a build-up of tartar.
- Hair loss and consistent scratching, licking and chewing.
- Sleeping excessively, slow reactions, or lethargy.
- Any behavioural changes such as aggression, timidness or anything you think seem out of place or abnormal.
- Any ear discharge, tender ears, shaking and scratching the head area.
- Discoloured urine, straining, or not being able to urinate.
- Anything out of the ordinary with the eyes such as cloudiness, itching and redness.
- Gums that are not the standard bright pink colour.
- Any shaking, trembling or abnormal involuntary tremors.
- Seizures of any sort whether after eating or not.
Some owners train their dogs on how they feel, instead of what works and if your training is using treats as a motivator, then your dog is in control of his behaviour and not you.
Puppy training! Lots of people find it hard to train a puppy, suggesting that the puppy is so stubborn or he won’t listen, runs away when we are outdoors, and even pee’s on the floor. But in reality, this is all normal behaviour, and a response to these things need to be quick so that the puppy doesn’t come to think that it’s all quite normal, as then it becomes a bad habit and harder to correct.
Puppy training doesn’t have to be a struggle; the first thing to take control of is the puppies movements within the home. It’s a bad idea to let the puppy have free reign of the home with access to all the rooms of the house, remember puppies can’t help but chew and chewing is destructive as well as potentially dangerous to the pup, there are so many things a pup can chew that could end up in a life-threatening situation.
Once the puppy is older perhaps ten months or more and is nice and calm indoors with zero accidents then he has earned the privilege to be loose in the house, ten months may seem a long time, but it will soon pass and remember the cocker is going to be with you and your family for ten to fifteen years so whats ten months!
If he is not housebroken then when you are not interacting with him he should be in his crate or pen which you have made nice and comfortable with toys and water bowl provided, and if he is housetrained then consider restricting him to the same room that you are in by using a baby gate in the doorway, this way he can be sitting on your sofa next to you as you relax watching the tv.
Calmness is one of the secrets to training, and you don’t want to be trying to train a puppy with excitable over the top commands, to instil calmness must be part of your daily routine. Teach him to walk nice and calm on a lead and instead of rushing through a doorway teach sit and stay. All this is in keeping with the calm and softly approach to training.
Its all very well teaching your dog to come and lay down, but if he is still racing around at every knock at the door and jumping around on everything, It’s not going to work. Not only is this not good for you and your family, but it’s not right, and it is also stressful for the dog itself.
It’s a good idea to add a reward ( five minutes with his favourite ball for instance ) or something else that he likes for good behaviours, such as not barking at the door or standing still while you brush him. Reaffirm this with the word, Yes. He will then associate the behaviour that you want with something good.
But while your cocker needs the thumbs up when good behaviour is noticed, he will also need the thumbs down for bad — the word No with no treat forthcoming.
However you decide to train your dog, and by whatever method you ultimately decide on, the end result will be determined by you ultimately. There is so much reading material, and video’s on the internet for you to research these days, and I feel sure that you will formulate a plan that suits both your family and your dog.
I have been married now for over thirty years and have always had pets such as cats, dogs, fish, horses, hamsters and rabbits, as a family it’s inevitable, and it’s about us and who we are:
Below are a few more blogs you may find interesting.
I always like to include a couple of links to pet rescue centres in all my blogs.