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Spaniels have a reputation for being conscientious working dogs and faithful companions.
They are excellent swimmers, they make good gun dogs, and have also been trained as sniffer dogs due to their keen sense of smell and ability to stay on a scent.
Cocker Spaniels are smaller than Springer Spaniels but larger than Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. They have smooth, shiny coats and quite long ears. They are very attractive and intelligent, but do they make good family pets?
Are Cocker Spaniels Good House Dogs?
Cocker Spaniels are very affectionate and enjoy being part of a family.
Although spaniels have a history of being working dogs that may have slept outside or in kennels, they enjoy the home comforts that come with being a family pet- cuddles on the sofa, or snoozing by the fire, a cosy bed and lots of attention.
They also enjoy spending a lot of time outdoors and have high energy levels. They love playing and learning new tricks, and have a lot of stamina to keep up with young children who like to run around the garden.
If you have children and are considering getting a Cocker Spaniel, make sure your children understand that they need to be gentle with the dog.
Cocker Spaniels are very sensitive to rough handling, and may interpret it as a sign of aggression. Children should treat the dog with respect, stroking it gently and not pulling on its tail.
Early socialization of the Cocker Spaniel puppy can help to ensure that they respond well to children.
Cocker Spaniels love being part of the family and do not like being left alone. They have a tendency to suffer from separation anxiety, so this is not an ideal breed if you are going to be out of the house for long periods of time at work.
They want to be involved in everything, so you will find that they might be curious about whatever you are up to.
Expect your Cocker Spaniel to sniff around the bushes when you are gardening, to shove their head in the grocery bags when you get back from the store, and to root around the clothes as you are putting the laundry away!
Do Cocker Spaniels Bark A Lot?
Cocker Spaniels are quite sensitive to various stimuli and you may find that they bark at noises like a doorbell, the telephone ringing, or footsteps outside.
This is the dog’s way of telling you that there has been a change in environment that could be a potential threat, and you need to check it out.
Cocker Spaniels will also bark repeatedly if they are experiencing separation anxiety.
If you leave your dog for long periods of time to go to work, then you might receive complaints from your neighbours that your dog is barking a lot while you are out.
They might also bark to get your attention in order to express a need. If they are hungry, thirsty, need the toilet or want to play, they are likely to bark until they get their own way.
They also have a tendency to roll around on the floor making a growling noise until you give them your attention.
Cocker Spaniels can also bark to defend their territory, so you might find that they bark at people walking past or at other dogs.
They can be very protective of their families, so if you are out for a walk and they perceive a person or a dog as a threat, they will probably start to bark.
Cocker Spaniels are very intelligent dogs, which means they can get bored easily. If they don’t have enough toys or activities to keep them busy, they might start to bark.
They enjoy learning new tricks and scent games will keep them busy. It is a good idea to get some toys that encourage problem solving and slow release of treats to keep them occupied.
One of the biggest mistakes that dog owners make is to shout at their dog in an attempt to stop them from barking. This won’t work, as your dog will think that you are barking along with them.
Consistent commands, distraction techniques, and praise for good behaviour are the best ways to discourage negative behaviours. One of the best ways to stop your dog from barking too much is to completely ignore them whilst they are doing it.
Avoid eye contact, don’t touch them, and don’t talk to them. As soon as they stop barking, reward them with praise and affection.
This needs to be immediate, so they understand that as soon as they stop barking they get the attention they are looking for.
You can also reduce the amount that your Cocker Spaniel barks by making them tired.
Taking them for long walks or spending lots of time playing with them to wear them out will make them less likely to bark, as they want to rest and be peaceful while they recharge their batteries.
You can also distract them by giving them a command which will take their mind off the stimuli that caused them to bark in the first place. Get them to sit and do a trick, or ask them to fetch something for you.
If you give them a task, it will take up their attention and give them a purpose so they will be distracted from defending the home.
Are Cocker Spaniels Easy To Train?
Cocker Spaniels are gentle and generally quite willing, which makes them fairly easy to train. It is very important that you use positive training methods that involve lots of praise and patience rather than harsh punishment.
Cocker Spaniels can be quite sensitive to aggression or harsh words, and this can have a big impact on their behaviour. It could cause them to show aggression in response or lead them to try and defend themselves.
However, if you treat them kindly they will be accommodating and affectionate.