We must emphasize that cocker spaniel training must be done in stages. Yes, puppies may be able to walk, run and feed on their own with little assistance from their mothers within hours of birth but like human babies, their brains must also be taught about certain things. This is especially true when training the cocker spaniel in the rules of the house.
General Rules of Training
When training a cocker spaniel puppy, it is important to remember that the breed is prone to both excitable and submission urination. You have to maintain a state of relaxation in the dog during training lest it urinate on the floor, which can happen when the puppy is afraid of punishment or excited about the rewards. Like all things in dog training, positive reinforcement and positive punishment must be in balance.
You must not also hesitate to use crate training, if necessary. It is not cruel punishment to place your pet inside a crate when it will be left alone for at least 2 hours while you run errands. But it is not a good idea either to use the crate in cocker spaniel training as a form of punishment since the dog will form negative associations and, thus, defeat the purpose of the crate.
Furthermore, when the cocker spaniel has done something wrong, you must gently but firmly reprimand at the very moment the action is being done or immediately after the deed has been made. Telling the dog that what it has done a few hours – or worse, a few days – ago was bad is counterintuitive because then it would have forgotten its bad deed, which means confusion to the poor creature.
It also pays to be patient with the cocker spaniel. Most dogs will be unable to learn a command at the first instance such that it is necessary to repeat the commands many times in a consistent manner.
General Phases in Training
As previously mentioned, cocker spaniel training must come in phases. If you attempt to expose your dog to, say, housetraining before crate training, the results are often unsatisfactory. We suggest the following phases of training.
- Crate training must be done starting at 2 to 3 months. This is the safe and secure den that animals with burrowing instincts like cocker spaniels desire. At first, your pet will be unhappy with the curtailment of his movements but it will soon realize that the crate is its own special place in the house.
- Housebreaking can start at the same time as crate training. In fact, the crate is also important equipment in housebreaking especially in potty training. Although you must start housebreaking as soon as the puppy comes home, you should not expect immediate results. You can use other methods in housebreaking like an exercise pen, a small potty yard and a litter box.
- Acceptance of its handler as the leader of the pack, also known as respect training, is very important. Negative behaviors like barking, biting and chewing can be easily remedied when the dog has respect of its master and leader.
Soon, the fruits of cocker spaniel training will be yours to enjoy with patience, affection and love as the main virtues involved.
Did you know?
The word Cocker Spaniel actually refers to two breeds of dogs? The American Cocker Spaniel and the English Cocker Spaniel. Historically Cocker Spaniels were bred as hunting dogs in the UK, when the Cocker Spaniel was introduced to America, it was bred differently and as such physical changes began to evolve.
Spaniels date back as far as the 14th century when they were first mentioned by Gaston III of Foix-Béarn. It’s commonly assumed that Cocker Spaniels originated in Spain.