In many ways, training cocker spaniels is similar to training other dog breeds. The most common training tips include establishing the alpha dog position, using the crate to provide a safe place for the dog; identifying the areas where specific activities must be performed such as going potty, setting the rules of the house as soon as the puppy comes home, and avoiding the use of physical and mental punishment, to name just a few. Indeed, once you have trained a dog, training for a cocker spaniel can be easier.
It must be emphasized that cocker spaniels also have their share of training issues that are more or less unique to their breed. Pet owners are highly advised to adopt specific measures to address these training issues especially the following two discussed below. Observe that these two issues are not only unhygienic but are inconvenient for the entire household, no thanks to the bad smells.
The first unique issue in training cocker spaniels is submissive urination, which is just at it sounds. The dog spontaneously urinates on the floor, on itself and even on other people and objects in the house when extremely excited, stressed or agitated. For example, puppies will engage in submissive urination whenever their owners come home; when being reprimanded for bad behavior; when there are guests in the house; and even when there are sudden, loud noises.
Typically, the cocker spaniel puppies are more prone to submissive urination than adults although there are many cases of the latter also engaging in the activity. In these cases, the dogs are usually very timid, very sensitive and very excitable. These behavioural attributes are also factors that make training cocker spaniels harder but not impossible.
Fortunately, there are ways with which to treat the cocker spaniel with such a bad habit. We suggest having a veterinarian check the dog over to rule out any underlying medical issues, which includes diabetes and bladed infection, behind the submissive urination episode. It is also important to reduce the dog’s water intake, but only when there are situations that might make it urinate submissively.
Then, pet owners must lessen the levels of excitement or stress in certain situations that are known to trigger submissive urination. For example, when coming home, keep it calm and mellow while reprimands must be done in a firm but not angry tone of voice. Soon, the dog will be rid of its bad habit.
Yet another unique issue in training cocker spaniels is scent marking. Yes, all dogs possess the instinct to mark their territories with their scents usually from urine but, when coupled with the breed’s tendency for submissive urination, the house can smell to high heavens. Or low hells, for that matter.
In this case, the steps to take are somewhat different than the measures applied for submissive urination. These include spaying/neutering the dog as early as possible; cleaning soiled areas thoroughly with non-ammonia based cleaner; and resolving rivalry between the dogs in the house.
When these unique issues of training cocker spaniels have been resolved, other aspects of training in house, crate and obedience training are made easier. Plus, the house smells like, well, a house made primarily for humans.