to our Cocker Spaniel information page!
Read further to learn more about the Cocker Spaniel breed, and its care, grooming, and training.
THE COCKER SPANIEL
The Cocker Spaniel is
a wonderful little breed
that, when bred and cared
for properly, makes a good
family dog that is willing
and able to do almost
anything. The well bred
and properly socialized
Cocker will have a stable,
friendly and outgoing
personality. This is not a
guarding breed and should
not be expected to fill that role. Cockers often will alert their owners to changes but should never attack or protect anything. Consider them a living door bell.
It should always be remembered that the Cocker is a hunting breed. Many Cockers will stay in their territory (yard) or with their owner without a fence or leash most of the time. Even the best trained sporting dog may lose its head and chase an especially good scent. It only takes one HBC (hit by car) to lose a lifetime companion. The Cocker should be good with children. However, no dog should ever be left unsupervised with small children. You will see pictures of Cockers and babies thoughout this site. Keep in mind there is always an adult behind the camera. And obviously, children should never be allowed to injure, abuse or tease any dog. Allowing abuse is the number one way to create a dog that does not like children.
Items you will need to take proper care of your Cocker
Before you bring home a new Cocker, you will need to purchase some items. Though some of these can be done without, most are needed to start off on the right foot.
1. collar - You will need a
collar from day one. I
recommend the flat, adjustable,
quick release style. They
are comfortable for everyday
use, not expensive and come
in many patterns.This is the
collar that carries the dogs tags but
is not the best for training. The most reliable
training collar is the self correcting (choke)
collar, sometimes called a training collar. Used intelligently, it is the most humane teaching tool. I feel it is beneficial to the dog to teach it good leash manners instead of allowing dragging and pulling which will make walks unpleasant for both dog and owner. Choke collars should never be left on a dog when not training. A good idea is to leave the collar attached to the lead at all times, as an unattended dog can catch the collar on an object and become strangled by its collar.
2. leash - As important as the collar is, it does little good without a leash! Most states have leash laws making it illegal to let a dog run loose, but more importantly, a leash will keep your pet from danger. I like to have two types of leashes available, a cotton obedience lead for training and a flexi lead for open area exercise. Always be aware when using a Flexi lead that your dog can wander further away from you, become entangled, or annoy other people.
3. food and supplements - For optimum health, a dog should eat a good quality food such as Iams, Eukanuba or ProPlan, or any of the many high quality foods. Supplements can be added to these foods to enhance the nutritional value such as Missing Link or NuPro. For more information on feeding look below under health concerns and obesity. Be aware though that too many supplements can cause problems for your dog. Vitamins are wonderful things, but while water soluble vitamins, when over fed, simply make expensive urine, or maybe cause diarrhea, fat soluble vitamins can cause death. So, use supplements wisely. 4. crate - Imagine a child growing up without his own room, his own quiet place to relax. This it what the crate is to the dog. It should never be used as punishment but should represent a den to our pets, a quiet place to get some rest. The crate is not only needed for the emotional wellbeing of our pets, but will also make housetraining much easier. It is also a place where the dog can be kept safe when you can't watch him or her. Crate size is very important. Many people make the mistake of getting a large crate for a new puppy. The crate should be only large enough for the pet to stand, turn around and lie comfortably. This is not meant to be a play area, only a safe, quiet bed. A puppy in a too-large crate may use one end to sleep in, and the other to urinate/defecate.
5. food and water dishes
I prefer stainless steel dishes but there are many choices in many styles. Narrow, bucket style dishes are good to keep ears clean and dry.
6. brush and comb
There are many types of brushes and Cocker owners often have them all. The two main types are slicker brushes and pin brushes. Slickers are very good to get tangles brushed out and pin brushes are great to keep a detangled coat, well, detangled! My all-time favorite pin brush is the Doggy Man pin brush, available at KV-Vet Supplies. It lasts forever, does scratch the dog, and the pins don't push into the rubber pad. And don't forget the comb. I prefer a general, small to medium, greyhound comb.
7. nail trimmer
Imagine walking around on your own long fingernails. Please keep your pet's nails short. You CAN do it yourself. Don't be afraid that you will hurt your pet or make it bleed. Just take a little off at a time, and if you have allowed the nails to grow very long, take a little today, a little tomorrow, until you have them short enough that you don't hear them tapping the floor as your pet walks. The "quick", the live part inside of the nail will recede when you cut the tip off, and by waiting a few days, you can remove a little more without risking bleeding. If you cut a little too much, unless your dog has a clotting disorder, holding pressure on the leg above the ankle will help to stop the small amount of bleeding in just a few minutes, or apply a little stop-bleeding powder or liquid. A healthy dog will not bleed to death from the toenails, but walking on excessively long nails is constant discomfort.
8. ear cleaner
It's important to keep the ears clean and dry, as the Cocker's ears make a wonderful incubator for both bacteria and yeast. You can purchase ear cleaner from pet supply places or your veterinarian, or you can contact us or almost any Cocker breeder for our "secret" recipe for economical homemade ear cleaner that works as good as, or better than, commercial cleaners.
9. shampoos and conditioners
There are many pet shampoos and conditioners available, and you will need to experiment with which ones are right for your dog's particular coat, as no one shampoo is right for every dog. Ask your breeder what they use, and start with that one. Many breeders also use "people" products on their dogs, such as Pantene shampoo, or Cure Care conditioner. It depends on your dog's coat, and your preference. And, did you know that if your dog has fleas you can shampoo them in plain old Dawn dishwashing liquid, the blue original formula? If you leave it on for 5 or so minutes just like a flea shampoo it will kill fleas and mites without toxic chemicals. Be sure to rinse thoroughly then shampoo with your favorite shampoo and conditioner.
10. blow dryer
Coated breeds, such as the Cocker Spaniel, can't just be washed, towel dried and turned loose. That coat must be blown dry and brushed or you will soon have a matted mess. There are many dryers, from economical to astronomical available, but if you have only one pet, you can just use your own hand-held dryer, being sure to keep it moving to avoid burning your dog, or set it on low heat.
11. flea, tick and heartworm protection
From the beginning you will need some sort of flea and tick protection. Frontline or Advantage are two that you can ask your veterinarian about, as well as heartworm protection. Parasites happen, you can pick them up anywhere. If you protect your dog from getting the first one, you can avoid having a major problem later. Yes, it's expensive, but at least now we don't have to have a major war with them with bombs and dips and sprays like we did only a few years ago.
Have you got sticker shock yet? The cost of a puppy is only the beginning, but at least you won't have to send it to college! Puppy classes and obedience training are a must, but the tuition doesn't come close to a major university and are much more fun!