Cocker spaniels had been bred since history for the purposes of fetching during hunting sessions and its popularity both as a “show dog” as well as a “working dog” is well known. The reasons for this are pretty obvious as the cocker spaniel dog is famous for being highly energetic, fast and accurate and it does all activities with an avid interest.
Therefore, cocker spaniel agility is well known in the canine kingdom and the best part is that it combines all its activities with a playful zest and a remarkable enthusiasm. Such a quality of the cocker spaniel agility is not only used for the purposes of a competition or show, but many owners work on the agility bit for their own activities consisting of playing with the dogs including games like fetch, tug of war, catch with Frisbees and many more.
Like all forms of training, cocker spaniel agility training also requires consistency, patience and a well chalked out plan of scheduled training.
When the cocker spaniel is being groomed for a competition or show, there are strict criteria set in the physical department. For example, a cocker spaniel measuring 15-16 inches can enter the medium category while dogs measuring less than 13.75 inches can enter the small category.
Weight is one of the biggest factors in determining the ability to do agility training whether for a competition or for personal purposes and it is very difficult to do so with an obese dog. Maintaining proper weight of the cocker spaniel is a must as it goes a far way in developing agility skills. Excessive weight also tends to put a lot of weight on the knees and it further acts as a deterrent in the agility training.
In the same way that potty and house training demands patience, cocker spaniel agility training needs the same. In fact, canine experts and dog trainers have time and again stressed on the fact that owners and handlers need much higher levels of patience as the commands, exercises and trials become complicated with each level and time and obstacles only increase. It is therefore essential to be calm, consistent and positive during the period of agility training and little victories and achievements must be duly rewarded with a lot of praise and rewards for the cocker spaniel to learn through positive reinforcement.
One will definitely need patience during cocker spaniel agility training as this is the time when the cocker spaniel can get bouts of foul temper or aggression due to its inherent stubborn streak and physical punishment or verbal yelling should be avoided at all costs even if mistakes occur. One cannot afford for the dog to develop the “rage syndrome”, especially when it plays with children or is entering a show.
It is also advisable to keep the agility training sessions short and crisp instead of prolonging them unnecessarily initially and one can gradually stretch them along with increasing the complexity of exercises.
Commands need to be started from the basics including sit, stay, heel, steady and wait. Once the cocker spaniel masters these basic agility commands, the handler can then proceed to more difficult ones including roll over, fetch, jump and others.
One should always remember that winning in the agility shows is not the end bit rather it is the means of achieving the growth of a cocker spaniel dog. Winning or losing will not determine the wroth of the cocker spaniel dog. The whole concept of cocker spaniel agility training is to provide sufficient and qualitative exercise and mental stimulation to the dog and most of all it is the best way to forge a special bond between the owner and its cocker spaniel.