Training a cocker spaniel puppy can be an endearing and enjoyable experience as long as the owner is able to tackle the inherent issues of cocker spaniels with calm, tact and ease. Cocker spaniels are always game for challenge and though they may exhibit stubbornness and a bit of rude behavior, they are still the kind who would want to please their master and they truly enjoy being around people.
One should ideally begin with crate training, which in turn actually helps in aiding potty training. It is essential to do so as to provide the puppy a safe and warm haven to give comfort to its ‘burrowing instinct’. And as they don’t go to potty in the place where they sleep, they will indicate to be taken outside when they have to go. Crate training also helps to solve the issue for separation anxiety for the puppy and the crate can be made into a welcoming place with comfortable towels or a soft dog bed, toys and water. The additional benefits of crate training a cocker spaniel puppy are that crates are used in travelling by road and air and in hotels and once your puppy is habitual of its crate, travelling with it makes it much easier.
Toilet training a cocker spaniel puppy is also important and puppies need to be taken out after they eat, wake up and play. If the puppy has an accident, it should be calmly picked up and put near the place where it goes or in its litter box so that its habit of going there is reinforced. For efficient potty training, the puppy must also be fed according to a timely schedule. They also give signals including sniffing around, circling, squatting, whimpering or going to the door and one must be observant for such signs. It is also advised to establish a potty area for the puppy and stay with it till the time it finishes. One can always praise and reward the puppy on correct potty behavior or when it itself takes the initiative of going to its potty area and the treats for this purpose can be slowly weaned out as the puppy progresses.
Socializing the puppy is also important for its overall development and carrying this activity helps it to become a well mannered and adjusted adult dog. For cocker spaniel puppies to be non aggressive and friendly, a well developed socialization strategy is necessary. The best time to begin is when they are about four weeks old and exposing them to different environments, people and other dogs will help them to understand that an amicable interaction is possible. Socializing should be done within the areas close to home until the puppy has not been fully vaccinated and it must always be carried for the risk of exposing it to places where other unvaccinated canines are present or to diseases that it may pick.
While biting and chewing comes very naturally to the cocker spaniel puppy and also because it experiences pain and discomfort during teething, training a cocker spaniel puppy to control its biting and chewing is also essential. This is because if it is not controlled, it can become a habit and is carried on into their adulthood wherein it can lead to aggression and harm to others.
Puppies learn to control their biting from their mothers wherein if the puppy bites the mother, she may retort by yelping or biting back, or even yelping loudly and growling in order to indicate that such behavior s not acceptable. Even when puppies play with their siblings, they learn to control their biting in order to play more or suffer ignorance from their siblings! This is also one of the reasons why puppies should not be taken away from the litter too early. The same methods can be adopted to teach the puppy to desist from biting by making a yelping sound with a firm “No!” to show the puppy that it has hurt the owner and that this behavior is incorrect. Their teething can be controlled by giving them a cold towel cloth to bite on to relieve the pain and also provide them with rubber toys and chewing rings. With time, the puppy will begin to learn and control its biting and chewing habits.
Training a cocker spaniel puppy also involves teaching it basic obedience commands including ‘sit’ ‘down’, ‘stand’, ‘watch’, ‘be quiet’, ‘wait’, ‘stay’, ‘come’, ‘leave’, ‘drop it’ and many more. Learning is a very natural, easy and positive process for the puppy but its success also depends on the dedication and involvement of the owner.