Getting a new puppy? Alongside all the usual puppy essentials you need to buy, and the basic training your pup needs, you’ll also need to know these 5 cocker spaniel training hacks!
I have a working cocker spaniel called Toby who has brought so much joy to my life – he’s such a character! I love his energy and his funny little traits, but there’s no denying that a cocker spaniel puppy is hard work! I trained him up myself reading all the books and blogs I could find, but these 5 hacks really saved my bacon when Toby was little.
From someone who’s been there, I promise you’ll thank me later!
If you haven’t got your puppy yet, please take a moment to read my post on the 10 questions you MUST ask your breeder
It’s super important k?
Cocker Spaniel Training Hacks:
- Bite Correction. This is key with any pup, but cocker spaniels tend to be particularly nippy! Correct their behavior by re-directing their mouthing from your skin(!) to a puppy friendly teething toy. Lots of praise when they chew the right thing and gentle re-direction when they don’t. You can also try a loud high pitch ‘OUCH’ when they nip your hand to mimic a puppy’s squeal and let them know they hurt you. Grab a couple of these and have them around the house so you’ve always got one to hand.
- Bath Time. Your spaniel will get MESSY when they’re out on a walk. Genuinely, I don’t know how Toby manages to get this dirty every single time! So making sure they’re comfortable in the bath or being washed it key. Pop them in the bath from a young age, even with no water and praise them for being calm. You can then gently build up to turning on the shower head or pouring a jug of water near them praising and treating for staying calm and happy. [Watch out for nervous behavior signs and make sure not to praise those]. Each time you bath your pup make sure to praise and treat them – make bath time fun and it will be a breeze! Also, make sure you get them used to being touched and brushed from a young age as their ears and underbellies will need it. Check out THE BEST smelling dog friendly shampoo & conditioner (that lasts for ages & leaves them super soft) here!
- Off Lead Recall. Spaniels will naturally want to be close to you, especially while young, so capitalise on that to help train recall for when they get a bit braver. Use a variety of delicious treats and whistle train your pup to come back on command. Start by blowing the whistle at home while they’re in front of you and treating them. They’ll soon associate the whistle sound with yummy food! Then get them to sit and stay, move backwards and whistle with a come here gesture – treat when they get it. Build up to further away and also outside on a longline lead too until they come back whenever they hear your whistle. Make sure to get an adjustable pitch whistle like this one here so you can find the best pitch for your puppy. Read more about recall in this puppy training book – it’s the best one I found.
- Impulse Control. Cockers have such amazing personalities but they do sometimes struggle with impulse control. This can become a problem in many areas so it’s something that’s really important to work on from an early stage. Play lots of impulse control games with your puppy like sit & wait, or leave it, and watch those transferable skills blossom! They’re clever little dogs and love to learn. Check out this bumper book to help your dog learn loads of skills through the fun of games!
- Find It. Lastly, playing a game of hide & seek is the best way to mentally stimulate your pup…and cocker spaniels LOVE to seek! There’s a reason why spaniels are most commonly used as sniffer dogs. Cocker Spaniels are so clever and easily get bored which can lead to destructive behaviour. By teaching them to find and seek their toys it will stimulate them mentally and tire them out when you’re short on time or can’t go out for a big walk. Just get them to sit and wait while you hide their favourite toy around the house, and then command them to find it! Toby will play this game for hours!
I hope my cocker spaniel training tips come in useful and your fluffy new bundle of joy brings you a lifetime of happiness. They really are the best!