There are many good reasons why you should adopt a Cocker Spaniel rather than buying a puppy from a breeder, but in my book, the best is that you could be saving the dog from a life of uncertainty, or worse, euthanasia!
Thousands of dogs end up in rescue centres each year, not just Cocker Spaniels, and the numbers are increasing. Doesn't it make sense to adopt a dog from a shelter?
Not convinced? Read on to learn more about the benefits of Cocker Spaniel adoption.
Whilst there are many worthy reasons for adopting a puppy or a dog, I've listed 7 of those I consider the most important in the hope that I can persuade you to consider adopting a Cocker Spaniel.
If you adopt a Cocker Spaniel from a rescue centre, you're potentially saving a dog's life. That's because not all animal shelters have the luxury of keeping the animal indefinitely.
Sadly, the dog would be put to sleep where this is the case.
Thankfully, we're seeing less and less of this as many shelter volunteers are working extremely hard to raise funds to care for homeless dogs so that no animal has to be put to sleep.
When pet shelters take in an animal, the dog is immediately assessed for health issues, training needs, etc.
Health issues will be attended to, and if the dog hasn't been neutered, they will arrange that. The animal will also be chipped if it's not already.
The dog's behaviour will be monitored, and if there are any training issues, they will be addressed.
The dog will be fed, watered, exercised and given lots of love and cuddles while waiting for someone to provide him with a new forever home.
You can pay thousands of pounds (or dollars) to buy a pedigree Cocker Spaniel puppy from a breeder.
Many people work on a limited budget, so buying from a professional breeder is often out of reach. If you adopt a Cocker Spaniel from a rescue centre, you won't be paying expensive breeder fees.
There's likely to be a small adoption cost, which usually includes the cost of health screening, vaccination (where necessary), chipping, neutering, and training.
It's an all-in price!
Puppy farmers are in business purely for the money and often at the expense of the puppy's wellbeing.
The fewer people who buy from puppy mills, the closer we will get to putting puppy farmers out of business.
Shutting these places down is vital because puppies bred in puppy farms are often in poor health.
They're often mistreated, don't receive the best care, and their food is often substandard; they're certainly not part of a loving home.
Puppy farmers don't give their pups the socialisation and human contact they need during their first few weeks of life to help them reach their full potential.
Whatever you do, please avoid puppy mills.
Then there's all that extra exercise you'll get while walking your newly adopted Cocker Spaniel!
There's nothing like a bracing walk in the countryside to lift the mood; all that fresh air is good for you!
I'm confident I wouldn't walk half as much as I do today if I didn't have my Cocker Spaniel, Max. He gives me that extra push I need to get outside and walk!
I take him out at least twice daily, and we walk between two and five miles daily.
We certainly put in our 10,000 steps (and more) each day!
We all know that our dogs offer us unconditional love (okay, they may demand the occasional biscuit or two), but generally don't expect anything in return.
Our pets can help keep us de-stressed and calm; it's well-documented that stroking an animal can help lower blood pressure and relieve stress.
However, a rescue dog's love is threefold.
Perhaps the dog is so grateful for being removed from the poor conditions and/or ill-treatment they may have endured before you brought it home.
I'm sure they will also be relieved to leave behind a noisy, unfamiliar rescue centre (no matter how kind the staff have been).
When you've got a dog and come home at the end of the day, your dog will be there, waiting to greet you.
And what a greeting that will be!
Anyone would think you had been away for days, even if you'd only been out to the bin!
I adore my Cocker Spaniel and love how he's always up for a cuddle!
You're more likely to adopt an adult dog than a puppy from a rescue centre because people often don't give up puppies.
If you're dead set on getting a puppy, you may get lucky and have the opportunity to adopt a puppy; however, don't hold your breath!
Yes, puppies are cute, but the upside to an older dog is that they are much easier to care for than a puppy.
If you adopt a cocker spaniel adult dog, you will have missed that 'labour-intensive' puppy stage!
An older, adopted dog will come ready-shaped. Your rescue dog will be an old hand at obedience training commands. He'll be housetrained, know how to walk nicely on a lead, and much more.
Last but not least, the fee you pay to the adoption centre allows the centre to properly assess and care for the dog you take home and will enable them to rescue and assess more Cocker Spaniels.
Too many dogs, alone and abandoned, are waiting to be rehomed. Why not visit your local rescue centre and see who's waiting for you?
Spaniel Aid UK is a great place to begin looking.
The rescue dogs arrive on their website and are snapped up quickly! You'll need to check their site regularly as they're not a dog-finding service.
I am regularly asked about rescue dogs, and I answer them as often as possible.
One of the most common questions about rescue dogs is how do I settle him into his new forever home? Here's my advice; I hope it's helpful.
From: United States
I recently adopted a six-year-old Cocker Spaniel from the local dog pound. The poor thing has been highly abused in the past.
He looks reasonably healthy but has had 12 teeth removed, and he's a quiet but nervous dog.
I've never owned a Cocker Spaniel before, but his kind eyes broke my heart, so I just had to rescue him.
I know time is needed to heal him, but any suggestions you might have towards helping him adjust to our home would be helpful.
Also, he poops 5 times a day; is this normal?
The world needs more people like you, and you're right; your adopted Cocker Spaniel will need time to heal, the poor thing.
You'll also need lots of patience to help him learn to trust his new human owner and new, strange environment.
I recommend keeping the house quiet to help him overcome his nervousness and using slow, gentle movements to avoid startling him.
If you have young children, read them the riot act to ensure they stay calm and quiet around their new pet and approach him without fuss.
If you haven't already, I recommend getting him a crate.
Crate training can have many benefits for a dog, which will be especially practical in your case as it would allow your new Cocker to retreat into his special 'den' if things get too much.
If you can't place the crate in a corner (to create a deeper sense of security for your dog), place a blanket over it, leaving the front open.
I use a crate for my Cocker (Max) but rarely lock him in it nowadays. He often slips inside for a quick nap despite having a Operfectly good bed!
If your adopted Cocker isn't used to spending time in a dog crate, this article on training a dog to use his crate will help you through it.
You won't know how well-trained he has been in the past, so I recommend taking him through some basic puppy obedience training.
Be sure to reward him with lots of praise and a morsel of cooked chicken or liver when he gets it right. It will also help the two of you to bond quickly.
You might also like to play a few gentle games with him. We have a few great ideas here to get you started. These will help you bond together gently.
And best of all, plenty of quiet time with your dog will help tremendously, but first, take your dog for a long walk to tire him out. When you return, give him a drink and a biscuit, make yourself a coffee, and then sit on the floor together and chill out.
As your dog had to have twelve teeth removed, you may notice he's having difficulty eating crunchy kibble. If that's the case, try softening his kibble with a little warm water first.
Alternatively, you could reduce his kibble by half and replace it with high-quality tinned wet food.
As for pooping 5 times a day - you may be feeding him too much or too often. (We're all guilty of loving our dogs too much and giving in - who can resist those lovely brown eyes?!)
Check you're not overfeeding him by looking at the food label.
Food manufacturers tend to be on the generous side, so you're safe in reducing their recommended daily allowances by 10 per cent.
Split his daily food into two portions. Feed him once in the morning and again in the evening at around 4 or 5pm. Cut out all treats; only give him small training treats for now.
You'll probably notice a gradual reduction in his poo habits.
My dog poos around three times a day, but I wouldn't worry too much if he poos a little more often occasionally.
You may already be aware that cocker spaniels are prone to obesity as they age, and you may want to monitor how much he eats. You can learn more about the cocker diet here.
I hope this helps. Good luck to you both, and enjoy your newly adopted Cocker Spaniel!
This is how J9 (one of our visitors) helped to settle their newly-adopted Cocker Spaniel into his forever home.
Adopt a Cocker Spaniel - Plump for a Rescue Dog
Three months ago, I adopted a seven-year-old male cocker spaniel named Tanner. He was a stray, so I know nothing about his background except that he is healthy, so I doubt he was a stray for very long.
I crate him at night and when I leave the house. He cried a little the first few nights, but now he loves his crate. When I first introduced him to the crate, I put treats inside, which I still do occasionally. I wanted his crate to be a happy place.
I never use it for punishment.
When I first brought Tanner home, he followed me constantly, so I was worried about whether or not he would have separation anxiety.
At first, I only left the house for short periods. Now he knows I'm coming back and handles separation just fine.
Also, when I first brought him home, he had frequent, runny stools. I fed him rice, chicken breast and little cottage cheese twice daily. This seemed to help. I actually think that the watery stools may have been stress-related.
He had been at the humane society for over three months and was neutered the day before I brought him home. Plus, a new home is a big adjustment.
Gradually, I introduced high-quality dog food into his diet - I use Iams, lamb and rice. Now his stools are solid, and he has bowel movements twice daily.
When I brought Tanner home, I started teaching him commands and tricks right away; he loves learning new tricks.
He really responds to treats. I use a couple of Cheerios for training treats. They are much cheaper than dog treats, and I'm pretty sure they won't make him fat. I still work with him on commands and tricks for 5 or 10 minutes daily.
When I first brought him home, I made the mistake of introducing him to too many new people and dogs too quickly. I think this added to his stress. Looking back, I wish I had done it more gradually.
It took Tanner about two months to fully adjust to his new home. Now he is happy and confident.
We take him on lots of long walks, and he goes camping and canoeing with us.
I've never had a cocker spaniel before, and I've found Tanner an intelligent, loving, loyal and energetic dog. I'm so happy I adopted him.
Congratulations, and good luck with yours!
I hope this article's reasons for adopting a Cocker Spaniel have been helpful.
This article on Cocker Spaniel adoption will give you more excellent reasons for adopting an older dog. It will explain why Cocker Spaniels (and other breeds) find themselves in a rescue home.
Not all adopted dogs have behavioural problems, but being aware of potential issues is your first step to helping the new member of your family settle in happily.
Very often, where the dog has displayed a training issue, the rescue centre will give him the training he needs to bring his behaviour back in line.