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 reason is that you could be saving the dog from a life of uncertainty, or worse, euthanasia.
Thousands of dogs end up in a rescue centre each year, and the numbers are swelling. Doesn't it make sense to adopt a dog from one of these places?
If you're wondering why you should adopt a Cocker Spaniel dog instead of buying a puppy from a breeder, read on.
Whilst there are many worthy reasons for doing so, I've listed 7 of those I consider the most important in the hope that I can persuade you to at least consider adopting a Cocker Spaniel.
If you adopt a dog from a rescue centre, you're potentially saving a dog's life.
Unfortunately, not all animal shelters have the luxury of being able to keep the animal indefinitely. Where this is the case, sadly, the dog would be put to sleep.
Thankfully, we're seeing less and less of this as there are many shelter volunteers out there working very 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. If it has health issues or has yet to be neutered, these will be attended to. 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 it's waiting for someone to provide him with a new forever home.
As an added bonus, when your newly-adopted dog leaves the rescue centre, he will be making room for another little homeless dog.
You can pay thousands of pounds (or dollars) for a pedigree Cocker Spaniel puppy from a breeder. As many people are working to a limited budget, this will mean it's often out of their 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, but it will usually include 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 buy from puppy mills, the closer we will get to our goal of putting them out of business.
Closing 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 socialization and human contact they need during their first few weeks of life to help them reach their full potential.
Whatever you do, please try to 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 for lifting the mood, and all that fresh air is so good for you!
I'm confident that I wouldn't walk half as much as I do today if I didn't have my Cocker Spaniel, Max. He's what gives me that extra push I need to get outside and get walking!
I take him out at least twice each day, and we walk anywhere 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, they 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, I believe that a rescue dog's love is threefold.
Perhaps it's because they're so grateful for being removed from the poor conditions and/or ill-treatment that they may have endured in the past.
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 you 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 I love the way he's always up for a cuddle!
You're more likely to adopt an adult dog than a puppy from a rescue centre simply because people don't often give up puppies. If you're looking for a puppy, you may get lucky; however, don't hold your breath!
Yes, puppies are cute, but the upside to an older dog is that they are much easier to take care of 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, he'll know how to walk nicely on a lead, and lots more.
Last but not least, the fee you pay to the adoption centre not only allows the centre to properly assess and care for the dog you take home, but it also allows them to rescue and assess more Cocker Spaniels.
There are too many dogs, alone and abandoned, waiting to be rehomed. Why not take a trip to your local rescue centre and see who's waiting for you?
I am regularly asked questions about rescue dogs and I try to answer them where I can.
One of the most common questions I am asked about rescue dogs, is how do I settle him into his new forever home? Here's my advice, I hope it's useful.
From: United States
I recently adopted a six-year-old Cocker Spaniel from the local dog pound. The poor thing dog 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 your adopted Cocker learn to trust his new human owner and his 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 that they approach him without fuss.
If you haven't already, I would recommend you get him a crate.
Crate training can have many benefits for a dog, which will be especially beneficial in your case. It will allow him to retreat into his own special den if things get too much for him.
If you can't place the crate in a corner (to create a more profound 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 away for a quick nap inside, even though he has a perfectly good dog bed!
If your adopted Cocker isn't used to spending time in a dog crate, this article on how to crate train a puppy 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.
Best of all, some 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 just 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, you could try softening his kibble with a little warm water first.
As an alternative, you could reduce his kibble and introduce good quality tinned 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 taking a look at the food label.
Food manufacturers tend to be a bit on the generous side, so you're probably 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; just give him training treats for now.
You'll probably notice a reduction in his poo habits. My dog poos around three times a day, but I wouldn't worry too much about him doing his business more often.
You may already be aware that cocker spaniels are prone to obesity as they get older, and you may want to keep an eye on 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.
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 couple of nights, but now he likes his crate. When I first introduced him to the crate, I put treats inside it, and I still do once in a while. 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 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 a day. 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 he was neutered the day before I brought him home. Plus, a new home is a big adjustment. Gradually, I introduced a high-quality dog food into his diet - I use Iams lamb and rice. Now his stools are solid, and he has bowel movements twice a day.
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 just use a couple of Cheerio's for training treats. They are a lot 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 a day. He likes it.
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!
I hope this article giving reasons to adopt a Cocker Spaniel have been useful.
This article on Cocker Spaniel adoption will give you some more excellent reasons for adopting an older dog and will explain some of the reasons 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.