Are Cocker Spaniels Good
With Young Children?

We have a 7 year old boy who wants a dog. My husband thinks Cocker Spaniels are cute. My personal experience is that when I was young the Cockers I was around were mean and aggressive.

Is this the nature of Cockers or do you think that it is more due to the owner?

There are Cocker Spaniel puppies at the pound and we might get one this week depending on the information and advice we get.

Reply From Pauline (Web Owner)

Cocker Spaniels are very gentle and loving dogs - the Cocker Spaniel temperament is second to none and they make great family dogs!

I think you are right to suggest that where an animal is mean or aggressive, it may be down to the owner (usually inexperienced with dogs) but it may also be due to other external influences such as a change in environment.

Cocker spaniels can be very stubborn and need a firm but gentle hand. They don't respond well to aggression or (heaven forbid) violence, but do respond well to training.

On the other hand, they can sometimes be very nervous and need gentle handling otherwise they may shy away or become aggressive (fight or flight syndrome).

However, well-socialized and well-trained Cockers are a delight to have around, and this article on how to train a puppy will give you all the information you may need to ensure your puppy learns his manners.

It's also important that your puppy understands who's the alpha male so there are no misunderstandings and/or challenges.

Update from Pauline (Web Owner)

Since answering this question, I have added an article answering the question, 'Do Cocker Spaniels Make Good Family Dogs?' which you might find useful.

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With Young Children?

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My Cocker Started To Dislike Children Later On
by: Anonymous

My cocker spaniel used to love playing with children, but since we moved house, he started to really dislike them. We have very noisy neighbours, who's children are screaming in the corridor on a daily basis (high-pitched voices) and we live next to the local school, where the kids are constantly screaming when playing outside. They also scream on their way home from school and make loads of noise - my cocker has become highly allergic to them.

They would knock on my door just to make him bark and when he hears them outside he runs to the door or the balcony and either growls or barks (sometimes he just listens).

He's only 4 years old and this change in his behaviour has nothing to do with me treating him badly (he's very much loved and otherwise is a great smart dog). I think it's got everything to do with him getting frightened easily by silly things and he seems to dislike people shouting and making too much noise in general (he usually runs away to hide). Now I have to be very careful because he won't let a child approach him, let alone stroke him and he barks at them when they get too close to him.

Cockers And Children
by: Anonymous

I've found that where cocker spaniels are aggressive, it's usually down to the owner.

It's either as a result of misunderstanding, miscommunication, or just plain ignorance.

If you teach a dog obedience, and teach him the behaviour that you find good, you'll have a well-behaved cocker.

Sometimes, cockers (or any dog) may behave in an aggressive way because they're frightened - it's called 'fear aggression', I think.

Generally, cocker spaniels temperament is very good and they're great with children.

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