Buying a puppy is a big responsibility and there are many things to think about before making that final commitment. Things such as costs and time involved; finding a good breeder; essential puppy supplies...and the list goes on. Read on to learn all you need to help you choose the perfect puppy for you and your family.
Cocker Spaniel puppies (like all puppies) need lots of care and attention and that often comes with many responsibilities and considerable expense.
The question is, can you afford to take on all the expenses that buying a puppy incurs? And do you have plenty of free time to look after a dog properly?
Cocker Spaniel puppies are so cute, and it's all too easy to get carried away in the moment, so let's take a closer look at what's involved in buying a puppy.
Pedigree puppies aren't cheap!
After the initial cost of paying for your puppy and shelling out for his immediate needs (collar, lead, bowls, identity tags, crate, blankets, toys) there will be extra, on-going costs, such as:
Then there's the trips to the grooming parlour (unless you're prepared to learn how to groom your Cocker Spaniel yourself) and the cost of a professional groomer can be very expensive!
All these costs combined can easily mount up to thousands! Yikes!
Do you really have the time and energy to devote to a Cocker Spaniel dog?
Did you know that adult Cockers need to be exercised for at least one hour each day, come rain or shine?
You'll also need to set aside time for training your puppy, for example, house-training, obedience training, and if you intend to crate him (which I highly recommend) your puppy will also need to be trained to use his crate.
In between trips to the groomers, you'll need to set aside time to do the basics, such as brushing his coat (and eventual feathers) every other day to keep his coat looking in tip-top condition.
His ears will also need to be checked, cleaned and brushed, at the very least, weekly. Just the very basic grooming tasks alone can make considerable demands on your time!
Trust me, this is just the tip of the ice-berg; owning a Cocker Spaniel (or any dog for that matter) is a real commitment!
So, if I've not put you off, and you're still happy that you can afford the true financial cost and can definitely the spare time needed to care for a puppy, that's great. Decision made!
Now all you need to do is decide whether you're going to buy a puppy from a breeder or save a Cocker from a rescue centre.
And you never know, you may be lucky enough to adopt a puppy, but please don't get your hopes up; it's more likely that you'll find older Cockers in rescue or adoption centres.
If your preference is for an older dog, then adopting a Cocker Spaniel will be up your street!
If you decide to go down the route of buying a puppy from a breeder, at least you'll have the reassurance that your pup has been given the best possible start to his life.
A word of warning, although most Cocker Spaniel breeders are professional and responsible, some are not.
The good news is that there is a way to tell the difference between a good breeder and a bad breeder. When you've found a breeder that you're comfortable with, you will be required to prove that you'll make a good 'puppy parent' for one of their precious puppies - and quite right too!
So you'll need to do your homework; make sure you have all the right questions to ask your breeder!
I would never consider or recommend buying a puppy from a puppy mill (sometimes also known as a puppy farm).
If you don't already know what these are, they're literally 'puppy factories' where pups are bred (often many different breeds) without any real consideration for their welfare; they're simply puppy production lines.
It's worth reading this article about puppy mills to give you an idea of what you're up against.
Please note that most pet shops and stores tend to buy their puppies from puppy farms too, so beware!
Please take the time to be certain you're not dealing with a puppy farmer - here's how you can tell.
Once you've found your Cocker breeder and arranged a visit, your next step will be to choose your puppy and although this is the exciting bit, there's still a bit more work left to do before you settle on one particular puppy!
Buying a puppy may seem a straight forward process; you just pick the cutest puppy or the quiet pup in the corner, or you let the puppy choose you...don't you?
No, that's really not a good idea, but you can learn how to choose a puppy; a healthy pup that's been socialized properly and isn't showing any tell-tale signs of behavioral problems.
And if this is your first puppy it might be best to avoid an alpha male or female because you may find (too late!) that you cannot handle the pup.
This will probably become increasingly obvious as he or she grows older and it becomes a battle of wits!
Many unfortunate alpha puppy owners have had to give back their dog because of this. If you're not sure about your ability to handle a 'strong-willed' dog, why don't you speak to your breeder before picking a puppy from the litter? They'll be only too pleased to help you choose a puppy that's right for you.
You're buying a puppy and you're ready to bring him home, but before you do, ask yourself, 'Is my home safe for an inquisitive little pup?'
It's vital that you're absolutely certain that your home (and garden) is safe and free from hazards such as trailing electrical wires just begging to be chewed on by a curious, teething puppy. It doesn't bear thinking about!
If bringing home a new puppy isn't a good enough reason for giving your home a good tidy up, I don't know what is. Play it safe and put everything away, out of sight. Did you know that something as innocent as dark chocolate can actually kill a young puppy?
Puppy proofing your home is really important; I don't mean to sound dramatic, but it could save his life. Learn how here and make your home a safe place for your curious new puppy.
When you're confident that your home is safe and is ready to accept the latest addition to your family, your next priority will be to consider what puppy supplies and other essentials your new little bundle will need to help him settle comfortably into his new home.
For example, where he's going to sleep? Will he sleep on a blanket on the floor, in a soft comfy dog bed, a carrier, or will you crate train him?
What you feed him will depend on what the breeder has been feeding him as it's important to stick to that, short term at least, so that he doesn't get a tummy upset.
To give you a heads up, here's an idea of the basic essentials your puppy might need.
It's important to understand exactly what you're getting when buying a pedigree puppy buying, as I said earlier, they're not cheap!
Fortunately, most good Cocker breeders will have a pre-prepared a puppy pack for you which will probably contain pretty much all you need such as; feeding instructions, pedigree documentation, basic training advice and puppy care instructions.
You should still check, however, that you have all the relevant paperwork to make sure that you actually get what you have paid for, and don't leave the premises without it!
At last, the day has finally arrived for you to bring your puppy home!
At first, he'll probably miss his mother and his litter mates (it's only natural) so we need to make sure he settles into his new home quickly and easily.
Mixed in with all that excitement, you may also be feeling a little anxious too. You may have a few last minute questions such as:
Don't worry, you'll find answers to all of these questions and more to make sure that bringing home your new puppy is as stress-free as possible (for both of you!).
Once you get him home, it's important to set up agood puppy care routineas soon as possible to continue with the excellent job your breeder's done so far.
Your breeder will have already begun the socialization process, and I strongly recommend that you continue with it (as soon as you get him home) to help your puppy grow up to be a happy and confident Cocker Spaniel, without any behavioural problems.
You only have a short window of opportunity to get this right - SOCIALIZING YOUR PUPPY - is a very important part of your puppy's care and training (sorry for shouting, but I just want to get this point across).
Get it right first time, because you won't get a second chance!
Last but not least, as the saying goes, 'A dog is for life, not just for Christmas', which can mean up to 15 years - that's a big personal commitment!
But apart from caring for your pet you also have a responsibility towards your immediate neighbours and your local community.
Responsible Cocker owners always:
In short, a responsible dog owner is expected to raise an obedient, socialized, well-mannered little puppy that others feel is a joy to have around, and who is not a nuisance.
So, buying a puppy isn't as straight-forward as it might at first seem, is it?
Far too many dogs end up in a shelter because their owners weren't fully prepared to own a dog; they hadn't truly understood or appreciated the commitment involved, mainly in terms of time and cost.
There's a lot to think about, lots to learn, and such an awful lot of preparation to do. In short, it's a big responsibility.
However, if you follow the advice given here it will help you to be sure that you're ready to take the plunge.
I hope this page about buying a puppy has helped to confirm that you really are ready to take on a dog and all that that entails.
I also hope you find lots of useful information on my website to help care for your new puppy. Once you get him home, why not introduce yourself (and your puppy) here!
Photo Credits for Buying A Puppy:
Photo of cute Cocker Spaniel copyright of Uciekinier.
Nancy at Flickr.com
DwA100 at Flickr.com
Xandert at Flickr.com
Olena Marina (seastudio) at Istockphoto.com
Yoko at Flickr.com