Thinking of Buying a Puppy?

So you're thinking of buying a puppy?

As exciting as this may be, Cocker Spaniel puppies need lots of care and attention, which often comes with many responsibilities and considerable expense.

Cocker 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 getting a puppy.

Considering Getting a Puppy for the First Time?

If you're thinking of buying a puppy for the first time, are you sure you can afford the time and money needed to care for a dog?

Have you stopped to consider what's really involved? Cocker Spaniels (like all dogs) are a big responsibility!

Before making that final commitment, there are many things to consider, such as costs and time, finding a good breeder, essential puppy supplies, and preparing your home.

Black and tan cocker spaniel puppy being held up in hand. The photo was taken against a white background.What a cute black 'n' tan puppy!

These are just some of the things that must be considered (the list is almost endless), and only then will you be ready for bringing home a new puppy.

So if you're sure you have all that it takes to care for a dog, read on to learn how to find a good breeder, pick out the best puppy for you, puppy-proof your home, and much more.

Can You Afford The Extra Costs?

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, ongoing costs, such as:

  • worming;
  • flea and tick treatment;
  • illnesses and accidents;
  • boarding kennels.

Then there are the trips to the grooming parlour (unless you're prepared to learn yourself), and the cost of a professional groomer can be expensive!

All these costs combined can quickly mount up to thousands!

Yikes!

Do You Have Time and Energy To Spare?

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 will 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.

Brown and white cocker spaniel puppy with soulful eyes.What a gorgeous cocker spaniel puppy!

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 shiny and his skin 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 iceberg; 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 have 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.

Buying a Puppy From a Breeder Vs Cocker Adoption

Getting a puppy from a Cocker Spaniel rescue or a dog adoption centre is a great idea! There are too many dogs in rescue centres.

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, 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!

Please Beware of Puppy Mills!

I would never consider or recommend buying a puppy from a puppy mill (sometimes also known as a puppy farm).

Cute blue roan cocker spaniel puppy, looking very sad indeed.Come on Mum, take the picture!

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 places 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 also tend to buy their puppies from puppy farms, so beware!

Please take the time to be sure you're not dealing with a puppy farmer - here's how you can tell.

It's Time To Choose Your Puppy!

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?

Sleeping orange roan puppies huddles together for comfort! Turquoise-blue background.Brittany puppies snuggling together for comfort.

No, that's really not a good idea, but you can learn how to choose a healthy, appropriately socialised puppy that isn't showing any tell-tale signs of behavioural problems by following the link.

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 they grow older, and it becomes a battle of wills!

Many unfortunate alpha puppy owners have had to give back their dogs.

So, 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 the right puppy for you.

Top Tip: Whatever you do, please don't even consider buying two puppies simultaneously, no matter how tempted you are. Raising two puppies in the same household is definitely NOT recommended, especially for first-time buyers!

Don't Forget To Puppy-Proof Your Home!

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 sure 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.

Did you know that something as innocent as dark chocolate can actually kill a young puppy? Play it safe and put everything away, out of sight.

Puppy proofing your home is vital; I don't mean to sound dramatic, but it could save his life. Learn how to make your home puppy-proof and a safe place for your curious new puppy.

Buying A Puppy: What Essentials Will He Need?

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.

Seven very young golden cocker spaniel puppies lying in a row. The photo has a lilac background.Copyright: Seastudio at Istockphoto.com

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 providing him, as it's essential to stick to that, short term at least, so that he doesn't get a tummy upset.

Here's an idea of the bare essentials your puppy might need to give you a heads up.

Buying A Puppy: Pedigree Paperwork

It's essential to understand what you're getting when buying a pedigree puppy; as I said earlier, they're not cheap!

Fortunately, most good Cocker breeders will have a pre-prepared puppy pack for you which will probably contain pretty much all you need, such as; feeding instructions, pedigree documentation, essential training advice and puppy care instructions.

However, you should still check 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!

Bringing Home A New Puppy

At last, the day has finally arrived for you to bring your puppy home!

At first, he'll probably miss his mother and his littermates (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 feel a little anxious. You may have a few last-minute questions such as:

Black cocker spaniel puppy lying on his rug, snuggling toy rabbit.Hello, this is my new toy rabbit and I love it!
  • What about my puppy's first night? What if he cries?

  • Once I get him home, then what? Apart from cuddling and playing with him, is there something else I should do?

  • How do I get him home safely from the breeders?

  • What time should I put him to bed?

  • Where should he sleep - your bed or his? Should I let my dog sleep with me?

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!).

Daily Care And Socialization

Once you get him home, it's essential to set up a good puppy care routine as 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 an essential part of your puppy's care and training (sorry for shouting, but I just want to get this point across).

Get it right the first time because you won't get a second chance!

Buying A Puppy: Personal Responsibility

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!

Apart from caring for your pet, you also have a responsibility towards your immediate neighbours and the local community.

Responsible Cocker owners always:

  • 'pick up' after their dogs;
  • socialize their pet until they're happy with everyday objects and situations;
  • teach them not to bark continuously;
  • make sure they're well-trained and don't jump up at people;
  • make sure they're in control of their Cockers;
  • neuter their pet, just in case 'Houndini' gets the urge to...you know what;
  • keep their pet on a leash where required.

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.

Buying A Puppy: Summary

So, buying a puppy isn't as straightforward as it might initially 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, mainly the time and cost involved.

There's a lot to think about, lots to learn, and such an awful lot of preparation. In short, it's a big responsibility.

However, if you follow the advice given here, it will help you be sure that you're ready to take the plunge.

I hope this page about buying a puppy has helped confirm that you really are ready to take on a dog and all that entails.

I hope you find lots of helpful information on my website to help care for your new puppy. 

Once you get Cocker Spaniel 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