Cocker Spaniel Training Tips

Cocker Spaniel training and dog behaviour very often go hand in hand.

Training your puppy from an early age, setting him guidelines and boundaries, will help your new little bundle grow to be a happy, well-mannered adult Cocker without behavioural problems. Isn't that what we all want? Here's how!

Cocker Spaniel Training Tips 

Cocker Spaniel training and behaviour; the two are inextricably linked.

Good training leads to good behaviour; if your Cocker Spaniel is well-trained, it's likely that he's also well-behaved.

Beautiful cocker spaniels in training, one golden, one black.What do you want us to do now Mum?

We teach our children the difference between right and wrong, what is acceptable behaviour and what isn't, so why shouldn't we do the same for our pets?

Unfortunately, many Cocker Spaniels end up being put into shelters (or sadly worse) because their owners couldn't handle them.

And yet, it's often unnecessary because an understanding of how your dog learns and a little training would have made all the difference.

Cocker Spaniel Training & Behaviour

Hands up all those who want a happy, well-trained, well-behaved Cocker Spaniel!

Wow, a sea of hands!

You can give your dog many types of training to help him live happily in our domesticated world and help him grow up without behavioural problems.

In this article, I cover general dog training and behavioural issues and how training your dog can help; just click on any of the titles to read more:

Cocker Spaniel Training and Puppy Obedience 

Giving your Cocker Spaniel training as soon as you bring him home is the best place to start; it's never too early to begin your puppy's training.

Teaching your puppy obedience commands will give him (and you!) control and good manners, leading to a well-behaved Cocker Spaniel.

But obedience training doesn't (and shouldn't) stop there.

Once learned, these commands must be practised daily and in different situations and environments to help strengthen his training.

Cocker spaniel training at its best. Beautiful dogs.You want us to do what?

Don't worry; it sounds like more work than it actually is. It can be easily practised. For example, you can ask your pup to sit before you:

  • feed him,
  • let him out into the garden or yard,
  • clip his leash onto his collar,
  • play a game with him,
  • (hide and seek is Max's favourite). 

Each time you give your puppy a command, and he responds, you're strengthening that command. You won't even need to ask him! Eventually, your dog will automatically sit before he's fed, or his lead is attached to his collar.
Here's a link to my Cocker Spaniel training for puppies page. You'll find all you need to teach your puppy to sit, stand, lie down, wait, stay, etc.; in fact, all the basic commands your pup (or dog) will ever need!

And if you need tips or advice on approaching your puppy's training, just follow either link.

Just remember, training should be fun for you both.

Look at this well-trained Cocker Spaniel and see how happy he will be going through his training paces!

Cocker Spaniel Training: The Alpha Dog

Contrary to popular belief, alpha dog training isn't about fear and intimidation.

It's about setting ground rules for your Cocker Spaniel (like we do for our kids) to help your pet understand his place in your pack and respect you as his leader.

Alpha training is about establishing boundaries and building a strong, positive relationship with your dog. It's about helping your Cocker to become a respected and loved member of your family. 

Toilet Training Dogs

If you find yourself having to toilet-train an adult Cocker Spaniel, you could be in for a very frustrating time.

If this new behaviour isn't addressed quickly, habits will be formed, and unless you know what you're doing, re-toilet training your dog will be pretty challenging.

You will need to understand why the dog has suddenly begun having problems before treating the cause because he may have an underlying health issue.

Health issues aside, you need to take action; assuming your Cocker was previously house trained, now that their toilet habits are not up to the mark (no pun intended!).

Start the training again from scratch.

Be rigorous in your approach to his training to ensure your adult dog understands your house rules.

It may be more complicated than house-training a puppy, but it can be done with patience and consistency.

Here's how to toilet-train an adult dog.

Dog Crate Training

Giving your dog a place of his own can make all the difference to his feeling of security and can help with separation anxiety.
By giving your Cocker Spaniel training to use a dog crate, you will provide him with his own safe place (where he can go for a bit of peace and quiet when things get too hectic for him).
Crating your dog helps with toilet training because dogs don't like to foul in their own den - that's a bonus!

And it's not too late; despite what they say, you can teach an old dog new tricks, or at least you can teach an older dog to use a crateeven if he's never experienced one before.

Whilst crate training a dog may be a little more complex than teaching a puppy to use his crate, you CAN do it!

The secret to success is lots of coaxing, an abundance of treats and praise, and taking things very step at a time.

Attention Seeking Behaviour

Our dogs can sometimes develop annoying habits such as jumping or barking, especially if they aren't well-trained or left to their own devices.

Owners who don't do anything to discourage these (unwanted) attention-seeking behaviours will see their dog's behaviour snowball into such proportions that it soon becomes a battle of wits to co-exist alongside their pets.

Some behaviours may initially seem cute (like your puppy jumping up for a cuddle). However, you may no longer find it so appealing when the puppy becomes a fully grown adult and wants your constant attention or leaps up at anyone who dares walk through your front door.

Beautiful buff-coloured cocker spaniel with blue background.A well behaved Cocker Spaniel - training at its best!

Equally, we don't mind if our Cockers bark if they hear someone at the front door, but we don't want them to bark all the time.

Unfortunately, if this behaviour isn't managed, jumping and barking may soon be accompanied by whining, pawing, scratching, digging or chewing (your favourite shoes), all aimed at getting your attention.

Nip it in the bud!

Here's how to give your Cocker Spaniel training to stop those annoying attention-seeking behaviours and teach your pet some good manners before they really get out of hand.

Separation Anxiety & Destructive Behaviour

Generally, dogs don't like being left alone. They're pack animals and are used to living, working, eating, playing and sleeping together.

If dogs become separated from their pack (and don't forget, in their domesticated world, you are their pack), they can often become anxious and distressed...and that's when the trouble begins.

Some dogs can handle being left alone for a while but soon become bored and restless. When that happens, they often go looking for mischief!

They try to relieve the boredom by, for example, raiding the rubbish bin or chewing the legs of your favourite dining chair!

Beautiful black and white cocker spaniel sitting on his owner's bed.I'm a well-trained Cocker Spaniel!

Separation anxiety is common in all breeds of dogs. However, the good news is that you can give your Cocker Spaniel training to help him manage better on his own and be more comfortable when you're away from home.

If you'd like to know more about separation distress and understand what can trigger it, the signs to look for, and how you can help your Cocker to get used to being on their own, choose one of the following links:

Like most Cockers, Max hates being left at home, but we still do from time to time because we need to live our lives. However, we always take certain precautions before leaving the house to ensure he'll be comfortable and happy while we're gone.

Rage Syndrome & Aggressive Dog Behaviour

I'm often asked questions about aggressive dog behaviour, usually by worried owners who believe their dog may suffer from Cocker rage. So I'm going to direct you to a page that talks about it, but before you read it, please let me put the record straight.

Cocker Spaniel Rage Syndrome is a rare condition.

Aggressive dog behaviour is very often incorrectly labelled as Cocker rage syndrome. Please understand that they are not the same; there are distinct differences in the behaviours of each.

If you have an aggressive Cocker Spaniel, it is doubtful that he's suffering from this this article about Cocker rage syndrome and see for yourself.

Dog Food Aggression

Food aggression in dogs is an instinctive aggressive behaviour triggered by your Cocker's (often irrational) need to protect his food.

If your ordinarily docile Cocker seems anxious or growls when you approach him while he's eating, it's almost certain that he's displaying 'Food Aggression'.

If it's not addressed quickly, it can lead to highly aggressive (and dangerous) behaviour, especially where children are concerned.

Food aggression is a problem that should be addressed as soon as you notice the warning signs; otherwise, you're in for a bumpy ride!

Although it's a relatively common canine problem, it can begin at any time and for no apparent reason. (There's always a reason, it just may not be obvious).

Although there's no guarantee, there are some steps you can take to help prevent dog food aggression.

If your Cocker Spaniel is already twitchy when people are near him while he's eating, here are a few suggestions on how best to handle it.

Why Do Dogs Eat Poop?

This is one dog behaviour problem that many pet owners find revolting, and who can blame them?

Coprophagic is offensive and repulsive to us humans; however, it's a fairly common practice in the dog world, especially in puppies.

There are many reasons why dogs eat poopand many simply grow out of the habit, but for those that don't, here's what you can do to stop your dog from indulging in this awful habit!

A Tired Cocker Is A Quiet Cocker!

We all know that a tired dog is a contented (and therefore quiet and well-behaved) dog!

So, how do we tire them out?

  • Let them run around the park?
  • Take them for a long walk through the woods?
  • Throw sticks into the river for them to retrieve?

Well, yes. These are all excellent activities for our pets, but they shouldn't simply end there.

Physical exercise may give your dog an excellent workout, pumping his heart and lungs nicely. However, you must also consider stimulating your Cocker Spaniel's mind, giving his brain a workout.

You can do this by practising obedience training whenever you get the opportunity, by letting him work out a puzzle toy, or play a game with him, such as hide and seek.

Physical and mental stimulation will help burn off all his excess energy. This will help your Cocker Spaniel to become calm and relaxed. He'll probably be happy to snooze or lie quietly, watching the family's comings and goings around him.

Prevention Is Always Better Than The Cure!

As well as setting boundaries and giving your Cocker Spaniel training (lots of it!), there is another way we can help our Cockers behave well.

You'll never completely stop your dog from doing what comes naturally, like mouthing, chewing, jumping, barking, or scavenging (and in fairness, you probably shouldn't). However, you can direct this behaviour to other things that are acceptable to you.

For example, if your Cocker likes to chew, replace whatever he's chewing with a safe chew bone or toy, such as a Kong.

You can often prevent some behaviours with a bit of strategic thinking (or common sense!).

For example, I'll never be able to stop Max from rifling through the recycle bin while I'm out (trust me, I've tried!)

However, I did find a simple solution. I now ensure the cupboard door to the recycling is closed tight before I leave the house...doh!

Suppose your Cocker is a (closed) door-scratcher while you're away. In that case, you may want to consider moving the bin into the garage, allowing you to leave the door cupboard door open. Your dog won't scratch on an open door.

See, there's almost always a 'strategic' solution; Cocker Spaniel training at its best!

Cocker Spaniel Training: Conclusion

I genuinely believe that we can help to influence our dog's temperament and personality by what we teach our pets and how we behave towards them.

Of course, the breeder plays a large part in this, for example, by breeding from good-natured parents and/or the quality of the initial socialization they give to their puppies. However, it's then down to the eventual owner of the puppy to finish shaping their temperament and character.

You can do this by giving your Cocker Spaniel training right from an early age and deciding exactly how you want your puppy to behave. You set the appropriate guidelines and boundaries he needs to become a happy, confident, and well-adjusted adult dog!

Photo credits for Cocker Spaniel Training:
1. Pailoomlon-
2. ID 18673627 © Isselee |
3. Lilun at
4. Copyright About Cocker Spaniels