So you're thinking of getting a new puppy? Congratulations!
As exciting as this may be, Cocker puppies (like all puppies) need a lot of care and attention; puppies come with many responsibilities and considerable expense.
Let's look at what's involved in buying a new puppy.
Cocker Spaniel puppies are so cute and cuddly, so getting carried away in the moment is too easy. However, have you stopped to consider what's involved before taking the plunge?
Cocker Spaniels (like all dogs) are a big responsibility!
So, before making that final commitment, here are some things to consider: the costs and time involved in caring for a puppy, finding a good breeder, essential puppy supplies, and preparing your home to be puppy-proof!
The above are just some of the issues that must be considered (the list is almost endless), and only then will you be ready to bring home your new puppy.
Pedigree puppies are costly; they're not 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:
Then there are the trips to the grooming parlour (unless you're prepared to learn to do it yourself); the cost of a professional groomer can be expensive!
Grooming can be time-consuming, so if you intend to groom your adult Cocker Spaniel yourself, you have been warned!
If you're considering getting a new puppy for the first time, are you sure you can afford the time and money needed for the basic care needs of a dog?
All these costs combined can quickly mount up to thousands!
Dogs and puppies can take up a lot of your time and energy. Do you genuinely have what it takes to care for a Cocker Spaniel puppy?
Puppies need lots of attention, for example:
Initially, puppies don't need a lot of exercise; however, adult Cockers must be exercised for at least one hour each day, come rain or shine.
You'll be fine if you're comfortable walking (and sometimes running) for at least an hour daily. If not, well, you'll need to think about that.
You will also need to set aside time to train your puppy. Your pup will need to be potty-trained and given obedience training.
He must also be taught to use his crate if you intend to crate the pup (which I highly recommend).
Socializing your puppy is another area you must carefully consider if you are to ensure your puppy grows up confident in his environment and develops to the best of his potential.
You'll need some time to do the basics between trips to the groomers, such as brushing his coat (and eventual feathers) every other day to keep his coat looking shiny and his skin in tip-top condition.
His ears must also be checked, cleaned and brushed, at the very least, weekly, if not daily.
The fundamental 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) is a real commitment!
So, if I've not put you off, and you're still happy that you can afford the actual financial cost and have the spare time needed to care for a puppy, that's great.
Now all you need to do is decide whether to buy a puppy from a breeder or save a Cocker from a rescue centre.
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!
There are many reasons why you should adopt a Cocker rather than buy a puppy from a breeder. The one at the top of my list would be saving a dog from a life of uncertainty or worse.
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 dogs in rescue or adoption centres.
Adopting a Cocker Spaniel will be right up your street if you prefer an older Cocker!
If you decide to go down the route of getting a new 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 good and bad breeders.
When you've found a breeder 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. Here's a little help to ensure you have all the right questions to ask your breeder!
I would never consider or recommend getting a new puppy from a puppy mill (sometimes known as a puppy farm).
Let me explain if you don't already know what these places are.
Puppy farms and mills are factories where pups are bred, and often many other different breeds, without any real consideration for the puppies' welfare.
These places are 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 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.
Once you've found your Cocker breeder and arranged a visit, your next step will be to choose your puppy. Although this is exciting, there's still more work left to do before you settle on one particular puppy!
Getting a new puppy may seem straightforward; you pick the cutest or quiet pup in the corner, or you let the puppy choose you...don't you?
No, that's not a good idea.
However, by following the link, you can learn how to choose a healthy puppy that isn't showing any tell-tale signs of behavioural problems.
And if this is your first puppy, I would try to avoid an alpha male or female because you may find (too late!) that you cannot handle your dominant little puppy.
His dominant personality will become increasingly evident as he ages, and it soon becomes a battle of wills!
Many unfortunate alpha puppy owners have had to give back their dogs because they simply can't manage them.
If you're not sure that you can handle a 'strong-willed' dog, speak to your breeder, who can help you pick a puppy from the litter.
The breeder will be delighted to help you choose the right puppy for you and your family.
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!
You've decided you're getting a puppy, and now you're ready to bring him home, but before you do, ask yourself, 'Is my home safe for an inquisitive little pup?'
You must be 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 to give your home a good tidy-up, I don't know what is.
Did you know something as innocent as dark chocolate can 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.
When you're confident that your home is safe and 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 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.
It's essential to understand what you're getting when buying a pedigree puppy; as I said earlier, they're costly!
Fortunately, most good breeders will prepare a puppy pack for you. This should contain all the information 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 breeder paperwork to ensure that you actually get what you have paid for. Please don't leave the premises without it!
At last, the day has finally arrived for you to bring your puppy home!
At first, your new puppy will probably miss his mother and littermates, which is only natural.
It will be your responsibility to ensure he settles into his new home quickly and easily.
Mixed in with all the excitement of getting a new puppy, you may also feel slightly anxious. You may have a few last-minute questions, such as:
Don't worry; you'll find answers to all these questions, and more, to ensure that bringing home your new puppy is as stress-free as possible (for both of you!).
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. It is vital to your puppy's development to continue socializing him (as soon as you get him home).
Socialization is essential to help your puppy grow into a happy and confident Cocker Spaniel without behavioural problems.
You only have a short window of opportunity to get this right. SOCIALIZING YOUR PUPPY is essential to your puppy's care and training (sorry for shouting, but I want to get this point across).
Get it right the 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!
Apart from caring for your pet, you also have a responsibility towards your immediate neighbours and the 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, getting a new puppy isn't as straightforward as it might initially seem.
Far too many dogs end up in rescue shelters.
The main reason is that their owners weren't fully prepared to own a dog and hadn't truly understood or appreciated the commitment, particularly the time and cost involved.
There's a lot to think about, lots to learn, and a lot of preparation. In short, it's a big responsibility.
However, following the advice given here will help you be sure that you're ready to take the plunge.
I hope this article about getting a new puppy has helped confirm that you are ready to take on a dog and all it entails.
In the unlikely event that you don't want a cocker puppy, this article will help you choose a dog breed suitable for your family.
I hope you find lots of helpful information on my website to help care for your new puppy.
Once you get your Cocker Spaniel home, why not introduce yourself (and your puppy)?
Photo Credits for Getting A New Puppy:
1. Photo of cute Cocker Spaniel copyright of Uciekinier.
2. Nancy at Flickr.com
3. DwA100 at Flickr.com
4. Xandert at Flickr.com
5. Olena Marina (seastudio) at Istockphoto.com
6. Yoko at Flickr.com