Cocker Spaniel Puppy Care Tips

Are you looking for puppy care tips and advice to help you with your new Cocker Spaniel pup? Get practical step-by-step guidance on how to be the best ever mummy (or daddy!) for your new puppy.

New Puppy Care

You've finally brought your Cocker Spaniel puppy home. Your world is full of gentle tummy tickles, sweet puppy-breath kisses, and many adorable puppy cuddles!

Bringing home a new puppy is an exciting time. It's magic!

However, amid all that excitement, you may be forgiven for feeling a little anxious, especially if you're unsure how best to take care of a new Cocker Spaniel puppy.

Puppy Care Questions, Questions, Questions!

Headshot of a beautiful roan cocker spaniel puppy - simply divine! Indistinct yellow background.Copyright: Liliya Kulianionak

You may have many questions tumbling around in your head, such as;

You'll find answers to these questions, and more, below.

Puppy Care Guide: Daily Activities


essential to new-born puppy development;
nutritious food to keep your pup strong and healthy;
step-by-step potty training to help keep your puppy dry;
vital to your puppy's confidence and happiness;
your puppy should be used to being handled every day;
teach your puppy to enjoy his grooming sessions!
stimulate your puppy’s mind with lots of fun playtimes!
he may only be little, but he still needs exercise.
obedience - teach your puppy what's right and wrong.

New Puppy Care and Sleeping

During those first few months, your puppy will take lots of power naps. Don't worry about it because sleeping is essential to your puppy's development at this age.

Brittany cocker puppy, only a few weeks old, sleeping on a bright blue blanket.Copyright: Xandert

As your Cocker pup ages, he'll need less sleep during the day and do more of what puppies do best; exploring and getting up to mischief!

Make the most of these precious puppy days and enjoy watching your quiet little cherub sleeping while you can!

Crating Training Your Puppy

If you haven't already considered it, I recommend that you crate-train your puppy.

At first, many new owners think it's unkind, cruel even, until the benefits of crating their puppy are explained. It's only a short time before they realize that a crate is a very secure place for their pets and offers them and their dog many benefits.

As part of your puppy care routine, get into the habit of putting your Cocker into his crate after an activity, for example, after eating, playtime, or training.

After any exertion or excitement, your puppy will probably be tired. Give him a little cuddle first to help relax him and then put your puppy into his crate; it won't be long before he drops off to sleep.

While your pup is crated, check on him occasionally to ensure he's still asleep, especially if he's not yet fully house-trained. The first thing your puppy will want to do when he wakes is pee!

When you see him stir, immediately take him outside to his toilet area and encourage him to do his business. Remember to praise him if he pees outside to let him know that he's done exactly what you wanted him to do.

I'm often asked for advice about a puppy's bedtime routine during the first few nights at their new home. So, I added a section about a new puppy's night-time sleeping to give you a few ideas.

Cocker Spaniel Care: Bedtime Routine

I'm often asked for advice about a puppy's bedtime routine during the first few nights at their new home. So, I added a section about a new puppy's night-time sleeping - follow the above link.

Puppy Care & Feeding

Regular feeding times are an essential part of your puppy's care routine.

I don't recommend free-feeding a Cocker Spaniel. It can cause many problems, including digestive irregularity and obesity, especially if you have a greedy little puppy!

Young, golden cocker spaniel puppy chewing on some kibble, on a white background.Copyright: Willeecole

If your puppy always has access to food, it can complicate training, leading to a puppy not being motivated by food.

Don't be tempted to feed him between meals; a few treats given as a reward for successful puppy training sessions should be the only exception here.

Feeding your puppy with the best nutritious dog food you can afford right from the start is vital if your puppy is to grow strong and healthy.

Always follow the breeder's feeding instructions or the food manufacturer's recommendations.

Ensure your puppy has plenty of fresh water in his bowl each day, and it's topped up when necessary. This is especially important if you feed your Cocker kibble as it contains little water.

Feeding stimulates a puppy's bowels, so you may need to take him outside again after he's finished eating; in fact, it's advisable to do so!

Potty Training Your Puppy

Your puppy's young bladder won't yet be strong enough to hold off for long, making it highly likely that he'll pee as soon as he wakes up.

While you're still potty training your puppy, taking him outside as soon as he wakes is essential. Your goal here is to help him to avoid having little accidents indoors; don't let peeing indoors become a habit, as habits are often hard to break.

If your puppy has been trained to use his crate, he will try to avoid doing his business 'on his doorstep'.

If your puppy is in his crate, that's where he'll pee! No more puddles on your clean kitchen floor!

Please don't scold your puppy if you're too late and he's already messed in his crate. He can't help it; it will be your fault as you weren't there to let him out.

It's down to us as 'doggie mums' to ensure we take our puppy outside at every opportunity.

Stay out with him until he's done his business. Encourage him to do his toilet, and praise him enthusiastically if he pees or poops before bringing him back inside. Always check his poop. You need to understand that your puppy is healthy and doesn't have diarrhea.

While he's still young, you'll need to take your Cocker puppy outside many times a day (at the very least, hourly). You'll need to do this until your Cocker Spaniel puppy understands what's required of him and he's fully house-trained.

Just follow the link if you'd like to learn how to potty train your puppy.

New Puppy Care & Socialization

You may not have heard of the word 'socialization' used in the context of puppies.

However, it's essential to your puppy's development, and you should understand your role as a puppy parent.

Socialization is getting your puppy used to his new human world's sights, sounds and smells. It will help him to become confident and happy and allow him to develop to his full potential.

I cannot stress how important socialization is for all puppies.

Black, brown and white Cocker spaniel puppy on a golden-yellow blanket with tassels. The puppy is barking. White background.Copyright: Cynoclub

Your breeder will begin socializing your puppy while he is still with his mother. It's vital to your Cocker's development that you continue with this socialization until he's at least 12 months old.

Please don't put it off, as you'll only have a short window; socialization is most effective between 6 to 12 weeks.

Encourage your little boy to explore his new environment.

As part of his early socialization, your puppy should be exposed to everyday household domestic appliances, such as vacuum cleaners, hair dryers, washing machines, and coffee grinders.

This will help him get used to sudden noise, light and vibration.

Your puppy should also meet many people in different situations, such as small children playing, crying babies, men and women in uniforms, men with beards, people with umbrellas, and more. The list is almost endless.

I can't stress enough that socializing your Cocker Spaniel is crucial to any puppy care routine.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Puppies adequately socialized are more likely to grow up to be well-adjusted, confident, happy Cocker Spaniels.

Puppies that aren't socialized, or are given too little socialization, may become very timid or, conversely, aggressive and could develop behavioural problems later in life.

Puppy Care & Separation Anxiety

Puppies don't like being left alone; many suffer separation anxiety if left for long periods. It's heart breaking to witness your puppy becoming distressed each time you go out without him.

Then there's the destruction of your home to contend with.

You'll know if your puppy is anxious or distressed when left alone because there are many unpleasant symptoms of separation anxiety, such as:

...and many more.

The good news is that you can teach your puppy to be content when left alone for short periods. Puppy separation anxiety can be managed!

Puppy Care & Handling

Puppies that are regularly handled (gently, of course) will be better socialized than those that are not and, as a result, are less likely to develop behavioural problems later in life.

Golden cocker spaniel puppy with soulful eyes draped over the arm of a grey leather sofa.Copyright: Jeff Dutton

You, your family and friends (the more, the merrier!) must pick up and cuddle your puppy at every opportunity so that he becomes used to being handled by people.
Now I don't think that'll be too difficult, do you?

Puppies are so darned cute!

While you're handling your pup, talk to him. If you've already chosen his name, say it to him while you pet him so that he becomes used to your voice and his name.

Examine and touch all areas of your puppy regularly. Touch your puppy's eyes, ears, mouth, teeth, bottom and 'boy bits', tummy button, and paws, especially his front paws.

Frequent handling of your puppy will help him become accustomed to human touch. This will pay dividends later in life, for example, when your groomer needs to work on him or your vet needs to examine him.

Puppy Care & Grooming

Begin grooming your puppy from day one.

Getting your pup used to being groomed is essential if he is to sit quietly for you or your groomer.

If you familiarise him with grooming tools while he's young, he won't be startled by any of them later when it's time to groom him for real.

American cocker spaniel in grey metal bathtub, wearing a crimped shower cap.Copyright: Debbi Smirnoff

Your puppy will need to be bathed occasionally, and how often will depend upon where he plays, where he's walked, and how dirty he gets.

It's best to get him used to this while he's still a young pup because if you leave it until he's a fully grown dog before bathing him, you may be in for a challenging time!

Discover the best way to bathe your puppy without tears and tantrums!

Puppy Care & Teething

When your little puppy's new teeth come through, they can cause a lot of pain for your Cocker, and he'll start to bite and chew on anything he can to help relieve his pain.

Naturally, you'll want to help your buddy do this by giving him specially designed teething toys and rings to chew on. If you catch him chewing something you don't want him to, exchange it for one of his chew toys.

He'll soon get the message and understand that he can happily chew, so long as it's one of his toys.

Black, white and tan cocker spaniel puppy face, resting on a pink armchair.I'm teething and my gums are sore!

If he's not 'getting the message' and still chewing (your new shoes or your favourite book!), here are some helpful tips on stopping your puppy from chewing.

And if it's your fingers (or any other part of you) that he's biting, you can learn how to stop your puppy from biting here.

And while we're still on the subject of puppy teeth, when they do eventually come through, you'll need to help him keep them clean by brushing them regularly.

Unfortunately, the practicality of brushing his teeth may sometimes be more complex. Anyone who has tried brushing their dog's teeth will know what I mean!

However, if you take a very gentle approach, your pup will gradually become used to the feel of a toothbrush in his mouth and will soon learn to quietly sit while you brush.

Start brushing your puppy's teeth as early as possible so that he gets used to his teeth and gums being touched as part of his regular grooming routine.

At first, you may need to persevere, but once you and your pup get used to it, you'll wonder what all the fuss was about!

Puppy Care & Playtime

Besides being fun, puppy play is an ideal way to give your pup the physical and mental stimulation he needs.

Some of our favourite puppy games include; Fetch It, Tug of War (but with caution), Find It!, Hide and Seek, and Chase Me!

Golden cocker spaniel lying down, with a multi-coloured ball between his paws. White background.Copyright: Erik Lam

We also play 'hide the treats', currently our favourite game. I ask Max to 'sit and stay' while I hide treats around the house (tiny dog treats - I don't want him to become chubby!).

When I've hidden all the treats, I release him and say, 'Go find them,' and he's off like a rocket!

We also play fetch with his ball until one of us gets tired – guess which of us gets tired first?

Believe it or not, playing games doesn't always come naturally to all puppies; sometimes, they must be taught how to play puppy games!

Puppy Care & Exercise

Exercise is essential to your puppy's well-being.

If your puppy has yet to be fully vaccinated, you won't be able to exercise him in your local park. However, he must be exercised every day.

You can do this in lots of ways, for example:

  • As I mentioned above, you can play games with your puppy and get him running around inside your home;

  • Training sessions will help to exercise him, both mentally and physically;

  • You can play in your garden, but ensure it's totally secure. If your garden's not fully enclosed, I recommend you use a long training lead to allow your Cocker puppy to run about safely.

  • Stay with your puppy; don't leave him alone in your garden; you can't be too careful!

  • Once he's old enough to go into public places (usually after the final vaccination at 12 weeks old – your vet will advise you), the sky's the limit!

You can quickly teach your puppy to walk on a leash.

Walkies anyone?

Puppy Care Tips: Summary 

What should your puppy's day look like?

If you ensure that all of the above activities are included in your Cocker's daily puppy care routine three or four times daily, your puppy will thrive.

As your baby develops and becomes fully house-trained, he'll still need a regular puppy care routine, but it won't be as 'busy' as the one above.

Use your judgement on this one, as puppies are little individuals (just like our children); they often develop in different ways and at different rates.

If you have any pressing concerns about puppy care or your puppy's health, don't put them off. Get in touch with your vet or veterinary nurse as soon as possible.

Daily Puppy Care Routine

Setting up a good puppy care schedule will give your Cocker Spaniel puppy a sense of comfort and well-being.

To give you an idea of what your puppy's daily routine should look like, here's my handy guide to your puppy's daily care.

I'm sure you'll find it invaluable!

Cute black and tan puppy curled up in a small carved wooden bowl.

Puppy Obedience Training

A well-behaved, happy, obedient Cocker Spaniel puppy is a joy to see.

Learn how to train your puppy and help to teach your little man (or lady) some good manners!

What a good boy!

Very small black, tan and white cocker spaniel puppy with a very stern expression. White background.What a good boy!

Photo Credits for Cocker Spaniel Puppy Care:
1. Xandert at
2. Willeecole at
3. Cynoclub at
4. Jeff Dutton at
5. Debbi Smirnoff at
6. JulesInKY at
7. Erik Lam at
8. Liliya Kulianionak at