Are you looking for advice on new puppy care to help you with your Cocker Spaniel pup? Like a new baby, your little man will benefit from a strict care routine, and the sooner you set one up for him, the better! Get practical step-by-step guidance on how to be the best ever mummy (or daddy!) for your new puppy.
You've finally brought your Cocker Spaniel puppy home. Your world is full of gentle tummy tickles, sweet puppy-breath kisses, and lots of loving 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 to take care of a new Cocker Spaniel puppy.
You may have many questions tumbling around in your head, such as;
And many, many more!
You'll find answers to these questions, and more, below.
Cocker Spaniel puppy care should be based on the following 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 playtime!
he may only be little, but he still needs exercise.
obedience - teach your puppy what's right and wrong.
During those first few months, your puppy will take lots of 'power naps', but don't worry about it because sleeping is essential to your puppy's development at this age.
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 little cherub sleeping quietly while you can!
If you haven't already considered it, I recommend that you crate-train your puppy.
At first, many new owners think it's cruel until the benefits of crating their puppy are explained. It's not long before they realize that a crate is a very secure place for their pets and offers many benefits to them and their dog.
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 pup will probably be tired. Give your puppy a little cuddle first to help relax him and then put your Cocker in the crate; it won't be long before he drops off to sleep.
While your pup is crated, check on him from time to time to ensure he's still asleep, especially if he's not yet fully house trained, because the first thing your puppy will want to do when he wakes is pee!
As soon you see him stir, take him outside to his toilet area and encourage him to do his business. Don't forget to praise him if he pees to show him that's what you want your puppy 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 - just follow the above link.
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!
If your puppy always has access to food, it can make training more complicated as this can lead to a puppy that isn't 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 doesn't contain much 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!
If your puppy has been trained to use his crate, he will try not to do his business 'on his doorstep'.
Unfortunately, his young bladder won't yet be strong enough, making it highly likely that he'll pee as soon as he wakes up. If your puppy is in his crate, that's where he'll pee!
So, 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.
Please don't scold your puppy if you're too late and he's already messed in his crate. He can't help it; besides, 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 outside with him until he's done his business. Praise him enthusiastically if he pees or poops before bringing him back inside.
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.
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.
I cannot stress how important socialization is for all puppies.
Your breeder will have started socializing your puppy while he was still with his mother. It's vital to your Cocker's development to continue with this socialization until he's at least 12 months old.
Don't put it off, as you'll only have a short window; socialization is most effective between the ages of 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.
Puppies don't like being left alone, and many suffer from separation anxiety if left for long periods. It's heart-breaking to witness your puppy becoming distressed each time you leave.
Then there's the destruction to 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 on his own for short periods. Puppy separation anxiety can be managed!
Puppies that are handled often will be better socialized than those that are not and, as a result, are less likely to develop behavioural problems later in life.
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 suppose that'll be too difficult, will it?
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 the sound of your voice and his own 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.
Begin grooming your puppy from day one.
Getting your pup used to the sensation of being groomed is essential so that he'll sit quietly for you or your groomer.
He won't be startled by any of the grooming tools as he will have seen them before.
Your puppy will need to be bathed from time to time, 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, too, 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!
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, simply 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 own toys.
If he's not 'getting the message' and still chewing (your new shoes or your favourite book!), you'll find these tips on stopping your puppy from chewing very useful.
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 not always be so straightforward. Anyone who's ever tried to brush 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 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!
Apart from being fun, puppy play is an ideal way to give your pup the physical and mental stimulation he needs. Here are some of our favourite puppy games:
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 overweight!).
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 one of us gets tired first?
Believe it or not, playing games doesn't always come naturally to all puppies; sometimes, they need to be taught how to play games!
Exercise is important. Unfortunately, if your puppy isn't yet 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:
Once he's old enough to go into public places (usually after final vaccination at 12 weeks old – your vet will advise you), the sky's the limit!
You can quickly learn how to teach your puppy to walk on a leash...walkies anyone?
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 each day, 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.