If you've never been involved in puppy training before, relax, we've got it covered.
As a new puppy owner, you may have many unanswered questions floating around in your head. Don't worry; you'll find all the tools you need to help your Cocker pup develop into a well-behaved little boy (or girl) in no time at all! Happy training!
Puppies need a lot of training to help them grow into happy, well-behaved adult Cocker Spaniels, but where do you begin?
Well, as a starting point, I recommend you read these 10 essential rules of puppy training first.
These essential rules will help to get you in the right frame of mind and make training your puppy much easier! Having this information under your belt will get your puppy off to the best start he could possibly have.
Come back to this page when you've read through them.
Go ahead; I'll wait for you.
And now that you're back let's take a look at what kind of training your puppy needs.
Here are a few quick links to take you direct to the topic you may be looking for:
Your first priority will be to take steps to ensure your puppy is fully house-trained (if he's not already).
I admit toilet training your puppy may take patience and understanding, and there will probably be a few little accidents along the way. However, if you follow my advice, your puppy will soon get the hang of it; he'll be dry before you know it!
So, if your Cocker Spaniel isn't already house-trained and you'd like to learn how, you can follow this link: How to potty-train your puppy.
Now, this next bit is about socializing your puppy (no, it doesn't mean he gets to party, although it can be fun!), but your pup must get plenty of it.
Read on to learn more about puppy socialization.
Socialization is an essential part of any puppy's training. It simply can't wait and should be started as soon as you get your puppy home.
If you're unsure what socialization is, it's how your puppy is gently and gradually introduced to everyday sights and objects, sounds, experiences and situations.
Socializing your puppy will help remove the fear or shock factor from his little 'human world' and help him grow up relaxed and confident, but beware, any frightening or shocking experience can have a negative impact on your puppy's development.
So take it easy; avoid sudden loud situations, and take things at your puppy's pace.
Puppies are more receptive to learning between the ages of 6 and 12 weeks old, so you don't really have much time to cram in everything you need to teach them. Those weeks will fly over before you know it, so don't delay; get a move on!
It's a good idea to teach your little boy to feel comfortable about being on his own for a little while each day (even if you're home). If you don't, he may develop a condition known as separation anxiety.
Separation anxiety is just as it sounds; it's where your puppy becomes very anxious whenever he thinks you're about to leave the house without him.
Apart from the emotional suffering for both owner and pet, separation anxiety can also lead to many unwanted behavioural problems such as peeing in the house (or worse), barking, howling, 'digging', scratching, chewing and other destructive behaviours.
An anxious dog can do a lot of damage in the time it takes you to get to the shops and back!
Take immediate action if your puppy begins to show any signs of nervousness or anxiety when you leave the house. At the very least, you'll be able to teach him how to handle it better.
Learn how to teach your puppy to be comfortable spending time alone.
If you're new to dog ownership, you'll soon discover that puppies bite and boy are their teeth sharp!
Play-biting is a natural part of your new puppy's development. He must learn to be gentle and understand that biting humans isn't allowed...and the sooner he realises this, the better.
Just make sure you teach your puppy to stop biting before he has the strength to do some real damage! Trust me, adult teeth can do much more harm than little puppy teeth.
The same applies to your puppy's chewing; deal with it as soon as he begins the dreaded chewing phase. If you don't nip it in the bud, your Cocker's chewing and nibbling will likely become a nasty habit and difficult to break!
Puppies can cause a lot of destruction and despair for owners, problems that would never have happened had the pup's biting and chewing been addressed much earlier.
There is another area of puppy training that's very important if your pet is to fit into our human world: obedience training.
However, before I explain how to teach your puppy basic obedience commands, I've listed some general puppy training tips. These will help your training sessions run more smoothly.
I highly recommend you read these tips before attempting to train your Cocker Spaniel, and always use positive training methods with your baby.
The puppy obedience training page covers the following:
This teaches your puppy to listen to your every word, and once you've got his attention, it will make training him much more manageable.
Puppy training is much easier than you may think, and you'll be surprised at how quickly your Cocker puppy learns to sit with this simple command.
Down! is an excellent command to teach your puppy. It's slightly more challenging than the rest, but once your pup has mastered it, you'll use it often.
The Stand! command comes in handy when you need your dog to stand quietly for the groomer or the vet. It's used to get your Cocker up from a sitting position and down position.
This may sound at odds with what you're trying to do because first, you teach your puppy to bark (not all puppies do!) and then you teach him to stop barking using the Be Quiet! command.
Wait! and Stay! are two very similar commands; one more 'permanent' than the other. Discover the differences between the two and how to teach them to your pet.
Down! and Stay! are two puppy training commands which can be very effective when used together. I use them to keep my Cocker in one place for a few minutes while I'm busy. Using this command keeps him from under my feet for a while. (He's usually preoccupied with being my shadow, and I've almost fallen over him on numerous occasions).
The recall command is essential, and I recommend you sharpen your puppy's response to this training by repeating it whenever you get the chance.
Always reward your puppy for coming back to you. Never scold him for returning to you when called, no matter how long it's taken him and how frustrated you may be.
Leave It! is an essential puppy training exercise that will teach your Cocker to leave something alone and not to touch it. This should be learned well and strengthened as often as possible. Max responds to this immediately, but I need to keep reinforcing it with a short training session every week or two.
I simply make it a fun game and reward him with a few treats.
As well as mastering the above Leave It command, your Cocker Spaniel must also learn to Drop It as early as possible.
You can't always control what your puppy puts into his mouth, especially when you're out walking. Teaching your puppy to drop whatever he has in his mouth when you ask him to is essential, especially if he's picked up a rotting carcass!
Not only will these two commands help to make him a well-mannered pup, but they could save his life at some point!
When you're out walking with your dog, there's nothing worse than being pulled along by an over-enthusiastic Cocker who won't walk on a loose lead!
Does this sound familiar?
Cockers often pull on the lead, which can spoil your walk, but training your puppy to walk on a loose leash while still young will help stop this habit from forming.
If you leave it too late, your puppy soon learns that pulling forward on his lead will get him to where he wants to be, and it becomes a frustrating habit. The longer you leave it, the more difficult it will be to break this annoying habit.
Follow these simple guidelines on leash training, and you'll be enjoying stress-free puppy walks sooner than you think!
Like most training, it shouldn't be all work and no play; puppy training should be fun - for both of you!
But can you believe it, some puppies don't know how to play?
It's true! Sometimes it just doesn't come naturally to them, so you may need to teach your little Cocker Spaniel puppy how to play exciting puppy games like those below.
Fetch! - throwing a ball and having your dog return with it doesn't always come naturally; sometimes, you need to give them a clue!
Hide and Seek is a great game to play with your Cocker Spaniel. I hide, and when Max finds me, I reward him, usually with a treat, a kiss on the nose, and an enthusiastic, 'Good Boy Max!'.
Tug of War - if your dog shows signs of aggression or dominance, you'd be well-advised to tone this down a little. Otherwise, it's an excellent game for tiring them out! You can still play, but there are rules to follow.
Find It! is very similar to hide and seek, except, in this case, I hide treats all over the house and let him sniff them out - it's what Cockers do naturally. It's excellent for stimulating the mind!
Chase Me! can be an exhilarating game for any dog. However, I don't recommend playing chase with a young puppy - at least, not until he's fully mastered the recall command.
I hope you and your puppy have lots of fun with these games, and if you've any you'd like to share, why not get in touch and let me know about them?
Some pet owners believe crating a dog, especially a young puppy, is cruel.
Please let me put the record straight - crate training a puppy is not cruel.
In fact, it's one of the best things you can do for your puppy. There are many benefits to crating a pup; read this article which lists the benefits for you and your puppy, and then decide for yourself.
A few things can go wrong when you're teaching your puppy to enjoy his crate; however, they're easily resolved when you know how!
If you decide that crating is for you and your pup (and I hope you do, but it's your choice), I suggest you read the essential rules of crate training before you even think about crating your pup.
Once you've done that, you'll need to crate your puppy. Many types of puppy dog crates are available, from plastic to wood to metal, and it's purely a matter of choice.
Follow the link if you want to know how to crate-train an older dog.
Living with attention-seeking puppies can become exhausting, no matter how cute they may be!
If this sounds like your puppy, you can learn how to handle your puppy's attention-seeking behaviour and give yourself a bit of peace and quiet!
Above all, don't forget that puppy training should be fun, so keep it light!
If you find your puppy dog won't listen to you, you can find out more here:
Help, my dog doesn't listen to a word I say!
Why won't my dog listen to me?
Photo Credits for
1. GlobalP at http://www.istockphoto.com/stock-photo-5728070-cavalier-king-charles-spaniel-3-5-months.php
2. The_guitar_mann at http://www.istockphoto.com/stock-photo-15294622-playful-puppy.php?st=5050048
3. Zbyszek Nowak at http://www.fotolia.com/id/44179969
4. Lilun at http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photos-american-cocker-spaniel-puppy-image22371228
5. Visitor Photo