Cocker Spaniels

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Golden Beauty
Barked: Mon Nov 29, '10 4:46am PST 
How are Cocker Spaniels with other dogs? Does anybody on here own one or more? I'm thinking of getting the cutest little puppy I saw at the pet store! I just don't know if a Cocker would be a good fit. Are they easy to train?

Barked: Mon Nov 29, '10 5:51am PST 
No decent breeder will ever supply puppies to a pet store. Please please PLEASE don't buy one from there.

Odds are it's parents are living in filth somewhere, mom pumping out litter after litter never getting a break, being bred until she dies, neither mom or dad getting any love or attention, never being walked, having no toys, feet splayed from living their entire lives in a cage, sometimes they don't ever get to go outside.

Puppy, although cute, will likely be a money pit. Rarely are pet shop/puppy mill dogs healthy. Many die very soon after leaving the pet store from genetic issues. Still others go on to have serious problems that force an owner into shelling out LOADS of money or putting the puppy down.

You buying from a petstore *supports* dogs living like that. Supports puppy mill breeders producing more and more in just those conditions to keep up with the demand. Educate yourself. Don't buy puppies from pet stores.

All that said, I had a rescue cocker in my teens. Although very cute, and very smart, he was HORRIFIC with other dogs despite lots and lots of socialization and professional training. I don't know if it's because he was 9 months old when I got him and however he felt was already ingrained or what. I have heard in general they can be prone to all kinds of dog and human aggression (with children and strangers and such) if not very well socialized early on. Good genetics (meaning sound temperament in mom and dad, even multiple generations further back) would be a plus here that a pet store/puppy mill dog wouldn't be able to assure you of.

In short - you'd have no idea what you were getting.

Not a risk I'd be willing to take, and again, not an industry that morally I'd feel comfortable supporting.

Always my angel.
Barked: Mon Nov 29, '10 12:55pm PST 
Like I said in your other thread (in the puppy forum), I love love love love LOVE Cocker Spaniels. I *could* write on about them all day, but I'm only on a short break from work right now so I have to be unsatisfactorily brief. Basically, they are little buckets of love and wiggly happiness. They are some of the happiest, most loving dogs out there. Endlessly sweet, a bit scatterbrained, playful and VERY devoted to their people. This dog NEEDS to live in the house with you and spend as much time with you as possible, however, as they suffer terribly from separation anxiety. You won't do anyone any favors (you, your dog, your other dogs, or your neighbors) if you plan to keep your Cocker outside and give it less than, say, 6 hours a day of focused, intense attention. They also have a coat that needs professional grooming/clipping every 4-8 weeks with daily brushing in between. Another big issue is their EARS as they are very very very prone to ear infections due to the way their ears are structured. You MUST clean the ears at least once a month (once a week is better if you can find an ear solution that isn't overly aggressive/drying) and you MUST check for infection constantly. Ear infections are very painful, and watching a Cocker go through one is just awful. You also need to keep on top of their eyes as they can get eye goopies and tear staining, especially if on a less than top-quality feeding regimen.

They do not handle harsh treatment or neglect - if from good lines, a mistreated Cocker will become a sad, whiny puddle in the corner. If from bad lines, they can become biters.

A puppy mill Cocker is a disaster waiting to happen. These dogs don't have a great genetic background to start with and they've been overbred since the 40's, so a puppy mill dog is likely to have chronic ear infections, neurological disorders, terrible allergies, and a nasty, bitey temperament among other problems. You will spend a fortune in vet bills. These are problems not really found from really good breeders (especially the temperament issues), but extremely likely to come from a pet shop/puppy mill/ineptly backyard bred Cocker Spaniel. I'm not exaggerating here - they are a particularly bad choice for irresponsible breeding.

A well-bred and cared-for Cocker is a true joy to everyone around it, though you should socialize well to prevent fearfulness. If from good lines (again, NOT from a pet store), they are not prone to any kind of aggression and generally love everyone. They are distractable and likely to chase cats and other small animals.

There's more to say, but I must get back to work before saying it.

Kitsune- Trouble

Divide and- cuddle!!
Barked: Mon Nov 29, '10 2:54pm PST 
My family had a Cocker Spaniel growing up. She was a very sweet, loving dog. Always wanted to be around us. But I can advise you, do not buy one from a pet store! The Cocker we had was a puppy mill rescue. The pup at the pet store is probably from a puppy mill as well, sadly. Although we loved our dog like crazy, she was not good around other dogs or strangers, and had a ton of health problems!

The not being social we attributed to the fact that she lived in a puppy mill her whole life pretty much before we adopted her (we got her from a rescue not a pet store). We learned to deal with that. But she lived to be 12 years old, and in that time she had to have both of her eyes removed due to glaucoma, she got so many ear infections she had to have surgery on her ears, and completely lost her hearing, annnd she had a thyroid problem. Her treatments and medications, especially the surgeries, where very expensive and it was heartbreaking having to put her through them.

If you get a puppy mill dog, your really risking getting a dog that is potentially going to have a lot of healthy problems down the line. Not to mention that you will be supporting the Puppy Mills.

I loved our Cocker and, when everything is said and done, I would recommended them as pets even after all the issues we had with ours. However, you really should consider going to a good breeder who does health testing on the parents. I believe they can genetically test for glaucoma or at least for eye problems, for example. If our dog had come from a good breeder instead of a puppy mill maybe she wouldn't have had to have her eyes removed.

Always my angel.
Barked: Mon Nov 29, '10 3:07pm PST 
I have time for another quick note!

As for training, they are smart dogs but can be a bit spacey in my experience. They learn manners very easily (though they're prone to submissive/excited peeing), but aren't a natural first choice for, say, obedience competitions. They get distracted and sort of scatterbrained, and their enthusiasm tends to overwhelm their more "thinking" minds ("You're looking at me! I love you! Look at the treat! What - were you saying something?"). In the OB competitions I've helped with, Cockers are a common flight risk simply because there's so much they want to go SEE! And they assume you'll come with them! Because life is so FUN! Etc.

OK, now I have to go do real work again, but I do want to emphasize what a BAD IDEA it is to get a Cocker puppy from a pet store. From a practical as well as an ethical standpoint, just a bad bad idea.

Edited by author Mon Nov 29, '10 3:07pm PST

Miss Lola- Luftnagle

Solid Gold- Dancer
Barked: Sat Dec 4, '10 8:11pm PST 
We do several cockers at the grooming shop I work at. Most, if not all are very sweet tempered, but for one, who shall be nameless BOL. Anyhow, the breed for the most part is very sweet, but many are on the submissived side. Many poo while being hand dried, eww. 8 out of 10 seem to be dealing with ear infections, and oily, yeasty skin. We had a new client on Wednesday, with a very sweet older girl. She was a rescue, and had several litters, in the past.
I would really suggest finding a good breeder for this breed.