Pet owners who view their furry friends as members of the family become intimately acquainted with them. We come to know their likes, dislikes and all of the big and little things that make them so special. There are some things that only cocker spaniel owners would understand. Cockers are a unique breed and living through the lifespan of this special dog makes owners keenly aware of the traits that set this breed apart from many others. Here are twenty things that only pet parents of cockers would understand.
20. Your dog will love you more than himself
Cockers who are given love, affection and the right training are loyal to a fault. They place the well-being of their human family above their own safety. If it comes down to protecting you from a predator, they will come right in between you and the danger. This kind of loyalty is hard to find, but it’s a fairly common trait among cockers.
19. Cockers need human attention
This breed has a tendency to run on the emotional side. The are healthier and thrive in environments where they are given positive attention and when they know that they are important. Your dog will feel depressed if you ignore him for long periods of time or never give him any praise for the good things that he does. Don’t forget to acknowledge his presence if you want him to be happy and healthy.
18. Your dog needs to get dirty now and then
Cockers love to play in the dirt and roll around in mud puddles. Some owners scold for this behavior, but it is actually quite instinctual. Granted, the mess isn’t always easy to clean up, but your pup needs to go out in the yard and play in the grass, take a romp through the sprinkler and get his paws muddy every now and then. It’s healthy behavior and if the opportunity is present, expect him to come back in the house needing a bath now and then. He’s just being himself when he does this.
17. Cockers are happy to see you get home
It doesn’t usually matter whether you’re gone for 15 minutes, a few hours or a few days, your cocker will move heaven and earth to meet you at the door. They are always happy to see you get back home. When you’re gone, they miss you. Some cockers have been known to refuse to eat when their owners are away. They are fiercely loyal and crave the company of their family.
16. They give you 12-15 years of joy, then break your heart
This is something that devoted cocker owners know all too well. The lifespan of a cocker spaniel is between 12-15 years in most cases. They provide their families with many years of companionship, love and affection. They are also entertaining at times. They form bonds with their families that make them an integral part of the household. When they live out their lifespan and pass away, there is a profound loss and for a long time to come, it feels as though something is missing.
15. Don’t break their hearts because they are trying
Cockers are intelligent, but they do learn at their own pace. They are people pleasers and they try really hard to do what you want them to do. If you’re impatient with your cocker, it will make them feel terrible. They know when they’ve disappointed you and whether you believe it or not, they really do care. Granted, not all dogs are hardwired this way, but most cockers are. It pays to be patient with your little guy because he’ll eventually get it if you meet him halfway.
14. He needs to see a doctor now and then
There are some medical conditions which are common to cocker spaniels. Their eyes need to be examined to make sure that they are cataract free. In addition to this, the glands near the eyes may become swollen and protrude out of the tear duct. They need to have regular checkups to make sure that they are healthy and fully immunized.
13. Your dog needs to make friends
Cocker spaniels are very social dogs. They like to make friends to hang around with. Some of them are selective about their companions and who they allow into their circle, but they are generally very open, inquisitive and friendly with other animals. It’s good for their emotional health to have other dogs to play with. Some cockers have been known to buddy up with the family cat as though the two are brothers. This happens frequently when they are puppies.
12. They need to be sheltered from the elements
Cocker spaniels love to play outside and they have a lot of fun when it’s raining or when there is snow on the ground. When they’ve had their fill, it’s time to bring them inside to clean up and get warm. They are not really outside dogs, although they could survive there. Cockers prefer to be snuggled up safe inside the house on cold winter nights, so they can be with their family.
11. They need your comfort
Cockers are brave little dogs who will fight a monster for you, but they also need comfort when they are afraid. They are sensitive and sometimes they are afraid. Just as much as a child needs comfort and reassurance, so does your cocker. They have feelings and by giving the reassurance, you can help the to develop into more self-assured and emotionally stable adult dogs. They will learn that there is somebody that they can depend on and this helps them to avoid becoming emotional wrecks as they mature.
10. They like to be talked to
The two of you may not speak the same language, but your cocker needs to hear the sound of your voice. It gives them comfort and it also makes them feel like they are included. This breed craves human interaction to a high degree and when you talk to your dog, he will know be ecstatic that his favorite person in the world is giving him attention.
9. Respect his need for privacy
Although your pup prefers time spent with you, there will come moments when he wants to be alone. These are rare occasions, but they do happen. It’s sometimes cruel to force him to abandon his own needs to satisfy yours. He spends so much time with you already that he may go through brief phases where he wants to play with kids or another dog. He may prefer the cool hard floor to the hot bed on warm summer nights. He may also just need to escape from everyone for some much deserved peace and quiet now and then. He gives you tons of respect when you want to be alone because he only wants to please you so kindly return the favor when he asks the same.
8. He remembers how you treat him
Cockers may be forgiving, but they have long memories. If you have a bad day and treat him unfairly, he’ll remember it for a long time to come. This includes an unjustified scolding when he isn’t doing anything wrong, or hitting him when he makes a mistake. There are better ways to handle the errors that your cocker makes. They can own up to wrongdoing and will learn from discipline, but it must be presented in the right way.
7. They make great walking companions
Cockers love to be taken on walks outside. They also enjoy taking their owners for a walk. This is a double bonus situation that gives you both the exercise that you need as well as the best possible company. You share new experiences on your walk and it helps to strengthen the bond between you and your pup. He may chase a bird now and then because it is in his nature to be a hunter, but he’s just doing what comes naturally.
6. An occasional treat is a big deal
Loving pet owners try to give their companions a healthy and balanced diet. Cockers love to get special treats now and then. As long as they are healthy, it’s recommended to give your loyal pet something that they really enjoy eating now and then. This is also a great way to reward good behavior or learning a new trick.
5. They want to see the world
Unless you provide your cocker with new experiences, they may well sit confined among four walls or a small back yard. They are explorers and they also have interests as well. Cocker Spaniels love going on outings to the park or camping with their families. They love it when you take an interest in them and show them new things. Show your cocker the world and you’ll have memories that will last for a lifetime.
4. Your cocker wants to learn new things
Cocker owners understand that their pups have a desire to learn new things. They are active dogs in their early years and they enjoy doing tricks and playing new games with you. Of course, they do develop their favorite things to do with you, but you’ll be amazed at how perky your cocker will be after learning a new trick or playing a new game. They are changing and developing throughout their entire life, just as we are so it’s a good idea to allow them to also be lifelong learners. When they learn new tricks, it gives you another opportunity to show them how proud you are and to lavish a little extra attention.
3. Your cocker wants affection
These dogs have a need for interaction and a part of that is being touched. When you use your hands to scratch, rub or caress your cocker, they feel the love. It also feels great to them when you address an old itchy spot with a few well placed scratches. Just like humans thrive when they receive touches from loved ones, cockers fall into the same category. It is comforting, reassuring and it makes them very happy. This includes cuddle time with your pup. They really enjoy cuddling with family and they are apt to throw a few kisses in for the attention that you’re giving them.
2. They depend on you for everything
Your cocker may have periods where they show an independent streak, but in the end, they depend on you for everything that they need. They cannot take themselves to the doctor or keep the feed and water receptacles full. They are so very much like small children that this is how they should be treated by you. This is something that is important to remember even when you become terribly busy with other responsibilities. They didn’t ask to be brought into your family, but they are willing to dedicate everything within them to making you happy. If your pup is fully house trained and he is not let out regularly, he will hold it until he gets sick. This is how dedicated he will be to you and as owners, we owe them the same kind of dedication and loyalty.
1. They need you most when they get old
Your cocker has spent his entire life making sure that you have the proper love and protection you need, to the best of his ability. He may not be able to get around as well when he’s older. His joints may ache and make it harder for him to jump up and meet you at the door. Most of the time, he will still try. No sacrifice is too great for the family that he loves and serves. Your vet may be able to recommend some joint supplements that will make him more comfortable as he ages. He still needs exercise but he may be a lot slower when you take your walks. Now he needs your patience and understanding that he is doing his best but his body just won’t cooperate with his wishes. He may start having accidents now and then, but he really didn’t mean to. He doesn’t need to be reminded that he made a mistake because he is old. He just needs your love and reassurance as he prepares to make his final journey that will forever change your life.