English Cocker Spaniels

An Online Owners Guide


Crate Training Your Puppy

'Johhny & Michael' - Land

Your puppy will need a place of his own. Some people think using a crate or cage is cruel, but it's quite the contrary. Why? A cave was home to the dog's wolf-like ancestors, so your puppy instinctively feels cozy and safe in anything even remotely cave-like. It also serves the same purpose as child's playpen does for the child.  It keeps him out of trouble when he's unsupervised.
The crate is probably the most important purchase you can make for your new puppy. They come in wire and fiberglass, the choice being a personal one. Many of the wire crates fold down like a brief case for ease in transporting and storing, and allow for more airflow and visibility for the puppy. Some prefer the enclosed fiberglass crates for more den-like privacy. However, a wire crate can be easily covered with a large towel. Crates can be ordered through wholesale catalogs at a much more reasonable price than in retail stores.  

Another plus to having your pup/dog in a crate at night is the fact that you will always know exactly where your dog is in case of an emergency.  In most house fires, for instance, loose dogs will stay where they know best and they will hide.  You can keep a show or slip-lead (no collar required) looped through each crate so, the event of an emergency leave-taking,  your dog will be easy to locate and safely with you.  

Use care when choosing a wire crate for your puppy. Make sure the wire mesh is small enough that you puppy can't get his head or paw stuck. Avoid crates or pens that have sharp exposed edges that could injure your puppy. 


Make sure you choose a crate that's large enough for your pet when he's an adult. (Most cocker people choose either a #200 or #300 size airline kennel or its equivalent). If the crate seems too large and overwhelming while he's a baby, put a cardboard box turned onto its side at the back of the crate with a fluffy blankie inside.

The crate should be your puppy's bed, feeding place, travel case, refuge when things get tough for the puppy, and (most important) a safe place for the puppy when no one is able to watch it and keep it out of mischief.

'Champ' - Owczarzak

Raven's Litter - Minor

Your puppy should sleep in the crate at night at least until it is reliably housebroken. If its final sleeping place is to be in a room with you, then the crate can be placed next to the bed at night. If it will always be sleeping in another room, the crate should remain a permanent fixture in his sleeping room. The puppy may make a terrible fuss the first few nights, but if you set the rules in the beginning, you will have a very well adjusted pup in no time. 

Put your puppy out just before bedtime and make sure the crate is warm and dry (never put water in the crate) and then do not give in to protests, no matter how loud they may get! If your pup is between 8-10 weeks when you bring it home, a 2am potty trip may be 

necessary, but only if the puppy has been sleeping for at least a few hours. Take outside right away if your puppy wakes up and starts to cry-s/he is trying to tell you something.  No playing, just right to the business at hand, then praise and put pup back in the crate till morning. Your puppy will try very hard not to soil its sleeping area, that's why it cries. A young puppy however, cannot wait for you to "sleep in" in the morning. The trip outside MUST be top priority in the AM. Usually the middle of the night trips only last a week or so, and are usually only necessary with puppies under 12 weeks of age.

Housebreaking is made very simple with the use of the crate. When the puppy gets up in the morning, carry it to the door or to the spot that it should use to relieve itself. A few minutes after feeding it should be taken out again. After the puppy has relieved itself it can come back inside. Young puppies need to go very often, and always after eating, napping or playing. Timing means everything! NEVER rub a puppy's nose in its own mess and do not hit a puppy for making a mistake. It is much more effective if you immediately grab the puppy (assuming you caught it in the act) by the scruff and say NO in a very loud, upset voice and put it quickly outside. The shock is all that is necessary and the puppy does not feel that it is being abused. 

Logan & friend - Cook

Don't leave the puppy confined for long periods of time, and don't banish him to his place when he's been bad. Doing that will convince him that it's a place of punishment rather than a comforting refuge. Always give the puppy a safe toy to play with and chew while he's in his crate, to keep him from being bored. Bored puppies quickly become noisy puppies.

Audi, Cooper, & Mercedes - Land

Do not leave the puppy loose in the house or locked in a room unattended until you are absolutely sure it is out of the chewing stage. English Cockers can be chewers long past the usual puppy stage!! S/he may chew your favorite chair, shoes, or an electrical cord. A young puppy will always chew everything and it must learn to chew only its own things. 
I do lightly tap a puppy under the chin when it is chewing a forbidden object, especially as it gets older. With a very young puppy, usually the best method is to say NO and substitute one of its own toys.

Excessive use of the crate is a bad idea. If a puppy is left in its crate too much you will not have a well-adjusted companion. When someone is around to watch, it should be part of the family and it is best if the crate itself is in a place where there is activity. The puppy should not be left alone in a dark place, crated, for hours on end.

'Chelsea' - Smith

As the puppy gets older, the crate will become his own room, his part of the house. Respect your dog's privacy when he's in his special place. Don't let children bother or tease him, or pull him out to play especially when he's eating or sleeping. He needs to feel that he's safe when he's in "his room."