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English Cocker Spaniels

An Online Owners Guide


English Cockers and Kids

Corey & Wicket - Smith
English Cocker Spaniels are typically very good with children.  They are happy and affectionate dogs, neither too big nor too small, and they have a moderate activity level.  An English Cocker puppy is a good choice for many families.

As a parent, it will be especially important for you to buy a puppy with an excellent temperament.  Individual differences in temperament are noticeable even in several-week-old puppies.  

 Many responsible breeders do "temperament testing" of their puppies; this set of tests can help to identify even subtle differences among littermates.   But even without formal testing, the breeder should be ready and able to tell you all about your prospective puppy's personality. You will also want to ask about the disposition of the sire and dam, and you should be able to meet at least one of them. This will give you a better idea of what the pup may be like as an adult.   

Logan & Friend - Cook

Roxi & Julie -Bartholomew

Also, ask if the puppy has been around children.  If you are thinking about buying an older pup, you will want a puppy that has been well-socialized already.If you have very young children, you will need to consider the constant supervision that will be required once the puppy is home.  Think ahead about how you will use crate-training and/or gates to help you.  

It will also be helpful to keep the puppy on a leash with you as much as possible.  In this way he is safely under your control at all times,  yet kept in the midst of family activities.   You will need to protect the child from the puppy's rambunctiousness, and protect the puppy from being mishandled! On top of that, the puppy will need to be house-trained (a round-the-clock task at first), taught basic commands and what he can and cannot chew, and of course be played with and exercised.   But if you are ready for the challenge and have patience to spare, it can be done!

Concentrate on positive training methods--praise and food treats work well with English Cockers.  For example, if the puppy goes to jump up on the child, quickly tell him "sit" while placing him in position. Then tell him "good boy" & pet him.  He will learn that he gets the attention he wants when he is sitting quietly.  Help your puppy to avoid making mistakes and he will get in the habit of behaving appropriately.

Corey & Wicket - Smith

Logan & Friend - Cook

Equally important, show your child how to be gentle with the puppy.  If you can not be right there, don't risk the safety of either one of them by leaving them alone together--not even for a second.  Keep the time spent with child and puppy upbeat, and they will grow to love and respect one another. 

 A "puppy kindergarten" training class will be invaluable in helping you learn how to train your dog, and it will also help socialize your dog with other dogs and people.  If you have older children, remember that as sincerely as your children may promise to take care of a dog, he will ultimately be *your* responsibility.   A puppy will need more attention than most children, considering school and other changing interests and activities, can give.   And as an adult, an English Cocker will continue to need daily exercise and attention, regular professional grooming, and frequent brushing and nail cutting.  

Logan & Friend - Cook

Corey & Wicket - Smith



 Also keep in mind your ECS will likely need you for 12-14 years, long after your children may be at college or off on their own.   That said, some children will take an extra special interest in their dog.   There are several activities they can get involved in. Obedience, agility, and Jr. handling are just some of the fun competitive events that older children and teenagers participate in with English Cockers.  English Cockers are eager to please, eager to play, and always ready to curl up with you on the sofa.   If you and your family are ready to commit to an English Cocker, your new puppy and your children will likely become fast friends.