There are a few things that need to be taken into account when one is considering buying or adopting a cocker spaniel. This breed is one of the most popular dogs and is famous for harboring a very joyful and loving temperament. It makes a wonderful family pet and its fun loving nature is an added merit to its beautiful looks.
However, as is the case with all breeds of dogs, the cocker spaniel can also exhibit unwanted behavior at times and the owner needs to be aware of them in order to tackle them properly. Certain cocker spaniel behavior problems are due to inherent instinct and some are due to external factors.
One of the major problems that should be discussed beforehand is the “cocker rage syndrome” in these dogs. This problem is mostly genetic. In this case, the dog engages in severe bouts of aggression which is usually unprovoked and unpredictable. This form of aggression is not only directed at strangers but can even be towards family members including the owner. Treatment from the veterinarian along with desensitization training is recommended and this syndrome needs to be distinguished from usual aggressive behavior.
The usual aggressive behavior, as a common cocker spaniel behavior problem can occur due to fear, or the cocker trying to establish dominance as the alpha leader or simply because it has not been trained properly. In such cases, it is advised that children should not be let alone in their company, as to prevent serious harm that may ensue from biting, as one should not take the smaller size of the cocker for granted. However, aggression is not a problem that cannot be overcome through obedience training and positive reinforcement.
Cocker spaniels love human company and it is very difficult for them to stay alone. If left alone for long periods of time, they can actually end up getting into depression or a condition known as separation anxiety which is also a major cocker spaniel behavior problem. One can observe this especially when the cocker spaniel starts whining and constantly barking when it is left alone or when the owner is leaving for work. The cocker will keep following you and it will end up getting destructive when no one is around. This problem can be sorted with crate training and a few soothing exercises in which professional help can also be sought.
Barking and whining are also certain cocker spaniel behavior problems that need to be dealt with. Cocker spaniels are BIG attention seekers and they will resort to all forms of gimmicks including excessive barking and whining. They will bark when they are bored, lonely, angry or feeling anxious.
Whining is at times even employed as a form of emotional blackmail and this habit is reinforced when the owner gives in to the cocker’s whining as it is a form of negative attention.
The owner must however that excessive whining can also occur because the cocker may be in pain or discomfort and a health check up at the veterinarian is advised as it can be a sign of muscle plain, tooth problems or even digestion issues.
All cocker spaniel behavior problems are usually related to each other and a simple yet consistent attitude along with the right kind of training with gentle handling can solve these problems with ease.