Often dog owners, especially ones who have bought a cocker spaniel puppy often try to enquire, “How to groom a cocker spaniel?” and many resort to going to professional dog salons and groomers. Though going to a professional grooming expert from time to time is also recommended, there are some basic grooming methods that can be followed with cocker spaniels, as with their thick coats, silky hair and pendulous ears, and they need to be groomed almost on a regular basis. Some techniques are simple enough that can be carried at home.
It is recommended, that the cocker spaniel dog should be groomed right from the start, when it is a puppy as this will help to establish a bond with the owner. Also it is a fact that in a pack, a dog will allow the other dog to groom it only when the dog performing the grooming is superior to it. This will then help to establish the owner as the alpha leader and will make grooming much easier.
In understanding how to groom a cocker spaniel puppy, one needs to be observant of a few things. The puppy begins to grow hair properly after 5 to 6 months and the grooming of a cocker puppy doesn’t take much time as it is also little. The puppy will tend to object while handling and it will squirm but it is important to be firm and continue with grooming. If it tries to bite during the process, the owner can gently tap its nose and say “NO!” in a clear and disapproving tone. The puppy should never be left alone during a grooming session as it may fall off the table or injure itself.
Cocker Spaniels are very beautiful dogs and they have fur that grows very fast and tends to get curly. They need to be groomed properly at least once a month and they need to be bathed and brushed regularly to avoid their hair getting tangled or matted. If there are any knots or tangles, the owner should try to ease them out with fingers, or with the end of a metal comb. One has to be very careful as to not to pull the dog’s hair and not hurt it as it may develop a resentment towards grooming.
To understand the trimming activity when one is learning how to groom a cocker spaniel, the owner must first familiarize the puppy or dog with the sound of the clipping of scissors and can first pretend to trimming fur around its head and ears. Once the cocker gets used to the sound and realizes that it is not hurting it, it will eventually get used to it. One must always use a blunt and round ended pair of scissors for grooming purposes.
While handling the paws and claws of the cocker spaniel, one must be very careful as these are sensitive areas as well and it is advisable to start with that from an early age.
It often happens that substances such as grass, seeds, wigs and other things get caught in paws or between the toes or pads of the feet, which, if left, can cause pain or lead to infection. At first the owner must follow an exercise of simply taking the dog’s paws and stroking them while examining them. At the same time, one can use soothing words and praise the dog. Eventually the puppy or dog will get familiarized with this activity and let the owner handle it.
It is very important to check the paws regularly, and to keep the fur growing on the underside of the paws, trimmed level with the pads.
The owner must never remove the fur from between the pads as it is a form of protection to the cocker spaniel puppy or dog. One can gently comb the paws and check in between the toes but very carefully as the areas are very soft.
For trimming the nails or claws, the paws must be taken in both hands and squeezed very gently. Also, the same exercise is repeated where the pupy or dog is familiarized with the clipping sounds and also to the feel of the clippers by slowly and gradually repeating. Being handled is an important part of the grooming routine and the dog has to get used to it slowly but steadily.
The eyes must be cleaned very gently with damp cotton wool and a separate piece should be used for each eye to avoid possible infection. The ears should be cleaned by using a lightly moisturized cotton bud and this must be done in the gentlest manner, again using separate buds for each year.