THE RIGHT BREED FOR ME?

Puppy News  -  The Right Breed? -   Finding A Breeder

Before you start your search for a good breeder, here are a few questions you need to ask yourself before deciding to go ahead with your decision to buy a Cocker puppy :-

  • Do I have the time to devote to looking after a puppy? Cocker puppies are lively & demanding of your time & attention. They need plenty of company & are not suitable for full-time workers unless arrangements can be made for someone to look after the puppy during the day. All puppies like to chew & a bored, lonely puppy will chew even more to relieve his boredom - this is why puppies left alone for long hours can become destructive and/or noisy. Puppies also need to be taken outside at regular intervals throughout the day to relieve themselves. Puppies left alone for long hours can be difficult, if not impossible to housetrain. Training a puppy takes time & a good deal of hard work over a period of many months - it is not something that can be achieved quickly & certainly not in a short holiday break from work.
choc pup playing!

  • Do I have a safe, secure garden? A securely fenced garden is very important as it provides a safe area for play & exercise while a puppy is too young for long walks. A garden is also essential if you want a house trained puppy - it is so important to have an area where you can teach a puppy to relieve himself, one of the reasons why flat (apartment) owners should not consider buying a puppy unless they do have access to a garden.
  • Am I a keen gardener? If you are a devoted gardener with many cherished plants & shrubs, be warned that puppies like to dig holes & chew anything remotely edible in the garden (& sometimes things not at all edible!) Particularly valuable plants should be protected from puppy teeth, perhaps with mesh fencing, as should any poisonous plants (See here for a list of poisonous garden plants & flowers)
puppy digging hole!
  • Am I very houseproud? If you are someone who has an immaculately decorated house & hates mess of any kind, then a Cocker puppy is probably not for you. Cockers are a long haired breed & so will naturally shed some hair on a daily basis. Cocker puppies will also inevitably have a few "accidents" in the house during the house training process & will also no doubt chew some things around the house that they should not while they are teething. If you would find this intolerable, then again, a puppy is not for you!
  • Do I have young children? Cockers make excellent family pets because of their friendly, sociable natures & handy size (being not too small & not too big) However, it must be emphasised that puppies can be hard work to begin with & someone who already has their hands full looking after very young children (under 5's) may find they have bitten off more than they can chew when they add a demanding puppy to the equation. Very young children must be taught that puppies are not play things, so they must leave puppy to rest if asleep, they must not poke or prod or tease & they must not be left alone unsupervised with any pup or adult dog.
  • Do I understand the grooming needs of a Cocker Spaniel? As has been mentioned before, the Cocker is a long-haired breed & some Cockers have very heavy coats indeed. This is a breed that needs regular & thorough grooming, not just a quick brush now & again. A Cocker that is not groomed regularly will develop a dirty, matted coat which is uncomfortable for the dog & looks very unattractive. As well as regular grooming by the owner, Cockers need professional trimming at least every 8 weeks (although many owners do learn how to do this for themselves) to keep the coat neat & tidy.
  • Do I like walking? Cockers are a busy, active breed originally bred to work all day as a gundog. They are not a "couch potato" breed & will do best with owners who can offer plenty of opportunities for regular exercise with some free running. Would-be owners who can only spare the time for a couple of quick walks on the lead around the block each day should perhaps consider another breed. Having said that Cockers are very adaptable & do not expect 5 mile hikes every day! NB:Young puppies should not be over-exercised & care should be taken to not to overdo walks to begin with.
  • Am I thinking of buying two puppies? Many people have the idea that two puppies will be company for each other, but unfortunately underestimate the sheer hard work needed to train two puppies successfully. Puppies the same age will tend to bond more with each other than their owner & often they can become dependant on each other, unable to cope if separated (as is sometimes necessary eg for veterinary treatment) There is also a high risk that same-sex litter mates (two dogs or two bitches) will end up fighting as they get older, which can result in one of the pair having to be placed in a new home. You will find that many reputable breeders will not sell two puppies from the same litter to one home for these reasons. Please think very hard about the possible problems & consider the view that it is better to buy one puppy first & then add another to the family when the first puppy is fully mature, ideally at least 12 months later.

"The Right Breed For Me?" © Jane Simmonds 2002

Puppy News  - The Right Breed? -   Finding A Breeder

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