DescriptionCocker Spaniels are a medium-long haired, medium sized dog breed. They are loving, affectionate and energetic companions who are eager to please their owners. They are remarkably gentle with children, the elderly and other animals so they make excellent family dogs. Their long coats require a significant amount of attention, but are very beautiful when groomed properly.
NeonatalDuring the first 4 weeks of your Cocker Spaniel's life, they should spend most of their time with their mother and litter-mates. It is highly unusual for the puppy's owner to care for them during this time and is best left to a responsible, reputable breeder. Your puppy's body will double in weight as their muscles, organs and bones develop.
|Nutrition||During the neonatal stage, your Cocker Spaniel puppy will get most of their nutrition from their mother's milk. At around 4 weeks you may wish to introduce a mush of minced protein such as beef, but always consult your vet first before changing your puppy's diet at this stage.|
|Health||During this time it is important to monitor your Cocker Spaniel for any infections, diseases or birth defects. Puppies are unable to urinate or defecate by themselves initially, so their mother helps them but may additionally require your assistance.
Keep your vet's contact details close by and educate yourself thoroughly on this stage of puppy development. By the end of this period, your puppy will be mobile and will explore the world mouth first — be sure to keep choking hazards and toxic foods out of their reach.
|Behaviour||During most of this time your Cocker Spaniel will be asleep or inactive, but they will soon be playing with their brothers and sisters. After 3-4 weeks they will go through as much sensory development as a human baby does in a few months. It is important to avoid disturbing the puppies' mother as she will be likely be protective, but some interaction with the young pups is normal so they become used to human touch.|
WeaningWhen you take your Cocker Spaniel puppy home (usually at around 8 weeks) you should shower them with stimulation and attention. This is a formative time for your puppy and will be when they learn to walk, play, bite, hold their bladder, and interact with others. They will use their big brown eyes to beg you for food and attention, but you must establish boundaries and resist the temptation or they will follow you around making demands.
|Nutrition||During the weaning stage, you should slowly introduce into their diet a nutritionally complete dog food which is appropriate to your Cocker Spaniel's medium size and young age. Cocker Spaniels tend to be greedy eaters so care should be taken to avoid eating too quickly or too much. Give them snacks at your own peril. You should also familiarise yourself with lists of toxic foods and plants to avoid and hide as your puppy will soon find ways to get into forbidden snacks.|
|Health||During this time you should provide your puppy with a small, shallow bowl of clean water and refresh the contents frequently. Due to their calm demeanour and eagerness to please, it should be relatively easy to toilet train your Cocker Spaniel puppy. At this early stage it is important to familiarise your pup with having their ears touched as they will need regular cleaning and inspection.|
|Behaviour||Due to the changes in their environment, your Cocker Spaniel puppy will likely be under a significant amount of stress. It's important that you provide lots of attention and positive reinforcement for good behaviour as this breed are very sensitive to being yelled at. Early socialisation, especially with children and other dogs, is essential for forming a well-rounded personality so introduce them to many different people from a young age.|
PuppyBy the time your Cocker Spaniel reaches puppyhood their personality will be well developed and you will have a new central family member. Your Cocker Spaniel will crave your affection and will do whatever it takes to earn a cuddle or snack.
|Nutrition||Your Cocker Spaniel puppy's diet should be based around a high quality, nutritionally complete puppy food. You may also wish to introduce them to fresh, lean raw meat — however, don't feed your puppy any meat you would not feed to a fellow human being. It is important that you do not overfeed your puppy as this breed is highly prone to obesity and lethargy which usually go hand-in-hand. It is best practice to feed your Cocker Spaniel two equal meals per day to prevent scoffing down one large meal.|
|Health||Cocker Spaniels are energetic and intelligent — they were bred to be hunters and thrive in an environment that they can explore and play games in. Occupy them with interesting toys, games, and dog friends to keep them to avoid boredom and destructive behaviours. Give them access to fresh water and shade in the summer as their long coats can overheat them during play. Daily brushing and visits to a professional groomer 3-4 times a year will be essential for maintaining their coat. After around 8 weeks your puppy will be due for some vaccinations, so they will need a checkup at the vet and to arrange for boosters after that.|
|Behaviour||Despite the sad looks they may present in their large eyes, Cocker Spaniel puppies are very happy and will happily play with children or play with a ball all afternoon. They will generally enjoy training classes as these are an opportunity to receive both treats and attention — however, avoid being frustrated by their short attention span as changes in your tone or behaviour will be noticed immediately. Discourage bad behaviour by withholding treats rather than yelling harshly.|
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