Cocker Spaniels are really versatile and adaptable dogs.
Like all of the gundog breeds they are bright, intelligent animals that can change their outlook depending on your needs and this is true about their sleeping arrangements and housing.
To kennel or not to kennel? – that is the question
I’ve owned Springers and Cockers. My Springer spaniels spent all of their lives outdoors, living together in a purpose built kennel without any problems.
They were shooting and working gundogs, they were raised as youngsters in a kennel and, because there were a few of them living together they had a good pack.
My Cocker spaniels, however, sleep indoors, and I don’t think they suffer from doing so.
If you are planning to house your Cocker Spaniel outside then you’ll need to consider a few things, not the least, what type of dog house or kennel you are going to buy or build.
Just looking for dog houses?
If you are looking for some ideas for a dog house for your Cocker spaniel and you have decided that your spaniel is going to live outside, then we’ve found a few good options for you to take a look at that are available on Amazon.
Cocker Spaniels As Kennel Dogs
For one reason or another you may need to keep your Cocker Spaniel outdoors, in a kennel or dog house, this may be fulltime or part time, perhaps while you are out at work.
If you do keep a dog in a kennel problems can arise which can stem from your spaniel being left alone.
The best, safest, and kindest solution is for your Cocker to get the best of both worlds by keeping him in his kennel but bringing him indoors regularly to humanise him and to integrate him into the human pack and family.
This will help to keep him happy and bold and wise in the ways of the world.
Considerations when deciding to house your Cocker outdoors
To keep your cocker spaniel healthy and happy while living outside, consider the following factors:
Ensure your dog has a weatherproof, insulated, and comfortable shelter that protects them from the elements. A raised dog house with proper ventilation and a cozy bedding area is essential.
Cocker spaniels are social creatures and thrive on human interaction. Make sure you spend ample time with your dog every day, engaging in play, training, and cuddles.
Exercise and Mental Stimulation
Cocker spaniels have moderate to high exercise needs. Ensure your outdoor space provides ample room for them to run, play, and explore. Additionally, provide toys and puzzles to keep them mentally stimulated.
Grooming and Health Checks
Regular grooming is crucial for cocker spaniels, as their coats can become matted and dirty if not properly maintained. Regular health checks are also essential to catch any potential issues early.
Helping your dog to settle into his kennel
Once your puppy has accepted his new home, which may take a few days, then it would be time for him to spend his nights in the kennel.
Before you leave him alone overnight, you will have introduced him to his kennel during the daytime, making it a pleasurable affair and maybe feeding him his lunch inside the kennel.
Leaving him in there, for just a few minutes at a time, while he sniffs around and becomes familiar with the smell of his new home, will help him to settle down.
Make sure your dog has a nice, warm and comfortable dog bed.
Don’t bother with the solid plastic ones, they may be easy to clean but they’re not really comfortable or warm.
Spaniels, and particularly Cocker spaniels, enjoy a bit of comfort and there is a massive range of dog beds that you can choose from, both at traditional shops and also online.
Beds such as this one:
Outdoor runs for kennels
Your dog will need to be able to get outside for fresh air, to use the toilet and, if the weather is nice he might just decide to sunbathe.
Whatever type of kennel you decide on, it will need a secure run for your dog.
Some dog houses/kennels come with built on runs.
If you make your own kennel or get one without a run then this is something you’ll need to sort out.
In the past I’ve used garden sheds as the main house for the dogs and added galvanised, steel mesh runs to the exterior, with a dog sized door for access.
They come in different sizes and are as tough as anything I’ve ever come across.
They last for years, are easy to assemble – they bolt together and they are easy to keep clean, you can also use them outside or indoors, such as in a barn or other building.
The other great thing is that is you move house, as I’ve done a few times, then you can take them with you.
They are also dog proof and would challenge the most determined escape artist.
Other kennel ‘rules’ for spaniels – location
Other things that you’ll need to consider if your Cocker Spaniel will live in a kennel – your dog will need access to a good amount of clean, fresh water for drinking.
In the summer he will need much more, kennels can get hot ( think about where you erect a kennel, direct sun is not great), and, in the winter, if the kennel is not well insulated or heated, then the water can freeze.
Make sure it’s accessible and available for your spaniel.
Security of your dogs
Sadly, it is becoming more common, particularly in the UK, for dogs to be stolen from outdoor kennels.
Keeping your dogs safe and secure should therefore extend to keeping thieves out as well as keeping the dogs in.
Your kennels should be strong and well made, with tough galvanised fencing that is difficult to cut.
Ideally the fencing should also be secured to a concrete or similar solid base to prevent the fencing from being lifted or moved.
The kennel itself should, if possible be difficult to break into.
Thieves don’t like hanging around and anything that makes life tough will tend to deter them.
Introduce a ‘double door’ system if you can and alarm both doors.
Using an outer and inner door will make the job of breaking and entering much harder and the outer door alarm will sound before an intruder has a chance to attack the inner door.
Consider security lights and alarms, even perhaps a CCTV system – although none of these will stop a thief they may deter him.
Get the best padlocks and fittings that you can afford and use chains and security cables as well to secure your kennels and use similar on garden or yard gates and access points to make life as difficult as possible for a thief.
Locate the kennel as close to the house as possible and, if you can try to disguise them so that they do not look like a kennels.
Be watchful when you are out with your dogs.
Be aware of anyone that might follow you home, either on foot or by vehicle when you have your dogs with you.
If you feel that you are being followed, call the police, and adopt diversionary tactics, such as driving around roundabouts, taking a different route etc.
Be careful who you talk to and who you tell about your dogs – sadly not everyone is trustworthy, even some other gun dog owners.
Make it as difficult as you possibly can for anyone to break into your kennels – noise, light anything that will attract attention.
Most thieves are cowards and hate attention and the risk of being caught.
Cleaning – Keep the kennel clean
You should always clean your spaniel’s kennel daily.
Cockers are generally clean dogs, but they can have accidents and, if your kennel has a run then they will use it as a toilet.
Keep the run and kennel clean, care for your dogs well being and he will respect you for doing so.
Size and shape of the kennel
You’ll need to consider the size and shape of the kennel and this will, in part, be determined by the number of dogs that you have or plan to have and the amount of available space that you have for the kennel.
Above all things it must be watertight and waterproof, sturdy and free from draughts.
Ideally there should be a bench inside where the dog’s bed can be, so that he is off the floor.
Your spaniel’s kennel should be warm in the winter months and cool in summer, you can help this by lining the walls with plywood boarding and filling the gaps with polystyrene chips.
In very hot or cold areas you may need to think about additional heating or air conditioning to keep the kennel at a healthy temperature.
There should be a normal sized door into the kennel – so that you can get in to clean etc and there should also be a doggy sized door into an adjoining run.
Fit the doggy door with a flap to keep the rain and draughts out.
I find that an old car floor mat, the types made from rubber are ideal, cut the mat up the middle for about two thirds then nail it at the top of the doggy door.
It will work great and last for a couple of years.
Base of the ‘run’ and fencing
The base of the external run should be concrete, paving slabs or compacted stone.
Grass or dirt is no good.
Cockers are excellent diggers and most breeds of dogs are accomplished escape artists.
If the ground is soft they’ll dig their way out faster than the cast of the Great Escape.
Similarly don’t use chicken wire as fencing, spaniels will ‘eat their way out of it’.
I recall using this on one of my spaniel kennels and coming home from work one day I found my three Springers sitting on the track outside my house.
They had demolished the chicken wire and escaped.
I can only guess at how long they had been out and what they had been doing.
Finally, think about the height of the fencing.
I’ve seen dogs climb over kennel fences and many Cockers are great jumpers.
Ideally the fencing should be about 8 feet tall.
If your Cocker gets over this then you might have to put a roof on top of the run.
Can Cocker Spaniels live outside throughout the year?
While Cocker Spaniels can adapt to various climates, they are primarily indoor dogs. They thrive on human companionship and require regular interaction and attention. While short periods outside are fine, it’s important to provide them with a comfortable indoor environment.
Are Cocker Spaniels suitable for outdoor living?
Cocker Spaniels are not well-suited for outdoor living. They have a single coat that offers limited protection against extreme temperatures, making them more vulnerable to harsh weather conditions. They are happier and healthier when living indoors as part of the family.
What are the risks of keeping Cocker Spaniels outdoors?
Keeping Cocker Spaniels outdoors exposes them to various risks. They may suffer from temperature-related issues like heat stroke or hypothermia. Additionally, they are prone to separation anxiety and can develop behavioural problems when isolated from their human family members.
Can Cocker Spaniels be left outside during the day while I’m at work?
It’s not recommended to leave Cocker Spaniels outside alone for extended periods. They are social dogs and require human interaction and mental stimulation. Leaving them outside for long durations without supervision can lead to boredom, anxiety, and even destructive behaviours.
What are the alternatives if I don’t have enough indoor space for my Cocker Spaniel?
If you have limited indoor space, consider providing your Cocker Spaniel with a comfortable outdoor shelter or a secure and well-fenced yard. However, it’s crucial to ensure they still receive ample time indoors for socialization and bonding. Regular exercise and mental stimulation are also important for their well-being.
Last update on 2023-12-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API