There are many commands that a Cocker spaniel should be familiar with, but the most basic command is ‘sit’. The sit command form a basis for many other areas of training such as stay and sitting at a distance and it is easy to teach.
The best and easiest way to train a Cocker spaniel to sit is at mealtimes. Put your Cocker’s food in his dish and tell him to sit. As you do so hold out your other hand, palm facing outwards. After a few seconds your Cocker will eventually sit down to think about things, as soon as he does, give him his food.
Why it is important to train a Cocker spaniel to sit
Cockers are active dogs that can quickly disappear if you take your eyes off them which can have consequences for the dog if he gets into trouble.
Teaching a Cocker spaniel to sit will help him to develop his patience and steadiness, it is also a good way for you to control him and to keep an eye on him whenever you need to.
Sitting down on command is one of the basic areas of training that you should do with your Cocker spaniel and it is also one of the easiest exercises.
If you don’t train your Cocker spaniel to sit, then you will find more advanced areas of training difficult to achieve.
When to train a Cocker spaniel to sit?
Ideally as soon as he has settled into your home. This is a basic exercise and is something that you can easily teach to a young puppy safely without problems.
As you do this at mealtimes you should have no difficulty getting your spaniel to sit down and, as he is being fed when he does it, he is being rewarded – which is exactly how you should deliver Cocker spaniel training sessions.
Cocker spaniel puppies will catch onto this activity really quickly and all you will need to do is be consistent and alwasy get him to sit before you feed him from now on.
An older Cocker may take a bit more effort but you should remain calm and persist. He will soon pick up on what you need. You can also reinforce this with an older dog outside of mealtimes by keeping a tasty treat or two in your pocket and getting him to sit down at various times of the day – rewarding him when he does.
Should you push your Cocker spaniel’s bottom down when training him to sit?
There is no need to do this and using any type of force can have a negative result on a dog, particularly a Cocker spaniel as most are sensitive animals that can be put off by forceful measures.
If your Cocker is familiar with the sit command and he refuses to sit down then, before you become concerned, ask yourself a cuople of questions:
- Is the floor wet? Barmy I know – but would you sit down on a wet floor?
- Is your Cocker spaniel cold? – Sitting down won’t help him to warm up.
- Remember that dogs don’t behave badly and they don’t know what being naughty is. If your Cocker won’t sit down then best to simply ignore him rather than get into a battle of wits. There’s probably a good reason that, as a human you don’t understand.
- Forget the attitude that exists among some ‘dog trainers’ of compliance at all costs – which often means using force.
How long does it take to train a Cocker spaniel to sit?
This will depend on you, your spaniel and how consistent you are, but, in general with regular practice, your Cocker spaniel should be sitting down reliably within 1 to 3 weeks.
Should you use a clicker when training a Cocker spaniel to sit?
Clicker training has become more popular and many people use this when training dogs to sit along with other training activities.
The clicker provides very little input during the training process and, arguably, is another obstacle to the dog learning.
When the dog hears a click after a command, he anticipates a reward, normally edible. As you are giving your dog an edible reward when he sits ( in the form of his food or a treat ) there is not much value in adding a clicker.
Everytime you introduce something new into spaniel training you are introducing an extra ‘point’ at which the training could fail or become tricky.
You don’t need a clicker to train a Cocker spaniel to sit down.
To sum up
You are going to be successful if you use this way to train a Cocker spaniel to sit.
As you are basing this training around mealtimes, your spaniel will quickly pick up what you need from him and you should have little, if any difficulties.