If you are new to Cocker spaniels or for that matter any other breed of spaniel then you may have noticed just how active they are.
Full of energy and into most things, exploring, sniffing and playing the Cocker spaniel has almost limitless energy resources and will keep going for hours.
In this article I’ll look at some ways to channel that energy and intelligence so that your Cocker enjoys life without becoming a nuisance.
Do Cocker spaniels ever calm down?
When do Cocker spaniels calm down? Cocker spaniels are lively and intelligent dogs and don’t ever really calm down. You’ll find that all ages of Cockers have the ability to behave like a puppy and that even the oldest dogs can be excitable.
Cocker spanels love to please their owners and regardless of the time of day they are always ready and willing to go for a walk, play fetch, have a cuddle or just generally get up to mischief if allowed.
They can go from sleeping to running around in the blink of an eye and, as working dogs have energy levels that seem to border on being hyperactive.
Will exercise help to calm a Cocker spaniel down?
Cocker spaniels have lots of natural energy which needs to be channelled and used up. Just like a child who never gets to play outside, a Cocker spaniel can become fed up, frustrated and display behaviour that seems disruptive.
Exercise will help a Cocker spaniel to calm down, but it needs to be a form of exercise that allows him to run freely, chasing his nose and enjoying the freedom of being off the lead.
Just as exercise is good for you, it is good for a Cocker spaniel, physically and mentally and you should take him out for good periods of exercise at least once a day, more if possible, simply to allow him to burn some calories and enjoy his life as a dog.
Some good tips are to take a ball or a canvas dummy with you when out on a walk and use this for retrieving with your spaniel. Throw the dummy a short distance at first, where he can see it and encourage him to fetch it. As he gets better you can make it more difficult to find.
Not only does this exercise your dog physically, it also gets him using his nose and brain to work out where the dummy is, something which will tire him out and help him to learn.
We get our canvas dummies from Amazon where there is a good selection and you can see some of them here.
What else can you do to help a Cocker spaniel calm down?
To help keep your Cocker spaniel calm you can provide him with toys and other things to play with, just as you would with a child.
There are lots of different dog toys available that will keep your Cocker spaniel occupied. Some of these toys such as the range of Kong Dog Toys, will challenge him mentally which will, in turn, tire him out and calm him down.
Cocker spaniels love to play games and this can be a great way to use up some of his excess energy.
Games such as fetch with a ball or frisbee are great choices for calming down a spaniel, he loves the thrill of the chasing things and these are ideal ways to tire him out.
Involve your Cocker spaniel in your day to day jobs if you can.
Cockers love to be with their owners and my Cockers enjoy helping me with jobs. Gardening is a great activity, if I am digging or mowing the lawn then the dogs love to get involved and help.
Decorating can be interesting particularly if paint is involved.
Keep life interesting for your Cocker and this will help him to stay calm.
Most dogs like routine but that doesn’t mean that the activities need to be the same. Take your Cocker on walks but try to go to different places to introduce some variety. If you can then when it is warm let him go for a swim if possible.
Take him to the beach or visit an area that is new to him. The novelty of a different place is refreshing and challenging for a dog and you’ll also enjoy it.
Make sure that your Cocker spaniel has everything that he needs at home.
It sounds obvious but your spaniel should have a comfortable place to sleep and somewhere where he can go to be quiet and have some privacy. You should make sure that he has good food and plenty of water.
Many people feed organic foods to their dogs as some dogs can sensitive to additives in modern dog foods which can affect behaviour. You can read our article on organic dog foods via this link.
Will training help to calm a Cocker spaniel down?
Yes. Training should be an important activity in the life of you and your Cocker spaniel. Even if you have no intention of working your Cocker and he is to be a family pet, you should do some training with your dog.
This will help him to learn and will challenge him physically and mentally which will tire him and help him to be calmer and more relaxed.
If you are new to spaniel training then there is nothing to be concerned about, there are lots of resources available to help you, whether your dog is to be a pet or a working animal.
I reviewed my favourite spaniel training books in this article which will help you if you are looking to learn more.
You can also see my basic spaniel training guide, which will introduce you to training your Cocker spaniel, via this link here.
Can dog food make a Cocker spaniel hyperactive?
Just as it is with some children and certain types of food, it is possible for a Cocker spaniel to become hyperactive due to the type of food that it is fed.
Many dog foods that are manufactured for spaniels are high protein, high energy foods, designed for working dogs to support ultra high performance and activity levels. If you are feeding one of these foods then it is possible that your Cocker could be reacting to it.
Before you make any changes to your spaniel’s diet you should always get the professional advice of your vet as he or she will be able to check your Cocker for indications of food allergies and other conditions that could be leading to hyperactivity in your dog.
If your spaniel is healthy and is leading an active and busy life and you feel that his food may be affecting him then a trip to the vet’s would be a good place to start for advice.
You could also try an additive free diet such as raw dog foods. We feed raw tripe to our Cockers, it is specially produced for dogs and our dogs love it.
Will children stop a Cocker spaniel from being calm?
Children and Cocker spaniels are great fun together, they both enjoy life and like to play and have fun. This can be an advantage but can also present some problems for the dog.
If your children ( or for that matter you ) are over excitable and find it difficult to remain calm, then your dog will pick up on this quickly and react accordingly. Hyperactive humans such as children will result in a hyperactive and confused Cocker spaniel.
If your household is calm then it will be easier for your Cocker spaniel to be calm. Your children and anyone else that has contact with your spaniel will need to understand that the dog needs his own space and, although playtime with the dog is great fun, he also needs calmness and rest.
This is one thing that you can try quickly and easily if you have a Cocker spaniel that seems hyperactive or disruptive within the house.
Mental Stimulation can calm Cockers down
As well as having high levels of physical energy, Cocker spaniels are also highly intelligent dogs. They enjoy mental challenges and stimulation and a Cocker spaniel that is bored will become an attention seeking dog, this can manifest in a number of ways including destructive behaviour.
Although they fit in well with family life, Cockers, like all spaniels, need to be challenged and you should make every effort to do this.
Try some basic spaniel training, go to some classes, get some dog toys that encourage your dog to solve puzzles – This type of toy on Amazon can be good fun for a spaniel.
Most of all keep your Cocker occupied, tire him out and he will enjoy his life with you much more, and you also.
Cocker spaniels are naturally busy and active dogs that have high energy levels and a desire to enjoy life to the best of their ability.
If you choose to get a Cocker then you should be prepared to invest time and energy into meeting his needs in terms of training, housing and general play and exercise.
Take the time to get to know your spaniel, learn as much as you can through reading and speaking with other owners. Feed him a proper diet and you’ll have a loyal companion that loves cuddles and enjoys being with you.
Last update on 2021-01-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API