Ten reasons not to own a cocker spaniel*
1. You just saw “the most adorable Cocker” in the window of “Puppy Palace”. A pet store or puppy mill or farm are probably the WORST places to buy a Cocker Spaniel (or any breed). There are many reasons for this:
- Selling puppies is strictly a money-making proposition for these businesses.
- The puppies have been taken from their mothers too soon, and haven’t been socialized and evaluated properly.
- These sellers have NO IDEA about the health of the pup and, just as importantly, that of its family.
- The price is often higher than what you would pay a reputable breeder.
- These sellers will rarely take responsibility for any problems that crop up – health, behavioral, or otherwise.
- These sellers won’t help you with the grooming that your Cocker will need.
2. You can’t – or don’t want to – add another category to your budget. Owning a dog is not inexpensive. You must feed the dog, visit the veterinarian for regular check-ups, shots, and special care, and pay for boarding when you are away. For Cocker Spaniels, grooming will be another necessary expenditure. You can learn to do it yourself, but even then, grooming tools are expensive.
3. Your idea of grooming consists of hosing your dog off in an outside tub every month or so. Cocker Spaniels are beautiful, but that beauty requires work. Typical owners who keep their Cockers in “puppy cuts” (shorter hair) bathe, brush, and trim their pets an average of once every two weeks. Longer coats require, at the very least, weekly brushing, bathing, and trimming. You can learn to do this yourself, or you can take your dog to a professional groomer. If you purchase your Cocker from a responsible breeder, the chances are that he or she may agree to groom the dog for you (for a fee), or can refer you to someone who will.
4. You are not prepared to make a commitment for the life of the dog. A well-bred Cocker Spaniel lives, on average, twelve years. Remember that your Cocker won’t always be a cute puppy or fun-loving middle-ager. Dogs age and develop the same infirmities as human beings.
5. A dog who wants to be your shadow would drive you crazy. Cockers love their humans, and want to be with them as much as possible. If you aren’t planning to have your new pup become a member of the family, and if you don’t want a dog who wants to be your best buddy, a Cocker is not for you.
6. You are a clean freak and don’t like dog hair. Cockers have hair – LOTS of hair. No doubt about it. And let’s not forget about the muddy paws and nose prints on the windows of your house and car, etc. If you are a confirmed neatnik and won’t be able to relax about this, both you and the dog will be miserable.
7. You want a guard dog. The best answer to this is – get another breed! Cocker Spaniels can be “living door bells” when a stranger arrives at your home, but will then want to be your visitor’s new best friend.
8. You think that having a Cocker will help teach your children responsibility. This is partially correct. Children often do form very strong bonds with their pets. But the ultimate responsibility in caring for a living creature usually falls on the adults in the family (often Mom!). Children can be taught to perform certain chores but will need adult guidance. Also, remember that children must learn to handle dogs properly. This can be especially critical with a dog like a Cocker Spaniel, whose long ears resemble tempting toys to small children.
9. You don’t like to share your snacks. Cocker Spaniels are foodies. They will eat anything and everything in sight, left to their own devices. Some have even been known to make their way onto the dinner table when their humans are not paying attention, gobbling down everything from filet mignon to sticks of butter!!!
10.You are allergic to all exercise – including walking. Since Cockers are such foodies (see #9), they do have a tendency to put on weight, especially as they age. Providing regular exercise for your Cocker – whether it be with a daily walk, participating in agility or field work, or by simply having a regular romp with him in the backyard, will make you BOTH happier and healthier!
* Adapted,with permission, from the author of “Top Ten Reasons NOT to Get a Golden Retriever” ten reasons not to own a cocker spaniel*