ANY ADVICE ON GETTING A COCKER SPANIEL??(7 Posts)
I have two boys, am trying for a third, live near parks and have a biggish garden ( lawn etc) and... have found out about a friend of a friend who is having to give up a cocker spaniel ( beige, show dog, 2 years old) on account of living in a flat and having to work more thus leaving the dog alone. The description of this dog sounds fab, he is not a 'crazy' spaniel (apologies for sounding trite and ignorant) and he is v socialised with kids. He is also BEAUTIFUL. ( the dog, not the owner.. although...).
Anyway, we have a dog in the family so the boys would LOVE to have one of their own. I think we could more than handle a new member BUT before I proceed and meet this dog/ have him with us for a weekend, are there any thoughts on
a) having a dog with potentially 3 kids under 5 ( def 2)
b) spaniels in general.
Hi Bunsy my parents just got two cocker spaniel puppies (well they are approx 8 months now) and have found them to be more of a handful than anticipated.
BUT they are working cockers as opposed to the show breed which I understand are more chilled. And also being two of them egg each other on! Some friends of ours has a show cocker and she is absolutely great. She also has two kids aged 2 and 4 and they all get on really well.
My parents have always had cavalier spaniels (2 - 3 at a time over the last 15 years) which are fabulous little dogs. Cuddly, playful and great with kids. (They got their first one when I was a teenager living at home)
Before that an Irish Wolfhound (bit of a size difference!) Who I 'grew up' with and their first dog was another cocker spaniel - another wilful 'worker'!
My friend has a springer who is a bouncy, smiley boy and also fab with kids.
Myself and hubby have 2 German Shepherds, who are both lovely but I miss my spaniel cuddles! (I think its the floppy ears!)
So all in all I am a Spaniel fan and I would say go for it!
We have 2 working cockers (mine are so laid back they are horizontal) and I have 2 children under five and another due in 6 weeks. We used to have labs (also working so the exercise required was the same) the difference between the breeds I have found are;
Big and heavy
Eat a lot
Drop lots of fur
Antibiotics are expensive as the vet goes on weight
Easy for grooming and dry quickly.
Small and light (half size of a lab)
Drop lots of mud dust
Cheaper at vets (but are prone to grass seeds in paws/ears)
Will need to be groomed and take ages to dry.
Having listed all the above, I have had just as much enjoyment from the cockers as the labs and they do make lovely family dogs.
I have a working cocker puppy and a springer of 16 months. Both are lovely, happy dogs with super temperaments, you rarely hear of a killer spaniel do you?
Easy to train, intelligent, lively but not OTT, quick to pick things up, enjoy training, LOVE walking, ADORE mud. My eldest is never happier than being out sniffing and ferreting around in woodland, he lives for his walks.
Ddog1 is seriously accident prone. Puppy is super sharp and slightly mischievous.
I would just consider whether this particular dogs comes with any issues that you were unaware of first, i.e, if he is being left alone a lot, does he have any separation issues, training issues, etc. Why are the really getting rid iyswim?
Just also consider the practical side of things such as who will walk him when your DC are ill, it's peeing it down, the potential baby is tiny, can you afford the insurance, food, kennel fees if you go away etc.
Your children will love it but will become used to the dog being around. After a few months they will ignore him more and he won't be such a "special" thing anymore so YOU have to really want a dog as it will your responsibility to feed, walk, remember treatment for worms/fleas etc.
As others said, do you have the time, you have to go out in all weathers even if DCs don't want to. Spontaneous days out have to be planned more, ditto holidays, you'll have ongoing expense involved and other unexpected ones...
Re. hair/grooming/drying, a friend has a cocker spaniel but keeps him clipped short so dog doesn't have all the feathery bits - much easier so it's an option you could think about.
I would say a dog of that size is much more manageable than Lab size, don't need bigger car etc. But do try and find out real, real reasons for giving up dog - you won't be able to return if things are not quite as you thought (which is always an option with a rescue). Find out local dog walkers, dog sitters which might be useful as backup if you simply can't go out sometimes.
I have had a cocker for 5 weeks now and also have two young boys (8 & 5). The main difficulties are as others have mentioned, my worst is when the dog needs a walk and the DC don't want to go. They are too young to leave alone, so what would be a 20 min walk around the block is now a 20 minute argument followed by a 20 minute walk accompanied by moaning. The pup was happy to go out into our garden originally but now gets bored ( despite it being very exciting with 0.5 acre, stream, under growth etc) , so no option to simply pop herout into the garden. An older dog will probably not be happy with such a short walk either.
Also the DC don't like the pup in the morning. They want their old routine of getting out of bed, watching tv for 30 mins, having leisurely breakfast then going to school. However pup wants to play and eat their breakfast so gets annoyed with being ignored, cue foot biting and much screaming. As a result I now get up at 6.15 to play with dog outside before the DC get up.
Finally I now have loads more washing, not helped by the dreadful weather. The DC generally get muddy on each walk so over half term that was 6 sets of kids trousers a day! The dog blankets and bed need washing every few days and don't mention the muddy floors or car.
Despite all of this I LOVE my cocker and can't imagine life without her.
Thanks for all your thoughts... So very helpful. There is a lot to think about. My mum has a choc Labrador so the kids are very dog oriented and trained. I suppose it would be- in fact I know it would be a massive extra commitment and we would need to be absolutely sure about the reasons for him being given up. In emai exchanges today, the guy said he was the most wonderful dog and when probed said again, it is really because it is to fair on the dog to live this way... Will check out via other friends.
Thanks all and cathpip, let me know how it goes!
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