Cocker Spaniel Chewing
It is often hard to image that the beautifully groomed and aristocratic Cockers seen in the show ring all descended from hard working gundogs. Just like with every breed different traits have been developed and with Cocker Spaniel chewing the behavior is very natural. Originally used as a hunting dog, the Cocker Spaniel would fetch and bring back game, typically woodcocks, quail and ducks, creating a dog that naturally mouthed objects.
Mouthing is also common in puppies of all breeds. It is a way for the puppy to learn about their environment through taste, smell and the feel of an object. Cocker Spaniel chewing can sometimes occur if a puppy is stressed or traumatized or removed from the mother and litter too early. In these situations the natural mouthing behavior becomes more significant and progresses into chewing.
In the typical situation with Cocker Spaniel chewing the behavior occurs because the dog lacks appropriate things to chew, is bored and is chewing for something to do or if the dog is experiencing problems with separation anxiety. The reason behind the chewing is essential in retraining the dog. In some situations, especially separation anxiety, retraining can be challenging and may required professional assistance.
The easiest fix for Cocker Spaniel chewing is to buy a variety of chew toys that are approved for small to medium sized dogs. Having a variety means that your dog has options with which type of toy to chew on. Some dogs like softer toys while others like the hard surfaces, just make sure they are safe and vet approved before leaving the dog with the toy unsupervised. In addition be careful that the toy is not too small and could be swallowed or that it doesn’t have features that can be chewed off an ingested.
Balls, ropes and even toys that randomly distribute treats are a great option for Cocker Spaniel chewing problems. These toys don’t stop the behavior; rather they provide an appropriate object for the dog to chew. Play with the dog with the toys and praise him or her for chewing on the right thing. If you do catch your Cocker Spaniel biting on the wrong object a sharp “no” and removing the object is usually enough. Immediately provide the dog with an acceptable chew toy and tell them they are a good dog when they chew on that toy.
When training be sure to remove any temptation for Cocker Spaniel chewing of the undesirable type. This may include keeping the dog confined to one room that is fully dog proofed. Remove all chewable objects such as pillows, remote controls, or clothing items, but do provide a wide range of good chewing options. Reward the dog for only chewing the right thing, which is his or her only option, until they understand what you expect.
As an important consideration be consistent in what Cocker Spaniel chewing is permissible and what is not. Don’t confuse the dog by allowing them to chew on soft stuffed toys if you don’t want them to chew on pillows and your clothing. Don’t allow them to chew on your old shoes if you don’t want the new shoes to be playthings as well. Keeping these few simple tips in mind will correct most basic chewing concerns.