Cocker spaniels are playful, loving and devoted dogs. Although they are usually easy to train, the breed can be difficult to housebreak. The key to potty training your cocker spaniel is taking frequent bathroom breaks and consistency. Decide what the command for using the toilet should be, and make sure everyone working with the dog sticks to both the potty schedule and the agreed upon command. Remember that potty training accidents will happen, so try to deal with them as calmly and patiently as possible.
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Send the Right Message
The correct way to potty train a cocker spaniel is to teach it to do its business outside. This is much easier than trying to teach it to not do its business inside. This task is best accomplished by positive reinforcement. When your cocker spaniel does its business in the yard, be sure to offer treats and praise it heartily right away. If an accident does happen, express your displeasure only if you catch your puppy in the act--after the fact is too late for a lesson. Clap your hands or make another sudden noise if you catch your puppy having an accident in the house and take it outside immediately to finish doing its business. If it does finish outside, lavish it with praise and treats.
When potty training your cocker spaniel, make sure you put it on a leash and go out into the yard with it. This will allow you to praise it immediately when it does well and make sure it gets down to business. If left alone in the yard, your puppy will be far more likely to play and explore than to use the toilet. Although playing in the yard is fine, it is important to make sure that your dog does its business before playtime starts and after an outdoor play session.
Many cocker spaniel owners use crate training as a way to potty train their puppy. Whenever possible, a dog will avoid toileting where it sleeps. Because of this, it is important to make sure your dog's crate provides enough room to stretch but not enough that it can comfortably avoid the mess if it relieves itself in the corner. Make sure you withhold fluids for a few hours before bedtime, however, so that an unavoidable accident doesn't force your dog to sleep on soiled bedding. If you purchased your dog from a pet store where it was kept in a small cage all the time, you should expect more accidents in the crate than you would have with a dog who was caged less frequently.
Cocker spaniels are prone to submissive urination. Because submissive urination results in bathroom accidents in the house, many spaniel owners think that the issue is a toilet training problem. Submissive urination, however, is a sign from the dog that it recognises your authority and is aware that you are the leader. Disciplining the dog for this behaviour will only make it worse. This problem can be controlled by taking your dog outside before greeting it, making sure you don't stand over it when you do greet it and having it greet visitors outside to minimise the risk of accidents.
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