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How to control a hyper cocker spaniel

Updated September 05, 2018

Cocker spaniels are the smallest specimens of the spaniels and the sporting group, but don't let their size fool you. This is a high-energy breed purposely bred to cover territory speedily, flush game and retrieve. Fail to provide this breed with enough exercise and a job to do, and you may end up with a hyper and annoying pet to live with. If you are having difficulties controlling your cocker spaniel, the right tools and appropriate training methods will likely yield a much calmer and more obedient dog.

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  1. Invest in a harness, such as the Easy Walk dog harness. to give you more control of your cocker spaniel. The Easy Walk dog harness is designed to gently discourage your hyperactive dog from pulling. Fit the harness on your dog and attach the leash to the front ring.

  2. Clip the treat pouch onto your belt or pocket. Fill it up with treats your cocker spaniel is particularly fond of. To make training easy, invest in small-sized treats that are soft and easy to swallow.

  3. Pull the leash to the side turning your dog towards you the moment your cocker spaniel forges ahead of you. When the leash is slack, praise and reward your dog with the treats. With time, your cocker will learn that walking calmly besides you brings a slack leash along with praise and rewards, whereas forging ahead causes tension in the leash.

  4. Teach your cocker spaniel to use its nose. Take a tasty small treat and hide it somewhere easy to find and then tell your Cocker to search for it. Gradually, hide the treats in more challenging places. Your cocker spaniel as a good hunting dog, will love the game, and nose work is surprisingly tiring for dogs.

  5. Play a good game of fetch together. Since cocker spaniels were used to flush out and retrieve small game such as quail, pheasant and woodcock, she may enjoy this game. To teach her self-control, do not toss the toy until she is nicely sitting or laying down, then toss the toy and tell her to fetch.

  6. Introduce your cocker spaniel to the ''Chill Out'' game. This game will train your dog to turn on and off its arousal state, ultimately teaching self-control. Get your cocker very excited by making him chase a toy; when he is aroused by the game, freeze suddenly and quietly ask for a sit. Once your cocker is sitting, start the game all over. This game teaches that the calm sit is ultimately what gets the game going again.

  7. Tip

    Provide ample exercise and mental stimulation for your cocker spaniel. Reward calm behaviours as much as you can. Train your cocker to wait for food and wait before being let out the door. Asking your cocker to sit before being pet will also teach some self-control. Consider enrolling your cocker spaniel in training classes.


    Never punish your dog for acting hyper or out of control, rather focus on rewarding calm behaviours. Do not let your cocker spaniel drag you on the leash; establish a no-pull policy. Do not expect your cocker to behave when he has been closed up all day. Never assume a garden is enough for exercise and mental stimulation.

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Things You'll Need

  • Easy Walk dog harness
  • Leash
  • Treat pouch
  • Treats
  • Fetching toy

About the Author

Adrienne Farricelli has been writing for magazines, books and online publications since 2005. She specializes in canine topics, previously working for the American Animal Hospital Association and receiving certification from the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers. Her articles have appeared in "USA Today," "The APDT Chronicle of the Dog" and "Every Dog Magazine." She also contributed a chapter in the book " Puppy Socialization - An Insider's Guide to Dog Behavioral Fitness" by Caryl Wolff.

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