Cocker Spaniels are wonderfully energetic dogs and are great to have around the house.
But, they can misbehave and, in some circumstances, become destructive around your home if they aren’t exercised properly or intellectually stimulated.
Cocker Spaniels are real “people pleasers” and above all else want to spend time with you and keep you happy.
As a result, dedicating time to your Cocker Spaniel is one of the best ways to keep them entertained.
In this guide on how to keep your Cocker Spaniel occupied we’ll provide you with a number of options you can use. Some of these require toys, so take a look at our guide to the best toys for your Cocker Spaniel.
Taking your dog out for a walk is probably the best way to occupy your cocker spaniel. It’s great for them and will tire them out so they don’t have the urge to misbehave when at home.
It is recommended that you exercise your Cocker Spaniel for 60 minutes per day.
A bit of exercise and fresh air are also good for you!
Cocker Spaniels love nothing more than running around with other dogs. It’s great for them and allows them to get used to being around their four-legged friends.
A local park might have a group where dog wonders get together with their dogs, or invite one of their friends around. Our Cocker Spaniel loves having their Cocker and Bretagne Spaniel friends over for a run around the garden.
Throw and Fetch
Throw and fetch is a great game for the people-pleasing Cocker Spaniel. They will run for hours and hours and will thoroughly enjoy chasing a ball for you.
You can also combine throw and fetch with command training to teach things like:
“Sit” and/or “Wait”
We always combine commands with hand gestures, so your dog gets both a visual and audible cue.
Tug of War
There is a train of thought that tug-of-war games can make your Cocker Spaniel aggressive, but that certainly isn’t the case with our Spaniel and indeed, there is academic research which suggests that appropriate tug-of-war games can actually help your dog control its aggression.
It’s a super simple game to play. Grab a rope or tug toy and let your spaniel take the other end in their end and see which one of you can hold onto it for the longest time. Cocker Spaniels can be pretty stubborn, so you might lose!
However, you do need to be conscious about your dog's teeth and not pull too hard particularly if your dog is young or has previously had dental problems. You really don’t want to accidentally pull out any of your dog’s teeth.
Hide and Seek
This can be a wonderfully fun game which can involve the whole family. Our kids love playing hide and seek with our Cocker Spaniel.
Much like Throw and Fetch games, playing hide and seek can help you to develop your dog’s understanding of commands.
Simply train your dog to “stay” and “wait” go and hide and call your dog to come and find you. Remember to have a treat with you and give them plenty of praise when they inevitably find you, or other family members if they’re joining in with playtime.
Make sure you have plenty of plush toys
Whilst this option doesn’t necessarily involve you spending time with your dog, it can definitely help with keeping your dog occupied and give them focus.
Cocker Spaniels, and more specifically, working Cocker Spaniels, were bred to flush birds out of undergrowth and trees. They love nothing more than chasing birds, squirrels and the like and having a number of plush toys for them to carry in their mouths and mess around with is a great idea.
Mental stimulation is really important for your Cocker Spaniel and can really help with keeping them on the straight and narrow and, particularly, can prevent them from misbehaving or being destructive around the home.
There are numerous toys available to aid mental stimulation, ranging from puzzels to snuffle mats, which is the favourite of our own Cocker Spaniel.
You can also create your own brain games with ping pong balls and plastic cups, or even mugs. Just be imaginative and there are plenty really fun options available.
There are many options available to keep your Cocker Spaniel occupied, all it needs is for you to dedicate a bit of time, and potentially money, to your dog.
The rewards for this time is a much happier, healthier and stimulated dog, which, in the long run will be better for the whole household.
All content is written by actual Spaniel owners.