If your dog’s personality seems a bit different, it’s something to pay attention to. A dog’s temperament doesn’t change on a whim; there’s always a reason for it. Some of them are more serious than others, so always check with your vet or a professional behaviorist with any questions or concerns.

Age

Like people, dogs tend to mellow out with time. Your puppy will outgrow their tendency to bounce off the walls and be happier cuddled up next to you. And as they get older, they tend to slow down further. If you’ve noticed your cocker spaniel starting to slow down, it might just be from the passage of time. Take things at their pace with them, and who knows? You might start to see things from a new perspective.

Sterilization

When a dog is spayed or neutered, there’s a change in hormones. This can have an effect on their personality. An excitable, jumpy dog may settle down, or an insecure dog may strengthen. Dogs can go from submissive to dominant, or vice versa. It can happen in either male or female dogs, so it’s important to know. It’s perfectly normal for this to happen, but if the changes worry you, talk to your vet.

Changes in Household

If you’ve gotten a new pet, had a baby, or recently moved house, your cocker spaniel has probably picked up on the change. And because they know something’s different, their behavior is different as well. It’ll probably be temporary, until things settle down, but there are some things to look out for. Make sure your spaniel isn’t acting aggressively to any new two- or four-legged family members, most of all. If there are any aggressive or destructive behaviors, it is wisest to speak to a vet or canine behaviorist to see what can be done.

Improper Training or Socialization

Improper Training or Socialization

Sometimes, training or socialization doesn’t go as smoothly as we think it does. This can lead to an insecure, fearful, or disobedient dog. Fortunately, despite the old adage, you can teach an old dog new tricks. Training might take a bit longer with an older dog, but it’ll still help. And dogs of any age can be socialized if it’s done right. A puppy playgroup or socialization class will help, but remember to stay safe while doing so. Have it outdoors, or wear masks, so everybody can stay safe and healthy while their pups learn to get along.

Fears and Phobias

Does your cocker spaniel turn into a shivering mess around the Fourth of July? Or wet their crate on the way to the vet? These changes are a result of fear. Prolonged exposure to something that causes fear may lead to a phobia of that thing, if it’s done improperly. Exposure therapy is best done gradually, and only as necessary. Sometimes it helps to have a professional trainer or behaviorist to back you up with it. In extreme circumstances, like if your cocker spaniel has fear-based aggression at the vet, special anti-anxiety medications may be given. Talk to your vet about this option.

Grief

If a family member passes, your cocker spaniel can tell too. They may seem sad or withdrawn. This is one of the hardest things to deal with as a dog owner. There’s no right or wrong way to get your dog back to their normal, cheerf