The cocker spaniel is a well-loved and highly preferred breed of choice because of their cheerful and playful disposition. They are originally bred as bird-hunting dogs, and are therefore some of the most active breeds out there. A cocker’s sporty nature makes for great time doing water sports, and if you are one of those who love to bring your dog out for a swim, the cocker spaniel will be a good companion for you.
Spaniels are easy to train, and can take up any water activity quite naturally. Some spaniel breeds even have water-repelling coats and webbed feet. They are highly adaptable, but are also friendly. They make for good companions, especially with their highly contagious energy.
Cockers love the water, and enjoy spending time swimming or just simply playing while you give them a shower. They also love playing in puddles, so watch out; they may get you dirty, too!
If you are looking to introduce water activities to your cocker spaniel, here are a few times you can keep in mind to make water play more enjoyable.
• Start small. Even if the cocker can pick up and adapt to virtually any setting, starting out on a small scale is still the best way to ease them into water play. Some elements in big bodies of water might scare them, like waves. They might be hesitant to go in a pond or even a pool, so try introducing a kiddie pool with little water. Slowly fill it up more the next session, and a few more until he gets used to the impression of a pool or beach.
• Encourage play. You can try playing with them while in the water to reinforce a positive correlation to water. For example, you can play fetch with your cocker. Throw a ball or any toy a few feet away. Just make sure not to throw it on the deep end just yet. Fetching may motivate them to learn swimming so they can get the toy from in the water. Remember, start little and slowly make it more challenging as soon as he gets the idea.
• Reward your cocker. Reward is part of positive training, and it motivates them to learn what you want them to learn. Bring a treat whenever you go for a swim, and reward them with a nice treat once they participate in a water sport with you. Giving them a treat every time they do well in water games (or simply swimming with you) teaches them that water play is an enjoyable activity he can love.
The cocker spaniel is a great swimming companion once he gets acclimated to water. The best tip we can give you is not to force anything that he doesn’t like, and always reinforce positive training so he does not grow scared or anxious about water play. Punishing them for not doing well in water will discourage them from loving and learning water sports. Stay positive and just have fun, because water play is better when both of you are enjoying that special bonding moment.