Feed your puppy twice a day, as close to the same time every day as possible. I give them a treat after they’ve eaten all their food. If they don’t eat it, they don’t get the treat. Give the puppy 1/2 cup of dry puppy food at each meal and a bowl of water. Whatever the puppy hasn’t eaten after 20 minutes, pick the food up. Do not leave food down all the time for your puppy or you will have a hard time housebreaking your puppy. And don’t leave water in the crate overnight.
As he grows, you can gradually increase his food. You’ll never want to give him more than a total of 2 cups of food per day. At about 6 months you can start feeding him once a day. At about 10 months you can switch from puppy food to adult dog chow, if you’ve been using puppy chow. A few years ago, Christopher switched to Purina Pro Plan Sport All Life Stages Performance 30/20 Formula, in a dark purple and black bag. It’s as it says, “All Life Stages” so you’ll never have to switch their food. They can start eating it as a little puppy and it will keep them fit all the way through their senior years. Eukanuba and Science Diet also make excellent puppy and dog chow.
Never give your dog canned dog food. It’s bad for their teeth.
Do not ever give your dog people food. That is one of the worst things you can do. It is very bad for them, it has too much fat in it. And if you never give him people food, then he will never get in the bad habit of begging for food. If you want to give him a treat, ask your vet what to give him, and then only give the treats out sparingly.
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To housebreak your puppy, remember that each puppy’s system is a little different and their kidneys develop at different rates. But, generally, take the puppy out within ten minutes to a half hour after
eating to go potty. You’ll soon learn what his body’s schedule is. Go to the same spot in the yard every time. Potty time is not play time, so don’t play with him until after he’s finished his business. And any time you play with the puppy inside, after about a half hour, he will need to go out to potty again.
Another reason for using a crate to housebreak is the puppy will not go potty where he sleeps, as long as the crate is not too big, if he can help it. So for the first couple of weeks you may have to take him out in the middle of the night. If you take him out at 11 p.m. and 5 a.m., he’s likely to sleep through the night if his kidneys are developed enough. But if he gets you up to go out, it’s because his kidneys have not yet developed enough for him to be able to hold it all night. While you’re housebreaking him, when you take him out of the crate, pick him up to take him outside. If you let him walk out of the crate, he’ll squat and pee before he ever makes it to the door.
Whenever you have the puppy loose in the house, if you are not watching him, then he needs to be in the crate. When you’re home, you’ll want to take him out about every hour for the first
couple of weeks, and after that, every two hours for a couple more weeks. Watch for his signs that he has to go potty: If he’s on the floor, he’ll start searching around with his nose to the
ground or walking in a circle. If you’re holding him, he’ll start getting antsy or whining.
If you’re vigilant and consistent, your housebreaking will go much faster with little to no accidents. Most of the time, when the puppy has accidents, it’s because the owner wasn’t paying
attention or lost track of how long it’s been since the puppy was last out. It won’t be long before he’ll be letting you know when he has to go out. Until that time, it’s a case of training you, not the puppy.
Crate training is not only used for housebreaking your puppy. Bored, unsupervised dogs are destructive. This is another reason to always crate your dog when you are not actively playing/watching him. It may seem unkind to keep the puppy in a crate, but it’s not. It becomes his little safe haven and he feels secure there. It should not be used as a punishment. If your puppy is in his crate with toys he can chew on, or toys that will keep him entertained, he will be fine until you can let him out. Time doesn’t pass for dogs like it does for people. They don’t think like we think. The crate becomes his safe haven. If you only want to buy one crate to have one large enough for when he’s grown, until he’s housebroken, you’ll need to either buy a divider that fits in the crate, or you can use a large box to decrease the space the puppy has to move around in. He should only have enough room to turn around in.
Do not let the puppy chew on you. I can’t emphasis this enough. It may be cute when he’s little, but it won’t be long before it will really hurt when he chews on your finger. It’s a bad habit to let him get in, so don’t let him start. Any time he starts to chew on you or something you don’t want him chewing on, give him a toy or a sock with a knot in it that he can chew on. Let him know that’s his and praise him when he chews it. They tend to like cloth when they’re little more than the hard rubber toys, but experiment to see what your dog prefers. Don’t give him too many toys at once. You can rotate them out to keep his interest. If you plan on hunting the dog, do not ever give them toys with squeakers in them. That teaches him to chomp down until he hears the squeak, which is not a good thing when you’re bird hunting. So either buy toys without squeakers or remove the squeaker before giving it to your puppy.
Puppies find comfort in routine. They like to know what to expect and what is expected of them. It’s your job to be consistent. Don’t let him do something one time, and the next time tell him “no.” That’s not fair to him and confuses him. Decide which things are the most important for now and save the rest for working on after he’s housebroken.
These are the rules I have for a new puppy:
- No biting
- No jumping up on people
- Only chew on his toys (not my shoes)
- Stay in the yard (when not on a leash)
- No barking (This is my personal preference. Some people don’t mind it)
If you don’t want your dog on your furniture, then don’t ever let him get on it; no exceptions. Like with housebreaking, it is more a case of training you, than your puppy. You have to remember to watch the puppy every minute he’s out of his crate, just like you would with a toddler that is just learning to walk. The puppy can get hurt on something or ruin something if you’re not paying attention. If you want to make a phone call or do something, then it’s time to put the puppy in the crate. Your puppy will thrive from receiving your undivided attention when you’re with him.
You can start right away with obedience training, but keep it fun and in short 5-minute sessions, once or twice a day. As the puppy gets older, you can gradually lengthen the time. Do not use treats as rewards during training — no matter what you’re told or read. This breed loves to please, that’s why they’re easy to train. All they want is your praise, so you don’t need treats with English Cockers.
For training use a light-weight choke collar. Make sure to follow the instructions that come with it to be sure you put it on properly, it should release easily. It’s not used to choke the dog, it’s used so you can “snap” the collar with a quick jerk of the wrist so that it makes a noise to get the dog’s attention. That’s why it’s important the collar is put on properly so it will release. Attach a light lead to the choke collar and let the puppy start dragging it around the house to get used to it while you’re supervising him. Remember to take the lead off before you put him in his crate.
The first thing you’ll want to do is teach the puppy his name. Then you’ll want to teach him to “come.” If you use the command “hup,” it will be one less command to teach; it means “sit” and
“stay.” You’ll also want to teach “heel” so the dog will walk by your side. You can also teach “down,” although some dogs lay down when they hup anyway. If you teach the command “down”
to train him to lay down, then you won’t want to confuse him by saying “down” or “get down” if he jumps up on you. You’ll need to use the command “off” instead — or “no” works too.
Remembering to be consistent is probably the hardest thing to do. And if you’re not having fun, he probably isn’t either, so it’s time to take a break. Keep it fun and praise him when he does what
he’s supposed to. After he’s done something right three times in a row, then stop your training session. You need to always finish your training on a positive note.
English Cockers are super smart and love being with people. You’ll be amazed at how quickly he learns if you’re consistent with your commands and use lots of repetition and praise in short training sessions.