The English Cocker spaniel
Has a magnificent scent
The cocker is a hunting dog, a collector, to be more precise. Equipped with an excellent nose, he is able to find the piece (bird) on land and in water. By having a very fine sense of smell and a great desire to use it he has become a very effective assistant of the customs officers in search of drugs.
They are very lively, energetic, playful and intelligent. This means they need lots of exercise and entertainment to keep them from becoming nervous. Many specimens are stubborn, which can cause problems of dominance when the owner tries to oblige them to do something.
One problem with the Cocker is that because of their cute, sweet and endearing look, they fool. Many people acquired the dog of their dreams without knowing that this dog actually has a strong character and requieres an authoritarian and consistent treatment from his early youth. Being treated like a prince he usually ends up being a dictator, willing to impose his will with a clean bite on anyone who dares to contradict him.
Like most popular breeds, because of uncontrolled breeding, the Cocker suffers from an impressive array of genetic defects. I want to emphasize the one that is the alleged "insanity" it can suffer, the socalled red cocker syndrome.. It is so named because it occurs mainly in red colored individuals, but may also ocurr in dogs of other colors. The symptoms of this disease: unexplained attacks of aggression, not persistent aggression, but sudden changes of character. What at times seems to be a normal and friendly dog suddenly and without reason turns into an aggressive monster to the maximum, shortly after returning to normal.
Many problems of dominance between dog and owner can have some similar symptoms, anger, ugly growls, attacks, and also a peaceful behaviour. Only an expert can differentiate between the disease and the problems of dominance. I mention all this because the disease has no cure, while dominance problems can be fixed in a pleasant and effective manner in most cases. The only remedy for the red cocker syndrome is euthanasia. Now, imagine a cocker with dominance problems (that could have been fixed!) that ends up being a fatal case of misdiagnosis. These dogs (and there are many!) are the worst victims of the problem to which I referred earlier in this article: its sad, sweet and touching face that makes that many end up in the hands of owners missled by appearances.
Because of all this I say: "If you love your Cocker, give it from the outset what he needs to function well: discipline, love and exercise."
Many times I have wondered if it is true that many cockers are as bad as they say. I think it is more of the same, as most of these dogs live with owners who do not know what is behind its disguise, problems of coexistence arise, just like with any other dog of strong character. What happens is that most strong-willed purebred dogs are usually elected by owners prepared to treat them with certain authority, unlike what happens with the cocker.
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