New Pup - New Home


 New Pup - New Home

Taking your new puppy home for the first time will be exciting, but can also be somewhat daunting for not only new dog owners but also those of you who have owned cockers
or other breeds before; so here are some tips and reminders .....


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THE COCKER SPANIEL is a merry, study, sporting little dog with delightful nature and ever-wagging tail.  

It is believed that Spaniels originated in Spain, used for sporting purposes, possibly as far back as the 13th century.    In the 1800’s a more distinct type of Cocker or Cocking Spaniel began to emerge with the use of the smaller spaniels for woodcock shooting, popular at the time.   Towards the end of the 19th Century, when Field Trials became a recognised sport, there was no classification between Field Spaniels and Cockers;  the distinction being Field Spaniels divided into “over 25 lbs” and “under 25 lbs”,  Cockers falling into the latter category -  Cockers and Field Spaniels could be born in the same litter.   It wasn’t until 1901 that the Kennel Club removed the weight description.   A year later The Cocker Spaniel Club was formed and a Breed Standard was created, which remains much the same today.

Cockers have probably more recognised coat colours than any other breed and these are divided into Solids and Parti-colours.     The Breed Standard includes the complete list of accepted colours – briefly:  the Solids include Black, Red/Golden, Black and Tan, Liver;  Liver and Tan;  the Parti-colours include Black and White; Orange/Lemon and White; the Roans - Blue Roan; Orange or Lemon Roan; Liver Roan; Blue or Liver Roan with Tan; Tricolours include Black White and Tan; Liver White and Tan.

[In recent years the importation/introduction of Sable into the breed, possibly as the result of a crossbreed, has been an extreme concern.    The colour is regarded as a coat type/pattern and not a colour and its genetic dominance, if encouraged, could certainly adversely affect the breed.    The Kennel Club currently record any puppy registered with a colour description which is not included on the List of Accepted Colours, as “Not Recognised”].

The Cocker Spaniel is one of the most popular sporting breeds, retaining his enthusiasm for the work for which he was originally bred, he is equally happy setting off for what might be an all day expedition or simply spending the day by the fire.   Loving and affectionate, thriving on companionship, being versatile and of the perfect size, he is an ideal family pet.    Fortunately being a breed without exaggeration, he should lead a healthy life up to about the age of 12 years or longer.  He should provide you with many hours of joy and entertainment.

Your Puppy Pack will include a publication by Jane Simmonds – “Cocker Spaniel – an owners guide/understanding caring for your breed”.      (If this particular publication is not available/out of print, an alternative will be provided.)


Your  Withiflor puppy has been carefully bred to meet the Kennel Club standard of a show-type Cocker, but ultimately to fulfil his potential as your family pet.   As an Assured Breeder under the Kennel Club Accreditation Scheme, at Withiflor we carry out the necessary health tests on breeding stock both required and recommended under the terms of the scheme.  We make every effort to ensure that you take away a healthy and happy puppy that has had the best start possible and will continue to blossom and enjoy the next 12 to 15 years of his life.


Puppy’s needs     Collar and lead – bed – blanket - toys – grooming kit – feed and water bowls

Leaving the nest at eight weeks is somewhat traumatic for your pup and you should decide where he can have his own secure space in the house.   This could be the corner of the kitchen and you could make up a pen with a cosy bed, where he can feel safe and out of the way of the general bustle of the family.

To begin with, while your pup is growing up,  a strong cardboard box slightly raised up off the floor out of draughts would make a suitable bed. Give him something warm to snuggle into and a toy to chew and play with - he may become bored and find something of his own !   

The plastic-type bed, available from most pet stores is very good, being  washable and less likely to be destroyed than a basket.    You should consider a crate – particularly in the car.   Most breeders use crates both for travelling and to provide the dog with his own  permanent space in the home; a crate covered with a blanket will provide an excellent place for your pup to sleep in and retreat to when he needs some peace !    Most large pet stores, or on-line sites such as ZooPlus or, carry suitable dog crates;  the price will vary  - anything from less than £20.00 upwards.


When you arrive home with your new pup, be aware that he will be away from his litter siblings for the first time and will be unfamiliar with the environment.   Try to minimise any stress he might experience.    He should settle if he is comfortable, fed and watered, and free from exposure to loud noises or too much handling.


Your puppy should have his ownfood and water bowls.  

A suitable diet must be palatable and nutritious.   Puppies thrive on the same basic nutrients as adult dogs - protein fat, carbohydrate, minerals and vitamins.

It is important to feed a puppy little and often.   Puppies obviously have smaller stomachs and they will need four meals a day whilst growing.   Although individuals differ, as a rule the following applies:


                             2 - 3 months   :   4 meals per day

                             3 - 6 months   :   3 meals per day

                             6 months  onwards   :   2 meals per day


                             Consult your Feed Chart for specific diet


When he first arrives, your pup may be excited by his new surroundings and too distracted to eat.   However, he should soon calm down and when he realises that he is actually hungry, all will be well.    If your puppy shows signs of stomach upset, it may be due to the stress of the journey, leaving home and new surroundings.   Make him comfortable and ensure there is a supply of clean water available to him – he should sleep it off and wake to get on with life.    However, if symptoms persist or become more severe, you must  immediately seek advice from your vet.

If you wish to change your pups’ diet, do so over a period of a few days.   A drastic change may have drastic results.

The well being of your puppy is the best indicator as to whether you are feeding the correct diet.   On branded food, follow manufacturers directions for the best guidelines.   Remove any food your pup leaves and feed fresh at each meal.

Remember, when feeding a dried, complete, feed to make sure he always has fresh  drinking water available.


Worming: (see chart provided)

It is recommended that your pup is wormed regularly and throughout his life.   He has already been treated with Panacur/Drontal liquid wormer  and Advocatecomprehensive spot-on treatment for fleas and lice.

He should be wormed again at twelve weeks, six months and thereafter every six months and as required. 

Your vet will be able to advise on brand and dosage.


Veterinary Health check; Vaccinations and Microchipping:

At eight weeks old your pup will begin his course of vaccination and will be microchipped – it is a legal requirement for your dog to carry permanent identification from 8 weeks of age.

It is important that he is vaccinated against Distemper, Virus Hepetitis, Leptospirosis and Parvo Virus.  The treatment usually takes the form of two or three vaccinations (dependent upon your veterinary practice protocol), first at 8 weeks and the second at 10 weeks (and third at 12 weeks).    Until this is done and he is given the “all clear” by your Vet, he should be kept away from public places and not allowed to mix with other dogs.

At the time of his first vaccination and microchip, your puppy has been examined and health checked by our current veterinary surgeon.   



Every effort has been made to ensure that you receive your new puppy free from fleas, lice or mites.   The Advocate “spot-on” treatment applied at the time of first vaccination is an effective and comprehensive all in one method designed to deal with any unwanted livestock.     He will also have been bathed to control any infestation but it is an unfortunate fact that pups do attract unwanted visitors.    They are, however, relatively easy to control and, again, your Vet will advise should a problem arise.   

Your pup will need to be bathed from time to time in order to maintain basic hygiene and as part of his grooming regime.    Bathing may also assist in avoiding health and skin issues.     It will be also be necessary to give him a bath when he is muddy, caked in dirt or has rolled in something unpleasant !

Bathing your dog should not be complicated.    If you keep your dog regularly groomed, you may need only to bath him once a month or less, particularly if, as an adult, you have had him clipped-off.    Your Vet may recommend that you use only Dog Shampoo; some human shampoo can be too strong for the skin, resulting in lesions or other issues.

The Kennel Club also provide useful information on bathing and other advice on general care of your pup – see link:


House training:

All depends upon your approach.   Puppies obviously vary.   Some are naturally clean, whilst others take a little time to grasp the idea.  Basically, observation and patience are the rules.   However, a rough guide could be:-


   Put your pup outside - first thing in the morning;

                                                                    immediately after his naps;

                                                                    immediately after meals;

                                                                    last thing at night;

There will, of course, be accidents - be firm, but not too hard, with him - and Good Luck !


Puppy Training:

If you are prepared to put the time and effort into training your puppy from the outset, it will lead to a life of pleasure and fulfilment for both of you !   A well trained puppy will be easier to take for walks and be around other people and dogs.   Start straight away.   

In fact your pup began his training as soon as he could stand up; with the simple tasks of being handled so that he becomes used to being brushed and having his mouth and feet inspected.

Lead and other basic training of your pup should also begin as soon as you get him home ; the process of house-training will set the pattern.    Cockers are keen to learn and appreciate a regular routine.     Use positive methods of training; teach him gently but firmly.    The contact and learning process involved in a daily lead training and grooming session will both keep the pup occupied and develop a strong relationship bond between you.  

Apart from the basic puppy training, there are other schemes – such as the Good Citizens – or Agility (when he is older) – this Kennel Club link might be useful :



The Cocker is not low maintenance, so far as coat is concerned.    They do vary,  but most puppies will have a profuse puppy coat  until about a year old when the adult coat has grown through becoming more manageable.    Cocker Spaniels need to be groomed regularly and the sooner your pup becomes used to the procedure the better.     You will need a metal comb, wire brush (Slicker) for the ears and feathers;  and a good bristle brush to form the basic grooming kit.

The Cocker is a breed which is normally stripped and trimmed to keep his long coat in order.   Unless you intend to learn how to groom your dog yourself (please speak to me about this and I will advise), this should be done by a professional groomer.  

An adult will probably need to visit the grooming parlour at least every two months, depending on his type of coat.     You will need to budget for a grooming session, the cost of which might vary from £40.00 upwards, depending upon whether the Groomer is hand stripping.

Grooming once a day, at a regular time, to keep his coat free from knots and dead hair will make life easier for the groomer and also more comfortable for the dog.   He will also need his nails trimmed unless he gets regular road walks, which will help to keep nails short.

Your Cocker will enjoy grooming as part of his daily routine and it also contributes a great deal toward his general health and well being.

Health check:   Whilst carrying out your daily grooming  you may take the opportunity to check your pup from head to toe, including nails and teeth, so that you will pick up anything which might need attention at the earliest stage.    Preparing your pup for a mouth and foot inspection is something you should establish from the start – this will make life so much easier for your vet and your groomer.    

Nails - With regular road work the nails should be worn naturally and kept trim but it is not uncommon for the nails to require trimming and this may be carried out by your Vet or Veterinary Nurse, if you are unable to this yourself.    Do not forget the dew claws, which are found on the inside of the foreleg above the foot;  these claws must be checked regularly and kept short, since they have no contact with the ground and will just continue growing if not trimmed.

Teeth – making sure your dogs’ teeth and gums are clean and healthy is extremely important ; regular cleaning should form part of his grooming routine.     In an extreme case, gum infection caused by a build up of plaque on the teeth can result in loss of teeth, septicaemia or other serious consequences.




Socialisation is probably the most important part of early puppy development.   Your pups’ early experiences are critical in forming a well adjusted adult dog.    Your pup has spent the first weeks of his life within the home environment and will have been introduced to general household noise and comings and goings.     As he grows he will need to become aware of the wider social aspects of living as a member of your family.

Your pup needs to be taught manners; including responding to your commands: how to behave around people and other animals;  and also to respond in the various situations he will encounter throughout his life both in the home, town or countryside.    He needs to be taught to have confidence but remain in control.    

The Kennel Club website provides detailed advice on socialising your pup (see above link) and there are training groups operating in most parts of the Country which can be a useful and fun way of “socialising” a youngster (see link “Puppy Training”):  puppy classes are often run by local vets, so ask your practice nurse/vet when you take him for his first health check. 

Exercise is, of course, essential to the health and happiness of every dog.    Do not exercise your pup/dog on a full stomach.     Do not allow your pup to exercise excessivley during his growth period.    Playing in the garden and very short walks, say for 15 minutes on the lead twice a day up to three months old; rising to 20 minutes lead walking at 4 months old, is quite enough until your pup is at least twelve months old and his bones are fully formed.    At about a year your Cocker will begin to appreciate longer periods of exercise.     

Pups enjoy play, fetching and carrying.    Do not allow him toys that are small, or may disintegrate enough to become stuck in either his mouth or throat. 

It is important that puppies are able to exercise every day in a safe and secure area so they do not become frustrated.  Once fully grown and well trained, particularly to recall, the countryside is your oyster.   Make sure you take poo bags with you, be aware of the Countryside Code and that your dog wears his collar and ID tag.


The UK Control of Dogs Order (1992) states that every dog while in a highway or place of public resort must wear a collar with the name and address of its owner inscribed on it or a plate or badge attached to it.    The Channel Islands have a dog licensing system that requires all dogs to be licensed with their local parish.     The respective local parish will provide further information as to what is required by law on the identification tag.     The Isle of Man also has similar requirements.    Failure to comply may render you liable to prosecution.    (This information was correct at the time of writing)


As your dog develops in his learning process you may like to explore the various fields of activity available.    There are many activity Dog Training Clubs and the Kennel Club Website holds the details of all those in your area – Good Citizens and Obedience training; Agility and other competitive activities.


Finally, if you experience any difficulties, ask for advice.     Do not hesitate to contact me if needs be.      Problems are easily solved sooner rather than later.



Useful Contact Addresses:-

There are many useful websites on the Internet that will provide information about the Cocker Spaniel, so far as general advice, temperament or health issues are concerned.  

The Cocker Spaniel Club is regarded as the “parent club” and there are various regional clubs throughout the country some of whom have their own websites, details of which are available.

The Cocker Spaniel Breed Council website –

Devon & Cornwall Cocker Spaniel Club.   Hon Secretary: Sally Ellison  email: [email protected]

The Kennel Club, 1-5 Clarges Street, Piccadilly, London W1Y 8AB.

The Kennel Club, (Registrations) Kennel Club House, Gatehouse Way, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire HP19 8DB.  tel:  01296 318540. 

January 2023



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