Categories: Pet Care & Safety

Jamie Johnson

cocker spaniel turning nasty

Are you worried about your Cocker Spaniel’s rapidly deteriorating behaviour? Cocker Spaniels are usually gentle and loving dogs, but when they become nastier it can cause a lot of stress to their owners. Fear and aggression can manifest in multiple ways, but with the right guidance, you can help your Cocker Spaniel move away from such unruly behaviour. In this article, I will provide an insight into what could be causing your Cocker Spaniels nastiness, and break down key training techniques that can help address any behavioural issues. You’ll also find tips on how to keep your Cocker Spaniel socially active while setting clear boundaries to maintain good behaviour. In cases where the situation is out of your control, professional help is also available. Most importantly, I will discuss positive reinforcement strategies to make your Cocker Spaniel’s training smoother, easier and more effective. So if you are looking for ways to deal with your Cocker Spaniel’s nastiness, I have you covered.

Table of Contents

What Could Be Causing Your Cocker Spaniel’s Nastiness

Like with any pet, the first step in addressing behavioural problems is to try and understand what might be causing them. If you have a Cocker Spaniel that is suddenly turning nasty, here are some potential causes to consider.

Genetics and Hormonal Changes

It might be tempting to blame your pup’s nastiness on their genes, but hormone levels can play a role as well. Puberty and age-related changes can cause mood swings, aggression, and other unwanted behaviour.

Lack of Socialization and Training

One of the most common causes of nastiness in Cocker Spaniels is a lack of socialization and training. It is important to start early, as puppies need to learn how to interact properly with other people and animals in order to become well-adjusted adults.

Health Issues and Physical Pain

Health issues such as hearing or vision problems, underlying medical conditions, or physical pain can also lead to undesirable behaviour. Make sure to contact your vet if you suspect your Cocker Spaniel could be in pain or if conditions like hypothyroidism could be at play.

Environmental Factors

Changes in environment, a fear of new people or experiences, and overly-harsh training methods can also lead to bad behaviour. Monitor your pup’s reaction to new people and situations and be mindful of how you communicate with them.

Alleviate Stress and Show Affection

Making sure your pup gets enough exercise and mental stimulation is key for alleviating stress, as is providing safe socialization with people and other animals. Above all, show your pup plenty of love and affection to reassure them that their behaviour won’t hurt their relationship with you.

Photo of Dogs on Grass

Training Techniques To Address Behavioral Issues With Your Cocker Spaniel

Training your Cocker Spaniel can prevent or help address any nasty habits they may have picked up. With consistency and patience, you can help modify their behavior. Here are five tips you can use to help train your Cocker Spaniel and make sure their newfound adult tendencies (e.g. barking and restlessness) don’t get out of hand.

Establish a Routine

Developing a routine for your Cocker Spaniel from an early age will help them with transitions as they move into adulthood. This includes when they eat, sleep, and exercise. Even when you’re busy and things don’t go according to plan, regularity and consistency with feeding, exercise and resting times can help provide structure, stability, and a sense of security.

Set Boundaries and Stick To Them

It’s important to set boundaries and stick to them. Dogs need to know what behavior is or isn’t acceptable. You can do this by making use of aversive techniques like verbal commands, such as “no”, when they don’t abide by the rules. This not only helps them learn which boundaries they aren’t allowed to cross, but also helps with general obedience.

Provide Positive Rewarding Experiences

When your Cocker Spaniel follows your commands, reinforce these positive behaviors with treats and pats. Making sure you reward good behavior with something they like helps create positive associations with particular activities. This encourages further obedience from your four-legged pal.

Utilize Socialization

Socialization is very important when it comes to training your Cocker Spaniel. Introduce them to other people and dogs, as this will help them build confidence, which in turn can help decrease aggression and fearful behaviors. Positive experiences in different environments can help prevent your Cocker Spaniel from feeling overwhelmed.

Consider Working With a Dog Trainer

If your Cocker Spaniel’s problematic behaviors start to get out of hand, it might be time to consider getting professional help. A dog trainer can assess behaviors and provide guidance, advice, and tips that can help you understand your Cocker Spaniel’s needs better.

Dog training can be strenuous and time consuming, but the results are well worth the effort. With the right techniques, you can help make sure your Cocker Spaniel’s transition into adulthood runs smoothly and their behavior stays in check.

Dog's Paw on a Human's Hand

Dealing With An Aggressive Or Fearful Cocker Spaniel

As a Cocker Spaniel owner, it can be difficult to watch your beloved pooch become aggressive or fearful towards people or other animals. If you are seeing signs of fear or aggression in your Cocker Spaniel, the best thing you can do is to act quickly and proactively in order to prevent the undesirable behavior from becoming a pattern.

Identifying The Signs of Aggression

Before making any changes, it is important to be able to recognize the signs of aggression in a Cocker Spaniel. Cocker Spaniels may display signs of aggression through growling, snarling, or lunging at other animals or people. They may also become overly protective of certain resources such as food or toys, or become defensive in certain situations.

Reasons For Fear or Aggression

Fear or aggression can arise due to a variety of issues, including mishandling, poor socialization, poor leadership, lack of exercise, and even potential medical issues. If you are unsure of what the root cause of your Cocker Spaniel’s behavior could be, it is best to seek advice from a veterinarian or animal behaviorist.

Prevention is Key

By following a consistent reinforcement training regimen, making sure your Cocker Spaniel gets regular exercise, and providing consistent, loving and gentle leadership, you can help prevent fear or aggression from appearing in the first place. Keeping up to date with vaccinations and scheduling regular check-ups can also help make sure any potential medical issues are caught quickly and addressed properly.

Making Changes

In order to help your Cocker Spaniel break out of an aggressive or fearful behavior, it is important to learn their individual needs and make changes accordingly. If a lack of socialization or exercise is the issue, for instance, you can increase the amount of time you take them out for walks and introduce them to new environments. If the problem is a lack of leadership or obedience, consider investing in a few training sessions and getting involved in some dog classes. It is also important to recognize and avoid any triggers such as small children, loud noises, or sudden movements. If needed, seek professional help from a veterinarian or animal behaviorist.

Taking Action Quickly

When it comes to dealing with aggression or fear in your Cocker Spaniel, it is important to take action quickly and efficiently in order to ensure the safety of your canine companion and those around them. Remove them from the situation if possible, and focus on positive reinforcement rather than correcting or punishing their behavior. If the behavior persists, consulting a professional may be the best option, or even seeking professional help if the situation escalates.

By being proactive and recognizing the signs of aggression or fear in your Cocker Spaniel quickly, you can help prevent the behavior from becoming a habit and keep your pooch safe and happy.

Shallow Focus Photography of a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Keeping Your Cocker Spaniel Mentally Stimulated To Avoid Nastiness

It’s natural for Cocker Spaniels to become naughty at times, however, too much nastiness can become a problem if left unchecked. To ensure that your Cocker Spaniel remains a happy pup, it’s important to provide plenty of physical exercise and mental stimulation.

Provide Physical Exercise

A regular physical activity routine is essential for any functioning pet. For a Cocker Spaniel, make sure he’s getting plenty of playtime, exercise, and mental stimulation. This will help prevent boredom and nastiness from setting in.

A good starting point is a daily walk or run with your pup. This has numerous benefits such as keeping him active, improving his overall health, and reducing anxiety. Additionally, it’s a great way to bond with your pup and give him the exercise he needs to remain healthy and happy.

Challenge Him Mentally

Cocker Spaniels need more than just physical exercise to stay mentally stimulated. Puzzle toys, brain games and interactive activities such as hide and seek are all great ways to keep your Cocker Spaniel’s mind sharp and engaged. Even simple games such as tossing a frisbee and fetching a ball can provide both physical and mental stimulation.

If your pup seems particularly bored or destructive, you can also play a game of tug-of-war to challenge his mind. Tug-of-war has the added benefit of teaching your Cocker Spaniel about appropriate behavior and helping him stay focused on activities that tire him out mentally rather than acting out with nastiness.

Teach Basic Commands

In addition to exercising and stimulating your pup’s mind, teaching him basic commands such as sit, stay, and come can help you control the situation if he displays nastiness. Teaching your Cocker Spaniel these simple commands provides him with structure, helping to keep him mentally engaged and giving you a way to respond to nastiness.

Be consistent and show patience when teaching your pup commands. Once your pup has mastered the basics, you can move on to more advanced commands such as walking on a leash and more.

Take Time to Bond

The bond between you and your Cocker Spaniel is an important one. By taking time every day to just spend time with your pup, be it through grooming or just playing, you’ll be able to build that connection. This helps to establish a connection between good behavior and obedience, preventing future nastiness.

Visit Dog Parks

Dog parks are also a great way to give your Cocker Spaniel the physical and mental stimulation he needs. Playing with other dogs is an important part of keeping your pup active and engaged. Additionally, it helps promote social skills, allowing your Cocker Spaniel to learn proper behaviors when interacting with other dogs.

Just be sure to always supervise your pup while at the dog park, and keep him on a leash to prevent any unexpected nastiness while interacting with other dogs.

Following these simple tips can help reduce nastiness in your Cocker Spaniel, as well as improving behavior and providing a healthy and happy lifestyle. By ensuring your pup has the exercise and mental stimulation he needs, you can help keep him contented and problem free.

Portrait of an English Cocker Spaniel

Addressing Any Health Problems That May Be Contributing To Unruly Behavior

As a pet owner, it’s important to determine if your Cocker Spaniel is in any physical discomfort that could be contributing to its increasingly nasty behavior. It’s important to visit the veterinarian to rule out any medical issues that could be causing the unruly behavior. The vet can perform tests to make sure that the pet doesn’t have any dental problems, infection, or other illnesses that could be causing them discomfort.

Canine health problems can definitely have an effect on their temperaments. In one case, an aggressive Cocker Spaniel stopped showing signs of aggression after being treated for an abscessed tooth. This is a prime example demonstrating the importance of ensuring your pet’s health through regular visits to the vet.

Seeking Professional Help

If any medical issues have been ruled out, then it’s time to seek advice from a professional behaviorist. They can help rule out any psychological issues, anxiety, or fear that may be the source of the unruliness.

One of the major benefits of consulting a behaviorist is their ability to tailor their advice to best suit the particular situation. They may recommend classes, or counseling, and behavior modification can be a useful tool. With these resources, the owner can begin working towards teaching the Cocker Spaniel to respond to stressful situations in a calm manner.

Strategies For Dealing With The Issue

Ensure that your Cocker Spaniel gets plenty of exercise and playtime daily, as this can have a stress-relieving effect. Keeping up a consistent training routine not only reinforces commands and obedience, but it also creates a sense of security for them.

Creating a safe place for the Spaniel can also help manage their stress levels. Designate an area of your home as a ‘safe space’, where your dog can go to chill out if they become overwhelmed by a situation.

Introducing rewards for good behavior is also a strategy worth trying wherein every time your pet behaves favorably, you reward them with treats. This reinforces the desirable behaviour and can improve the pet’s mood.

If the problem persists, you can consult a veterinarian on alternative treatments such as prescribed medications or dietary changes that could help their behaviour.

At the end of the day, the key to dealing with your Cocker Spaniel’s turning nasty is to remain patient and understanding that it takes some time and effort to improve their temperament. With the right strategies, dedication, and lots of love, it’s possible to turn things around.

Woman in Black Jacket and Black Knit Cap

Tricks For Socializing Your Cocker Spaniel And Reducing Their Nastiness Around Others

Cocker spaniels are known to be gentle and friendly. But, sometimes they can exhibit aggressive behavior, and become prone to nastiness. This can be incredibly frustrating if you’re trying to maintain their socialization and prevent them from behaving badly.

But, don’t worry – there are plenty of tricks that can help socialize your cocker spaniel and reduce their nastiness around others. Here’s what you need to do:

Train Your Pup Early

One of the best ways to reduce nastiness in your cocker spaniel is to start training them early. The earlier you train them, the easier it will be for them to see what is acceptable behavior and what isn’t.

Keep it positive and fun for them. To do this, you can incorporate positive reinforcement training (PRT) into their training. Verbal praise, treats, and snuggles are great motivators and will help them learn the behavior you expect from them.

Additionally, the more regularly you train them, the faster they will get used to the social skills they need.

Introduce Them To Different Experiences

Another important step in socializing your pup is to introduce them to different experiences. Take them to the park, walk them around your neighborhood, or if you’re feeling brave, invite some children over for a play date. This is a great way to help them become accustomed to situations and people they wouldn’t normally be around.

Plus, they’ll get some much-needed exercise, which is always good for them both physically and mentally.

Monitor Your Pup’s Playtime

It’s also important to keep an eye on your pup when they’re around other people. If they start exhibiting bad behavior, like snapping or growling, then intervene immediately. This will help them make a positive association with other people and learn what is and isn’t acceptable.

You should also be mindful of how others are interacting with your pup. If someone is being too rough with your pup, then step in and make it clear that’s not ok.

Seek Help From Experts

If you feel like you need some extra help to make sure that your pup is behaving properly around others, consider seeking help from a qualified animal behaviorist. They will be able to provide specialized advice and assistance to help you and your pup combat nastiness.

You can also look online for advice, tips, and tricks from other pet owners who have experienced the same issue. Networking with other pet owners can be incredibly helpful, and can really make a difference in how your pup behaves.

These are just a few of the ways that you can help socialize your cocker spaniel and make sure they’re not behaving badly around other people. With the right approach, you’ll be able to teach your pup the behavior you expect from them and help them become a well-behaved pooch.

Brown Cocker Spaniel Dog on Green Grass

Getting Professional Help If The Situation Becomes Too Much To Handle Alone

Owning a cocker spaniel can be an incredibly rewarding experience. With the right training and socialization, they can be the cornerstone of your family. Yet, while they are relatively easy to train, even the most experienced owner can encounter issues with a cocker spaniel turning nasty at some point.

If your beloved pet is experiencing difficulties and your own DIY methods aren’t helping, the best course of action may be to seek professional advice. Bringing in a third party with the qualifications and experience necessary to assist can often be the key to resolving difficult issues.

Finding A Suitable And Qualified Trainer

When selecting a trainer for your cocker spaniel, it is important to find someone who is certified, with specific experience of working with similar breeds. Look for someone with reliable and trustworthy credentials, as well as a conversational style and energy that matches yours.

The trainer should also have a wealth of positive recommendations and be willing and able to show both the spaniel and its owners in a positive light.

Professional Help For The Best Interest Of Spaniel and Owner

It is unfair – and not to mention near impossible – to expect an owner to have the same level of knowledge as a professional trainer. Bringing in a knowledgeable, certified and experienced trainer specifically trained in this breed is often the best course of action to take.

A professional can help to fine-tune any existing training and will be able to recommend any additional necessary training, as well as provide support to both the dog and its owners. They can help to strike a balance between the dog’s physical and emotional needs and refine the bonds between dog and its owners.

Seeking out professional advice enables the owners and the spaniel to have the best outcome, in an atmosphere of understanding, respect and joy.

cocker spaniel turning nasty

Creating Rules & Boundaries To Reinforce Good Behaviour & Discourage Nastiness

In this article, we’re going to go over how to encourage good behaviour, discourage nastiness, and create strong rules and boundaries for our beloved Cocker Spaniels. It’s important to establish clear expectations for our pup regarding their place in the family and what will and will not be tolerated.

Tips on Establishing Rules & Boundaries

The best way to ensure your pup understands what you expect from them is to remain consistent with commands, rewards and punishments. Make sure to follow through with any threats and rewards that you promise your pup. This way, they learn that you mean what you say. A story or anecdote can often illustrate how rules and boundaries help a Cocker Spaniels prove that they can trust you and learn to change their behaviour.

For example, one family had a Cocker Spaniel that was regularly getting into trouble and acting out. After developing clear rules and boundaries, sticking to them and providing consistent rewards for good behaviour, the pup began to show remarkable improvement in his attitude and behaviour. This pup had been struggling to prove that he could be trusted, and with the help of the new rules and boundaries, he finally saw that he could get what he wanted by behaving in the right way.

The Benefits of Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is also an important tool when it comes to reinforcing good behaviour. Rewarding desirable behaviour with prizes, praise and play can be a great way to encourage our pup to repeat it. For example, offering a few small treats, such as puppy biscuits or bite-sized pieces of cheese, for good behaviour can really help to reinforce our commands. Praising them for acting in desirable ways and offering play time when our puppy does the right thing can further reinforce their good behaviour.

Alternatives To Nastiness

Sometimes when a Cocker Spaniel is acting out and displaying nastiness, it’s because they are simply bored. Learning new skills, such as agility training can help provide your pup with healthy outlets and a sense of fulfilment. Agility training can redirect their negative energy and help focus them on more positive, productive behaviour.

In addition, regular and consistent walking routine can provide physical and mental stimulation for your pup. They need regular exercise to help drain off all that excess energy, and walks can provide them with quality bonding time with you. It’s important, however, to set clear expectations with your pup when going on walks. Make sure they understand they are supposed to be on a leash at all times when in public and that they need to be respectful when meeting other dogs and people. Make sure to reward them for desirable behaviours and make sure they know not to repeat any bad behaviours.


In conclusion, establishing clear rules and boundaries can help to create a positive environment for your pup and make them understand their place in the family. Positive reinforcement can help reward good behaviour, while redirecting negative energy through activities like agility training can keep your pup mentally and physically stimulated. Finally, make sure to take your pup for regular, consistent walks and to make sure they understand the boundaries for behaviour when in public.

Man Wearing Black and Brown Fur Hoodie Jacket and Blue Pants Holding Dog Leash Beside White Short Coat Dog

Tips For Keeping Calm When Dealing With A Naughty Cocker Spaniel

It’s common for Cocker Spaniels to show off their naughty side from time to time. Knowing how to stay calm and respond to their behavior is essential for maintaining a positive relationship. Here are some tips that can help you handle a naughty Cocker Spaniel in a positive way.

Remind Yourself that It’s Natural

Remember that your Cocker Spaniel’s naughtiness is just a part of who they are. They have an incredibly high level of energy that they need to express in some way. With proper training, you can channel this energy into positive behaviors and activities.

Establish Reasonable Boundaries

Make sure that you have clear boundaries on the behavior you accept and the behavior you don’t. Even when your Cocker is being naughty, remain firm and consistent in your expectations. This is the best way to ensure that your Cocker understands what kind of behavior is expected.

Redirect Naughty Behavior

Rather than punishing your Cocker every time they do something naughty, try to redirect this energy towards more positive activities. If you find them digging in the yard, give them another activity to do like playing with a toy. Rewarding the behavior you want to see will help them learn what is and isn’t acceptable.

Provide Plenty of Mental Stimulation

Cocker Spaniels are extremely smart and need ample mental stimulation in order to stay calm and happy. Offer plenty of different exercises, toys, and games to keep them engaged and entertained. If your Cocker gets bored easily, mix up the activities to support their curiosity and intellect.

Exercise Your Cocker Regularly

While mental stimulation is important, they must also get plenty of physical activity each day. Take them on regular walks, play fetch, or go for a swim. Giving your Cocker a chance to run off some of their energy will go a long way in preventing naughty behavior.

Dealing with a naughty Cocker Spaniel can be difficult at times, but it doesn’t have to be impossible. By reminding yourself that their behavior is natural, establishing boundaries, redirecting their energy to more positive activities, providing mental stimulation, and exercising your Cocker regularly, you can help them become the best version of themselves.

Person Playing Ball with the Dog

Adopting Positive Reinforcement Strategies To Make Training Easier

Positive reinforcement is a great tool when it comes to Cocker Spaniel training. It involves rewarding the dog with things they enjoy, like food treats, small toys, or verbal praise, in response to desirable behavior. This technique motivates the dog to repeat positive behaviors and presents an enjoyable training experience for both the animal and their owner.

Small Rewards Make A Difference

Positive reinforcement makes a world of difference in training these lively and bright animals. Unlike other methods, positive reinforcement rewards the dog with something that they enjoy, while simultaneously reinforcing desirable habits. Selecting the right rewards will largely depend on the individual dog, as particular breeds can differ in the types of treat or playing that motivates them the most. It’s important to remember that the more your Cocker Spaniel enjoys the rewards, the better their response will be to the positive reinforcement.

Patience and Consistency Lead To Success

When utilizing this method for training, it is essential to remain consistent in both behavior and rewards. If a desired behavior is not done correctly, do not reward the dog. If there are activities that your Cocker Spaniel does often that induce negative behaviors, such as aggression or barking, it is important to acknowledge and reward them for behaving well. Experimenting with different rewards may be necessary in order to find which reward works best for that particular animal.

The Downsides Of Not Using Positive Reinforcement

Not using the proper positive reinforcement training methods, such as the use of verbal praise and treats, can be damaging to your Cocker Spaniel. This type of dog can quickly become frustrated and start to display negative behaviors, such as chewing, jumping, and barking. Without the proper incentive to behave correctly, it becomes harder for owners to correct and/or reward them appropriately.

Personal Challenges Of Training

I remember when I first adopted my Cocker Spaniel, I was presented with an overwhelming number of challenges to tackle. He was only a puppy but was showing small signs of nastiness, which I immediately needed to curb. After experimenting with different potential rewards and a few weeks of consistency and patience, I did eventually manage to calm and train him successfully.

The Resounding Benefits Of Positive Reinforcement

The most obvious takeaway from my experience was the success of turning my Cocker Spaniel’s nasty behavior around with positive reinforcement. Over time, simple strategies such as rewarding treats and spoken compliments at appropriate moments led to significantly improved behavior. Having a positive reinforcement training plan in place allows for a stronger bond between the dog and their owners and results in improved responsiveness. My Cocker Spaniel is now fully trained, with minimal to no instances of barking or aggressive behaviors. The transition from his naive puppy self to my loving and loyal companion was seamless and all thanks to the power of positive reinforcement.

Golden fluffy dog under blue sky


Cocker Spaniels can sometimes display nasty behavior. Training techniques, positive reinforcement strategies and establishing rules & boundaries are all great ways to help discourage bad habits and keep your Cocker Spaniel on the right path. Additionally, addressing any underlying health issues, keeping your dog mentally stimulated and providing plenty of socialization opportunities can also contribute to a happy and well-behaved pet. If all else fails, it is a good idea to seek professional help. With the right tools and techniques, you can manage the nastiness of your Cocker Spaniel.

Editor's Pick

  • how long does it take for a puppy to learn its name
  • how long can puppies be left alone
  • how long can a 6 month puppy hold it

Leave A Comment

Related Posts

  • how long does it take for a puppy to learn its name
    Continue reading
  • how long can puppies be left alone
    Continue reading
  • how long can a 6 month puppy hold it
    Continue reading