How to tell what your Cocker Spaniel is thinking

Cocker Spaniels are a sensitive breed that like to be kept company for most of the day. If you’re a Cocker owner, you’ll want to know when something is bothering your little dog, or when something has made him happy. Here are the signs to look out for.

Your Cocker Spaniel is happy

Cocker Spaniels are famous for their happy-go-lucky natures and will generally be in good spirits unless they are feeling under the weather or something has made them uneasy. A happy Cocker has a relaxed posture. The tail will of course be wagging! You might also find that your Cocker appears to be smiling a little with his mouth slightly open and perhaps panting.

Your Cocker Spaniel is feeling playful

Younger Cockers will be especially playful on walks, and when they meet another dog they will usually want to invite them to play. One of the first invitations to play is the “play bow” where the dog sticks his bottom in the air and his front paws and head close to the ground. He might also run away to encourage the other dog to chase him. There will also be lot of bouncing around and running in circles. Be prepared for some barking and yelping!

Your Cocker Spaniel is scared

A fearful dog will often hunch over and try to make himself look smaller, a bit like when he’s going to the toilet. He might look away to show he is submissive and not a threat. Some Cockers have also been known to urinate when they feel particularly threatened. Don’t get angry if this happens – you’ll only make him feel even more fearful. Other signs of feeling nervous or fearful include licking the lips, and sometimes rolling onto the back to expose the belly (this shows other dogs he is being submissive).

Your Cocker Spaniel is dominant

In general most Cockers aren’t overly dominant. However, you may find one or two who take it upon themselves to display “top dog” behaviour. Look out for a Cocker that stands very tall and proud, and tries to stand over another dog. The tail will be held high and stiff and the dog might growl a bit.

Your Cocker Spaniel feels aggressive

It’s very rare to see a Cocker that is naturally aggressive, unless he has been mistreated or has a neurological disorder. However, look out for the classic sign of aggression which is when the teeth are bared and the muzzle wrinkles up in a snarl. Barking and growling will probably follow. It’s best to remove your Cocker from the situation completely if possible.

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