My Cocker Spaniel has just unexpectedly started barking and I almost spat my mouthful of coffee all over the laptop. Sound familiar? Just why do Cocker Spaniels bark a lot more than most other breeds?
Cocker Spaniels bark a lot because their bark is their natural response. It’s their warning or their reply to a situation. Somebody knocking on the front door, ringing the doorbell, the telephone ringing or other similar noises are all things that can set a Cocker Spaniel off barking.
Here is a video about dogs barking from attention. This is taken from our official youtube channel. Although the video isn’t specifically about Cocker Spaniels, the advice given applies.
So let’s take a look at how we can go about to stop the barking or at least reduce it to barking at more appropriate times.
Why do Cocker Spaniels Bark A lot?
All dogs bark, it’s a fact of life. Not only will some dogs bark more than others but some breeds are more prone to barking than others.
And the lovely Cocker Spaniel is one of the most notorious barkers there is despite their lovely temperament.
As I’ve said earlier, a dog’s bark is the way they communicate. It’s their way of letting you know things. That’s the plain and simple answer. I’m sure you will agree though that it’s rather annoying when your dog barking reaches excessive levels and your pooch seems to be barking at everything or for no reason at all.
Have you ever noticed that your dog, or maybe another dog you know, is capable of producing different sounding barks?
My little boy Guinness lets out his usual typical bark either when we are playing in the garden with a toy or if the doorbell goes and he’s excited to see who’s come to visit.
He does a slightly more aggressive sounding bark if he bumps into strange dogs when he’s out for a walk and they aren’t too friendly towards him. It’s a more rough sounding bark if that makes sense, almost with a bit of a growl in it. It has a threatening tone towards it if you get what I mean.
A Cocker Spaniel will continue to bark a lot for the rest of his days if you don’t get it under control. The first course of action it to try and understand what it is that is actually making your dog bark.
So, Why Do Dogs Bark?
I won’t lie here. There’s a multitude of reasons that your dog could be barking so let’s explore them below in no particular order.
- Attention seeking: All dogs love attention but none more so than Cocker Spaniels. Actually any Spaniel falls into this category. Does your dog bark when he wants to play or go for a walk. Maybe he’s letting you know that he needs the toilet or if he’s anything like my Cocker Spaniel, he barks when he wants to jump up on the settee next to you but there’s no room……actually, my dog doesn’t do the latter anymore, he just jumps straight up without a care where he lands…..he’s old and I love him so I’ll let him off.
- Poorly Socialized: This is often the most common cause of dogs barking. The very best thing for a new puppy is to get them around other humans and especially other dogs as early as they can be. For instance, group puppy training classes can be ideal. I know it can be a right pain trying to get your puppy to listen when it’s distracted by all its new friends but it will pay off in the long run.
- Loneliness Or Boredom: I touched on the boredom bit earlier when I suggested that your dog may bark when he wants to play, however, if you have neighbors telling you that your dog is barking when you’re out or you can hear him when you come back, then the poor dog may simply be lonely.
- Separation Anxiety: This kinda falls into the same category as the loneliness above. Usually, a dog suffering from separation anxiety will start barking the second it’s left alone. Usually, some very destructive behavior follows.
- Other Dogs Barking: Argghhh this was the most annoying one for me. The second my Cocker heard another dog bark, off he would go barking like mad, often breaking out into a howl. I will admit the howl was quite funny and kinda cute but that quickly wore off.
- Territorial Barking: This is more common than most people think. Territorial barking is pretty simple that a dog barks when a human or dog that it doesn’t know, approaches his territory. Usually, this is the front or back garden. If a stranger enters your dog’s home and he’s a territorial barker, have some earplugs at hand because you’re in for a loud time.
How To Stop The Barking
Ah, the million-dollar question haha. Truth be told, you don’t want to stop your dog from barking entirely. He has to tell you what he’s feeling somehow, right?
So let’s take a look at some of the situations that I described above and see how we can go about stopping your dog from barking in those circumstances.
Why Does My Dog Bark When The Doorbell Rings?
This usually boils down to 2 things. He’s either very excited about who’s coming to visit or its the poorly socialized scenario. Your dog knows somebody who is unfamiliar is about to enter his domain.
This can also fall into the territorial barking category.
Solution: As I’ve already mentioned, getting your puppy socialized with humans and other dogs as early as possible will help massively with this sort of barking problem. If your dog is a young pup, get him enrolled in group puppy training classes. If he’s an older dog, correcting this problem will prove much harder and take a lot longer.
EDIT: Some people like the fact that dogs bark in these circumstances as they can act as a deterrent towards burglars but it’s really not advised to keep letting your dog bark this way.
The easiest away to identify if your dog is attention-seeking with his barking is by his behavior. What I mean by that is, when he’s barking, does he lie down or roll on his back. Does he look alert and ready to jump, run and play the same way he does when you are playing fetch with him?
If this sounds familiar, then yes, your dog barking, in this case, is most definitely attention-seeking.
Solution: In this case, whatever you do, you must not acknowledge that your dog is behaving this way. Completely ignore him and do not give in. In most cases of attention-seeking barking, a dog will eventually give in or at least go quiet for a period of time.
What you should do next is, once he’s been quiet for a little while, call him to you but have him sit and pay attention to you. If he had a toy when he was barking he obviously wanted you to play so make sure you play with him using that toy.
The idea behind this is that if you just give in and give him attention because of the barking, it will send him the wrong signals and he will think that all he has to do to get his own way is to persistently bark at you. If you keep at this routine of ignoring him then calling on him when he’s quiet, he will quickly learn that barking doesn’t get him what he wants.
This problem seems to be one of the hardest to conquer according to my online research. When I say research, I mean according to the many forums and Facebook groups that I’m a member of. Also, it was the biggest barking problem I had with my Cocker Spaniel, Guinness.
So territorial barking is when your dog feels threatened by other people or other dogs near his domain. Usually, if my dog was in the front garden and people were walking past or heaven forbid, the postman was trying to do his job, then little Guinness would go absolutely crackers, barking away like mad.
The same can be said about our back garden. We have 6ft high fences that are double boarded and you can’t see through but as soon as he hears somebody next door, off he goes with the barking.
Territorial barking can also happen when you’re out for a walk. The territory your dog is protecting is you, his owner, his life really. This problem can be magnified if your dog also has poor social skills.
Now a great tip I read to stop the barking when the postman arrived had some sweets for the dog on the gate so when the postman arrived, he could throw a few treats to the dog. Now I never actually tried this but a friend did and she said it worked at treat….no pun intended.
However we live in England where it rains a lot so often, my friend’s dog wasn’t outside when the postie arrived. The result was her Cocker was barking mad at the window because the postie was there and her dog was going to miss his treats.
She described this solution as solving one problem by creating another.
I’m not going to lie, my Cocker is over 12 years old now and I still cannot get him to remain quiet when the postman comes. Also, we have had the same neighbors for 12 years yet he still barks when he hears them in the back garden….I’ve just put this one down to excitement.
Your Dog Is Lonely And Bored
h this is another very very common problem when it comes to barking. Most of us have lives which involve work and as a result, our beloved dogs are often forced to spend many hours throughout the day on their own.
I’ve lost count how many times I’ve read on a forum or Facebook where the poster says their neighbor has told them that their dog has been barking from almost the second they left the house this morning.
It’s heartbreaking really.
I’ve been fortunate over the years with my Cocker. I and my wife both worked very locally when we got our Cocker Spaniel so we could pop home in lunch breaks etc to see him.
We also had a gorgeous Show Springer Spaniel called Noodle who was only 18 months old when we got the Cocker so he had company. Factor in the fact we had retired relatives who lived within walking distance, well, we were pretty well covered so my boys were never really left for very long on their own.
Most people do not have this luxury…..so what do you do?
Solution: Cocker Spaniels have a lot, and I do mean a lot of energy. Take him out for a very long/brisk walk before you head off to work. Try your best to make sure he’s fully exercised and tired before you have to leave him. Doing this gives your dog the best chance to settle and rest before he starts getting bored.
Make sure he has his favorite blanket and a selection of his best toys so not only is he comfy, but also he can have a good play and chew on whenever he gets the urge.
If you are popping home on an hour’s lunch break, wait until just before you are about to head back out before you feed him. Most dogs, after getting a bellyful of food will make a trip to the toilet then settle down to sleep their lunch off…..Ideal timing if he’s going to be left alone.
Now I’m sure there’s a ton of things I’ve missed out from this article but I’m just posting things as I go and when they pop into my head and I will be coming back to update this post as and when I think of things.
Thanks for reading.