Cocker spaniel basic training commands

Picture taken from

Picture taken from

Good day and welcome everyone!

This is Sharda with another Cocker Spaniel newsletter.

Today let’s learn about some Cocker Spaniel basic training commands!

Sit, Stay and Come are your basic commands and the foundation of a well-disciplined Spaniel dog. A well behaved dog won’t just impress your friends and family, it will make doing daily tasks like feeding and bedtime much easier.

There is a number of training theories that say to use treats, not to use treats, use toys, use praise, and on and on.

The main goal is to get the dog to do what you want him to do so don’t stress over this small detail.

Use what works.

As a general rule of Cocker Spaniel training, sessions should always be short (approximately five to 10 minutes) and they should always end on a positive note.



The goal is for the Cocker Spaniel to put his butt on the floor with his head up looking at you whenever you say ‘sit’. Your Spaniel dog should already know and respond to his name (if not, read the first Basic Training lesson).

  1. Use a calm voice, call your Spaniel dog by his name and show your dog a treat or toy that it loves.
  2. While the Cocker Spaniel is standing show and hold the treat close to the dog’s nose and then move it just above its head while moving the treat slowly backwards. The Spaniel dog should naturally get into the sit position. As its legs are bending say ‘sit’.
  3. The very second the dog sits, give him the reward and enthusiastically say ‘Good dog!’
  4. If the dog does the wrong thing don’t give any reward and don’t fret, just try again.
  5. Keep this up until the dog has mastered the exercise. Then continue the training with varying levels of distraction.
  6. Slowly decrease the food rewards and substitute with enthusiastic praise.

Another method of Cocker Spaniel training is to have the Spaniel dog on a leash, issue the sit command and simultaneously push down on his rear with a gentle pull up on the collar.

Issue praise as though he did it all on his own.

If you follow the procedures above this latter method should only be necessary if your Cocker Spaniel simply isn’t getting it. After he performs on-leash, remove and try again.

You may also use hand signals which can be helpful when your Spaniel dog is at a distance. If you (both of you) get really good, you may even be able to stop him in his tracks with a sit command if he tries to run off.


Of the three basic Cocker Spaniel training commands, this is arguably the most difficult because your dog will want to follow you any time you move away.

When taught correctly, ‘stay’ could save your dog’s life and is a hallmark of a well-mannered Spaniel dog.

It could save his life if you have to quickly issue the command to keep him from running into a busy street.

Once your dog has mastered “sit” the next step is the “stay” command. Stay assumes that your Cocker Spaniel will maintain his position (sitting, laying, or standing) until you release him.

Without the stay, you are only asking your Cocker Spaniel to touch the ground with his butt and to get right back up. You cannot issue the stay command and expect to leave the room.

At least initially, you should only expect a few moments delay before you give a treat and release.

  1. Start by having the dog sit.
  2. Before you give a treat, issue the “stay” command and hold your hand up.
  3. When the dog attempts to stand up or move, issue a sharp “No”.
  4. Once your dog is successful at waiting for the treat, begin to take a single step to one side, and then back, followed by a reward.
  5. If your dog moves, you’ve probably asked for too much, too soon; do a shorter stay or stop for now.

Once mastered, you can eventually try bold actions like sitting on the floor, walking around him in circles or clapping your hands.

Follow each step by a reward and increase the distance.

Gradually, your Spaniel dog should enjoy and comply with the command. When you’re ready to release him, issue an “Okay” or other command.


One would think this is the easiest command since as noted in the “stay” Cocker Spaniel training command; your Cocker will want to follow you anyway and most dogs will head straight for any welcoming act.

The trick, however, is to get your Spaniel dog to come to you when something more intriguing has captured his attention. This is also a good command that can be used to keep your dog out of harms way.

Most Cocker Spaniels learn quickly that they can run faster than you–and that it’s much more fun to run free than to stay by your side (no offense).

Your dog shouldn’t be given freedom until he’s proven his dependability at coming when called. Until then, you might limit off-leash time to places where you don’t need to call him back, such as a fenced backyard.

  1. You might want to start from the “stay” command with the dog at a fair distance.
  2. Cheerfully shout, “Tiger, COME!” It may help to move backward a few feet. If this doesn’t work, try “Tiger, come, good boy,” praising him before he even comes so that he knows he’s not in trouble.
  3. Reward him for coming and start over, increasing your distance slightly.
  4. If your dog seems to be losing interest, stop the session after an easy success.
  5. Gradually increase your distance and, eventually, add distractions.

Once your Cocker performs all of the commands well you might venture out to a park or other new venue.

I hope that you learned a lot from today’s Cocker Spaniel newsletter

All the best and take care

Sharda Baker