Cocker Spaniels are known to be notorious barkers. They bark to naturally communicate and respond to certain situations such as perceived danger, excitement, weird noises, or making demands. They are many triggers that can set Cocker spaniels on a barking spree.
Do not confuse barking with signs of aggression such as growling. The 2 are very different things.
The good news is that there are things you can do to at least manage a Cocker Spaniel that barks a lot.
However, there is no way to completely stop this because Cocker Spaniels are naturally vocal dogs.
Related article: Why do Beagles howls?
But before we get into how you can control the excessive barking, let us look at some of the reasons it may be happening.
- Why do Cocker Spaniels bark a lot?
- How to stop a Cocker Spaniel from barking a lot
Why do Cocker Spaniels bark a lot?
To control the level of barking in your Cocker Spaniel, you first need to identify why he may be barking so much.
This will help you to decide on which control method you can tailor for your dog to achieve the best results.
Try as much as possible to find any potential causes to the barking, how long the pooch barks before you can respond by any means. This is important to prevent you from responding to the wrong thing which may be a disadvantage to you.
So, let us look at some of the common causes of excessive barking in Cocker Spaniels.
1. Territorial barking
Dogs are territorial and protective by nature and when someone or other dogs gets into an area that they consider their territory, they give a warning by barking.
This is also the same case for Cocker Spaniels that are also protective of their family and property.
Any perceived danger, be it a delivery man or guest knocking at the door and your dog barks.
As the perceived danger gets closer, the barking gets louder.
When these canines bark because of this, they will be super alert and focused on the “intruder” and this is something that you should watch for.
The best way to deal with territorial barking is through consistent and proper socialization.
Cocker Spaniels have sweet temperaments and great personalities.
However, they are also energetic and very social animals that do not like being left alone for extended periods. They also hate not having someone or another dog to play with.
When either of these happens, they get bored and can become destructive as a way to self entertain or they could end up barking a lot.
This type of barking will happen a lot if they are left for long periods without exercise or when you are about to leave the house.
Leaving your Cocker Spaniel alone for long can also make him suffer from separation anxiety which is not only bad for the dog’s mental health but also a leading cause for excessive barking.
Make sure that you do leave the dog alone for long and ensure that he gets enough exercise.
3. Barking for attention
Cocker Spaniels love attention and affection from their hooman companions and if they do not get enough of it, they bark.
They can also bark when they want something done such as going to the dog park, wanting a treat, going to the toilet, and so on, simply making demands.
Depending on the reason for attention barking, you may want to ignore the barking until it stops before giving in to the dog’s demand. However, make sure that you do not ignore him if he wants to go potty.
4. Pain or illness
Your Cocker Spaniel may be barking due to an injury or any other health condition that may be causing him pain or discomfort.
This type of bark is usually low-pitched, continuous, and more like a plea for help.
If you encounter this type of bark, check the dog for any injuries and visit your vet if you do or don’t find any.
5. Compulsive barking
When your Cocker Spaniel gets to this level, the barking simply becomes a nuisance.
He can barks because he loves to hear the sound of his bark and at this point, it becomes more of a behavioral issue and less of a reason.
Compulsive barking is often accompanied by the dog making circles, moving along the fence, or any other repetitive movement.
You can correct compulsive barking by obedience and behavioral training in general.
How to stop a Cocker Spaniel from barking a lot
1. Ignore the barking
Ignoring the barking can be preferable if you want to reduce the level of barking in your Cocker Spaniel.
However, you should make sure that you are not ignoring the dog if he barks because he wants to potty, territorial barking, or because of a health issue.
Recommended read: How to best potty train your puppy.
This works better when you are indoors than when you go out.
And as you ignore the barking make sure that you do give you dog any attention, shout or look at him. Look away or get busy doing something else and wait until he stops barking before you can give in to his demands.
2. Create a distraction
Distracting your canine friend can be super helpful, especially if you are dealing with territorial barking.
Give your Cocker Spaniel something to take his mind off the barking stimuli and break his concentration.
You can use your voice, a metal can with coins/pebbles in it, or any other type of unpleasant noise.
However, make sure that you do not scare the dog as this can create a set of new problems. Just alter his focus from the trigger to make him think that barking brings about this unpleasant noises.
3. Have the Cocker Spaniel fetch something for you
You can manage barking by throwing something for the dog to fetch.
This can be a ball or any other toy that encourages him to keep his mouth closed as he picks it up and brings it to you.
However, you should be careful when doing this as the dog is in the process of barking because he could mistake it for a reward and encourage him to do it more.
Only do this when your dog is showing signs that he is about to bark.
4. Tire the dog
Providing your Cocker Spaniel with enough physical and mental stimulation is another way to deal with excessive barking.
Your doggo will be less inclined to bark if he is tired.
You can tire this dog by;
- Going for daily walks, 30 minutes at least.
- Organizing play sessions.
- Involving the dog in both physical and mental games such as doggie puzzles.
You can also check out our guide on how you can exercise your dog indoors.
Proper and consistent socialization will help the dog get used to different, environments, noises, and other animals too.
He will learn not to perceive them as threats which removes them as barking stimuli and reduce barking.
Make sure that you start socialization while the dog is still young.
6. Train your Cocker Spaniel to stop barking
Training will need you to be firm, consistent, and confident for you to achieve the best results.
The training sessions should also be kept short with sessions of between 5 and 10 minutes each, especially when you are dealing with a dog that has a low attention span.
Here is how you can stop you Cocker Spaniel to bark less;
Train barking on commands
- Find a barking stimulus. This can be someone knocking on the door or any other trigger.
- Wait for him to bark and say the “bark” and wait for him to stop barking.
- Give him a treat after he stops barking. Repeat 1, 2, and 3 several times.
- Remove the trigger and ask the dog to “bark.” Reward him if he barks on your command but wait until he stops barking before rewarding. Repeat.
- Try this in different places making sure that the dog’s attention is on you.
This may seem counterproductive but if you can get you, Cocker Spaniel, to bark on command he is less likely to bark if not commanded to.
Train the dog to be “quiet” on command
- Get the Cocker Spaniel to bark on command. Reward him once he stops.
- As he enjoys the reward say the “quiet” command in a firm voice, don’t shout.
- Hold the dog on his chin and get him to look at you until he is done with the treat. Say the “quiet” command once more.
- Wait for about one minute of silence before rewarding him again.
- Make a big fuss about his silence and repeat this several times.
- Get the dog to bark but this time to do not reward him but rather interrupt him as he barks with the “quiet” command. If he stops barking wait for some seconds before rewarding him.
- Repeat this severally making sure that you interrupt him as he barks every time. reward him every time he stops barking.
Once you are done, you should be able to get your Cocker Spaniel to bark and stop barking on command.
7. Seek help from a professional
If your dog is barking due to an illness or injury, you should get him checked out and treated by the vet. The dog should be quieter once he is feeling better.
You can also seek help or advice from a professional dog trainer or dog behavior expert if the compulsive barking gets out of hand and you can’t seem to get it to reduce.
My final thoughts
Different Cocker Spaniels will bark for different reasons and will have different levels of barking.
It is essential that you realize that this is your dog’s natural response to some of the things he sees/hears and a way for him to communicate with you.
From there you can pay attention and know why the dog is barking before you come up with some solutions for it.
Tell us if this guide was helpful to you by sharing your feedback in the comment section below.
There you go, WOOF!