Helping Your Cocker Spaniel to Listen – Why Commands Get Ignored and How to Fix It

The Importance of Training

The Importance Of Training
Training is an essential part of a dog’s life, and for a Cocker Spaniel, it is crucial. These dogs are intelligent and energetic, requiring mental and physical stimulation to thrive. Without proper training, a Cocker Spaniel may develop behavioral issues or become unmanageable.

Training can help your Cocker Spaniel learn important commands that will make your life together easier and more enjoyable. These commands include sit, stay, come, heel, and many others that can be found in our article on 10 Commands for Cocker Spaniel that every owner should teach their dog.

Training can help to establish a strong bond between you and your dog by building trust and respect. It also helps Cocker Spaniels to be better behaved, socialized, and less anxious in different situations.

Without training, your Cocker Spaniel may exhibit negative behaviors such as barking, biting, digging, and many others. Proper training enables you to correct these behaviors in a gentle and humane way.

To learn how to teach your Cocker Spaniel to come when called, check our article Teach Cocker Spaniel Come. If you want to learn more about teaching your Cocker Spaniel tricks, check Teaching Cocker Spaniel Tricks or, if you are ready for some advanced tricks, take a look at our article about advanced tricks for American Cocker Spaniels.

Training also plays a significant role in preventing problems such as aggression towards other dogs or people. To learn how to prevent your Cocker Spaniel from barking excessively, check our article Stop Cocker Spaniel Barking or to learn how to teach your Cocker Spaniel to stay quiet on command see our guide on how to teach Cocker Spaniel to stay quiet.

Training your Cocker Spaniel to walk on a leash is also important. To learn how to do it properly, read our article on Teach Cocker Spaniel Leash.

Besides verbal commands, hand signals can be useful in training your Cocker Spaniel. To learn how to use them, check our article Cocker Spaniel Hand Signals.

Training is crucial to ensure a healthy and happy relationship with your Cocker Spaniel. It should start early to establish good habits, and it should be done with positive reinforcement and patience. Remember, the more you train your Cocker Spaniel, the better they will behave, and the more enjoyable your time together will be.

Reasons Why Your Cocker Spaniel May Not Be Listening to Your Commands

Reasons Why Your Cocker Spaniel May Not Be Listening To Your Commands
As a dog owner, it can be frustrating when your furry friend refuses to listen to you. If you’re finding it difficult to get your Cocker Spaniel to follow your commands, there could be a variety of reasons why. It’s important to pinpoint the cause of disobedience, so you can effectively address it. Below are some potential reasons why your Cocker Spaniel may not be listening to your commands. Let’s dive in and explore them together.

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Lack of Consistency

Consistency is key when it comes to training your Cocker Spaniel. If you’re not consistent in your commands and actions, your furry friend is likely to become confused and ignore your commands. Dogs rely on structure and repetition, so it’s essential to maintain consistency in your approach to training.

One way to maintain consistency is to create a training schedule and stick to it. Make a plan for when and how long you’ll train your Cocker Spaniel each day. This schedule will help your dog anticipate training, making them more willing to listen to your commands.

Another important aspect of consistency is the tone and delivery of your commands. Make sure to use the same tone of voice and hand gestures every time you give a command. By doing this, you’ll help your Cocker Spaniel associate specific actions with specific commands. For example, if you consistently use the command “sit” while raising your hand, your dog will begin to associate the raised hand with the sit command.

Additionally, it’s crucial to be consistent with the rewards you give your dog for good behavior. Use the same type of treat or verbal praise each time your dog follows a command correctly. This consistency will help your furry friend understand what they’re being rewarded for and encourage them to repeat the behavior.

Without consistency, your Cocker Spaniel may become confused and fail to understand your commands. As a result, he or she may ignore your commands altogether. By setting a clear schedule, using consistent commands, and rewarding good behavior consistently, you’ll help your furry friend understand what’s expected of them and encourage them to listen to your commands.

Consistency Tips
Create a training schedule and stick to it. This schedule will help your dog anticipate training and make them more willing to listen to your commands.
Use the same tone of voice and hand gestures every time you give a command. This consistency will help your Cocker Spaniel associate specific actions with specific commands.
Be consistent with the rewards you give your dog for good behavior. This consistency will help your furry friend understand what they’re being rewarded for and encourage them to repeat the behavior.

Distracted By Surroundings

One of the reasons why your Cocker Spaniel may not be listening to your commands is if they are easily distracted by their surroundings. Cocker Spaniels are known to be very curious and enthusiastic dogs, and they can quickly lose focus if they see or smell anything interesting around them. This can make it difficult for them to concentrate on your commands, especially if they are not well trained.

Here are some factors that might be causing your Cocker Spaniel to get distracted:

  • The presence of other people, dogs, or animals nearby
  • Noises or sounds that grab their attention
  • Movements or objects that they find intriguing
  • Unfamiliar surroundings that make them feel uneasy
  • Anxiety or stress that makes them feel uneasy or nervous

If your Cocker Spaniel is getting easily distracted during training, you may need to find ways to eliminate or minimize the distractions around them. This means finding a quiet and secluded location where you can work with your dog without any interruptions. You can also try to create a positive and relaxing environment by using calming scents or playing soft music in the background.

Here are some tips on how you can prevent distractions during training:

  • Choose a quiet and familiar place to do your training
  • Eliminate any potential distractions, such as toys or food bowls
  • Use a comfortable collar or leash to keep your dog focused on you
  • Practice in short sessions to keep your dog engaged and interested
  • Give your dog ample time to rest and recover between training sessions

Remember that training a Cocker Spaniel takes time and patience, especially if they are easily distracted. You should remain calm and positive throughout the training process, even if your dog is not responding as quickly as you would like. With consistency and plenty of positive reinforcement, your Cocker Spaniel will eventually learn to listen to your commands and behave appropriately in any situation.

Medical Issues

If your Cocker Spaniel is still not responding to your commands despite your best efforts, it may be due to medical issues. It’s essential to rule out any underlying health problems that may be causing your furry friend to ignore you. Here are some medical reasons why your Cocker Spaniel may not be listening to your commands:

Medical ConditionSymptoms
Ear InfectionHead shaking, ear scratching, ear odor, discharge, and redness in the ear canal
Hearing Loss or DeafnessLack of response, failure to wake up to sounds, unresponsiveness to calls, and unusual vocalizations
Thyroid ProblemsLack of energy, dull coat, weight gain or loss, and changes in behavior
Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS)Disorientation, confusion, changes in sleeping patterns, anxiety, and decreased interest in surroundings
ArthritisLimping, reluctance to move, stiff joints, and changes in activity level

If you suspect that your Cocker Spaniel is suffering from any of these medical conditions, take them to a veterinarian immediately. The vet will conduct the right tests and provide the necessary treatments. As a responsible canine parent, it’s crucial to ensure that your furry friend is always healthy and happy for effective training.

Tips to Help Your Cocker Spaniel Listen to Your Commands

Tips To Help Your Cocker Spaniel Listen To Your Commands
If you’re frustrated with your Cocker Spaniel’s lack of response to your commands, don’t worry -you’re not alone. Many dog owners experience this issue and it can be especially challenging with a breed known for its playful and independent nature. Fortunately, there are several techniques you can use to improve your dog’s listening skills. By implementing the following tips and tricks, you can help your Cocker Spaniel become a more obedient and attentive pet.

Giving Treats as Rewards

Positive reinforcement is a highly effective way to train your Cocker Spaniel to obey commands. While there are various ways to positively reinforce good behavior, one of the most popular methods is by giving treats as rewards. This method involves giving your furry friend a treat every time they comply with a command you gave them.

It’s essential to choose the right treats to use in this training method. Hence, make sure that you pick small, bite-sized treats that your Cocker Spaniel will love. You can use commercial treats from pet stores, or you can make your own homemade dog treats using easy-to-find ingredients.

To make it easier for you to choose which treats to give your furry companion for a specific training session, you can create a chart of the treats they love, and the commands they’ve already mastered. This html table could look like this:

TreatsCommands Mastered
Small pieces of cooked chickenSit, stay, come
Chunks of cheeseShake, roll over, beg
Small pieces of turkey hot dogLie down, crawl, jump

It’s essential only to give treats as a reward when your Cocker Spaniel obeys a command. Make sure you give them the treat immediately after they perform the desired behavior. This way, your furry pal will associate good behavior with the reward, and they’ll be more likely to repeat the behavior in the future.

However, over-reliance on treats as rewards can lead to your furry friend only obeying commands when they know they will get a treat. To avoid this outcome, you should slowly wean them off treats as they become more accustomed to obeying commands. Remember, not all training sessions require the use of treats; giving them attention and praise can also be rewarding.

Positive Reinforcement

One effective technique for training a Cocker Spaniel to listen to your commands is through positive reinforcement. This method involves rewarding good behavior instead of punishing bad behavior. By using positive reinforcement, your Cocker Spaniel will be more likely to obey your commands willingly, rather than out of fear.

Here is a breakdown of how you can use positive reinforcement to train your Cocker Spaniel:

Step 1Choose a highly desirable treat or reward that your dog loves, such as a small piece of chicken or a toy.
Step 2When your Cocker Spaniel performs a desired behavior (such as sitting on command), immediately give them the treat or reward and provide positive verbal feedback, such as “Good boy/girl!”
Step 3Repeat this process consistently every time your dog performs the desired behavior, gradually increasing the difficulty of the commands as your Cocker Spaniel becomes more skilled.
Step 4Over time, your Cocker Spaniel will begin to associate good behavior with positive rewards, and will be more likely to obey your commands even without the presence of treats or rewards.

It’s important to note that while positive reinforcement is a highly effective training technique, it may not work for every dog. Some dogs may respond better to negative reinforcement or a combination of both positive and negative reinforcement. It’s important to experiment and find the techniques that work best for your individual Cocker Spaniel.

Positive reinforcement is a gentle and effective training method that can help your Cocker Spaniel learn to obey your commands willingly and happily. By following the steps outlined above with patience and consistency, you can train your Cocker Spaniel to be a well-behaved and loyal companion.

Training in a Quiet Place

When it comes to training your Cocker Spaniel, finding the right location can make a big difference in their ability to pay attention and learn. It’s important to choose a quiet and distraction-free place to train your dog. This will help your dog focus on your commands and understand what is expected of them.

Here are some benefits of training in a quiet place:

  • Less Distractions: A quiet place can provide a calm environment with fewer distractions. This helps your dog stay focused on the training and follow your commands.
  • Better Communication: When it’s quiet, you and your Cocker Spaniel can communicate better. You can speak in a clear and calm tone, and your dog can hear you more easily.
  • Less Stress: Loud or busy environments can add stress to your dog’s training sessions. A quiet place will help your dog relax and feel more comfortable.
  • Improved Results: With fewer distractions and less stress, your Cocker Spaniel is more likely to learn and retain the training. This will lead to better results and faster progress.

Remember to choose a location that is not only quiet but also safe for your dog. Avoid places with potential hazards that could distract or harm your dog. With the right location and the right techniques, your Cocker Spaniel can learn to obey your commands and become a well-trained, obedient companion.

Shorter Training Sessions

When it comes to training your Cocker Spaniel, shorter training sessions can often be more effective than longer ones. This is because dogs have short attention spans and can become easily bored or overwhelmed if the training sessions are too long.

Why shorter training sessions work:

Better FocusWhen training sessions are shorter, your Cocker Spaniel is able to focus better, as their attention is less likely to wander.
Less OverwhelmingShorter training sessions are less overwhelming for your dog, making it easier for them to retain the information you are trying to teach them.
More PositiveShorter training sessions often result in more positive experiences for your Cocker Spaniel, which can help to reinforce the desired behavior.

How to incorporate shorter training sessions into your routine:

It is recommended that training sessions for Cocker Spaniels be no longer than 15 minutes at a time. This may mean breaking up your training sessions throughout the day, rather than trying to do all of the training in one go.

To make the most of shorter training sessions, it is important that you are well-prepared and have a clear plan in place for each session. This will help you to make your training sessions more efficient, allowing your Cocker Spaniel to learn more effectively.

Remember to always end a training session on a positive note, with plenty of praise and rewards for your Cocker Spaniel’s efforts. Over time, your Cocker Spaniel will begin to associate training sessions with positive experiences, making them more willing to listen and learn.

Using Hand Gestures

Teaching your Cocker Spaniel hand gestures can be a game-changer in improving their obedience to commands. Dogs are extremely receptive to physical cues, and hand gestures can convey a message even when you’re not verbally commanding them. Here are some tips on how to effectively use hand gestures in your training sessions:

  • Keep it simple: Use simple and easy-to-remember gestures, such as pointing your finger for “sit” or moving your hand downwards for “lie down”. Refrain from using complex gestures, as it can lead to confusion for your furry friend.
  • Pair it with verbal cues: Always pair your hand gestures with a corresponding verbal command. This can help your Cocker Spaniel understand the link between the gesture and the behavior you want them to perform.
  • Use consistency: Use the same hand gesture consistently for the same command. This will help your Cocker Spaniel associate the gesture with the command, even when it’s not paired with a verbal cue.
  • Practice: Practice your hand gestures with your Cocker Spaniel in different scenarios and environments. This can help them become more comfortable with the gestures and understand their meaning better.
  • Reward success: Reinforce the use of hand gestures with rewards when your Cocker Spaniel successfully performs the desired behavior. This positive reinforcement can motivate them to continue responding to the gestures in the future.

Using hand gestures can be a fun and effective way to communicate and bond with your Cocker Spaniel. However, remember to take your time and go at your dog’s pace during the training process. With enough practice and consistency, your furry friend will be following your hand gestures in no time.

How to Reinforce Your Training Techniques

Once you have begun training your Cocker Spaniel and have implemented some effective techniques to improve their behavior, it’s important to reinforce these methods to ensure that they become a lasting habit for your dog. Reinforcement is key when it comes to training any pet, and there are several ways to make sure that your Cocker Spaniel continues to respond positively to your commands. In this section, we’ll explore some key tips on how to reinforce and build upon the training techniques you’ve already put in place.

Be Consistent

Consistency is key when it comes to training your Cocker Spaniel. It is important to use the same commands every time you are training your dog. If you use different commands, your dog will become confused and won’t know what to do. To avoid this confusion, make a list of commands and use them consistently every time you train your dog.

Another important aspect of consistency is maintaining a consistent training schedule. If you train your dog at different times each day, they may become confused or forget the training they received previously. A set training schedule will help ensure that your Cocker Spaniel is practicing the same commands every day and will help them remember what they have learned.

It’s also important to be consistent with your rewards and consequences. If your dog does something right, reward them immediately. If they disobey, there should be a consistent consequence. This will help your dog learn what behaviors are acceptable and which are not.

Additionally, everyone who interacts with your dog should use the same commands and training techniques. If different family members are using different commands or training methods, it can be confusing for your dog and slow down their learning process. Consistency in your training techniques will help your dog better understand what is expected of them.

Consistency is crucial when training your Cocker Spaniel. Using the same commands, maintaining a consistent training schedule, being consistent with rewards and consequences, and making sure everyone is using the same techniques are all important factors in reinforcing your training and helping your dog learn. By being consistent in your training, you’ll help your Cocker Spaniel become a well-behaved and obedient member of your family.

Stay Positive

Positive reinforcement is a crucial aspect of any dog training program, including Cocker Spaniels. It’s essential to remember that your dog is not disobeying on purpose; they may be struggling to understand what you want from them. For this reason, it’s important to remain patient and positive during training sessions.

Here are some tips for staying positive when training your Cocker Spaniel:

Show PraiseWhen your dog responds correctly, praise them immediately. This will help them understand that they’ve done something good and encourage them to continue listening to your commands.
Avoid PunishmentYelling at your dog or punishing them physically will only scare and confuse them. Instead, focus on rewarding good behavior and ignoring bad behavior.
Take BreaksIf you or your dog are feeling frustrated or overwhelmed, take a break. Step away from training and come back later when both of you are feeling more relaxed.
Set Realistic GoalsRemember that training takes time, and your Cocker Spaniel may not learn everything overnight. Set small, achievable goals, and celebrate each success along the way.
Stay CalmYour dog feeds off of your energy, so it’s essential to remain calm and positive during training sessions. If you become frustrated or anxious, your dog may become the same way.

By staying positive throughout the training process, you’ll create a more productive and enjoyable experience for both you and your Cocker Spaniel. Remember to be patient and celebrate each small success, and soon enough, you’ll have a well-trained and obedient furry companion.

Start Young

Starting training with your Cocker Spaniel at a young age can greatly improve their obedience to your commands. When you introduce training early on, your dog will develop good habits that will make training sessions easier later on in their life. Additionally, young puppies are more receptive to training and are more likely to retain the training techniques you introduce.

Why Starting Young is Important

When you start training your Cocker Spaniel at a young age, you’re able to introduce basic commands and reinforce them consistently. This helps your puppy to understand what behavior is expected of them and what commands you’ll use. Starting early also helps your puppy to understand what forms of behavior are unacceptable.

It’s important to take advantage of their receptiveness to training at a younger age as it will help prevent them from developing more difficult behavior issues as they grow older. Remember that puppies thrive on praise and reward, so be sure to use positive reinforcement when training them.

How to Start Training Your Puppy

To start training your Cocker Spaniel puppy, begin by introducing basic commands like “sit”, “stay”, and “come”. Be sure to use positive reinforcement like treats and praise to reinforce their good behavior. Keep training sessions short and sweet, no longer than 10 minutes at a time as puppies have short attention spans.

Frequent training sessions throughout the day are key as this will help to reinforce what you’ve taught them. Additionally, training in different environments will help them to understand that commands apply in any situation.

Start Young: DosStart Young: Don’ts
Introduce basic commands early onAvoid using punishment or negative reinforcement
Use positive reinforcement to encourage good behaviorAvoid using long and complicated commands
Keep training sessions short and frequent throughout the dayAvoid overwhelming your puppy with too much training at once
Train in different environments to help them understand commands in any situationAvoid training in overstimulating or distracting environments

Remember, starting your Cocker Spaniel’s training early on is a great way to set them up for success in the future. Be patient and consistent with your training techniques to ensure success.


After following these tips and techniques, you should start seeing a positive change in your Cocker Spaniel’s behavior. Remember that training is an ongoing process and requires patience and consistency. If one technique doesn’t work, try another or seek the advice of a professional dog trainer. It’s important to always remember that your pup is unique and may require a different approach.

By understanding the reasons why your Cocker Spaniel may not be listening to your commands, you can take the necessary steps to address the issue. Whether it’s a lack of consistency or medical issues, being aware of these factors can help you better identify and address the problem.

The tips mentioned in this article provide effective methods to help your Cocker Spaniel listen to your commands. From positive reinforcement to training in a quiet place, these techniques can work wonders on improving your dog’s behavior. Be consistent and patient, and your efforts will be rewarded with a well-trained and obedient companion.

Remember to keep reinforcing your training techniques, even after your Cocker Spaniel starts obeying your commands reliably. This helps to ensure that the behavior becomes ingrained and that your pup maintains good habits. Stick to the training methods that work for you and your dog, and you’ll soon find that your Cocker Spaniel is a well-behaved and happy member of your family.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why won’t my Cocker Spaniel listen to me?

There could be various reasons for this behavior including lack of consistency in training, being distracted by surroundings, or potential medical issues.

How long does it take to train a Cocker Spaniel?

The length of time to train a Cocker Spaniel can vary depending on factors such as age, temperament, and the specific behavior being taught. However, consistency and patience in training are key factors in achieving success.

Should I use punishment during training?

No, punishment during training can actually harm the bond between you and your Cocker Spaniel and lead to further behavioral issues. Positive reinforcement and rewards for good behavior are much more effective.

What kind of treats should I give my Cocker Spaniel during training?

It’s important to choose treats that are both tasty and easy to break into small pieces. Soft treats or small pieces of fruits or vegetables can be a healthy and effective option.

How often should I train my Cocker Spaniel?

Short training sessions several times a day are usually more effective than one long session. Consistency in training is key, so scheduling regular training sessions each day is recommended.

Can an adult Cocker Spaniel still be trained?

Yes, adult Cocker Spaniels can still be trained, but it may take more effort and patience. However, starting training at a younger age can make it easier to reinforce good behavior as they get older.

What if my Cocker Spaniel is still not listening after training?

If your Cocker Spaniel is still not responding to commands after training, it may be necessary to revisit the training techniques and make adjustments. Working with a professional dog trainer may also be helpful.

What are some common medical issues that can affect a Cocker Spaniel’s behavior?

Ear infections, allergies, and dental problems can all cause discomfort or pain that may affect a Cocker Spaniel’s behavior. It’s important to address any potential medical issues with your veterinarian.

Should I use a clicker during training?

Using a clicker during training can be helpful in reinforcing good behavior, but it is not necessary. Verbal cues and positive reinforcement can also be effective training methods.

Is it normal for a Cocker Spaniel to have a stubborn personality?

While every dog is different, Cocker Spaniels are known for their independent and sometimes stubborn personalities. Consistency and positive reinforcement can help overcome this behavior and create a strong bond between you and your dog.


Britta Thygesen

Britta Thygesen

A passionate dog owner and a full-time certified dog trainer. Aspires to make DogCareHacks a go-to place for all the doggo info. Shares personal experience and professional knowledge.

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