How to Groom Your Cocker Spaniel

Molly O'Shea By Molly O'Shea, 11th Jul 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Pets>Dogs

Few things are as beautiful as a cocker spaniel trotting merrily around the yard. With a coat flowing freely, and distinct fluid movement, they present beauty to be envied. It's not as hard as you many think to keep a cocker spaniel looking beautiful, but it does take some time and practice.

How to Groom a Cocker Spaniel

Cocker spaniels are gentle and affectionate dogs, but learning how to groom a cocker spaniel can seem daunting. Their soft silky hair is usually thick, often long, and it requires a great deal of attention to prevent matting and tangling. The mere thought of caring for all of that hair is enough to leave anyone feeling apprehensive, but if you take one step at a time, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming.

Start brushing and combing your dog (or puppy) the day you bring him home. Use a diluted leave in conditioner to mist your cocker’s coat while doing this. It will prevent drying, help keep ends from splitting, and assist in easing out tangles. Even if your pup doesn’t have enough hair to need grooming, take a few minutes and start introducing the process.

Cocker spaniels that have had professional grooming are already familiar with the feel and sound of grooming equipment. Dogs lacking experience, and those remembering bad grooming experiences, need slow and patient introductions. With the clipper and dryer turned off, let your cocker sniff them. Turn each one on and let the dog become accustomed to the sound.

Move the clipper over the dog’s body several times, then turn it on again and gently hold it against his side. Do this until your dog accepts the clipper without moving away. Next session, hold the running dryer close to your dog, repeating the action until he accepts the dryer. Praise him for each acceptance.

When you begin cutting your dog’s hair, his face and the area around his ear canal (including the under side of the upper ear leathers) should be trimmed very short. The hair on his ears, the top of his head, his neck, back, under the tail area, and down his sides should be longer. Leave his legs, and lower sides, with the longest hair. Use a thinning scissors to blend each length of hair into the next.

Keep the clipper blades lubricated to promote smooth running, and touch them often to check their temperature. If they’re becoming hot, change clipper heads or take a break until the blades cool down. This will prevent clipper burn on your dog, and prolong the life of the blades.

Cocker spaniels require regular bathing. Some owners bathe their dogs weekly, while others wait much longer. It’s a personal preference, and often dictated by the needs and activities of the dog. When bathing, use a good quality shampoo, rinse with warm water, and repeat until your dog is clean and shampoo free. Follow with a cream rinse, or leave in conditioner, which helps keep the hair sleek and shiny, and makes combing easier.

Gently dry your dog by blotting with a towel. (Rubbing can damage their hair just as it can your own.) After removing most of the water, comb through the dog’s hair starting at the bottom and working upward in layers. Next, use the blow dryer for a few minutes, and then alternate between drying and combing. If you don’t dry and comb your dog at this point, grooming will be more difficult later due to tangling. Mats will also form more easily.

When blow drying the dog, keep your hand where the hot air hits his body, so you feel the air temperature. This helps prevent burning your cocker spaniel. Many owners use stand or cage dryers, however a hand held hair dryer works as well.

Before starting your dog’s bath, gently put cotton in his ears to keep water from entering the ear canal and causing an infection. Cocker spaniels are prone to ear infections, because the ear leather covers the canal opening and hinders air circulation. Keeping the hair in and around the outer ear canal trimmed short allows more airflow. Infection is a possibility when plucking this hair, so trimming is a better option.

Check his feet and legs regularly, because the profuse feathering there picks up dirt and debris quite easily. This is one reason some owners keep their dogs in shorter cuts, which also require less attention and are cooler in summer. In addition, keep the hair on your cocker’s face trimmed short to help maintain that adorable cocker look.

Go ahead; give grooming your cocker spaniel a try. No matter how your first venture into trimming your cocker’s coat goes, always remember - that hair is going to grow back and usually at an alarmingly fast rate! Good luck, and give that cocker spaniel a hug!


Cocker Spaniel, Grooming

Meet the author

author avatar Molly O'Shea
Currently, I am living in a small rural town with a cocker spaniel, a Chihuahua, and a Burmese mix kitty. I'm working as a freelance writer, and have written articles on subjects from pet care and home decorating, to domestic violence and substance ...(more)

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author avatar AbbyMac
16th Jul 2010 (#)

Enjoyed your article. Well written!

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author avatar Denise O
31st Aug 2010 (#)

Good job on the article.
I will tell my friend to visit, as she has a cocker spaniel.
Thanks for sharing some great tips.

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author avatar Jerry Walch
2nd Sep 2010 (#)

I had a Cocker Spaniel once. Right now I have two Huskies (one Siberian, one Malamute) and seven cats.

Nicely written article. Welcome to Wikinut.

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