A cocker spaniel is an active dog with heavy exercise requirements. If not exercised properly, they can become destructive and take out their energy on the owner's belongings. The same is true if they are left alone for long periods of time. Because they were bred for hunting, these dogs can sometimes seem hyperactive. In fact, a couple of daily walks plus a weekly run in the park should be enough exercise to keep the most active dog satisfied. A cocker spaniel loves structured learning, and will do quite well in agility training and ability work.
These dogs make excellent family pets and tend to be more accepting of children than other breeds. While of course this varies with each particular dog, cocker spaniels are usually dedicated animals with a great deal of playfulness. They make excellent play companions, but tend to resent teasing, which means they do better with older children. These dogs can share a home with other animals, including cats, other dogs, and even small mammals, but early socialization is key and can make all the difference in how the dog will take to the presence of other species.
Cocker Spaniels require quite a deal of grooming and clipping. Daily brushings are encouraged, especially after walks in the field, and monthly professional grooming is recommended. This can add up in the long run, so it is important for people to remember this expense when considering this breed.
These dogs can sometimes get themselves in a lot of trouble because of their tracking abilities. Dozens get lost every month trying to track their owners after they have left home, and unless the owner has a fenced yard, leaving one outdoors alone is a big risk. Loneliness and boredom are the two major causes of misbehavior in cocker spaniels, but as long as they are actively involved in the everyday activities of the family, they can make excellent pets.