They are everywhere! Sprouting up like mushrooms around every corner! The latest must have accessory! As pet pooches, on the Agility scene, to the highly competitive world of Field Trialling. The internet is awash with them - pups for sale - trained, part trained, free to a good home - dogs for Stud from the prestigious FTCH at 400 a bonk to the one eared cross eyed three legged pet dog who will give his services for a quick 50 quid! The working strain of the Cocker Spaniel - has arrived!
In the last few months I have received two separate cries of help with remedial training for some very wayward cockers! 8 - 10 month old pups who were bought by families to replace their retired Labrador shooting companion. Both of these cockers were of serious Field Trial Champion breeding. The revved up formula ones of the Cocker World and quite frankly should not have been unscrupulously sold into these two unsuspecting homes.
Let us get a few facts straight shall we The Working Cocker Spaniel is a good retriever but it is a HUNTING dog primarily. This natural instinct to hunt and find game, has been selectively bred over many generations! The higher Octane the breeding the more pace and drive it will have. The dog has to be TRAINED to keep close. The dog has to be TRAINED not to chase. It has to be TRAINED not to chase rabbits, hares, birds, deer, squirrels, ducks, etc, etc, etc. This applies to your pet dog on a country walk, your shooting dog or competition Field Trial dog. The cockers natural instincts must be guided and controlled if you are to avoid having a hoodlum ranging the countryside or life on the end of a long lead.
94 saw me acquire my first cocker and thus began a passion. At Contrail Cockers I have consciously and deliberately set out to have dogs that suit my temperament. It is paramount for me to have a lively and intelligent dog that is very biddable to work with. Through the last 17 years I have seen and come into contact with many different dogs. The Field Trial world has brought me into close contact with all the top bloodlines in the country from which I have been able to cherry pick to use genetically for their trainability by a sensitive and informed handler. Believe you me there are some hard headed little devils about that need a dedicated and very firm hand to control.
So you still want a cocker OK, a word of advice. Start as soon as you get your pup home. Get your basic obedience in while you can beat the dear little wretch over a 50 metre standing flat out sprint!! Anyone who takes a puppy from the Contrail blood lines automatically gets free tuition for their first basic training. By offering this expertise, I avoid receiving a distress cry of help when the pup is entering its adolescence.
Maybe it is best to have a little reflection before you too become a Dedicated Follower of Fashion.