Are Cocker Spaniels Hyper?

I recently helped a friend adopted a cute and cuddly cocker spaniel.  I don’t know much about this breed, and the foster care couldn’t give me much information.  My friend has a child with learning disabilities and I am curious about what type of behavior to expect with the breed.  With so many responsibilities that come with caring for a child, I want to know if she will be hyper or not?

I took a few moments to do a little research on this breed and my new cocker spaniel, and here is what I dug up.

Are Cocker Spaniels hyper?

Are cocker spaniels hyper?  Yes, the cocker spaniel can be a hyper dog breed.  This hyperactivity can be surprising for potential dog owners that see this breed as just so cute and cuddly.  Their heritage as a hunting dog is what creates that sometimes hyperactive behavior. 

They require a great deal of stimulation, both physically and mentally, to feel satisfied and behave more calmly.  They can be continually active and energetic at times.  If a potential dog owner has the time and energy to devote to meeting these needs, this breed makes a beautiful companion.

That adorable face and soft fur, those floppy ears, and loving eyes are a huge contrast from what a cocker spaniel owner sees when their dog doesn’t receive enough stimulation to keep hyperactivity away.

Most people might think of all the love, kisses, and snuggles they may get from a dog like a cocker spaniel.  This character, however, is just one facet of these beautiful dog breed.  While they might wake you with lots of wet kisses and be all too happy to sit beside you and share cuddles on the couch, they have another side.

The breed, as a bird dog this sporting breed is also known for its high energy activity needs.  While they are bred to be a constant companion that stayed beside their owner, they also need a lot of activity.

Without this activity, they can become hyper and act out in various ways that have nothing to do with their personality and character but more to do with what they were bred to do.

Like bird dogs, they were bred to assist and help their hunter companion find and retrieve game.   They are part of three different types of bird dogs, which are the dogs that point to where the game is, flush out the game and retrieve the game.

The cocker spaniel is a breed that flushed out the bird or game and retrieved it.  This breeding means that the cocker spaniel was bred to work with the hunter companion to help flush out the game or bird and bring it back to their owner.  They are required to stay close to their owner but remain alert to the bird or game animal’s goings-on.

This work requires that they be able to focus and stay alert while following commands and moving.  Combining all that historically needed of the cocker spaniel breed, it is understandable that they can have a lot of energy with which they don’t know how to channel.

For some dogs with high energy, physical activity will be enough to tire them out and limit bad behaviors like hyperactivity.  The cocker spaniel isn’t one of those breeds.  They require a combination of daily physical and mental activity to keep them calm and happy.

Potential dog owners must take this seriously before considering this breed unless they want to deal with an assortment of negative behaviors.

What does it mean for a dog to be hyperactive?

Hyperactive is a term that is also known as hyper kinesis.  This term defines a human or animal that displays frantic behaviors and short attentions spans.  Hyper activeness can is being impulsive and attention-seeking and is linked to ADHD in dogs and humans.

A cocker spaniel can display an inability to stay focused and pay attention and be easily distracted.  The cocker spaniel can also have high energy and sometimes become aggressive.

These behaviors don’t singly mean that a cocker spaniel or other breed is hyperactive, but when combined, it is a definite possibility.  For the cocker spaniel, these behaviors are simply a warning sign that their need for stimulation isn’t appropriately met.

Thankfully, this is fixable, creating a happy, healthy, and calmer cocker spaniel.

Can training and socialization help a hyperactive cocker spaniel?

Yes, training and socialization help a cocker spaniel with hyperactivity.  Cocker spaniels share a close relationship with their owner or companion.  If they are professionally trained and socialized from an early age, they will learn what behaviors are acceptable for them to expel this excess energy.

Socialization begins early with their littermates and mother.  Through them, a cocker spaniel learns what is acceptable and not acceptable behaviors by mimicking passively.  What one pup does, another learns to do.  What mother finds unacceptable; the puppy learns NOT to do.

When trained, whether, from a professional or their owner, they continue to learn expectations.  What also happens is when their trainer or owner learns about them, what they respond well to, and what they don’t.

What tools can be used to help control a hyperactive cocker spaniels’ behavior?

Aside from early socialization and training, a few other tools will help a cocker spaniel owner keep their down calm and less hyper.

Any good pet parent will tell you that have a tool kit and proper mindset can go a long way in controlling what would negative or harmful behaviors.

Having a proper mindset, it the first step to succeeding at controlling a hyperactive cocker spaniel.   Hyperactivity can be hard for an owner to deal with, especially on busy days or with errands and a full schedule.

The right mentality can help the owner and dog get through the day smoother.  Character traits for the owner, patience, understanding, kindness, and forgiveness can go a long way to easing the stressful moments that can crop up when a cocker spaniel is acting hyper.

Taking the time to redirect behaviors or change things up, can create a diversion or extra stimulation, which is what the cocker spaniel requires.

Having a tool kit filled with unique assorted toys and treats and a list of special activities can help control hyperactive behaviors in a cocker spaniel.  Offering one or two news toys a day, and then rotating them every day can create newness and a lack of boredom.

By changing the path that the cocker spaniel goes on daily, or what park they can keep interests high and provide mental stimulation to keep them calm and happy.

Games are another activity that any dog will love.  For the bird or gun dog, using an old ketchup bottle with gravy in it, run it across the back yard to different locations where something can hide for them to eat or bring back can be very exciting for a cocker spaniel.

Cocker spaniels at times can be a handful like a toddler, where the owner finds themselves working hard to remedy their cocker spaniel’s hyperactivity.  A toolbox filled with games, toys, and treats can provide endless diversions and stimulation.

Does gender or age play a role in hyperactivity in a cocker spaniel?

Gender doesn’t play a role in how hyperactive a cocker spaniel will or will not be.  Age can play a role in hyperactivity.  Puppies and younger cocker spaniels will have higher energy and require more mental and physical stimulation to feel satisfied.

Older dogs and dogs that have health issues will be less inclined to suffer from hyperactivity, but with this breed, they can stuff struggle.  The cocker spaniel is a dog breed that requires a great deal of attention on many levels regardless of age.

Can an illness cause hyperactive behavior in a cocker spaniel?

Yes, hyperactivity in a cocker spaniel can be caused by an illness.

This breed isn’t usually the case due to their historical background, but in rare cases, it is possible.

If a cocker spaniel suddenly starts behaving excessively hyper and there doesn’t appear to be a cause in their immediate environment, a vet check is essential.  Since dogs can’t easily communicate when they hurt or feel sick, they sometimes reveal this in their behaviors.   Humans can sometimes unknowingly pass off these behaviors and miss illness or injury.

In Conclusion

While we all have energetic moments from time to time, the cocker spaniel has high natural energy.  For the right dog owner, this can work out correctly for their day.  Other dog owners may find that the cocker spaniel is too much work, despite all the cuddles and kisses they share.

Either way, this breed is a bundle of furry joy that will melt their owner’s heart and sometimes have them hiding under the covers or a moment’s peace!