Scooter, the Red and White Parti Colored American Cocker Spaniel Puppy

Scooter is a Red and White Parti Colored American Cocker Spaniel who lives in Baltimore, Maryland. He loves to get his picture taken, so this site is devoted to showing off some of his best pictures while providing some tips on raising a Cocker Spaniel puppy of your own!

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Crate Training Your Cocker Spaniel Puppy

crate training a cocker spaniel in a vari kennel

So tired!!

Crate training is nothing more than providing your dog with its own place to live. When you are gone or asleep, your Cocker Spaniel is placed in his crate. The crate's size shouldn't be too big or the Cocker will have room to go potty. Of course the crate shouldn't be too small, or else the Cocker will be cramped. Also consider where you are going to keep the crate and how much space you have. A wood dog crate is a crate that blends in like a piece of furniture. While a little more expensive than your traditional crate, it can be used as an end table in your living room serving two purposes. A wood dog crate also has side ventilation for better air circulation.

The first night we brought Scooter home, we placed his favorite toys inside his crate, along with a few towels so he wouldn't be lying on the cold bottom. We had the crate located in our family room. After about 10 minutes of peace, the new baby was squealing and crying. This wasn't working at all!!! Just like an internet savvy person should do, I jumped to google and quickly learned some tips on adjusting your new Cocker Spaniel puppy to your home. In short, we moved the crate into our bedroom and within minutes the problem was solved. Apparently, Scooter likes to hear us snore!

The key to this type of crate training and potty training is to run the puppy outside the minute you let him out of the crate. When he goes potty outside, you reward him. Scooter has never gone potty in his crate and holds it very well untill he gets outside. I once read a rule of thumb: A puppy can hold his bladder for the number of months he is plus 1. In theory if Scooter is 6 months old, then he can hold it for 7 hours. Of course he would never be alone for that long!

Another key to this being successful is getting your puppy used to being in his crate when you are not there. Your pup will bark and be terrified if you leave then alone in their crate without them being accustomed to it. We started by putting his favorite toy into the crate and letting him run in and out. The key is to let your Cocker know they can go in and out. Then we put him in for about 5 minutes while we left the apartment. We immediately came back and praised him. The next time we left the apartment for about 15 minutes and praised him when we returned. Over a few days, Scooter learned that when he is put into his crate, we will return to let him out. Now he views this time as a perfect opportunity to recharge his batteries after heavy duty playing!!

To me, the purpose of crate training is to provide an area that the dog will become accustomed to, an area where they will not go potty. However, I do believe that when the dog is completely housebroken and finished with those puppy chewing stages, that he shouldn't be forced to go into his crate. Most older dogs can handle lounging around the house on their own. Some older dogs love their crates so much that they will lay in them with the door open. This is the result of successful crate training!

When we were running around looking for a crate, we found many different types. Most seemed like very low quality crates. Maybe we looked in the wrong places, but I was not happy. The large pet chain stores had many to choose from, but the price was over ~$70. A brief google search will show you they sell for around ~$35. Shipping of course is an extra charge but it's well worth not having to deal with running your tail off around town when the Fed Ex man can drop it off at your door. The brand that I think is the best is Vari Kennel. The door is side opening, as opposed to all these weird contraptions where the entire door falls off when you open it and doors that slide up and down. I feel that a door that opens like a real human door is the most convienient. If you look at the picture below, there is a little black box on the front door. You sqeeze the top and bottom and the door opens with the right side coming towards you and the left side is hinged to the crate. The Vari Kennels have nice sturdy doors. Another important thing for me is side ventilation. The Vari Kennel crates have this, so when it gets hot, Scoot can feel the breeze!

training cockers with a vari kennel crate for puppies

There is a very sturdy handle at the top of the crate. We have never tried to carry the crate with Scooter inside, but we sure do fill the crate with all sorts of stuff when we are packing up to go somewhere for the weekend with Scooter. For instance, Scooter's crate was filled with bottles of wine and Christmas presents when we went home to my parents for the Holidays. If you are going to carry the crate, you might as well fill it with some stuff!!! I only mention this because I know some of the crates I dealt with in the stores would not be able to hold this much. The Vari Kennel is a very sturdy crate!

The size that I think fits an American Cocker Spaniel Puppy the best is the Medium Vari Kennel with measurements: 27'L x 20'W x 19'H

If you are going to buy a Vari Kennel, please buy it through the link below and Amazon will send me a small commission which will help keep up and running!

Medium Cocker Spaniel Crate - good for puppy crate training and small spaniels

The Intermediate Vari Kennel

If you have a larger cocker spaniel ~>25 lbs or you feel that your
cocker is already house broken and you wish to have a more roomy crate,
the intermediate or large one is the best option.

Edit: As of Summer 2009 - does not have the intermediate crate size for sale. Try clicking on the link above and searching for "dog crate" or "vari kennel" and see what they have.