Why did I have to fall in love with a breed that requires so much grooming???
Those of you who know me know that I am completely and totally in love with this breed. They are almost a perfect match for me. Energetic, smart, funny, athletic, friendly, cheerful, and biddable. They are a great breed for someone interested in performance events. They love to work and their love for cookies makes this a fabulous breed to train for someone (me) who prefers to have a lighter hand when training. In fact, heavy handed training methods do not usually work with this breed. There is no need for a battle of wills with my dogs... they work for food and a few extra snuggles.
I also love the size of this breed. A 200 vari-kennel is just about perfect for traveling with to shows, yet they are large enough and hardy enough to play at the dog park with goldens and labs. I cringe sometimes when I see smaller breeds of dogs at the dog park running with much larger breeds of dogs. No need to worry about my cockers. They run, jump and play with the big dogs and yet make nice playmates for smaller dogs as well.
I love the snuggling capabilities of this breed. They are never happier than when they are in your lap, shoving a toy in to the crook of your neck and then dropping it in favor of wet kisses all over your face. They are so charming and happy. All people are their friends, all dogs are their playmates. All tennis balls are for fetch and birds are for chasing.
Overall, this breed is a wonderful match for an active home that does not mind a dog who can't keep four on the floor (-:
However, this breed needs regular grooming!!! They need to be combed out every other day and need to be groomed about every 6 weeks. When an ECS is spayed or neutered, or clippered, they tend to grow even more coat and will need even more grooming. They need their nails trimmed, ears cleaned out, clippering, stripping, feet scissored, the list goes on. If you like grooming yourself, that is great, but if not, you should expect to have a *very* good relationship with your groomer. You should shop around for a groomer just as you would look for a veterinarian. Try to find someone that you like and trust as you will have an ongoing, long term relationship. It is in the best interest of your dog if you can find a groomer who will listen to you and who you can completely trust. All groomers are NOT created equal. Find one that you and your dog like and feel you can work with.
Get your English Cocker on scheduled grooming visits and stick with the schedule. Puppies should be taken to the groomer for face and feet trims and baths in order to get accustomed to the environment. It is not fair for you to expect your puppy to have a full haircut for the first time at 6 months of age. Your puppy need to be trained to accept and behave for grooming just as you will train a sit and a down. If you will use a professional groomer, your puppy needs to learn to be groomed and handled by strangers at a young age. I recommend the first grooming appointment be made for age 16 weeks, as soon as your puppy has had all of his or her puppy vaccinations.