Shorewood Cocker Rescue, Inc.

WI License Number:  267260-DS

Help for Your New Arrival

The First Few Days

Your new family member has arrived. You are excited and want to show him off. Wait !!!!!   Although he may not show it outwardly, he is stressed. In the last month or so he has been uprooted from his home, spent time in a shelter or even running the streets. He thought he found his home when he felt the love of his foster family. Now he has lost that too. He is upset and frightened. Don’t add any more to his plate! Let him relax, give him some space. These first few days are important in developing the relationship you will have with this dog for the rest of his life. Give him time to learn to trust you before adding a lot of new experiences. You have years to explore the world together. He can get to know the neighbors next week.

All dogs will go through an adjustment period. The timeframe involved will vary from one dog to another. You may experience behaviors that did not happen in the foster home and it’s important to realize that dogs do react differently in different situations or environments. Our volunteers are available after adoption to offer suggestions or recommendations to help you.

Some common things you may experience during this adjustment process include:

     -- An accident in the house as a means of marking territory.
     -- Even dogs who are housetrained may have accidents during their adjustment period.
     -- Going to the door the volunteer left from, waiting there to see if they are coming back.
     -- Wanting to go outside to check to see if the volunteer is outside.
     -- Crying at night, especially the first night.
     -- Not eating or not eating all the food in his dish.


Many Cockers gain weight easily because they will eat as much food as you give them. For health reasons, it is important not to overfeed. We recommend feeding the average adult Cocker 1 cup of dog food a day. Younger or more active dogs may need to be fed more. Smaller Cockers may need to be fed a little less. Your dog has been fed the finest dry food available while in rescue. It is important that you continue with a quality diet. It is unlikely that you will be able to buy your dog food in your local grocery store. Most likely you will need to buy your food from an independent retailer. Poor diet is one of the major causes of allergies and ear infections in Cockers. If you choose to save on food, you will make up the cost in vet bills.

The following webpage is an excellent source for information on what ingredients you want to avoid in dry dog foods and provides the reasons why -- Dog Food Advisor

We do strongly recommend a raw diet as it is closest to the dog's natural diet.
We feed our fosters Wellness Core unless they have some other specific need.


Praise your Cocker when he eliminates outside (giving a treat as a reward immediately is also a positive reinforcement). Don't overly chastise your pet if he has an accident or he could become afraid to go in your presence at all. This often results in a dog that sneaks off to a remote part of the house to go when you cannot see him. Instead take your dog outside right away, and then praise him when he goes. It is important to go outside with your dog and to praise them! . A small treat given immediately after eliminating is also very helpful.

Crate Training:

It's a good idea to crate a new companion when you're not at home or can't supervise him especially in the beginning. If your dog whines in the crate ignore it. Praise your dog when he is quiet. You can give your dog a treat when putting him in the crate. The crate should be a positive place, a den of his own. Make sure there is a pad or blanket for comfort and consider covering the crate in a light sheet or fleece to make it more cavelike. Establishing a routine is helpful in letting your Cocker know what to expect.

Obedience Training:

Obedience training at any age is beneficial. A dog needs to know the rules. He will be a much happier animal when he knows what is expected of him. Find a competent trainer. If possible watch a class to be sure you will be comfortable with the trainer's style. Only choose a trainer who uses positive reinforcement. You will find that obedience training will be a bonding experience for you and your dog.

Pack Behavior:

Your dog sees your family as his pack and immediately tries to find his rank in the pack. He should be at the bottom. If he challenges you it is important to set him straight through obedience training. If there is one person in the family that he questions, put that person in a position of power. For example, have that person feed him every day only after he sits or obeys some other basic command. Every dog needs a calm, assertive leader. Like with children, it's very important to be consistent with your dog. We also highly recommend books by Patricia McConnell. Click here for more information.

Sensitive Personality:

Some Cockers are considered sensitive and some are fearful of strangers. If you notice this trait in your dog don't encourage strangers to pet him/her until he/she gets to know the person. After your cocker gets to know people, you may find that he/she can be very affectionate.


Cockers may steal food off the edge of a counter or table if given the opportunity. Some like to get in the garbage and shred tissue etc. If you dog proof your home this should not be a problem. Changing your behavior, like putting shoes in a closet instead of leaving them out to be chewed is well worth it.

Eyes & Ears:

You can clean your Cocker's eyes with saline solution (made for cleaning contact lenses) or buy an eye cleaner from a pet store as necessary. Clean eyes as needed. When too much debris builds up it becomes difficult to trim the hair and may also pull at the skin creating discomfort.

Cockers are prone to ear infections because air cannot get into those long, floppy ears, but this can be prevented with routine cleaning and clipping. Ask your groomer to trim the inside of the ears very short, so air can get into your pets ears. For many Cockers, cleaning ears at least once every two weeks is helpful. We have found that cosmetic squares work well for this. Our favorite cleaner is Derma Pet MalAcetic Otic Ear cleaner.


Today's Cockers are a long haired breed and require a fair amount of grooming. It is necessary to brush them at least once a week to prevent mats and have them clipped every 2-3 months (depending on their coat). Show coated or heavy coated dogs do need grooming more frequently. The puppy cut; and the Cocker cut; which leave the coat longer are both popular with Cocker owners. Remember the coat acts as an insulator to both heat and cold and shaving your dog too short in the summer leaves him with no protection from the heat and the dog can sunburn.

Thank You for Adopting a Rescue Dog!!!

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