Cocker spaniels are a well-loved breed that require lots of exercise and mental stimulation to help ward off moments of intense energy and hyperactivity. While in extreme cases the dog may have a health condition that is causing his behavior, most owners will find it can be controlled with consistency.
Tire your cocker spaniel out with lots of exercise and active play. Because of his energy level, your dog would make an excellent running partner, allowing you to exercise along with him. Take long walks, and vary the route to provide mental stimulation. As a hunting dog breed, chasing is in their nature; fetching objects such as a frisbee or ball will burn the extra calories they may consume, helping to keep them trim as well as calmer.
Make your cocker spaniel work for his food. Engage him mentally with a toy that hides the food or a treat -- such as peanut butter -- inside, forcing him to work for it. This takes care of his need for constant activity, as well as stimulates him mentally.
Reconsider his diet. Many commercial dog foods can contain inferior meats and fillers that will not provide adequate nutrition for your cocker spaniel, and could contribute to his hyperactivity. Speak with your vet about an appropriate diet for your dog that could assist in controlling his hyperactivity naturally.
Teach your cocker spaniel commands such as "sit", "down" or "quiet" in calmer moments, to be used when he is acting out.
Provide plenty of indoor toys to keep him from getting bored or demanding constant attention from you. Teach him to play a gentle game of fetch or tug-of-war inside; this allows you to multi-task but keeps your cocker spaniel engaged and active.
Praise his good behavior lavishly, and gently scold your cocker spaniel when he is acting hyper. If he refuses to calm down or respond to commands in a hyperactive moment, place him in his crate until he can calm down.
- Neutering a male cocker spaniel may calm him considerably if the behavior is related to hormones.
Lori Lapierre holds a Bachelor of Arts and Science in public relations/communications. For 17 years, she worked for a Fortune 500 company before purchasing a business and starting a family. She is a regular freelancer for "Living Light News," an award-winning national publication. Her past writing experience includes school news reporting, church drama, in-house business articles and a self-published mystery, "Duty Free Murder."