Can Cocker Spaniels be Left Alone?

May 1, 2022

We all know Cocker Spaniels to be a loving affectionate dog breed that always wants to follow you around no matter what you are doing. But unfortunately, we can't spend 100% of our time with them.

This could be just nipping out to the shops for a few hours, catching a film, or even having to go to work all day with nobody who can just look in is available. It's really easy to forget that we are all they have in their world and this can be challenging for your Cocker Spaniel to deal with.

Whatever the case, now you are wondering, can cocker spaniels be left alone? And if so, how long can or should you.

What can too much alone time do to a Cocker Spaniel?

The results of spending time alone will vary greatly depending on the duration and how accustomed your dog is to it. Let's run through a few of the potential pitfalls that it can lead to.

Separation anxiety

Generally speaking, a Cocker Spaniel puppy or even an older dog can feel a sense of separation anxiety when they are alone. This breed of dog likes to have undivided attention and lots of it.

Who's going to give them that attention when you are gone?

As unusual as it sounds, being left home alone is something that you can train. You may have to start small and leave them for an hour or two and work your way up.

It is not recommended for a Cocker spaniel to be left alone for more than three to four hours at a time. If you know you'll be at work during the day you might want to see if it's possible to just let your dog out at lunch or even have a friend or neighbour do it for you.

Ways to Reduce the Stress of a Cocker Spaniel Being Home Alone

No matter if you have an English Cocker Spaniel or an American one there is no way to avoid your dog feeling anxiety when you are not around. There are many things we can do to mitigate the impact it will though.

Start Their Day with Exercise

If you know your going to be out for a while plan a long walk or even just throw the ball around at the park for 30-40 minutes.

By ensuring your cocker is tired before you leave its likely they'll just have a good sleep for a few hours once they get home. If they are tired from a busy morning and having a sleep and not thinking about being alone.

Get Someone to Walk your Dog

As touched on above. Hiring a dog walker to look in on your dog is a great way to ensure your cocker is well taken care of during the day. If you are choosing to opt for a walker you'll want to really research your options to ensure they are well taken care of.

We've all heard stories of walkers not actually taking the dog out or even taking on many dogs, sometimes far more than they can handle. If manageable it can be a great way to squeeze a bit of socialisation into their day too.

If you do find someone you can trust with your Cocker it will ensure they have not been left alone the entire time and they get to burn off some energy. After that, they'll likely have a long nap which will take up a lot of the extra time they've spent alone. Also, lead to far less destructive behaviour.

Crate Training

Using a crate can seem cruel to some people but it actually gives them their own space and most dogs tend to enjoy it over time. Using a crate for your dog has been shown to reduce anxiety. This can positively reduce the discomfort your dog will feel when alone.

First, you must be patient and give them time. It can take months of crate training for your pup to catch on. Once they do, you're all set! It will be far easier to start this when your spaniel is still a puppy though.

In order to encourage them make sure you give them treats and lots of praise, but only when the action fits.

Use Toys - Especially Puzzles or Kongs with Treats!

Like kids, Cocker spaniels like to stay occupied. This makes them mischievous and curious.

Too much boredom can cause them to do other things such as, getting in the trash or chewing on your favorite pair of shoes. Having a toy around will help eliminate boredom and will let them use any extra energy on their own belongings rather than yours.

Other Cocker spaniel owners say that toys with treats in them make for a fun and rewarding time for this breed and other dogs. The dog must play around with the toy by pawing, licking, or chewing to get the treats out. Take a look at Kongs filled with treats, puzzles or other types of toys available to keep your Cocker busy for a good hour at least.

For filling you can get very adventurous to keep it interesting for your dog from standard dog treats to bananas or even dog peanut butter. The options here are truly endless.

You can buy them at your local pet store, Wal mart, animal shelter, or online.

Leave on the TV or Radio

A Cocker spaniel likes to know that they are not alone. Try leaving on a tv or radio to keep them from being in complete silence.

Doing so will give the thought of someone being in the house with them. While this won't outweigh the anxiety of being alone it's a great way to take the edge off and make your Cocker feel a little more comfortable.


We never really want to leave our dog alone, and at times it's just not avoidable.

It's good to know that if we really do have to leave our Cocker Spaniels be left alone there are ways to reduce the anxiety they feel.

As detailed above there is a wide range of options available. Some you'll be able to easily implement with Cockers of any age while others are more suited when you start training puppies.

Allan  Noble
Hi, my name is Allan! I am the owner of Spaniel Advisor and I've got over seven years experience of owning Spaniels.  
I hope this article was helpful for you! 
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