What Not To Do When Training Your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel: 7 Key Mistakes to Avoid

Missteps in training can lead to a confused pup and a frustrated owner, but what if there was a way to sidestep these pitfalls?

Training a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel should be an enjoyable journey for both you and your furry friend. Think of it as a bonding activity rather than a chore.

But beware, because there are a few common mistakes that can turn this enjoyable experience into a series of face-palm moments.

Don’t fret, though! With a bit of know-how and a sprinkle of patience, you’ll be well on your way to a well-behaved canine companion.

We promise to guide you through the common training blunders and steer you towards a path of puppy training bliss.

#1 Using Negative Reinforcement

Shouting or physical chastisement can make your Cavalier nervous and distrustful. And that’s the last thing you’d want.

Why Say No to the No-Nos?

Using negative reinforcement, such as:

  • Yelling
  • Scolding
  • Physical punishment

might seem effective in the heat of the moment, but here are the consequences:

  • Increased anxiety and stress
  • Development of a fearful association with their owner or the training process
  • Potential behavioral issues

#2 Inconsistency in Commands and Rules

Picture this: one day you tell your fluffy companion to “sit” and the next you say, “sit down.” To you, it’s all the same, but to your pup, it’s confusing. Dogs thrive on clarity and consistency.


  • Sit vs. Sit Down: Stick to one.
  • Come vs. Come Here: Choose and be consistent.
  • Stay vs. Don’t Move: Pick one command for the action.

Keeping the language you use uniform is crucial. If you switch it up, you’re essentially speaking a foreign language every other day.

Household Rules:

  • Imagine sometimes you allow snuggles on the couch and other times it’s a big no-no. Isn’t that a mixed signal? For successful training:
  • Be Consistent with Furniture Rules:
  • Always allow or always forbid.
  • Clear Boundaries for Begging:
  • Keep your food policy firm.

#3 Overlooking Socialization

The period when your Cavalier puppy is most open to new experiences, often up to around 14 weeks, is critical for socialization. During this time:

  • A Cavalier’s brain is developing rapidly.
  • They’re learning what to be afraid of and what’s safe.
  • Their future behavior and fear levels are being shaped.

If you miss this golden window, your Cavalier might grow up feeling more like a spooky cat than a cheery pup when encountering new things.

In a nutshell, skipping on socializing your pup isn’t just a small OOPS! — it’s a big no-no if you’re aiming for that mellow, friendly adult Spaniel. So, be proactive!

Here’s a simple breakdown of what you can do:

  1. Introduce your Cavalier to a variety of people: Tall, short, hats, no hats – variety is the spice of life!
  2. Expose them to other animals: Meeting other friendly four-legged creatures helps a ton.
  3. Visit different environments: From busy streets to tranquil parks, every new scene teaches something valuable.

#4 Skipping Basic Commands

Basic commands like sit, stay, and come are not just tricks; they are part of a critical communication system between you and your furry friend.

Think of them as the ABCs in a dog’s language of safety and coexistence in human environments.

Neglecting these commands is like taking your dog out without a leash; you’re hoping for the best without any guarantees.

Imagine the scene where your pup eyes a squirrel and you have no verbal leash (like come!) to snap them back to safety. Without these basics, your pooch might be one exciting scent away from a dangerous situation.

#5 Training in Long Sessions

Did you know that dogs (including Cavaliers), much like humans, can only keep up their concentration for a short while?

Especially for those adorable puppies, their attention span is quite similar to that of a toddler.

Attempting to extend training sessions beyond their natural attention limits can lead to a few undesirable outcomes:

  • Diminished attention: Your Cavalier’s ability to learn fizzles out quicker than a cheap candle.
  • Increased frustration: Both you and your furry friend can become the grumpy duo if pushed too hard.

Keeping training sessions short and sweet is the golden rule.

  • For your enthusiastic puppies: Aim for 5-10 minutes per session.
  • For the more mature adult dogs: 20-30 minutes should be your max.

#6 Not Addressing Separation Anxiety Early

Separation anxiety is a common issue among Cavaliers that shouldn’t be ignored.

Signs of Separation Anxiety:

  • Chewing: Destruction of furniture or personal items that carry your scent.
  • Barking/Howling: Persistent vocalization when left alone.
  • Pacing: Restless movement in a fixed path.

These signs should be addressed early. Behavior ingrained over time becomes a real headache to change. Plus, it’s pretty heartbreaking to think of your furry friend in distress.

So, what can you do?

  • Crate Training: View the crate as a cozy den, not a jail cell. Make it inviting with comfy bedding and safe toys.
  • Start Small: Leave your dog alone in short spurts. Pop out for a coffee rather than a cross-country trip to begin with.
  • Increase Gradually: As your buddy gets used to the routine, slowly extend your time away.

#7 Forgetting to Reinforce Good Behavior

Cavaliers are not just cute faces; they’re keen learners eager for your approval.

Imagine catching your Cavalier gnawing on their toy instead of your favorite shoes. That’s a win!

It’s moments like these where a little celebration is in order. Go beyond the treat jar and mix it up.

How about a joyous “Good dog!” or a mini play session? These moments reinforce the good behavior, teaching your pup that what they just did was awesome.

Non-Food Rewards to Consider:

  • Playtime: Grab their favorite toy and spend a few minutes in the game.
  • Petting: Loving strokes or a gentle belly rub can be just as rewarding as treats.
  • Verbal Praise: A cheerful “Well done!” or “What a good puppy!” can work wonders.

You know the saying, variety is the spice of life? It applies to your Cavalier’s rewards too.

Using different types of reinforcements keeps your companion guessing and motivated. Plus, it cuts down on the calories—always a bonus!

So next time your furry friend does something great, even if it’s just a perfectly executed ‘sit’, make it count.

A little acknowledgment goes a long way in shaping a well-mannered, happy Cavalier.

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