Frequently Asked Questions
This page is dedicated to our notes/personal experience on topics most frequently asked.
Cavalier King Charles is one of the smartest and most easily trained breed. They are ultimately a 10 out of 10 on the Trainability scale.
They excel in obedience, rally and agility sports. They make extraordinary therapy dogs.
As with any breed, consistency is important for success.
Cavaliers, especially, have a huge desire to please their owner. In their new environment, they will be meeting new people, hearing unfamiliar noises, learning to be disciplined, etc. As you can imagine, it is very overwhelming. While we try to expose pups to many noises & environments, understand they are experiencing everything with us (humans that have cared for them since birth) as well as their littermates. You are new & working to earn their trust.
At 9 weeks, they will have a better experience adjusting to the new environment.
Part of adjusting will be learning rules set in place at their new homes. The most important rule being no potty in the house!
Be prepared to dedicate time for housebreaking! Your first 2-3 months will be most important for setting boundaries, although it can take around 6 months old to fully be potty trained. Some research may say 6-12 months. However, the Cavalier King Charles is a very smart breed! If you are consistent, you can definitely beat the average!
You should take your pup out to potty: every 2 hours, immediately after waking from a nap, during/after playtime, before bedtime & after eating or drinking. The general rule is that a puppy can only control their bladder 1 hour for every month of age.
You must catch your pup in the act of an accident immediately. If you don't - there is no point in trying to discipline after the fact. Your pup has already forgotten once the act is done!
When there is an accident in the house (& there will be!) use a high-pitched tone & clap loudly to scare them. We say something along the lines of "no potty". You want to say potty often so he/she relates action to the word. Take your pup to the door, ringing the potty bell & calmly say "lets go potty".
The Potty Bell
We have used a potty bell for years. We strongly suggest you start training with a potty bell right away. They are inexpensive & some of you DIY folks may enjoy making your own!
The most important thing to remember - it's all about using the word "potty" over and over! Take your pup to the bell, touch the bell with their nose or paw & say "lets go potty" - potty, potty, potty!
If you have a fenced-in yard, we still recommend using a leash during training. A leash allows you to walk your pup around the yard instead of him/her being frozen in place or trying to play. As you walk, your pup continue to encourage him/her to potty. Do not try talking (other than "potty") or playing with your pup until being successful.
For those with fenced yards, when you decide to stop using a leash, you should still stand outside to give commands & praise.
Give exciting praise! "Yay, good potty!" I pick my pup up & give lots of loving, continuing to praise "good potty" and "such a good girl/boy". Some use small treats (broken pieces) for praise. Be careful not to give too much.
We use potty pads only when pup does not have access to the potty bell. In our home, that would be when we keep pups in a playpen, while still young and in very early stages of training. However, do not use them as a training method. By that we mean - no praise or discipline for potting on the pad. Leave it unmentioned.
We would not suggest using a potty pad in the crate. The crate should be a clean place. Pup should be learning not to potty in the crate.
Using a potty pad will delay housebreaking.
We should not crate dogs at any age more than 3-4 hours at a time!
You can purchase a 24" crate with a divider which will last to adulthood. By using a divider, crate space can be limited during training. Pups only need enough space to lie down. Your pup will not want to potty in his/her space. Extend divided space as the pup grows.
As hard as it may be, when unable to watch your pup, he/she should be crated. There will be whining, but just like a baby, you must let your pup cry. Pup will learn to lay & sleep while crated. The crate will become a comfortable place for your pup to escape to.
We also feed our dogs in their crates.
We crate at night by letting our dogs know it's time to go "night, night". Our dogs will get in their crate upon hearing that phrase.
You should expect to wake & take your pup out to potty when they whine. Doggie bedtime at our house is no earlier than 9 PM. Your brand new pup may wake anywhere from 3 to 5 AM needing to potty for the first couple of nights in their new home. You can help yourself by trying not to crate too early & getting a potty break in immediately before bedtime. As time goes by, your pup will hold their potty longer.
If you ignore your pup's need to potty during the night, he/she will potty in the crate. Your pup will learn not to be bothered with having a dirty crate. Let's avoid that!
Biting & Barking
When your pup bites or barks, make a high-pitched noise to scare them.
When your pup barks, clap loudly and say "no" or make a noise like "psst". When they stop barking, give praise.
Puppies will try biting your hands/fingers. When this happens, we give our hand a quick shake and say "ouch" with a high-pitched tone. This scares the pup & with consistency, he/she will learn to stop.
Biting shoes, or other items, will be a longer learning process. Like with potting in the house, use a high-pitched tone & clap loudly to scare them. In this case, we will give them a toy and say "play with your toy" (expressing the word toy). Praise when chewing their toy. Repeat!
Collar/Harness & Leash
Collar verses Harness is a personal preference.
Your first collar/harness will most likely be X-Small or Small. Of course, this varies by brand & age. We are happy to measure your chosen pup before coming home.
Your pup will very quickly learn to walk on a leash. You may decide to allow your pup to become comfortable with a leash by wearing it around the house. Your pup can drag the leash around for a bit but do not allow chewing.
We feed Royal Canin dry puppy food and NuVet vitamins to our adult dogs & puppies.
Cavaliers can easily become overweight due to their laid-back personality. Having poor nutrition can increase potential health issues in this breed. Use the feeding directions on the dog food bag and consult with in vet.
Learn more about the benefits NuVet vitamins by Clicking Here
Any dog will react accordingly if your child is not taught to respect your dog. We strongly encourage you to read AKC's Teaching Young Children to Respect Dogs.
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is good with children. However, it is recommended we monitored children, especially while still a puppy. We personally waited until our child turned 5 before purchasing our first Cavalier.
Let's start off addressing a question we are often asked - Yes, a Cavalier King Charles will shed!
Their long, silky & beautiful coat is a big reason you are attracted to them, right?!
Brushing & Trimming
You can reduce the amount of shedding by keeping your pup brushed. In fact, a Cavalier needs to be brushed often due to their lengthy hair. Some will say you should brush daily while others say weekly. We suggest at least 1-2 times a week.
As a puppy, we start with a slicker brush. As their hair lengthens, we switch to a comb & occasionally a deshedder when they heavily begin to lose their puppy fuzz.
Mats are quick to collect behind the ears, on the rear & under their arms.
Trimming is not necessary. While some shave their Cavalier, we knew what we were in for when we chose the breed. We love their long coats & only trim enough around their feet to help prevent tracking in dirt & debris.
Cavalier skin can easily become dry. Purchase a mild & moisturizing shampoo. We have used Burt's Bees & Vet's+Best. These are very reasonably priced. Tip - if your dog gets itchy, try adding a tiny bit of coconut oil in their food bowl.
Bath every 3-4 weeks. Between baths, you can use deodorizing bath wipes. It's understandable you may need to bathe more often through the puppy stages.
Here's something not mentioned often - Cavalier faces will grow bacteria due to their eye tearing. We also purchase eye/face wipes. You may want to wipe faces as often as every day. They get a bit of an unpleasant smell. We have heard that drinking distilled water will help as well.
Nails & Ears
Toenails should be trimmed once monthly or as needed to keep them tidy. If you trim nails yourself, be very careful not to cut the vein that runs through the nail. Keep some doggy styptic powder on hand in the event mild bleeding occurs.
Those long, gorgeous ears have a downside - they can easily get infected! Use ear wipes to clean ears weekly. We clean the ears when we brush.