Finding the right kind of dog to fit in your or your family’s life can be quite stressful, even traumatic at times. You may have taken a dog into your home from a shelter, only to discover that they don’t bond with your children, or other pets. What about the Cavalier, they are calm dogs, but are they well behaved?
As a whole Cavaliers are well behaved if the circumstances are correct, like all animals they require a certain standard of love and care. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels thrive on companionship and hate to be left alone.
Canine behavior is at the forefront of any potential new dog owner’s mind, no matter what breed each generally has the same behavior patterns. So what exactly is the behavior of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel like?
Cavvy’s love their home comforts, don’t ever think a Cavalier could stay in a kennel or is in any way an outdoor dog. I don’t mean that they can’t go outdoors, they love to be out and about for walks in the park, around a nearby lake, or even just to have a sniff around the streets. By ‘outdoor dog’ I mean staying outside permanently, even at night.
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is essentially a lap dog and needs human contact as much as possible. So much so, my dog Lady sleeps with us, not just in the bedroom, I mean actually with us.
This picture was taken in the morning (which is why it’s bad quality, sorry) when she decided to snuggle down into the covers while I went to make a pot of coffee.
As with all spaniels, the Cavalier has a built-in hunting instinct. If they see a small animal or a large insect flash by them, they will be off, chasing it immediately, straight into hunting mode. This instinct will override everything, including road safety, they will quickly dash into the street at a moment’s notice to chase their prey, which is why you have to be particularly careful and keep them on a leash.
This isn’t the dog misbehaving, on the contrary, they are merely doing what has been bred into them for centuries. Spaniels were used to flush out small birds and collect them after being shot. They are simply doing their job, and all this is to please you, by delivering your food to you.
However, not all Cavaliers are the same. Lady likes small animals nowadays, long gone are the days when she used to chase birds out of the garden, she just lets them go about their business, and is now friends with my daughter’s guinea pigs.
She is also scared of literally anything that moves faster than a snail, even a bit of plastic sheeting flapping in the wind and she’ll run back into the house. But that’s what makes us love her more, she has her own character, and in a way, she’s a bit like me by not doing things the way most people do.
Cavaliers need a companion, they can’t be alone for too long, and it is actually bad for their mental health. The number one companion that a Cavvy has in mind, is you. Human companionship is the number one priority on their list, they literally adore you, and follow you around everywhere you go.
They can find companionship in another dog or maybe another species of animal, but humans are a cut above the rest.
I am very fortunate to work from home, but I haven’t always worked from home. At times I had to travel to different locations and even different countries, and although my wife only works a few hours a week, Lady hated it.
Cavaliers are so connected to their human companions that they suffer from separation anxiety, and they worry that every single time you leave them alone, they won’t see you again. Some Cavvy’s don’t cope very well at all and can act in a way that seems rebellious.
Whining and barking are common reactions to being left alone, but sometimes their behavior can be destructive by peeing on the carpet or chewing furniture. In the dog’s mind, they think that you won’t ever leave them alone again if they do this, so they can’t really be held accountable.
There are ways to prevent this, by either enlisting the help of a dog behavior specialist, playing soothing music, or crating him or her.
There are special music albums that can help, here is one that plays music that is designed to help dogs with anxiety problems.
Crating reduces the amount of space around the dog, and calms them down. It’s like the reverse of letting your dog go loose in a big open field, they go crazy.
You can find a wide range of crates on Amazon, but I like these collapsible crates as you can take them on vacation too.
But not all dogs are like this, Lady goes very moody with me and sulks under the table for an hour or two.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are shy and timid dogs, so from an early age (as early as possible), it’s a great idea to socialize them with not only other dogs but many different types of animals.
This will help with their overall behavior when visiting friends and family who may have a variety of different pets. If your doggie is friendly with their pets then he or she will be welcome into the home at any time.
Cavvy’s are well known for getting along with cats, and vice versa. I’m not entirely sure about this odd relationship as most dogs will chase them down the street, but if the cat allows it, a Cavalier would quite happily snuggle down with them for a nap.
We used to have a cat, unfortunately, she is no longer with us. She was a lot older than Lady, but they still got on very well.
I think that Lady is part cat, as she likes to lie on your neck like our cat used to.
The picture opposite is Lady trying to wake me up in the morning, definitely cat behavior.
If you need to give your Cavvy some training, and you can’t spare the cash for the animal behaviorist, the easiest way to train them is with food. I managed to potty train Lady with small pieces of hotdog sausage. It’s a cheap and easy way to train a dog.
To a dog, it’s a very simple process ‘do the thing and I get food, don’t do the thing and I don’t get food.’ It doesn’t take them long at all to pick up what you want them to do.
My Final Thought
Cavaliers are generally a very well-behaved breed of dog. Yes, you may have some trouble with them early on in their lives, but this is only because they love and miss you. Give them your time and patience because we all need some love in our lives.