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Riley the Rockhound - Best Cocker Spaniel Ever

Updated on June 11, 2014

Meet Riley, a Very Peculiar Dog--Even for a Cocker Spaniel

Riley, my American Cocker Spaniel, is a hoot. He's smart, extremely opinionated, highly communicative, and a rock hoarder. Trust me, Riley is ripe for his own reality show. Remember the crocodile who swallowed an alarm clock from the Peter Pan story? Well, I think Riley's his cousin or something because Riley definitely has an internal clock in his belly. Ask anyone.

Riley wakes up every morning at 7:30 and gives a shout--and a shout and a shout and a shout until he's let out. Every night his alarm goes off at 8 pm and he's ready to lead the pack outdoors for the final potty run. Riley knows it's night time, it's crate time and, best of all, it's treat time. He's quite expressive and insistent that everyone get outside and get their business done because he has treats a-waiting. He jumps up into his crate, which is sitting on top of Waco's huge den, and settles down for the night. Nary a peep out of him until 7:30 the next morning. And if you check inside his crate, you'll find a few of his favorite river rocks that he keeps close for comfort and an occasional playful roll.

Did I mention that Riley considers himself a concert master in the making? Riley has a propensity for singing, at least that's what I call it but some might use a rather baser term such as howling. Riley will leap onto the bed in the dog's bedroom and begin to howl. The other dogs will come and sit before him and before you know it we have a full chorus going--and then Riley stops and listens. He's the leader of the band.

Waco the Wonder Dog, Great Pyrenees, and Riley Bonding

Waco the Wonder Dog, Great Pyrenees, and Riley Bonding
Waco the Wonder Dog, Great Pyrenees, and Riley Bonding
Riley-American-Cocker-Spaniel-by-Vikk-Simmons-2001-copyright
Riley-American-Cocker-Spaniel-by-Vikk-Simmons-2001-copyright

Riley's Story: Rescued from an Abuser

Imagine this fluffy, soft, silky-furred trembling cocker spaniel

I met Riley when he was six months old. My daughter called and said one of her coworkers bred Cocker Spaniels and had two left, a brother and sister named Patches and Bandit. The breeder had reclaimed the little boy because the family had been abusing him and she found out about it. My daughter wanted the little girl and she wondered if I'd take the boy, Bandit. At the time I only had Teddy, the little Shih Tsu, who was six months old and Beau, my gorgeous deep gold Labrador Retriever. My daughter knew I had a fondness for Cockers and I'd recently lost a solid black one. I said I'd take a look.

I met Riley in the parking lot of a Home Depot. He was a scared, shaking, shy little boy. He was trembling so bad that the lady and I sat on the pavement by the car and slowly began a long process of transfer. She held Riley while I talked to him. He continued to shake and tremble. Over time we were able to move him onto my lap where I continued to hold him, pet him, and talk to him. Gradually we felt it would be okay to get him into my car. After more than 30 minutes "Bandit" and I were on our way home.

Riley-Teddy-Beau-dogs-meeting-2001-copyright-Vikk-Simmons
Riley-Teddy-Beau-dogs-meeting-2001-copyright-Vikk-Simmons

Riley: The Early Days

A Cocker Spaniel joins a Shih Tsu and a Labrador Retriever

Riley was scared to death when we got to my home. I swear he didn't stop shaking for days and days. I sat on the floor with him on my lap and let the other two dogs come around. Teddy and Beau were curious but they knew he was "my" dog. Slowly, ever so slowly, Riley settled in and made himself a home.

Riley-the-cocker-spaniel-2001-copyright-Vikk-Simmons
Riley-the-cocker-spaniel-2001-copyright-Vikk-Simmons

A Dog Named Riley Finds His Forever Home

The Cocker's personality began to shine

So Riley's first name was Bandit. Even though Riley's a native Texan the name just didn't sit well with me. It took a little time for him to relax and begin to show more of his personality. One day I realized that Bandit was really a Riley.

Over the years Riley has really made himself at home with me and with his brothers. First Teddy and Beau, then Freddie the Maltese and Charlie the Pug. Recently a little cutie named Honeybun joined the band of brothers and it's been fun.

Riley is an avid rock collector. He's passionate about rocks. He finds them, piles them, and even carries a select few into the house. He's even been known to decorate the room with a nice row of river rocks spaced down the wall on the floor. He once spent three weeks freeing a rather large piece of concrete from the dirt. Then it took him another two weeks to move it to where he wanted it. But mostly Riley favors river rocks. Every day he carries them around in his mouth, throws them down on the ground, rolls them around, then moves them to his special place--except for his favorites that he hoards in the house.

Riley-the-Cocker-Spaniel-copyright-2003-Vikk-Simmons
Riley-the-Cocker-Spaniel-copyright-2003-Vikk-Simmons

The Many Moods of Riley the Cocker Spaniel

Cocker Spaniels are a special breed and Riley is unique

Of all the dog's Riley's probably the little lover boy. Despite his odd habits of collecting rocks, telling time, and tattling, he's simply a sweet dog. he has the softest fur with these lovely fly-away wisps of silky hair that give him a funny look now and then. He's cuddly. He's playful. He loves to walk around with a ball in his mouth, then release it and pounce on it the way a cat would pounce on a mouse.

it took Riley a long time to learn how to play. He never knew how to join in with the others. He was like the wallflowers at dances and the little kids who'd hang back on the playground. That's Riley. It's only in the last year that he's begun to jump in and play with the other dogs but it's only now and then. He still hangs back and watches the other dogs and takes on the role of tattle-tale. If Charlie the Pug and Waco the Great Pyrenees play too hard, Riley barks his tattling. When Freddie the Maltese won't let Riley play, Riley barks. tattling to anyone who'll listen. it's fun to watch when he lets loose and tries to flop his way into the play.

Riley's Home Sweet Home - A crate-trained dog is a happy dog

Riley's a Silky-Boy

He has the softest fur, it simply floats--and those big, brown Cocker Spaniel eyes.

A Closer Look at Riley the Rockhound

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Food aggression? Me?No, you cannot have my bone.Teddy and Riley examine a strange tortoise crossing the yard.Riley checking to see if anyone is watching.Riley at rest.
Food aggression? Me?
Food aggression? Me?
No, you cannot have my bone.
No, you cannot have my bone.
Teddy and Riley examine a strange tortoise crossing the yard.
Teddy and Riley examine a strange tortoise crossing the yard.
Riley checking to see if anyone is watching.
Riley checking to see if anyone is watching.
Riley at rest.
Riley at rest.

Riley Loves to Play Ball

PetSport Giant Tuff Ball Dog Toy, 4 Inch, Safe for Teeth
PetSport Giant Tuff Ball Dog Toy, 4 Inch, Safe for Teeth
Riley loves balls. He needs a strong ball to stand up to his constant attention.
 

Want to know more about American Cocker Spaniels?

The Cocker Spaniel Handbook (Barron's Pet Handbooks)
The Cocker Spaniel Handbook (Barron's Pet Handbooks)
Riley thinks you should learn all about his breed and maybe adopt one, too. Why not? I love Cocker Spaniels. They're such sweet souls. My grandmother had one and now I've had two. They are a great breed of dogs.
 
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