Baby Steps -
The First 8 weeks
Age Range 0-8 Weeks
An age of intense, rapid development. From the moment they are born puppies are changing. In just 2 months they will develop sight, hearing, ability to walk and eat solid foods, grow their first teeth, learn to vocalise and start their socialisation journey.
Baby puppies will spend these first 8 weeks with their Mum and gain the first vital steps in socialisation. Learning through play how to communicate with other dogs and the world.
No puppy should leave its mother before 8 weeks. Many breeders will keep puppies for a small while longer to enhance this period. Puppies are also weaned in this time, some faster than others, it may take more or less time. Be patient with your breeder they will guide you when it is best for your puppy to leave them.
Age Range 2-12 Months
A joyous age, less intense in their development - at this age puppies are starting to go out into the world.
Coats are short and relatively easy to keep day to day. Despite this, you should make sure your puppy is used to being groomed. It will make a fuller coat easier to maintain and less stressful for your dog. The puppy coat will moult out as the new adult coat grows in.
Exercise amounts vary but don't be in a rush to force walks on young puppies. Until 5-6 months of age 10-15 mins is more than enough. Puppies bones are soft and still developing. They have large areas of soft tissues in their joints. Over exercise at this stage can cause lasting damage. Remember to check what vaccinations you need before taking your puppy out for the first time
Like Humans, your puppy will have baby teeth, these fall out around 4-5 months. Expect teething and give them plenty of suitable chew toys.
Find a Puppy Training Class, puppies learn fast at this age, its the perfect time to teach them. Cavaliers respond best to positive reinforcement, they love to please.
Age Range 1 - 4 Years
In their prime, Cavaliers at this age are fun, loving and active. They love to be involved in what you are doing. This is the perfect age to try canine activities such as Agility, Obedience or Heelwork to Music.
Coats vary from dog to dog. Generally, the coat will start to lengthen and should have changed to a silky adult coat. Depending on where they are exercised they will need bathing regularly to keep them clean. Ears and long feathering will need to be brushed regularly, at least every other day to keep them tangle free! Some puppy coats will take longer to change than others, they may even need a helping hand to remove the dead puppy fluff. Best to speak to your breeder or a groomer to check if the coat is 'ready' to come out.
At this age Cavaliers are active and love to go out walking, they are versatile and can go for a 20 mins walk or several hours if they are fit. Equally, they are happy to stay indoors once in a while, especially in the rain. They often have an inner 'hunting spaniel' and will give chase to small animal and birds. It is best to make sure you have a solid trained recall before letting them off the lead.
Keep a brush within reach when sitting on the sofa, its easier to remember to brush out the tangle when you find it giving them a cuddle. C
Age Range 4-7 Years
Getting older but not always slowing down, at this age Cavaliers are like a pair of old slippers, they know your routine and lifestyle. Truly man's best friend.
They will now have a full coat, you may wish to trim it a little particularly the feet and ears. This will help them keep clean and knot-free. Continue with brushing and baths regularly. Keep an eye on their teeth at this age they can lose the odd tooth if not kept clean and plaque-free.
Exercise levels really should not change at this age, they will still enjoy walks. They may be calmer and less active preferring to 'potter' around rather than run. With this natural change of energy levels, you will also need to keep an eye on their body condition and probably reduce the food intake.
They are still able to compete in canine activities and often this will be the best years as they are so well trained.
Age Range 7-10 Years
Officially veterans now, but don't be tricked into thinking they are going to retire gracefully. They will still be as happy and 'waggy' as ever. They will rule the house and have you wrapped around their paw.
Similar to adulthood they will have their full coat which may need trimming in places to make it easier to manage and more comfortable for them. Keep a close eye on their teeth - keep them clean to avoid any infections.
They will still want to go out and enjoy a good walk. You may need to monitor how long your walks are or watch when you take them to avoid the worst weather. The dog pictured opposite is 8 and enjoying a walk, off-lead in the evening sun. Kept fit and healthy they will still walk as much as any younger dog. Maybe just a few more naps!
Age Range 10 Years Plus
Now older and slowing down they will expect to be treated like royalty, and why not after all they are royal spaniels.
Coats tend to get more unruly at this age with the change in hormones. Regular brushing is needed to keep on top of the coat. Some people may decide to shave the main part of the coat if it makes the dog more comfortable. They may have lost several teeth at this age. If the canines are lost their tongue may stick out from time to time, keep an eye on the teeth to make sure there are no infections.
Each dog varies greatly, the key is to do what your dog wants to do, shorter but more walks may work. Keeping them active will help keep them fit as long as possible.
They may have trouble moving around, such as jumping onto the sofa or into cars. You can get small steps or ramps to allow them to still get to their favourite spots.