I'm thinking of adopting a 7 year old cocker spaniel. Can he be easily house trained
Contrary to popular belief, old dogs can learn new tricks...
Assuming there are no underlying issues you may not be aware of (talk to your vet), I would say, yes.
- It takes patience and consistency.
- If your dog is food driven, get yourself some training treats. Yes, "training treats".
Take the dog outside to potty every couple of hours and try to keep a routine every day. Take them to the same spot every time. If going for a walk, take them on the same route every time. Do this for a month or two. It would be a good idea to continue for a while, even after they have learned where you want them to go.
Use praise ("good boy/girl!") when they do go potty outside and give treats directly after they have finished. Get used to putting them in your pockets or get a treat bag from the pet store to carry them in. Do this every time.
Do not scold or punish the dog for going inside because they may learn to fear going in front of you, which will make training them even harder. If you catch them in the act, say a quick "no!" and take them directly out, even if they have already finished.