How to train your English Springer Spaniel.
When you are looking for a dog it is always important to understand the breed and what their purpose was originally intended for hundreds of years ago. If you want your dog for a family pet it is not recommended that you get a dog that is aggressive by nature like a pit bull. If you are looking for a guard dog a pit bull or German shepherd would be perfect. Dogs that were bred hundreds of years ago to keep rodents out of the castle or farms (terriers) are still notorious for digging up their owners' yards. English
Springer spaniels were used for hunting and flushing out game for their owners. This training has led to traits that are excellent for a family dog like patience, obedience and long suffering. Springers will wait patiently by their owners side until the signal is given for them to go after the quarry, then they are fearless and will go through heavy brush until they come back with that quarry or scare it out into the open for their owner to shoot. They are taught to be fearless and quiet yet gentle with the catch until they drop it at their owners' feet. A Springer can take anything in their mouth and not leave a mark. They also have the trait of standing patiently at the catch until the owner arrives and takes claim to it. The English Springer is considered a medium to large dog which will stay in the 30 to 40 pound range. It has a silky white and reddish/brown coat with long beautiful ears. You will want to keep the coat brushed at least once a week to get out any burrs in the feathering. Springer spaniels are very gently around children, they are intelligent and obedient. They are good watch dogs and will bark when someone is approaching the house, but will probably lick the intruder to death as they easily make friends. Springer spaniels are great swimmers and enjoy water.
Training your Spaniel will begin during the puppy years; around six months of age. During training you will learn to communicate with your dog and this will enable you to avoid many behavioral problems in the future should they arise. You will be able to teach your dog what you want and don't want him to do. Dogs are animals and will behave like animals naturally. If you want to teach your dog to stay off the furniture and not to jump up on people training is essential. A dog, if left to its' own devices will dig up the yard, tear or chew up household items, bark continuously, pee on the furniture, poop in the front room and steal food out of your hand. All of this can be avoided with proper training.
During the training of your puppy you are going to teach the hierarchy of authority to your pet. Since your dog is an animal it will want to be the top dog or the king of the pack. You will want to let him know that all humans are the top dog. You want to teach your dog submission and that you are the leader. Training your dog needs to be enjoyable and rewarding for both you and your pet. If possible you should take your dog to an obedience school. At the school you will learn the skills of training but most of the training will take place at home by you. The skills you learn in class are practiced over and over at home and when you feel confident take your dog to the park and practice them there. Being in a different setting with distractions will be a challenge but is important to the training. Once your dog understands the commands by you, have another family member issue the commands. Take time to practice obedience everyday for about 15 to 20 minutes. After training spend time playing, petting or brushing your dog as a reward. Always take time to train through out the day when the need arises, like when your puppy is jumping on the couch or chewing on unacceptable items. Immediate action is needed for on the spot training.
There are specific phrases you will want to teach you dog. The most common being "stay" for sit down and wait patiently and "Heel" for stop walking and wait right there. The word "down" is used to keep your dog off of the furniture and off of people. While training your dog you will want to reward your dog frequently because they will learn faster. A dog is a lot like a child in that you will want to reward them for good behavior and not bad behavior. It is easier for us to notice bad behavior like digging, jumping and barking and then give attention for that behavior. A dog like a child wants attention and they will learn to get it any way they can, whether it is by negative behavior or positive behavior. Take time to notice during the day what your dogs is doing correctly and reward them. Rewards do not, and should not, always be a treat; you should praise, pet and play with your dog. When you do catch your dog doing something wrong, show them what you want to do. Take them by the collar and remove them from the couch and show them where you want them to lay. Reward them by petting them in the new resting spot. Keep toys in the spot where you want them to be. A short command such as, "No" or "down" is good for a reprimand. You should never hurt your dog, such as kick, slap or hit. This will make your dog aggressive or scared.
One way of training your dog is through conditioning. You say a word, like "sit" or make a noise like snapping your fingers, then show them the wanted behavior and give the a reward. For example say, "sit" while pushing down on the dogs' rear to get them to sit, and then give them a treat or physical reward. Doing this repeatedly and until they get the idea that when they hear the command they are conditioned to sit- reward or no reward. To get your dog to come when you call you will need to say "come" when they are already coming toward you, kneel down and give them a treat when they get to you. This type of training is done by using an action you already know is going to occur and just putting a command to it. Pretty soon your dog will get the idea that the word "come" means they need to go to their owner to sit down and get a treat. Pretty soon you will not need to give a treat, just a pat on the head. When you give a command use the same command every time, if you say "sit" and other times you say "sit down" you will confuse your dog. The whole family should be aware of the commands and they should all use them.
If you are training your spaniel to find an object, such as quarry you will want to condition them to the right commands. First, you will need to teach them to sit patiently by your side. Then you will need to teach them to find an object, the command for this will be signaled soon after the sound of a rifle and you can say "˜go get it'. Teaching your dog to find the quarry will be done by making a game of finding a dummy of, let's say a duck. When they find the object and you do not want them to pick it up right away teach them to stay until you get their. You will need to teach them to stand over the object and wait. Reward only if they do this. Always be consistent, do not give rewards when the task was not done correctly. You can teach your spaniel to gently carry the object back to you in their mouth.
To be successful in your dog training you will need to be patient and most important consistent. It will take time out of your day, everyday, to train your dog. Get everyone in the family involved. Make a hobby of training your dog new tricks and tasks. Springer Spaniels are working dogs and like to be needed. Even if you never plan on taking your Springer hunting, play hunting games at home with them.