Springer spaniels have been a popular hunting dog since the mid-19th century. The term springer spaniel refers to either the English or Welsh springer spaniel, which are closely related breeds popular with hunters for their intelligence and diversity. Springers are similar to other spaniel breeds: They are smart, moderately sized dogs with relatively few health problems, making them excellent family companions.
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Springer spaniel puppy training can be a challenging process because of the breed's energy. Birds are also a distraction, considering the springer's hunting origins. However, by using crate, a dog collar or harness, and an expert dog trainer, your new canine buddy can become a welcome addition to any home.
Crate training a puppy
Set up your crate in a quiet area of your home. Springer spaniel puppies are delicate and can be easily injured if they are left unattended, so make sure your puppy is always placed in the crate if you are unable to watch it. Place a bed inside the crate and a few toys to keep your puppy comfortable and occupied while you are away.
Puppy collars and halters
Fit your puppy with a collar as soon as you get him home. A collar is an essential training tool — getting your springer spaniel used to wearing one when he is young will make later training much easier. Tighten the collar so that you can slip two fingers between the collar and your puppy's neck to make sure it is not too tight.
As the Springer puppy grows, you'll want to start leash training him. Springers are extremely high-energy dogs and easily distracted by birds and wildlife. Pulling on a leash is common. Try using a front clip harness or a gentle leader — a harness that encircles the dog's nose — to discourage pulling. Both should be fitted similar to a collar. Allowing pulling while leash walking rewards the behavior, so you want to address it early.
Potty training a springer spaniel
Look for an empty section of yard to designate as a potty area. Take your puppy outside to potty after each meal and upon waking, as these are the times when your puppy will be most likely to go. Give your puppy the command to go potty and stand quietly while he does his business, praising him, and offering a small treat as soon as he goes. The praise and treat will teach him to associate at the act of going potty with the command, and he will learn to go potty as soon as you ask him.
Also, feed your puppy at the same time every day to monitor how much he is eating and to make housebreaking easier. Take your dog out for potty about 30 minutes to one hour after eating. Springer Spaniel puppies are voracious eaters and can quickly gain too much weight if you do not keep an eye on their food intake.
Take your puppy with you on short trips to introduce him to the world and give him the chance to socialize. Frequent visits to places such as the vet's office, pet store, and dog park will allow your puppy to interact with other dogs and people. Dog daycare and socialization classes can provide a springer spaniel puppy with a socialization outlet.
Springers are very excitable and sociable, so jumping is often a problem. Practice greeting people when the dog is at a sit, standing on the leash if necessary, and only allow people to pet the dog once the dog is not jumping.
Teach your puppy a variety of simple commands such as sit, come, lie down, stay, and heel. Begin with sit, as it is the easiest command to teach. Clip your puppy's lead on his collar to help control him and hold a treat in your hand. Ask you puppy to "sit," raising the treat above his head and gently pulling up on the lead. Give him the treat as soon as he sits down, praising him for a job well done. Move onto the other commands once your puppy sits upon command.
Springer spaniel puppy training
These are only a few Welsh and English springer spaniel training tips. Work with your puppy in 10 to 15 minute sessions twice a day, to see progress. Springer spaniel puppies are very intelligent, but they have short attention spans. Two short training sessions allows your puppy to learn new skills without becoming bored and losing focus.
Of course, professional help is always an option. Consider hiring a professional training to address the unique focus issues of a springer spaniel. But research carefully, and only select trainers who employ positive reinforcement training techniques.