Activities For Boykin Spaniels

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Introduction

The Boykin Spaniel is a breed that originated in the United States and was bred to be a hunting dog. They also can adapt easily to being a companion as long as they are able to partake in plenty of exercise to tire them out. Expect to spend a lot of time with your Boykin Spaniel, letting them burn off all their energy. Long walks do not necessarily work for a Boykin Spaniel; they need a job to do to keep them from becoming overly bored and destructive. They do well in many dog sports such as dock diving, agility, obedience, tracking, and even conformation. 

Dock Diving

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Sunny Day
Moderate
Normal
30 min
Items needed
Dock
Pool
Toy
Collar/Leash
Life Vest (optional)
Activity description

It is exciting to watch a dog race down a dock and hurl their body through the air, landing with a splash into the water. Dock diving is gaining popularity and while it is fun to watch on television, it is exhilarating to see in person. Dogs have been jumping off docks for ages and when it was turned into a sport; people jumped on board and started vigorously training their dog to jump the farthest. The Boykin Spaniel is a high energy, water loving dog and dock diving just makes sense. This activity will keep your dog physically fit and wear them out so they do not have restless energy while at home. The price for dock diving is moderate. You will need to purchase a canine life vest, toys, and most likely a membership to a dog club that offers dock diving training. 

Step
1
Teach to swim
Swimming is a skill that must be taught. Some dogs are natural swimmers and take to the water easily. Before you even consider participating in dock diving, make sure your dog is adept at swimming. Take time to teach your dog to swim and build them into a strong swimmer before you start teaching dock diving. Never just toss your dog into the pool and expect them to swim. Get into the water with them and ease them in using a life vest and leash. Always start in the shallow end of the pool and if your dog panics, get them out of the water quickly and calm them down.
Step
2
Teach to jump
It may sound simple to teach your dog to jump off a dock after racing full speed, however, some dogs may not find this as exhilarating as you think. Be patient and start slow. Boykin Spaniels are natural retrievers and you will want to play on that instinct to convince them to jump into a pool of water to retrieve their toy. Be sure to start with short jumps and then increase the distance that you expect them to jump. Have special toys that are used only for dock diving so when your dog sees these toys, they know they are going into the water.
Step
3
Practice makes perfect
This is a common saying that people will reiterate about almost any activity, but when it comes to dock diving, it is a true statement. To win a dock diving competition, your dog has to jump the farthest and the only way to be able to jump far is to keep practicing. Your Boykin Spaniel is a high key dog anyway, but before you release them to race down the dock, you want to build their excitement even more so they will give it their all when they launch off the dock.
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Swimming

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Sunny Day
Cheap
Normal
30 min
Items needed
Pool
Life Vest
Leash
Dog Safe Pool Toys
Activity description

The Boykin Spaniel is a natural-born swimmer; however, they may be a bit cautious when first introduced to water. A little encouragement goes a long way in getting your Boykin Spaniel into the water. While a life vest is optional, it is best to fit your dog with one that has a handle or a D-ring for a leash so you can help your dog while swimming. Once your dog learns to swim, they will do all they can to get back in the water for some fun time. If you have your own pool, swimming with your dog is cheap and a lot of fun. Do not let your dog become overtired in the water, keep swim time short and make sure you never leave them unattended in the water.

Step
1
Introduce the vest
Dogs that are not strong swimmers should always wear a life vest. Before putting them in the water, fit your Boykin Spaniel with a life vest and have them wear it around the house for 15 minutes a day. If your dog becomes panicked wearing the life vest, calm them and offer treats until they begin to calm and relax. Do this for several days so they become accustomed to the vest before introducing them to water.
Step
2
Coax into water
After your dog has become accustomed to their life vest, it is time to introduce them to the water. Do not toss them into the deep end and see if they can swim, instead get in the shallow end and slowly coax your dog into the water. You may even need to pick up your Boykin Spaniel and ease into the water with them. Take your time and reassure your dog until they begin to relax.
Step
3
Keep it fun
Never leave your dog unattended when in the water, even if they are a strong swimmer. Have some pool-safe dog toys available to play games while swimming in the pool. Once your Boykin Spaniel has become an adept swimmer, you may even look for some dog sports that include swimming to help expel a lot of their energy. Swimming is excellent exercise and a great way to keep your dog in shape.
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Hunting

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Any Day
Moderate
Normal
1 hr
Items needed
Collar
Leash
Safety Vest
Decoys
GPS/Tracker System (Optional)
Activity description

The Boykin Spaniel was originally bred in the 1900s by hunters in South Carolina that needed a small, compact dog that could retrieve on land and in the water. They were mainly used to hunt wild turkey and duck in the Wateree River Swamp. Most Boykin Spaniels will have a higher prey drive and learn how to hunt and retrieve fowl easily. They will need to learn restraint so they do not mutilate the fowl when retrieving it and hunters will need patience when training a new hunting dog. Being a part of a hunting club is a good way to have more experienced hunters help you train your Boykin Spaniel if this is your first hunting dog. Be patient with your dog and be sure to praise and reward their efforts in the field. 

Step
1
Basic obedience
Before attempting to put your Boykin Spaniel in the field to hunt and retrieve, take them through a basic obedience class. Your dog must be able to follow your commands quickly and accurately when you are in the field to keep them safe. Once your dog has graduated from basic obedience, work on the long distance recall command so you have the ability to call your dog back when in the field.
Step
2
Condition to gunfire
Dogs are not generally fond of hearing gunfire, especially when the gun is fired next to them. Do not overexpose your dog to gunfire and make them fearful. Make the experience good by providing plenty of praise and treats. The goal of conditioning your dog to gunfire is so they do not react when the gun is fired and stay focused on the fowl or decoy.
Step
3
Teach to retrieve
Once you have shot down the fowl or decoy, it is your Boykin Spaniel’s job to go retrieve the fowl or decoy no matter if it is on land or in water. You will start small, using a decoy, when training your dog to retrieve. Make this exercise fun and provide them with praise and treats when they do retrieve the decoy. As they become more comfortable with retrieving the decoy, you can begin introducing fowl and teaching them how to retrieve without mangling the fowl.
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More Fun Ideas...

Rally Obedience

Rally obedience is a more laid back version to competition obedience. Dogs must complete a number commands during their time in the ring. Rally dogs perform their commands while on leash until they advance into the Rally Excellent ring. Handlers are allowed to talk to and encourage their dogs while in the ring, but your dog must still be able to complete the required commands within a specified amount of time. Your dog can earn titles when doing rally obedience.

Agility

Agility is a great way to burn energy and have fun with your dog. You will work with your dog, guiding them through an obstacle course. Agility can be done just for fun or in competition. It can be costly to train for agility because of the cost of the obstacles or dog club memberships. Agility can be performed indoors or outdoors; when the course is outdoors, the weather can play a factor and most clubs will cancel agility events in the event of rain since dogs some of the obstacles can become slippery when wet.

Conclusion

When you have a Boykin Spaniel in your home, be prepared to spend a significant amount of time with them. The Boykin Spaniel is a higher energy dog that does need a task to perform. A bored Boykin can become obnoxious and destructive. Take some time to research the various dog activities in your area and decide which ones would be best for you and your dog.