Activities For English Springer Spaniels

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Introduction

The English Springer Spaniel is an exceptionally versatile dog, suitable for the show ring, extremely well behaved at home, and skilled at flushing and retrieving as well. They tend to get along well with children but are more prone to developing separation anxiety than other breeds might be, and can become destructive when left on their own for too long. It is a good idea to keep a towel and comb next to your door if you share your home with an English Springer Spaniel as their long feathering and curious natures makes them notorious for tracking in mud, leaves, and other types of dirt into the home.

Advanced Obedience

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Any Day
Cheap
Hard
10 - 45 min
Items needed
Leash
Activity description

Advanced obedience and obedience trials are a way to exhibit your canine companion’s ability to perfectly follow commands in a competitive environment. There are a number of commands that can be learned for this activity, from a perfect sit or recall to jumps and even scent discrimination. English Springer Spaniels are extremely people oriented and obedient animals, and they enjoy learning new things. These traits make them well-suited to learning many new skills, and many English Springer Spaniels excel at advanced obedience. The skills learned during advanced obedience training can improve your dog’s overall behavior both in the in the show ring and out in public.  

Step
1
Pick a technique
There are several training techniques that you can utilize to train your dog at both basic and advanced obedience. Techniques that are available for training can include clicker training, mirror or model training, positive reinforcement, and relationship training. English Springer Spaniels do not respond well to harsh training methods and are likely to work better with positive and relationship-based training.
Step
2
Train the basics
Novice level competitors are required to master several different commands before they can enter the ring. They should be able to stand for an exam, heel both on and off leash, and do a figure eight, as well as being able to hold a sit for a full minute and a stay for two. In order to earn the Companion dog title for AKC competitions that is needed to move beyond the Novice level, competitors must qualify three different times under at least two separate judges.
Step
3
Locate a venue
Once you have mastered the basics, you and your canine companion will be ready to enter competitions. Several organizations besides the AKC can award obedience titles such as the UKC, Service Dogs of America, and the American Mixed Breed Obedience Registry. Titles that are given by these organizations allow the dog to have the abbreviation permanently affixed to the dog’s registered name.
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Hunting Games

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Any Day
Moderate
Easy
5 - 45 min
Items needed
Bird wings
Activity description

While English Springer Spaniels are known for their prowess in the show ring, having the third highest number of wins of any dog breed, they were originally developed as a gun dog, suitable for both upland birds and waterfowl. They are known for their soft temperaments and willingness to please, traits that useful for training of any sort. They are pleasant hunting companions who stay fairly close to the hunter when searching and a serious drive to retrieve in just about any circumstances. Training for a good bird dog tends to start very early, and there are several training games that can be used to prepare your pup for the field. 

Step
1
Duck or decoy
Many novice hunting dogs view decoys as a toy, picking them up, chewing on them, and generally playing with them. In the field, this type of behavior can interfere with the hunter's intention and even ruin chances of actually bagging a duck or goose. Training your dog to only retrieve ducks and to leave the decoys alone will greatly improve your hunts. Many hunters, instead of using an actual dead duck to differentiate, will use a training dummy or stuffed animal that has been anointed with bird scent to illustrate the difference to their dog.
Step
2
Walking in the pocket
When hunting upland birds, many hunters prefer that their dogs are in the swath of cover that covers the area in from to them roughly from the ten o’clock to the two o’clock position, an area known as being in the pocket. This practice keeps your canine hunting partner in front of you and within sight, preventing backtracking or spending too much time searching for your dog. This exercise can start as early as three months old, and should start as early as possible. Take your pup on a walk with a long lead and whenever they begin to lag behind or go too far off course, clap your hands loudly to get their attention, point forward, and gently tug on the leash to move them in the correct direction, praising them when they are back in the correct area.
Step
3
Boat buddy
Those who hunt waterfowl often do so from a boat rather than in a blind on land. If you are bringing your dog along on a hunt that is boat-based, it is important that they be calm and collected when in the boat with you. The best way to ensure confidence in the boat is to take your dog out on the water on a frequent basis. Throwing a training dummy from the boat and having your Springer retrieve it will help your dog get used to the way that the boat moves when they jump out.
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Flygility

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Any Day
Moderate
Normal
15 - 45 min
Items needed
Agility Obstacles
Flyball Jumps
Flyball Box
Activity description

An emerging dog sport in Australia and New Zealand, Flygility was developed around fifteen years ago. It combines elements the more well-known dog sports of Flyball, a fast-paced game of fetch with hurdles, and agility training. It has gained quite a bit of popularity in the country it originated in but has only gained a small following in other countries, such as the United Kingdom and here in the United States. No flygility associations have been established in either of those countries but there are a few trainers that regularly teach this new sport, and there are a few scattered competitions that can be found. 

Step
1
Learn
Due to the newness of this sport in the United States, there are very few veteran trainers to be found. You may have to do some research in order to properly train your dog for this brand new sport. Canines and Humans United LLC in Michigan have their version of the rules and regulations for Flygility at their website.
Step
2
Teach
Flyball incorporates flyball jumps and a flyball box into a game of relay style fetch, both of which will need to be introduced to your dog in order to participate in this sport. Flygility incorporates the flyball obstacles as well as additional obstacles that are more commonly associated with agility training, such as tunnels, additional hurdle types, ramps, and weave poles.
Step
3
Get involved
Flygility is still not particularly well known in the United States as of yet, and competitions are typically few and far between. There are no major national kennel clubs or dog sports facilities that host Flygility as of yet, but there are some local competitions that can be found at places like county fairs. If you and your canine are ready to complete, you may want to write letters to kennel clubs, companies that sell pet products, or dog sports facilities to suggest the idea. If you become really passionate about this sport, you could even host a small competition on your own.
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More Fun Ideas...

Dock Diving

These dogs do tend to enjoy the water a great deal and have a strong desire to fetch and retrieve, so they would make excellent candidates for the dog sport of Dock Diving.

Doggie Daycare

This particular breed can become clingy and is somewhat prone to separation anxiety. A well socialized English Springer Spaniel will be much less likely to cause havoc in the home if they are not left alone for too long at a time.

Conclusion

These are friendly and obedient canines who thrive on making their beloved people happy. While they are very good with children in general, their boisterous nature can make them a little too much to handle for toddlers and babies. They do best with a great deal of one on one interaction and positive but gentle training techniques.