English Springer Spaniels are incredible companion dogs. Primarily bred as hunting dogs to perform flushing, Springer Spaniels are incredibly good with birds. While they were not necessarily bred for retrieving, a Springer Spaniel’s inherent intelligence and eagerness to learn makes them ideally suited for retrieving.
Teaching a Springer Spaniel to fetch is a relatively easy task. This dog breed is naturally good at retrieving. Start by teaching the dog to hold before moving on to the retrieve action. Use a purpose-made retrieving dummy or a homemade item, and reward the dog frequently while training.
Thankfully English Springer Spaniels are highly intelligent and full of energy. They are extremely eager to please and have a burning desire to work. Because they are excellent hunting dogs, English Springer Spaniels can easily be taught how to fetch, but there are certain things to avoid while training for this task.
How To Train English Springer Spaniels To Fetch
English Springer Spaniels are inherently full of energy. English Springer Spaniels are highly intelligent, eager to please, and have an incredible desire to work. Primarily bred as hunting dogs – and particularly good at tasks such as flushing – English Springer Spaniels are also very good at retrieving.
Creating a positive association with a ball, dummy, or toy will encourage the dog to retrieve and bring the item back to you every time. Besides the element of fun, creating a positive association with the retrieving item can be achieved through using treats as a reward. Tennis balls are an excellent tool, to begin with when learning retrieving exercises.
Once your dog has developed an enthusiasm for tennis balls, you can move them onto other items they will be equally eager to retrieve.
Dogs are highly rewards-oriented and will happily do almost anything for a treat. By fussing over the dog when they do something correctly and rewarding them accordingly, they will develop positive associations with the task, remaining eager to perform it whenever required.
Besides treats, using a clicker can also be an effective method of helping with communication during the early stages of your dog’s training and teaching. The clicker is a great tool for English Springer Spaniels that will help with training, but should be used in conjunction with treats and other rewards to really help make it worthwhile for your dog.
Teach The Spaniel To Hold
The first step in teaching your English Springer Spaniel to fetch is to train them to hold. Begin by sitting with your Spaniel on the floor, ensuring the dog is facing you. Hold the toy and show it to the dog, getting them interested. As soon as the dog shows interest in the toy, reward them accordingly.
The next step is to increase what is required. Give the dog praise when they initially sniff the toy. Next, offer the necessary praise when the dog puts their mouth on the toy. Once this initial investigative step is complete, you can start to lengthen the waiting period between when the dog puts the toy in their mouth and when you offer a reward.
Build up the time you allow the dog to keep their mouth on the toy before offering praise, and then start introducing the verbal command “hold.” Gradually increase the time spent until the dog is comfortable holding the object for a while before you click or treat. It’s important here that you build up very slowly.
The dog will quickly learn to hold for a fair amount of time, proving extremely useful in future endeavors.
Teach Your Spaniel To Fetch
Once the dog has mastered the concept of “hold,” you can start teaching them to fetch. Begin by offering the toy to the dog and asking the dog to hold it, and reward accordingly. Once the dog has taken the toy, place it on the floor before them and ask them to hold it again.
When the dog picks up the toy, praise and treat them, so they know they are doing the correct thing. Now that the dog understands how the “hold” cue extends to different locations, you can start to introduce a new verbal cue such as “fetch.”
Now that the dog has successfully picked up the toy and held it, gradually increase the distance by a few inches each time. Once the dog has understood this, try alternating between allowing the dog to fetch a toy that you have placed and a toy that you throw for them. Add some variation to the type of toy that you use.
It’s important to remember that for the dog, the reward is not actually the game itself. You should continue rewarding the dog when the dog succeeds with its fetching.
When training a puppy to fetch, you mustn’t restrain the puppy at any point. Avoid throwing the retrieve too far, as this can cause the puppy to lose confidence if the puppy is unable to fetch effectively. Offer plenty of encouragement to ensure the puppy feels happy and enjoys the experience.
When the puppy has run off to fetch the retrieve, crouch down on the ground and encourage them to come back to you. You mustn’t take the retrieve away from the puppy too quickly.
When the pup brings the retrieve back to you, try not to place too much pressure on them to sit and deliver it to you perfectly. This may potentially put too much pressure on the puppy that will later cause them to be reluctant to bring the toy back to you.
Puppies can quickly become bored as they have extremely short attention spans. It’s best not to overdo the retrieving training. Create variation in the items you throw, and limit the number of throws in a session.
Always end the English Springer Spaniel’s training session on a good note, and ensure the pup receives plenty of love, affection, and treats. This will ensure the pup is eager to participate in the next session.
Suppose your English Springer Spaniel is particularly keen on retrieving. In that case, you can use this to help them develop their hunting skills. Begin by throwing the dummy into an area of rough grass. Before the dummy lands, cover the dog’s eyes. This way, you will teach them that they will have to search for the item and retrieve it when something is thrown.
English Springer Spaniels can easily be taught how to fetch. Because the English Springer Spaniel is primarily bred for hunting, it is naturally adept at various hunting and retrieving tasks. To teach your English Springer Spaniel To Retrieve, introduce them to the task one step at a time while incorporating different elements each time.