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Thread: Springer spaniel training

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    Member jkb's Avatar
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    Default Springer spaniel training

    My wife bought a male English springer spaniel last April. He is intact and has been just a companion animal with no hunting training. He's 11 months old is there anything that can be done with him? What kind of hunting in Ak do you do with a English springer spaniel?
    Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming-----WOW-----what a ride!
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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    I am no authority on this subject but I purchased a field bred springer last year with plans to train em up over this past summer. Unfortunately I have gotten a good injection of "life happens" and ended up hanging out in the Middle East instead of training my dog. The research that I did leading up to selecting the springer basically showed me that they were a lot like a lab only in "reverse". Where labs are predominantly duck dogs that are frequently used to flush birds and rabbits the springers are predominantly bird and rabbit dogs that do a pretty darn good job retrieving ducks.

    I picked up this vid series from an english trainer. It seems to be the most in detail that I could find for springers. Unfortunately I can't comment on it too much since I have not watched them but the kid and wife are watching it to learn how to work with the dog. I am fine with our pup being a "pet" since the wife and kids are crazy about him but I do have hopes of making him into a hunting dog. The fact that he has been such a bright spot in their lives during my absence means he was worth every penny if he never flushes a single grouse.

    Here is the info on the vid set that I purchased. One thing to note is I paid via pay-pal on the website and never heard anything back from them for confirmation. I saw the money leave my account and was pretty nervous that I had just lost ~150 bucks then a couple weeks later the DVD's showed up at the house so it's hard to complain about that! http://www.buccleuchgundogs.com/trai...ts/trainingdvd

    There are also quite a few vids on youtube of springers flushing pheasants which seems to be their forte as well as them running bunnies. They are serious high energy hunters and that is a trait that is boiling over in my pup. He will sprint around the yard with nearly endless energy. Arctic bird dogs would also be another great resource for you. Springers are not heavily supported in AK but there are a few passionate folks out there.

  3. #3

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    Generally Springer Spanials are a little too hyper to be a clasic house pet, but I have seen some amazing(for a springer) house dogs that hunted pheasants with the best kennel dogs. Its an instinct for springers to put nose to ground. Some just have better genes than others. You just need to help teach which scent you want it to really get excited about.
    A buddy of mine used to put pheasant scent on his arrows when he shot long bow outside. If he lost an arrow in the grass, he would let his springer out an it was amazing to watch that dog zig zag from where he shot towards the target. When he did a double take, that where the arrow would be every time.
    Start out with some fun "games" of fetch with anything with increasing emphasis on obedience. Young dogs can get burned out if too strict, but your dog has some age and will probably out do your attention span, so I wouldn't be concerned with too much training. If your lucky your dog will do almost everything instinctively. You can use a long lead line to get them used to staying close and not running too far out and/or shock collar. Once you have the obedience dialed in, go out and put em on some real birds.
    It is fun to see the light "turn on" when out in the field for the first time.

  4. #4

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    I have an 8 month old English Springer here in training. It is true they do seem to have endless energy. These are dogs born and bred to have a job. Plus,if trained properly, they do that job well.
    From my experience they are more nose oriented. So I train them to balance out between using the eyes and nose. Finding the game is one but retrieving it once it has flown and shot is another. Getting them to look out is important in training. So lots of field marks in low to little cover initially.
    Being nose oriented....when you first start out in training it can be a chore to get them to focus on you(the handler). So be patient, fair and having a method and knowing the timing to do so is key.
    Right now the pup that I have everything is on long line. Obedience drills and then field marks. This pup is not yet collar conditioned. The pup is retrieving dummies and will be put on birds once I know I have enough obedience to maintain control.
    11 months is not too old to start training. So don't worry about the age factor.
    We have lots of waterfowl opportunities. Our upland consist of grouse and ptarmigan. Grouse are lowland forest and ptarmigan mostly are highland (right at treeline and above). Then there is hare hunting but I don't care for that. I'm a "if it flies it dies" kinda guy.

  5. #5
    Member Burke's Avatar
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    I know numerous guys who hunt their spaniels and keep them as house pets. It can be done...and at 11 months he is still young enough to become a hunting companion. If possible you do want to work on the basic obedience skills. It is best to have them in place before going into the field/bird handling skills.
    As Wetland says...You can hunt waterfowl and upland birds with your spaniel in Alaska.

    If you are interested, the Arctic Bird Dog Association does a Novice Class in the spring (April) for Spaniels and a separate one for Pointers. You can connect with them to talk and get training tips. Their website has the dates and the contact info. If you contact one of them they will be able to steer you in the right direction to be ready for the class. They may be able to meet you and the dog and begin working with you.
    Last edited by Burke; 01-09-2011 at 11:37. Reason: add

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    Member captaindd's Avatar
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    I had a springer back in the 70's that lived in the house year round and loved to hunt. A friend in Valdez has one that goes on his charter boat and also lives in the house. The only down side that I have seen with dogs in the house is cleaning up hair.

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    Member jkb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by captaindd View Post
    I had a springer back in the 70's that lived in the house year round and loved to hunt. A friend in Valdez has one that goes on his charter boat and also lives in the house. The only down side that I have seen with dogs in the house is cleaning up hair.
    This dog seem to shed very little but he has to be groomed or he gets shaggy. Thanks for all the responses rep coming when my rep gun gets reloaded.
    Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming-----WOW-----what a ride!
    Unknown author

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    Smile Actic Gun Dogs classes coming in April

    I have a year old rescued dog, Wirehaired Pointing Griffon that I'll start in the AGD classes this April. http://www.arcticbirddog.com/puppyclass.htm Opps Burke just saw your post.

    They will be held at Valley Canine Camp to start with then move outside. We are starting an obedience class to get used to other dogs working as well. We've been working on basic obedience at home and going into the pet supply stores to get used to other activities.
    Other than that we've been doing a few retrieves a day, working with hold and fetch commands, and stand stays and "Whoa" . Whoa was suggested by another pointer competitor as the most important thing that most people hate to do. Not sure I have a handle on it but not much else to do in this ice.
    There is another bit in this conversation that is an old view - all sporting dogs do better when they live with you. Very few dogs benefit by being kenneled or tied out not living with the family. I've hunted and competed with my dogs and they all lived in my home, slept next to my bed and share my couch. Brushes and vacuum cleaners were invented to clean up dog hair.
    Linda Henning
    http://www.alaskadognews.com
    Facebook page Alaska Dog News

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