Springer Spaniels Rescue – What’s It All About?

This is a large business – or more accurately a group of individual charities, worldwide, which specialise in springer spaniels rescue. That is, they take in springer spaniels, and look after them until a new owner is found, or until the dog has to be destroyed. When you multiply this up across all popular breeds, and add in the ‘all-breed’ rescue centers, then you see the scale of the unwanted dogs problem.

Fortunately, today, fewer dogs are having to be destroyed as a result of lack of resources to keep them. After all they have to be fed (cost) and exercised (staff – sometimes volunteers). Then, occasionally, some require veterinary attention. Most dogs will need to be checked over on arrival, and sometimes calling a veterinarian in would be necessary – and that could result in destruction of the dog. The realities of rescue centers can be very harsh.

The Dog’s Background

The reasons that the dogs end up at the springer spaniels rescue center are myriad, but in the case of the specialised breed rescue centers such as we are discussing here, then they are not usually stray dogs. This is an advantage of you are looking for such a family pet, because the rescue center will usually have some information about the dog’s background and history. In exceptional cases, they may even have pedigree papers available – a real bonus for the new adoptive owner.

The absence of pedigree papers would not be a problem for most adoptive owners, unless they wanted to show the dog or breed from it.

Springer Spaniels Rescue – The Reasons

If the dog has not arrived as a consequence of, say the death of the owner, or being aged and perhaps infirm and no longer properly to exercise the springer, then the reason may be problematical. Perhaps the dog has a behavioural problem, or has proved difficult to train (unusual in the case of springer spaniels). Perhaps the dog is too boisterous for new or very young children, or even barks excessively. These are all reasons for caution if you are looking for a springer, as additional and sometimes, corrective, training may be necessary.

The springer spaniels rescue center will not always know the reason that the dog has been brought in, though behavioural or barking problems would soon have become apparent. However, if the problem is thought to be one that cannot easily be trained out, then the center might have to make a tough decision about the dog’s future. Usually, if there is an obvious social problem with the dog that could be corrected, then the staff would advise prospective owners accordingly.

Advantages

Getting your next dog from a springer spaniels rescue center has many advantages. For example, house training will probably not be necessary, and that awkward ‘teething’ period would be in the past. However, there are disadvantages too – not least in relation to the reason for the dog being at the center.

Provided that the dog is healthy (and most are), then the basic decision revolves around your family and the dog’s suitability. Often the staff at the springer spaniels rescue center will be able to help you with the decision. They want to see the dog placed in an appropriate home, and not have him or her returned to the center – dogs get disappointed too!

So, that’s what it’s all about. The centers exist as temporary carers for springer spaniels whilst new homes are found for them. A simple concept, which has given many owners great new pets. If you are seriously considering springer spaniels rescue, though, then go in with your eyes open and do look at a few springers before you decide which one you will give a home to.

If you do think that a springer you fancy might be the one for you, then bear in mind that extra training might be necessary. There are plenty of springer spaniel training resources available here on this site.

Springer Spaniel Training and Temperament – Making Friends

Here’s an excerpt from a reader’s letter about springer spaniel training and introducing rescue dogs to others:

I just need a bit of advice on introducing Cassie to another dog. My mum has just got a rescue dog herself and although Cassie has been going to my mum’s for quite a while and has settled nicely when we are there, we are not sure on what’s the best way of introducing the dogs to each other and how soon. Rusty the newcomer has basic commands but when we went round the other day he wanted to say hello to her, I kept Cassie down the other end of the room with me. Rusty started to come up to her but she drove him off, snapping. Mind you it didn’t stop him wanting to go back – he’s only 7 months old and has been kept with other dogs in a ‘foster’ environment. He was barking a lot because he was then contained at the other end of the room.

Cassie has been ok with 2 of my friends’ dogs in their homes off her lead, she seems to ignore them and play with their toys. She came from a dogs home where she stayed for 4 months.

My reply was broadly as follows:

You don’t say whether Cassie was on heat when they first met – that could be important. Also, of course, you mentioned that the other dog is a rescue dog too, but from your note there is no unusual behaviour there.

Where do the problems lie then?

Well, if you read up on springer spaniel temperament, you’ll find that they can sometimes be aggressive with others of the same sex, though it’s not an issue here.

Also of course, there may be issues of territory – on whose ground they meet, so to speak.

Jealousy can be another factor – if she has been spoilt with affection, then she could be very defensive about letting another dog into her relationship with you.

What can you do?

Well, firstly, make sure they meet on neutral territory, and introduce them gradually. I suggest walking them together, on leashes, but kept apart. Make it a regular occurrence, and build the length of the walk from a few minutes to maybe the full regular morning or evening walk. That way they can get used to one another without territorial issues, or physical bothering. Do this when neither is in season.

Whilst you are doing it, you, as Cassie’s owner, need to avoid showing any interest in the other dog at all. Keep them apart, but if you have retractable dog leashes then you can slowly lengthen and let them interact.

Then, when they are used to one another, start giving Cassie some freedom during the walks. Gradually let her off the leash, so that she can choose whether to say hello to the other dog. That’s another week gone, maybe more – you’ll have to watch her behaviour. If she’s avoiding the issue completely and showing no interest in the other dog, then test the water gently by you showing some interest in the other dog; you’ll need to watch her reaction carefully, to see if she is sensitive about this aspect.

When things are looking good and settled between them in this way, then start to let the other dog off the leash during walks, so that they are both off. Take it gently and slowly, building up the time again. Obviously, you need to be confident that the other dog will recall to leash without problems.

You may need to go back a step at times, and take a couple of months over the process, so that nothing is rushed, and keep them apart when she is in season (and vice versa).

Then, you’ll have to deal with territory. Take Cassie to the other home, and take it slowly, with short visits. Give her time on her own in the other’s garden or yard (if there is one), and then let them have time together in this outside space, with lengthening times together. Then, when things are ok, move them indoors – again, short time periods, getting longer.

It will take patience, but if Cassie is relatively young, then she should learn well and adjust. Keep your own interest in the other dog to a minimum. Springer spaniels are smart dogs, and she may adjust quickly, as soon as she understands that there is no threat to her home or her relationship with you. There is, obviously, a very small chance that things may never work out between them, but I think that this is unlikely.

It’s mainly a matter of common sense and patience, and a focus on springer spaniel training.