New Website Look

I finally bit the bullet and changed the look of the site. Google had been complaining that the old skin was not mobile friendly. The ‘look’ was a bit dated (almost 5 years old now, I can’t believe it)!

The other main change is that the menu is now on the left hand side – I hope that you don’t find it to be awkward to use.

A Facebook ‘Follow’ or ‘Share’ would be much appreciated!

I hope that it helps you in your search for knowledge about springer spaniels. Any questions? you can always email me

Problem: My Springer Will Not Stop Swimming

Recently I received an email from one of my followers:



Love your advice!

I have had springers 30 years. At present I have a 4 year old neutered male who is a great boy and plays like a puppy.

My concern: I live on the largest fresh water lake in the world. The temperature hovers around 50-55 degrees in the summer. Last year there were several coveys of ducks and Jack would not come out of the water after almost an hour. He is so intent a hunter I fear he could get hypothermia or drown.

Although he seemed in no distress it was scarry to say the least. Now I keep him on a long cable and of course no where as much fun as being free. What can I do?

Thank you, Barb I


Here’s what I wrote back:

Hi Barb

Thanks for your interesting question, and your kind comments.

This is what I think you should do: If you don’t already use a dog whistle, get one.

When Jack is in the water (or out) use the whistle – one blow at time, a few minutes apart. When he does eventually come out, use the whistle once again and give him a treat – a treat he doesn’t usually get.

Over a few weeks you should be able to train him to associate the one blow with the treat, whether he is in the water or not. Don’t overdo it. Then as summer comes only use the whistle when he is in the water.

If you already use a dog whistle, then you’ll need to train him to respond to a special pattern of blows – maybe short-long-short.

That should sort him out.

Good luck!

A Common Problem

Springers just love the water, and one of mine lived to swim in the dock – a tidal dock. Late one evening he was heading out on the last of the tide with his best pal, my father’s Irish Setter (Milligan). They eventually swam ashore and landed on a mudbank…fine, but very muddy!

I’ve learned to put much more effort into training since that evening.

Dogs Read your Face and Know Whether you are Happy or Sad –

Facial expressions are essential in human communications. Without saying a word, we can signal to those around us to our emotional state—ranging from joy to sorrow—just by flexing a few facial muscles. Such expressions have evolved to help us form bonds, avoid danger and cooperate.

According to the results of a study published in Current Biology, dogs can read this silent method of communication and can distinguish between our angry and happy facial expressions. Tell me something new – most dog owners knew this already!

A Tight Bond between Man and Dog

Dogs and humans share a tight historical bond, which is why animal researchers from the University of Vienna focused on us for their research. Dogs are already known to be expert at reading us. We know that they can identify familiar faces – even if just part of the face is shown in a photograph. Whether they can actually read human emotions, however, was not proven until now

This seems to be the first time that researchers have shown that one animal species can recognise the emotions of another.

More research is planned – experiments with puppies could help us understand whether reading human facial expressions is something dogs learn as they mature, or if it’s something passed down in the genes.

Alfie the Springer Spaniel Sniffer Dog Retires with £11Million Haul

After 8 years, 400 arrests and a net haul of £11 million ($16 million), Alfie the springer spaniel sniffer dog has retired from Staffordshire Police.

Pic of Alfie the Springer Spaniel

Alfie was originally donated to the police by a family in Nottinghamshire after they found him to be too hyperactive. Ms Hargreaves, his handler, who has been in the police since she joined the cadets at 16, said: ‘He was way too much for an ordinary family – a bit overzealous and hyperactive – but that’s exactly what we look for in a search dog.

‘He is ball crazy and that’s the first thing we need – a dog who loves the reward of chasing a tennis ball.’

After being assessed by a team of officers, it was clear that he was perfect for the job and Alfie was inducted into the force with eight weeks of training with his handler. She said: ‘I was new to being a specialist dog handler too. Although I’d had a general purpose dog before, Alfie was my first search dog.

‘He’s turned out to be the finest dog the force has ever known.

During his eight years in the force, Alfie has sniffed out £8million in drugs alone, plus cash, guns and ammunition.

‘And Alfie has always been 100 per cent professional – that’s what makes him such a special dog – even when he was doing shift patterns. He did exactly the same hours as me, even when I was working nights or from the early hours of the morning.As soon as I put my uniform on, he was ready to work.’

Alfie retired in October and is being supported by the Staffordshire Retired Police Dogs Scheme now he is no longer in active service. Ms Hargreaves said: ‘Although I was very sad to see him retire I know he’ll enjoy his new home.

‘But I will be fundraising for the Staffordshire Retired Police Dogs Scheme to make sure he has a comfortable retirement.’

Full Story at the Daily Mail

Springer Spaniel 5 Year Memory and why Microchips Matter

This springer met up with her owners five years after going missing! The owners had a pair of springers from pups, but one day when they were out walking, Daisy went missing.

Five years later they received a phone call from a dog warden who had traced them using Daisy’s microchip.

They went to pick her up and she recognised them immediately!

The Daily Mail has an excellent story with some terrific pictures of Daisy and her partner Flynn. Full story at

Daily Mail

Springer Spaniel Fire Sniffer

As a Welshman, this one is close to home for me!

Sammy has helped investigate 500 fires – he sniffs to find if an accelerant has been used to start it. Now, he’s a finalist in the Hero Dogs award of the Dogs Trust. He sniffs for South Wales Fire and Rescue Service.

The BBC reports that:

Trainer Matt Jones, 32, of Usk, Monmouthshire, said before the Dogs Trust awards on Monday: “He is very passionate for his work.”

Sammy, who is eight, has lived with Mr Jones since he was one and has been trained by him to home in on a range of materials often used to start fires.

He can detect the presence of petrol, diesel, paraffin, white spirit, barbecue fluid, turpentine, acetone, lighter fluid and ethanol up to two weeks after a blaze.

Mr Jones said: “He gives a passive indication that something is there. He stares at what he has found. He is very accurate, to one or two inches.”

The dog’s ability is above what science can detect”

Crime scene investigators then take a sample from the area and put it through laboratory tests to determine which of the substances is present.


Springer Spaniel Companion Now On Kindle And iPhone/iPad

Hi Springer Spaniel Fans,

I’m delighted to announce that The Springer Spaniel Companion is now available on the Kindle, and in the iTunes Store.

If you’re a Nook user, it’s in the Barnes & Noble store too, and available at Lulu for many other formats. Here are the links:

Kindle –

iTunes Store


Lulu for Sony, Kobo and many others

Here’s the Table of Contents:


General Points about Dog Ownership


Origins and History

About the Breed


With Other Pets

Chapter 2

More About Springers


The Coat

Size and Weight



Chapter 3

What’s different about Welsh Springer Spaniels?

Physical Differences



Chapter 4

Puppy or Mature Dog?

Choosing a Puppy – Basic Decisions

Finding the Right Breeder

Meeting Breeders


Choosing your Pup




Registering your Puppy

Puppy Checklist

The First Few Days and Weeks

House Rules

Preparations – a Short Checklist

The New Pup at Home

House Training

Basic Training


Basic Commands

Your Pup’s Own Space





Learning to be Alone

Socialization, or Learning to Meet Others


Exercising your Puppy

Chapter 5

Springer Spaniel Rescue Dogs

What is a Rescue Centre?

Why Dogs are in a Rescue Centre

Health Issues

Disadvantages of Rescue Dogs

Springer Spaniel Rescue Centers

Assessing Rescue Center Springers

And Finally

Chapter 6

The Adult Dog


6 Months and Beyond

Springer Spaniel Grooming

Start Early

More Advanced Grooming for the Adult Dog


Cars and Trucks

On the Train

Using Boarding Kennels

Chapter 7


Feeding Bowls

When to Feed

Nutrition Basics

Food Types

Feeding Profile – Age and Activity

Treats and what not to give your dog

Weight Control



Avoid Secret and Hidden Feeds

Chapter 8


Training Classes

Types of Training

Basic Approach

Obedience Training


Collars and Leads

The Sit

The Stand



The Fetch

Body Signals and Voice

Instilling Good Habits

Eliminating Bad Habits

Rescue Dog Training

What’s his Name?

Chapter 9

Health and Life


General Health Checks

Hereditary Conditions specific to Springer Spaniels

Common Illnesses and Conditions

General Remedies

Using Veterinarians


At the End


Field Trials

The Law


Dangerous Dogs



Crossing Borders

Disease Control

If you own or you are seeking a Springer Spaniel, then this book is a great companion!

Here are the links again:

Kindle –

iTunes Store


Lulu for Sony, Kobo and many others

Check it out today!

Springer Spaniels Rage – An Urban Myth?

Is springer spaniels rage an urban myth, or does it really exist as a condition? Dog rage in general is also a term one hears. We do know that ‘mad dog’ harks back to rabies (which is usually fatal to humans), and we hear of ‘mad dogs’ in everyday speech, without any reference to rabies. Let’s be clear that we are not here associating dog rage or springer spaniels rage with rabies.

We are talking here about episodic (occasional) events where some sort of ‘rage’ behaviour occurs in otherwise well-behaved springer spaniels or other dogs. Symptoms might be any or all of:

  • Sudden aggression that happens without warning.
  • Aggressive behaviour in the absence of other dogs.
  • Snarling, growling, attack posture.
  • Changes to the eyes (temporary).

This usually happens when there are no obvious external triggers (though there may be exceptions), and the episode stops suddenly. Springer spaniels appear to suffer no after effects, or ill-effects. Their behaviour reverts to normal after the event, which typically lasts a few minutes.

The fact is that any biological organism is subject to disrupted behaviour, and higher mammals (which includes dogs), are included. The more complex the brain, then the more disorders it can be subject to. For the purposes of this discussion, springer spaniels brains (and dog brains in general) are broadly equivalent to ours, and any brain disorders to which we humans are subject are broadly presented in dogs – and therefore springer spaniels.

On balance, expert opinion is that ‘rage syndrome’ in springer spaniels (and other dogs) is caused by an epileptic fit. It is quite rare – typically, only 4 in 10,000 dogs are subject to these fits.

If you suspect that your springer may have this condition, keep the springer away from any children, then get expert advice. Diagnosis requires expert input, and there is evidence that springer spaniels are slightly more pre-disposed to this conditions than dogs in general, though suspect bloodlines are being terminated. In English springer spaniels, the condition is limited to the ‘show’ (US ‘bench’) bloodlines. It is not present in the field line of the breed.

In Welsh springers, the incidence is no different to that in all dogs, but Cocker spaniels have a slightly higher incidence than average.

Treatment for springer spaniels rage (and dog rage) is possible following accurate diagnosis.

If you decide to take the dog to a springer spaniels rescue center, then be sure to tell them that you suspect the dog of having the condition, so that the staff are not endangered.

Springer Spaniel Grooming – Are Dew Claws A Problem?

Just a quick note here about dew claws – a topic which crops up from time to time for springer spaniel owners.

Dew claws grow on the rear of the lower leg and are vestigial ‘thumbs’ left over from ancient genetic lines, originally used for gripping prey. They serve no practical purpose on springer spaniels, though in a few breeds (e.g. the Great Pyreneean) they are considered to be essential. On other breeds, where the dew claw is lower on the paw then they can grow inward (like an ingrowing toenail), giving rise to discomfort, even infection.

When the dog is running around in undergrowth, or a working springer is retrieving, then dew claws can snag and cause the dog injury. That in itself is a good reason for their removal – it is not a cosmetic surgery issue.

American Kennel Club breed standards allow the removal of dew claws for both English springer spaniels and Welsh springer spaniels.

In some countries, removal of dew claws other than from a pup whose eyes are still closed, must be done by a licensed veterinarian under anaesthetic, else the procedure is considered to be mutilation and may even be illegal.

Most breeders will remove dew claws from the new-born pups – the procedure is simple. Any trimming around the dew claws does not then become an issue for the adult springer spaniel grooming process.

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.


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.

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