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.

Springer Spaniels – Obedience Training

Here’s a video of a well trained English springer spaniel demonstrating obedience during a dog shop. You’ll note that the tail is docked, and the ‘stocky’ build is indicative of the show (bench) line of the breed (the field line is less stocky, and in my opinion, more agile).

Note the constant use of eye contact to maintain communication.

Springer spaniels are sociable, even with other dogs, and quite level-tempered. They are intelligent and eager to please (‘biddable’) so they are easier to train than some other breeds. The Springer was bred originally as a working dog. An outdoors dog has the genes for running, swimming, and staying active. So, they need exercise, but this makes training them a lot of fun – they keep the owners active too!

They want to get it right although they can be stubborn if trained the wrong way. If you take on a springer spaniel rescue dog, then bear in mind that some re-training may be necessary.

If you have a puppy, though, then it is much easier. Kennel Clubs usually run puppy training classes, and after the basic training – ‘boot camp’ – there are various levels, typically bronze, silver and gold. You and your springer must pass a test so that you can start training at the next level up. The course is straightforward though; different springers have different difficulties with exercises, but the trainers will help you and you dog surmount these hurdles (often literally). And so you and your springer progress from level to level.

Training field dogs is a completely different process – they need to get used to the sound of guns and learn to work in a team with another dog. They are also at a much greater distance fromt their owners, on average, and signalling techniques differ – they may be out of sight in undergrowth, or swimming to retrieve.

Here’s more on field training and exercises.

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.

Sniffer dogs join fight to protect S. Korea’s heritage – Yahoo! News

Relaxnews    Fri, Oct 14, 2011

Sniffer dogs join fight to protect S. Korea’s heritage

” Bobae, go!” The trainer snaps her fingers and the English springer spaniel dashes off to sniff the lofty wooden pillars at Gyeongbokgung palace, one of South Korea’s most important cultural heritage sites.

Suddenly Bobae stops sniffing and sits and stares at a spot on one of the pillars. She has found what she was searching for — two tiny termites.

Back in England’s West Midlands, Bobae and her canine companions, Woori and Boram, were trained to sniff out drugs or explosives.

Now they search out destructive termites threatening South Korea’s historic palaces and temples, which are built mainly of wood.

“It’s much more efficient (than other methods) and their detection is very accurate,” said Jang Young-Ki, a specialist at the Cultural Heritage Administration.

“The dogs’ job is to scan and filter the area to narrow down places which researchers at the administration should be looking for.”

Using two of the spaniels and their trainers, it takes only two to three hours to sweep the whole of Gyeongbokgung.

The search for termites could otherwise take many more hours, or even days. Gyeongbokgung, the grandest of Seoul’s five main historic places, has 13 main buildings spread over 34 hectares (84 acres) in the heart of the city.

The dogs are trained not to scratch or bite the wood when they detect termites, to avoid damaging it. Instead, they sit rigid to indicate the spot.

The dogs are supplied by the Samsung Detector Dog Centre, which bought them from a police dog training school in the West Midlands.

In a training process similar to that used for explosives or drug detection, trainers let the spaniels smell termites, hide the insects and let the dogs practise searching until they get it right.

The Cultural Heritage Administration sets annual work schedules for the dogs after its researchers assess the possibility of termites in various buildings. The aim is to stop the bugs chewing up the woodwork from the inside before it’s too late.

“If termites can be seen with the human eye, it means there’s nothing left inside the pillars. Dogs are able to smell the termites, so that we can work on it before it’s too late,” said Jang.

Bobae, Woori and Boram started their Korean assignment in 2007 and typically take 10-12 trips a year all over the country. While two are on the road, the third takes a rest.

Ful Story at Yahoo News: http://news.yahoo.com/sniffer-dogs-join-fight-protect-koreas-heritage-155933193.html


Springer Spaniel Training – Clever Trevor Sniffs The Goods

Made me smile! The things that springer spaniel training leads to…

Clever Trevor, a springer spaniel sniffer dog, discovered drugs that a South African  Airways air hostess had hidden in her underwear.

3 kg cocaine at Heathrow Airport.

Another great example of a springer spaniel working!

Full story here at the BBC http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-11418792

Springer Spaniel Training – Finding Bodies Underwater

Glasgow Evening Times


21 Oct 2011

HE is believed to be the only dog in Scotland trained to recover human remains from under water.

And now Barra is ready to start work on the River Clyde or wherever he is needed.

The 19-month-old Springer Spaniel belongs to Iain Marshall, 44, from Dumbarton, who read about using dogs to find missing people on the sea bed in a magazine.

The station officer at Helensburgh Coastguard and a boatman on the Clyde for Glasgow City Council, decided on his own to research the idea then travelled to Wales to get Barra and train him.

He said: A lot of things happen on the river and unfortunately people go missing, they sink to the bottom and it can take weeks if not months for these people to refloat.

I was reading an article in a magazine about these dogs that can locate bodies under the water and I thought this would be ideal for the river because it could bring closure to peoples’ families.

He contacted Nick Swindells, from UK Search Dog, who agreed to train both Iain and Barra on a year-long course at the International Rescue Training Centre in Wales.

Barra locates bodies by smelling gases they release.

He said: A dog’s natural ability is to go and locate scent, but when you are using him on the boat you are bringing him to the scent, the scents coming to him rather than him going away looking for it. It is a difficult discipline to do with a dog.

As far as I am aware Barra is the only qualified submerged remains search dog in Scotland.

Barra has already helped find a missing person.

Full Story: http://www.eveningtimes.co.uk/news/barra-ready-to-dive-into-work-1.1130557

© Copyright 2011 Herald & Times Group. All rights reserved.


Springer Spaniel Training – Water Retrieve of a Canvas Dummy

Video. Bess an English Springer Spaniel retreives a 1LB canvas dummy from across the River Derwent. I’m a little cautious when asking her to do this as I have no way other than swimming to get across to the other side should she decide to mess about. Paul Coates.

Licence: Standard YouTube, thanks to Paul Coates

Springer Spaniel Training – How To Find Little Penguins

Video: An English springer spaniel named Eco has been trained by the NSW Parks and Wildlife Services to sniff out a colony of little penguins on Sydney’s North Head.

Springer Spaniel Barking And How You Can Control It

Does your springer spaniel bark excessively? Springer spaniels are not noted for barking excessively like some small pooches do, though they can get excited at times. You do need them to bark when there’s a stranger outside your home, or with pleasure when the kids come home from school, and of course, when nature calls! But annoying the neighbours? No, you don’t want that.

The good news is that there are answers to the problem, depending on what the reason for the springer spaniel barking is. Knowing why might lead you to the best solution. Do remember, though, that dogs bark as we talk. I bet that even you talk to yourself when you are sometimes alone! I do, anyway (maybe I’m crazy). Maybe you need the advice of a renowned a professional dog trainer such as Dr Denis Fetko (‘Dr Dog’), so that you can save yourself a load of hassle, and best of all, cure your springer at an affordable cost.

Why do they bark?

Besides communication, Spaniels bark because of:

  • hunger
  • loneliness
  • fear
  • boredom
  • defence
  • offence
  • warning

The key thing is that you want them to bark under certain conditions only, and you want them to be quiet when you tell them. You don’t want to stop them barking completely.

We’ll assume that

1. Your dog is checked regularly when you groom her (or him).

2. That he/she gets checked annually by the vet.

3. That the dog’s normal living space is at the right temperature.

4. That he gets enough exercise.

5. That in fact you do not have lots of strangers calling at the door, and that there are not a lot of foxes or raccoons in your garden at night (get the idea)?

Does your springer only causes a problem when he’s alone and you are in work, and the neighbours complain about it? If she is not not messing in the house then the reason could be loneliness. Try leaving a radio playing.

Dogs do suffer from poor hearing (especially older ones) even deafness on occasion, and it’s essential to check regularly that your springer’s ears are clean. He might not be able to hear you telling him to stop barking.

Is the problem new?

If your dog was ok before, but is now a problem, then that is a sign that something has changed – it could be his age or health, it could be that your daughter (he’s been her favourite) now has her  boyfriend visit and he’s jealous.

Have you changed his food? Moved home? Bought him a new dog basket?

In short, does he have anything to complain about – because they are smart dogs and they complain if they are not happy. One of my springers didn’t bark when he was unhappy or I scolded him – he grunted like an old man.

What’s the Answer?

OK, so you’ve worked through all the obvious things. Maybe your springer spaniel is now 8 months old and the barking problem continues. Training is going well, he is now obeying the basic commands and walking to heel, you have started the ‘fetch’ training, yet the excessive barking persists.

Maybe you’ve got a rescue dog and not a pup. He might have had a tough life so far, you don’t always know. Did you ask the staff at the rescue centre if he barked excessively? It’s not always a sure guide, as there’s often a lot of barking at these centres anyway – the staff have no control over which dogs arrive at their gates.

There are plenty of solutions to the barking problem (depending on the reason), but first of all, don’t reinforce the behaviour. If the dog barks, then don’t give her a cuddle – it doesn’t work with kids and will not work with her.

Some people favour electric collars – that’s an old  approach and not in keeping with best practice. The key to curing is understanding, and if you’ve looked at the problem from all angles without success, then you probably need professional advice.

Dr Denis Fetko is a leading dog behaviour expert, and can help you stop your springer’s excessive barking. His expertise is readily available, affordable and very popular, not only for springer spaniel barking problems. Check him out at Dr Dog!

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