Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 50 total)
  • Spaniel Training World
  • holmes81
    Free Member

    In need of some ideas for help with a spaniel.

    2 1/2 years old working stock.

    Initally training for beating/gundog work.

    All the following on a long line.

    Sit is pretty good, heel work acceptable for a spaniel

    Quatering going well and turning on the whislte or arm direction.

    Retreive non existent.

    Recall good on line.

    However a number of months a go tried to work getting her off the long line. Was going well. 2nd week went to do some training and she bolted into the woods.

    3hrs later found her looking very sorry for herself.

    So back on long line and start again. A couple of weels ago same thing happened. Doing some training on tje long line then she bolted into woods.

    I managed to get her back plus a few brambles in my arm.

    So it would appear the lure of the woods is an issue.

    Been to a couple of trainers one was very much a working training dog is more of a worker than a pet. Which was ok but not great for the kids.

    Second trainer more family friendly but not really teaching much.

    I’ve got Total Recall so will use that to reinforce the recall.

    Any nuggets of wisdom?

    theotherjonv
    Full Member

    if it’s anything like my spaniel cross, your treats aren’t good enough. She’ll do anything for the lure of primula cheese spread out of the tube.

    No sensible help though.

    ogden
    Free Member

    I got mine from the local gamekeeper as a puppy so know your pain. Tbh it’s bred into them and all instinct. Mine will do anything I’ve ever taught him in the house no problem, but get outside and he’s in and out of everything. Inside he’d do anything for a treat but outside I couldn’t force feed him a cooked chicken 😂

    ampthill
    Full Member

    Reply below from mrs Ampthill who.is a dog Walker. Our Spaniel never went for 3 hours but was a PITA at 2 not coming back. But at say 5 was great but never let off near sheep

    Don’t let the spaniel off where it ran away last time, possibly ever, certainly for a good few months.They have excellent memories.
    I walk spaniels which have been trained by bribery, and lots of praise, to return to the whistle, but they can still take their time if there’s a lot going on in the undergrowth.
    Close,microtraining seems to work with spaniels, thousands of tiny treats, playing games for treats on walks, close sit stay come repeatedly on a walk, but a spaniel is a clever dog with business to be about, so you have to be on the case all the time.
    Find somewhere with physical boundaries and nothing more interesting than yourself to do the recall training in.

    stripeysocks
    Full Member

    On the upside should you want to take up long distance running (marathons or up) they seem to be ideal training partners! I’ve actually bumped into a spaniel *running* a (small, off-road) marathon. It had done several before apparently…

    thebibbles
    Full Member

    I’ve got a Sprocker from working stock who’s almost 2. We don’t go beating or shooting with her but she’s been very quick to learn and her recall is excellent. I’m not sure if it’s too late for you as we did this early but one of the things I was told to do was to take her out with the kids, prep the kids first so they know what to do, then get them to run with her and then use the whistle to stop them and to recall them. The dog seeing the rest of the pack stop and recall to the whistle should then start to ingrain in them that’s what needs to be done especially if backed up with treats. That took a couple of weeks of training but now if I whistle or call, even if she’s mid squirrel or rabbit chase in the middle of the woods she’ll stop and return (if only the kids were so obedient). She’s getting to be a decent trail dog as well running either in front or behind the bike on the local trails and not wandering off.

    holmes81
    Free Member

    Thanks.

    I’ve been working through lots of treats to try and find something irresitable.

    Not found it yet. She ate 500g of cheese which my son was going to male a sanwhich with.

    Salmon seems quite good, I’ll try primula cheese.

    Ampthill I’ll give the micro rewards a try.

    Deffo not letting her of the lead for a good long time.

    I’ll try the kids and dog combo, sounds like it will help with the kids getting involved in training.

    dashed
    Free Member

    If you bought a working spaniel, then go with someone who understands them and trains them. Whether you have a family / kids etc is of no consequence here sadly – you chose the breed and working background so that is the dominating factor in how it ticks and how you need to train it. If you want a family pet then you should have chosen a different breed. Sorry to be blunt, but you need to put the dog first.

    And I’m not sure I’d be trusting the opinions of a cycling forum over those of two trainers who’ve seen your dog in the flesh, particularly the working dog trainer. What was their view and why isn’t it compatible with your lifestyle?

    Training Spaniels by Joe Irving seems to be the most recommended of gundog training books if you want to read some more background.

    CheesybeanZ
    Full Member

    Try cooked liver / heart.
    Dogs love smelly meaty treats .

    dashed
    Free Member

    And just to be even more contrary, I’ve never used treats in training any of my dogs – all working dogs and all drop to the stop whistle and have good recall. Next addition is a black and white springer, arriving on Saturday.

    thebibbles
    Full Member

    Mine loves biltong, one of her favourite games is the kids will hide bits in the garden and house and she’ll run about sniffing them out. Good treat on walks as well.

    anagallis_arvensis
    Full Member

    Find somewhere with physical boundaries and nothing more interesting than yourself to do the recall training in.

    This, avoid woodland and scrub areas. A park with just grass would be best. We have a Lurcher,she’s pretty good now but when young for training a place with no distractions is needed. Even now if it runs away it’ll get chased no matter what I do. You have to work within the traits bred into the dog, yours wants to hunt up in woods or scrub, remove that from the equation.

    TiRed
    Full Member

    Our cocker was trained with a squeaky ball. She loves the sound. But key is not just throw ad return. She likes to find by smell, so you throw or mock throw so she has to find it. I do this in am open park. Also a swimming float has been a huge success. Now she wont stay out of water. Treats work but if they have strong will you need good smelly food.

    the00
    Free Member

    Sounds like you’ve made some good research and progress already. Not sure I can add much that you might not have heard before, but I can relay a few things I have learnt. We’re lucky to have an 8 year old working cocker, we got from a friend of a friend as a pup. His training is entirely to my wife’s credit. This is what I’d wish I’d known:

    Training requires discipline 24/7, which is probably harder for the owner than the dog. A dog needs to know to listen to you always, not just for an hour a day whilst ‘training’. Do not give a command an allow for it to be optional for the dog to follow.
    Find some safe and trusted space for the dog to get used to being off lead. It might be that she’s just going bananas at the excitement of having some freedom.
    On a walk and off the lead our dog will find something to do unless we give him a task or a command, which is when he finds a scent or an animal to chase. He’s run off, but gladly not for 3hrs. If you can train to “stop!” then you might have a chance to break her concentration before she bolts. We did this as an extension of playing fetch.
    We were super lucky in that our dog was basically born knowing how to retrieve. However he has never retrieved for treats, only for the pleasure. If there’s a treat he drops whatever, and won’t leave your side. Maybe try playing fetch as a small scale game without treats to encourage her. From that you can step up to hiding the toy and sending her away to find it.

    the00
    Free Member

    Beware overly salty treats. Ours loves Biltong and smoked salmon, but they’re pretty salty.

    willard
    Full Member

    Cubed fried liver worked with Ted when I was training him. It was like spaniel-crack for making sure he came back.

    Weirdly, Ted has never had a problem with retrieving; he’ll do that all day. His hunting and field work was ok when I was working him, but he was always far, far better at retrieving.

    Ralp (working cocker) is just really bad at all the working stuff. Poor at retrieving, no ability or desire to hunt, but has 100% top game on looking adorable and getting cuddles.

    holmes81
    Free Member

    As dashed said I agree. It wasn’t my choice.

    Hence why I’m doing th quatering type gundog work.

    The original trainer working dogs chap was very much dog is fpr working, keep outisde in kennels. Only get the out to work. Which was fine for me but not great with the family.

    I’ll maybe go and have a chat with him again.

    Compared to other spaniles around here she is pretty good. I’d just like to get her off lead and know that she won’t bolt.

    I’ll also try the liver options.

    Dashed you say you didn’t use treats what was/is your approach?

    dantsw13
    Free Member

    We decided early on not to work ours as they are family pets. We play lots of games to stimulate them though.

    You can’t out-exercise a cocker. If you do that but don’t mentally stimulate, you end up with a very fit but neurotic dog!

    stuey
    Free Member

    My interest was piqued by…
    “sexier than a squirrel”

    Milkie
    Free Member

    Any nuggets of wisdom?

    I know it sounds stupid, but only use the recall when you know for certain the dog will come back. Having family members shouting the recall word (usually dogs name) does not help, whether they are recalling the dog or not, whether you are home or not.

    You might need to desensitize the dog from the lure of the woods. Maybe walk it around the woods before doing to training near the woods.

    Find a good trainer, usually through recommendation. You can do gundog training and normal training aka citizenship award. We ended up having a great Working, Scurrying and Pet Springer and the younger Cocker ain’t too bad either! But thats a totally different way of training the Cocker.

    johndoh
    Free Member

    Glad it’s not just our bloody dog – we have exactly the same with our King Charles / cocker mutt. Most of the time she is great but many of things mentioned above ring true (woodland, remembering places, better to use open spaces like fields or entirely enclosed lanes).

    It has got to the stage where my wife wants to let her off to try to teach her more whereas I prefer to keep the dog on the lead so we don’t have the inevitable 30 minutes looking for her again.

    dashed
    Free Member

    Dashed you say you didn’t use treats what was/is your approach?

    Sorry – this might turn into a ramble…

    Little stick and big carrot (both in a metaphorical sense!!). They need to know they must do what you tell them. Always. And tell them don’t ask them.

    I’ve always just used praise as the reward, mainly as I don’t want to have to carry a bag of stinking liver around with me everywhere but also when they’re working their instinct is more about working than food.

    They need to know there are consequences of not doing what they are told though. Treats / rewards / praise are great and are 90% of training. The other 10% is them knowing there are consequences of ignoring you. I don’t mean beating with a stick if they doing something wrong, but deep, growly voice or even getting hold of them by the scruff and being taken back to where they were told to sit for example. Most dogs, particularly working dogs, are really keen to please.

    Never, ever lose your temper when training a dog. It’ll lose trust in you. If you feel yourself getting riled, pack up and come back another day.

    Don’t use commands unless you are going to follow through 100% of the time. Even around the house, don’t use “Fido come here” and then let them ignore you because the kids are distracting the dog etc. The biggest part of this with puppies and young dogs is to only tell them to do stuff when you know they are going to comply (or at least have a decent chance of complying and if they don’t then you have the ability to follow through with them).

    Never tell them to do something when you know there’s a 95% chance they’ll ignore you! Pick your timing, pick your battles and go slowly. There’s no point shouting and shouting at a dog that is totally ignoring you and is hellbent of chasing a cat / squirrel / rabbit etc. All you’re doing is reinforcing that it can ignore you and chase the squirrel.

    So as others have said, get all the basics solid in places without distraction first before going to more interesting / challenging areas.

    But I’d still find a decent trainer to work with. Not all working dog trainers are of the “kenneled unless working” school of thought. In fact very few are these days. Have a look around and find someone well recommended and who you can work with.

    holmes81
    Free Member

    Thanks Dashed.

    I’ve used the growling when not happy, maybe I’ll go back to that.

    Also I’m booking in with the trainer (more family friendly one).

    As mentioned above the Sexier than squirrels looks like it might be good for in house kids training.

    willard
    Full Member

    Whereabouts int he country are you?

    I sent my older dog to Fallowfen Gundogs in Ossington, Lincs for a couple of months to get him properly trained. Sending your dog away might not be what you want, but you might be able to get one on one training from him.

    Scapegoat
    Full Member

    Training treats if they are food orientated….. thinly sliced liver (about 1/2 inch thick) cut into 1/2 inch strips and placed on foil on a baking tray. Bake in the oven at 110 degrees for an hour to an hour and a quarter.

    Once cooled cut it into tiny cubes about half the size of your little fingernail. They need to be an irresistible taste, but not take any time to eat otherwise it “breaks the spell” or becomes a distraction from the process.

    Freeze it in a tupperware container and simply scoop a handful into your pocket for training sessions. It doesn’t go off in your pocket, so don’t bugger about with plastic bags, or again, you’ll lose the spontaneity of the reward.

    Always, always give a spaniel a task, or keep it in tight. If you don’t, they’ll make up their own agenda. My son’s Cocker is a busy, busy hunter, so when I’ve got him I ensure he is hunting where I want him to hunt, whether that’s a bush, a patch of rashes, or even a section of woodland. However, he’s kept within bounds, so as soon as he steps beyond an imaginary line he’s called straight back in. All the way back to heel, then fussed and praised before being sent into the next place to hunt. Occasionally it takes a sharp “Oi!” and a blast on the whistle, but generally his instinct to hunt and flush is satisfied, but harnessed, done only on my terms and curtailed by the slip lead if he takes too long to come back.

    JackHammer
    Full Member

    Watching this thread with interest as I’ve got a 4 month old cocker who I am keen to have grow up a good boy.

    View this post on Instagram

    Chewy Chew #cockerspaniel #puppy #humpday

    A post shared by Jack Haffenden (@haffendenjack) on

    willard
    Full Member

    JackHammer, he’s going to grow up into a good boy whatever happens. He will make you laugh, cry, tear your hair out with both worry and annoyance and likely feel sick with all the garbage he will eat (then throw up on the floor in a stinking pile). With all that, I love both of my spaniels and would not be without them. They have some much energy and life about them.

    At 11 & 13, I know that our time is coming to an end and, to be honest, I am dreading it. Damn dogs and their awesomeness and love.

    holmes81
    Free Member

    Very helpful info.

    Scapegoat when you say

    curtailed by the slip lead if he takes too long to come back.

    Do you get him back and put him.on th slip lead?

    Also (not just directed at SG) if I am doing some work on the long line amd the dog doesn’t listen to me what is the best way to sort it out.

    Call her back in and make her sit?
    Yank the line (as instructed by one trainer)
    Get her back and put slip lead on?

    I’m off to get some liver.

    Before we got the dog I was anti dog but totally am a dog person now.

    Willard I know what you mean an can see why people have a string of dogs.

    On the plus side looking after my BILs Labs is easy peasy. He finds our springer hard work.

    Scapegoat
    Full Member

    Yes, he goes back on the lead to show him work’s done for a few minutes. In a working environment they have to learn that the fun bits are interspersed with bits where they simply sit or walk next to you.

    My lab is really only used for retrieving and she had to learn to sit still and quiet for half an hour or more waiting for the drive to finish. Her part here is to mark and memorise birds down. Similarly for stalking she knows to stay in tight and quiet rather than in and flushing until it’s time to follow a trail.

    theotherjonv
    Full Member

    ours is a cockapoo (don’t judge me) with clear traits of both, but most definitely her working cocker mother. Some of these “If you don’t, they’ll make up their own agenda” are so true; as the breeder told us ‘You have to keep her busy or she’ll go self-employed. And you won’t like the jobs she’ll find to do’

    metal_leg
    Free Member

    Food doesn’t work with our sproodle. The squeaky red ball does.

    cashback
    Full Member

    I have a pointer who is nearly two and the training advice I found is.
    1.you need to be consistent, if you say for them to do something they have to do it, so as dashed said pick you battles but be prepared to follow though on a command if they don’t do it. Kids are the worse problem for this, my biggest training issue was trying to stop the kids chatting to the dog and then get upset when she ignores their commands.
    We use treats and a ball, but use their drive for what you want. Running in when called and getting a treat from the hand gets boring, so sometimes the treat is hidden, sometimes it’s a ball, sometimes it’s just praise.
    When walking, don’t let them know what you are going to do. If you walk into a field around the outside, back to the gate, and out again they don’t need to watch you, if you vary where you go, she was keep a better eye on me, as she doesn’t like being left.
    Also looking at the cute picture of the puppy, our have never had toys available at all times, you need to be the fun, so a toy comes with you to play with, not on tap. She does occasionally have a antler to chew on, and we used a stuffed frozen cong to distract her when she was really manic.

    dashed
    Free Member

    @cashback – lots of vets recommending avoiding antlers now – too many cracked teeth

    PePPeR
    Full Member

    Best thing we ever do is teach our dogs their names, we sit one in kitchen, one in living room with treats calling the dog between us, they soon learn to come back.

    But a dog bolting is hard to control, you need an enclosed area to train in, so that the dog can be let off and can be stopped.

    JackHammer
    Full Member

    Re-toys everywhere that was after a play session, where I’d been swapping out the toy of interest, hence the chaos.

    Usually they’re all stored in a box out of reach, until we want to engage in play.

    supersessions9-2
    Free Member

    This is a great and informative thread, bit there’s a distinct lack of spanner pics!

    View this post on Instagram

    Springer at work! #springerspaniel #dogsofinstagram

    A post shared by Michael Thomas (@mr_evilgoat) on

    scandywag
    Free Member

    I’ll echo the comments above regarding training to stay close (with a long line to start with).
    We’ve gone from Weimaraners to a 12 week old working cocker but can already see similarities between them.
    We found that it was much better to steer them between different activities when out walking or they will find something to do themselves! 😁
    They also learned that depending on which collar/harness/jacket was used if we were tracking, hunting or just out for a walk. We’ll see if the little fellar is the same…! 😏

    holmes81
    Free Member

    Cheers for all the info.

    I’ll try some training tomorrow if it’s not too hot. On the long line a bit of quatering and heel work. Then slip lead then a bit mor training.

    Ours doesn’t have constant access o toys. Plus recall is not always food. Might be food, a super treat or praise.

    Sexier than a squirrel looks like it might be good for ideas for the kids to do.

    Oven bake finernail sized liver seems to sort of work.

    razorrazoo
    Full Member

    Bookmarked for arrival of Cocker puppy (show type) in September.

    bombjack
    Free Member

    View this post on Instagram

    Happy sprocket! #cockerspanielsofinstagram

    A post shared by Ollie Rees (@ollierees1980) on


    Sprocket the 9 week old Cocker approves of this thread.

Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 50 total)

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