I need help training my rescue spaniel on recall.

by J. Mobach

I recently rescued a springer spaniel 8 hours short of being euthanized. She is a sweet loving 4.5 year old girl with what seems like ants in her pants. She is perfectly trained in the house and in my shop but outside she has a mind of her own. She pulls hard(like a freight train) on the leash and goes with her nose to the ground. She will not recall under any circumstance. The only success I have had is with a basketball. When I bounce it she comes back. She seems to totally ignore me otherwise. She seems to love watching birds and will not be interrupted when she does. We have no history on this pup at all except that she has been in and out of the shelter six times in the last two and a half years. Most of her life has been behind bars. I normally work with a dozen aussies and borders but this little lady has me slightly puzzled. Any help and advice would be greatly appreciated.

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May 24, 2012
Sounds like our rescue springer too! NEW
by: Anonymous

This post is too late to help with your 2010 question, but your pooch has a twin with us!
Springers are by nature built to walk back and forth, side to side, with their nose on the ground, to flush out birds - when they aren't doing that, they are staring at birds up in trees or on wires and pulling like a freight train, exactly as you said, at every rabbit or squirrel (ours even does it to get to tree trunks, as apparently they are "potential" squirrels). Shoulder dislocation is a risk!
We have a 2 year old rescue springer that spent his former life in a crate and the first week every sound, footstep, person, etc. was threatening so we have used a lot of treats and the clicker system (like the whistle described here) to help him adjust to almost everything and now in just two weeks he is a different dog. He wasn't real keen on fetch or recall either, but using lots of little soft training treats has helped, and hard treats I can shake within a can have worked well too.

Jul 19, 2010
whistle down the wind
by: Heather

Hi there.

I do this with my dog but I have had him froma puppy and not sure if it will work with a recue but it's worth a try.

Everytime you put food down blow a whistle. Or if you're going to give your dog a treat blow a whistle first. Just a short toot toot! after doing this for a few days try blowing the whistle in an other room (with some tasty treats handy) and see if the dig comes. Build this up and then try using it outside.

It's worth a try!! All the best. It is so stressful when your dog refuses to come back to you.

Jul 15, 2010
recall and the rescues
by: estie

Actually, I'm not sure if it matters if she's a rescue or not, but we have 2 rescues. they are awesome, awesome, awesome, but it has taken time. They have a mind of their own, for sure, but we have upped the anty on the treats - so much so that now Sammy (5 yrs) is coming when called! We've had him 3 years. He gets very high quality treats! it's always a work in progress, however! And remember....never give up!!

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