Obedience training is a must for any responsible dog owner. From teaching your dog to walk on the lead, to house training it, you must ensure that your Spaniel has the basics.
The command, Sit! is one command that you must master with your Spaniel early, as it will show others who are not so dog aware that your dog is under control. It is an essential element of both gun dog training and obedience training
Make sure you have treats to hand. Again I cannot recommend cheese highly enough, George loves it. Hold the cheese in front of your dog, and say the command Sit! while you push their bottom towards the ground, as soon as they are in the sitting position give them the cheese.
Repeat this process until you don't have to push their bottom to the ground. To reinforce this command, ensure that you practice this in the home, for example before you feed them anything, especially dinner - they should learn it very quickly.
Lie Down! is the next command to learn, after Sit!, in your puppy's obedience training. Get your puppy in the sitting position with a treat in front of them.
Hold the treat on the floor where their nose would be when they lie down and push their shoulders gently to the ground saying Lie Down!. It is important to ensure that they do not creep forward.
Once your puppy is lying down, give them the treat. Again repeat this over and over until the puppy can do it with limited prompting from you.
Once you have mastered Sit! and Lie down! you can begin to work on Stay!
Get your Springer to sit or lie down, showing them the treat and say Stay! to them. If they move, take them back to the starting point again and once again, reiterate the command stay! Once they have stayed put for a few seconds, give them the treat.
Extend the amount of time they stay still and they will get it very quickly.
Walking to heel on the lead
I personally think that this skill is one of the more important for your puppy to learn in its obedience training, as it will make your walks with your Spaniel much easier. I would advise you buy a slip-on lead for this section of obedience training, Spaniels are notoriously bad at performing to heel (or maybe that's just me and my Spaniels!!). Keep the lead tight to you, when they pull snap it back to your side saying firmly Heel!.
You have to continually do this, and in fact I still have to do this now with George as he gets so excited when we go for walks.
Walking to heel off the lead
Once they have mastered the heel on the lead, you can try to work it off the lead. In obedience training this is a useful one to be able to do if you want your Spaniel under control for a short period of time, as it saves you having to put the lead on and off.
Choose a safe location, somewhere if they do run off they don't run in the road. Drape the lead over their shoulder so they know you have some control over them and slowly start walking. If and when your dog walks too far ahead, say Heel! bring them back to your side and start again. When they get it right, reward them with a treat. This particular obedience skill does take practice but is really worth it
The recall is essential in obedience training if you are to enjoy walks together. Once you have chosen your recall signal, whether a whistle, call or shout, you can commence your training. First you must make sure that coming back to you is far more interesting to your dog than anything in the woods, so every time they come back to you of their own accord make a huge fuss and give them a treat. In addition, every time they are running towards you, say your recall command so they begin to get it.
Soon they will realise that coming back to you means treats and fuss. One word of warning, don't tell them off if they don't come, otherwise you will undo all the positive association you have been working on
This is another good command to have in your armoury when obedience training. Get a favourite toy, put it in front of your Springer while arming yourself with treats in your other hand. When they go for the toy say Leave! firmly and give them the treat. Keep practicing this one and they will pick it up very quickly.
When you throw a ball for your Spaniel, say the word Fetch! If they run around with the ball in their mouth, don't chase them, otherwise a game of chase will begin and they will love that and never retrieve the ball.
Turn your back and walk away. When they do return the ball make a big fuss and throw it again. They will soon learn that bringing the ball back means more play
As with all training, little and often is best. I would suggest 10 minutes, 4-6 times a day. If you make it fun and engaging for both you and your Spaniel, your Spaniel will love to try and please you and you will get many enjoyable times with your dog.
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