How to Make a Springer Spaniel Heel

A springer spaniel is affectionate and makes a good family pet.
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An English or Welsh springer spaniel is a high-energy dog who belongs to the sporting group of hunting dogs. Hunting dogs have a energy level relating to spending endless hours in the field and are very excitable as puppies. The best time to start training your springer spaniel is when he is a puppy or when you introduce him to his forever home and your family. A springer spaniel puppy requires you to have his undivided attention for successful training.

Springer Spaniel Characteristics

The English springer spaniel grows to 19 to 20 inches tall at the shoulder and weighs between 35 and 50 pounds. The Welsh springer spaniel is slightly shorter at 17 to 19 inches tall and weigh between 35 and 55 pounds. Both springer spaniels love to exercise, are very playful, affectionate, and are willing to learn commands to please their owners.

Puppy Training

Attach a leash to your puppy's collar and arm yourself with small, tasty dog treats. The best area to start training a puppy is where there are no other people or distractions, such as an enclosed backyard. Hold a treat directly in front of the puppy's nose and walk a few steps forward. He likely will follow the scent of the treat. Praise him and give him the treat. Continue this exercise for about 10 to 15 minutes and give a slight tug on the loose leash if he refuses to walk forward; immediately release the pressure.

Continued Training

Train your springer spaniel puppy once a day in short sessions on the "heel" command with the treats where he can't see them. Tell him "heel" with a quick tug on the leash and walk a few more steps before giving him a treat. When you offer the treat to him, lower it so he doesn't jump up so you don't encourage jumping. Springer spaniels are named so because of the propensity to be "springing" and their jumping antics. Eventually phase treats out of the training. If you plan to use your springer as a hunting dog, consider taking him to professional field-training classes to learn safe, effective hunting skills. Field training will teach you how to slow your springer when he's hot on the trail of a bird.

Successful Training

Positive reinforcement training works best on all dogs because they perform a desired behavior and get a tasty treat and praise for performing correctly. Keep training sessions short and stop if your furry friend becomes annoyed, anxious or disinterested in continuing. These behaviors indicate he will not learn more at that time. Use one-word commands and make sure all family members who walk him use the same command so it is consistent with his training. Training your pet strengthens your bond with him as a lifelong pack member.