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hunter1103

Spring Spaniel Problem

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Hi,

i have an English Springer Spaniel bitch who is about 1 and a half years old. I used to train her regularly , (walking to heal, recall, retrieving etc), however since she turned about 9 months old i cannot have her off the lead, as soon as she is let off of the lead she will run off and will not stop, she will not even stop and turn her head when I give the recall. where I live we have a few small woodlands and I find that when she runs off she will bolt straight to them and start to hunt them and go from one the the next. The only way I ever get her back is if i manage to intercept her and stop her physically because as you can probably guess she is quite a bit faster than a person. Obviously she has a VERY good hunting instinct but I cannot seem to be able to channel it into making her do what i want her to do via training, which is almost impossible when she just runs of when the lead is taken off. I have considered taking her to a professional dog trainer but havent really got the money, I have also heard about electric collars, but have heard that they are not very effective? Help would be much appreciated, thanks.

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Hi,

 

Sounds to me like you need to go back to basics with her. Do you have access to any enclosed area, garden etc? If so I would practice in here with her. It sounds like at the moment she is hunting for herself and not for or with you. She has realised that obviously when you let her off, she can get away from you and do basically what she likes, hunt the woods up for herself and potentially flush or find something that interest's her. What's your bond like with her? Does she have good eye contact with you or does she not give you eye contact?If she does not have a bond with you or respect you, in my experience you will never get a dog doing something 100% for you.

 

Sorry, I am going on. Like i said I would practice in the garden, get a good bond with her, practice you recall to her name, clapping of hands, use a high pitch happy tone of voice and the whistle. Get down on your knee's and open you arms so you look inviting to her. Sounds silly but never tell a dog off for coming back to you, know matter what it has done. Just that one time can put the dog off for life. When she does come back, make a big fuss of her. You can even put her on lead or long line sit her up in front of you and call her to you, encouraging with lead. I however, if I could would reframe from this method, as i think it teaches the dog to break the sit and stay command. As they say practice makes perfect, keep repeating exercise until you call her or peep you whistle and she is straight to your feet. For the moment i would just walk her on the lead, until you recall is mastered. I was once told, if the foundations are right, the rest of the house will be. Just something to think about.

 

Good luck

 

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like previous post said back to basics long lead no freedom untill it behaves to your liking atb -billy

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Few things first becap is smack on,

Choose your training area, don't use woodland or areas where there are nice smells

Remember at 9 months she is a teenager and we know what they are like she is maturing and will do their own thing.

Don't worry about the whistle for now as said go back to basics,

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Thanks for the help guys, much appreciated. beccap, i will take on board your advice and start again from the beginning. i think we have a good bond, the only time she wont hold eye contact is if she has got a scent or is more interested in the smells or sights of the surroundings, do you know how i could improve my bond with her? or is it just a time thing?, and yes i do have an ideal fenced off section of a field but the problem that i have been having is that when i put her in the enclosed area which is well fenced to be trained, because she is a master at jumping fences she ends up getting away again. the small area was initially put up for ewes that are in lamb so an electric fence wire runs along the top, do you think i should put this on so that she gets shocked if she tries to get over or will the deter her from jumping obstacles in the future. And just for refernce she is now 1 and a half years old, the habbit started at 9 months.

 

Thanks

Edited by hunter1103

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By allowing your bitch to run wild for the last 9 months, you have made a difficult task for yourself. In fact you have trained the pup to be disobedient, she knows that despite any recall or pleas to come back to you, for the last 9 months she has been encouraged to ignore them. Training a dog is not rocket science, it is about consistency a degree of firmness and at all times absolute obedience. That is why, in my view, it is a mistake to commence formal training of a pup too early in it's life.

 

Forget electric fences and any ideas of electric collars. Find yourself a secure area, is there a gundog trainer near to you with a rabbit pen? You will need to restrict the movement of your bitch and you must be in a position to catch it, should it disobey you, as it surely will! Forget retrieving or anything gundog related and concentrate solely on obedience, obedience, obedience! Once the bitch becomes biddable in the pen the training can progress to other fresh areas but you must ensure obedience - engineer scenarios which will tempt your bitch to transgress but ensure you are in a position to intercept her and admonish her.

 

I hope it works out.

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Wouldn't try a rabbit pen yet, control needs to be gained first,

 

Run walk and all that.

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As said back to basic's and keep her on a long trailing lead but it sounds as though shes see's herself as top dog and got you beat

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Wouldn't try a rabbit pen yet, control needs to be gained first,

 

Run walk and all that.

 

Desperate times deserve desperate measures. The reasoning behind the suggestion of a rabbit pen is that 1) it is enclosed and secure, 2) There would be immediate distractions for the young bitch and an ideal opportunity to obtain compliance.

 

I said that training is not rocket science but I suppose to some it is.

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Thanks guys again, and as a matter of opinion do you think I should use treats? or just praise?, I know some people think one is better than the other. And i know its not rocket science but i like to ask questions to ensure I am doin the correct thing, no harm in asking, thanks ;)

Edited by hunter1103

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Had a similar problem with my Springer, spoke to different trainers and they all had differing views on a remote collars, I have to say I've never trained a gun dog before and this dog started as just a family pet, it walked to heal ok on a lead and was happy to sit and stay, retrieved balls and dummies in the back garden, which is quite large, not the best at delivering to hand but he's getting there. when I used to take him out for walks I had to keep him on the lead as he'd disappear into the distance, he'd always come back but only when he wanted to, and I know before you say it, not the dogs fault but the trainers and yes your probably right but it meant that I couldn't take him shooting which was the aim. I did succumb to a remote collar and it was the best thing I ever did, got a cheapish one off ebay second hand and now he is off the lead more than he's on, didn't have to use the shock part more than a couple of times, and now he gets beeped ( a three beep tone) if he doesn't come to the call, which he now does 8 times out of 10, his life is more enjoyable and he comes rough shooting now, he flushes, his retrieving is on the up and his finding pricked or lost birds is brilliant (pigeon at the moment) though I think this is instinct more than my second rate training. I have him on a thirty foot lead sometimes on the retrieve and reel him back in once he's picked up, it seems to be working as when I let him off to have a go he does bring it back 3 out of 5, not sure if this is the right way but it works for me. I'm sure i'm going to get slaughtered over this post but that's the chance you take!! He's the handsome one out of the two of us in my profile picture

Edited by brucemyster

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if it works for you then thats all that matters mate -billy

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Hunter,

At the risk of repeating myself, you have a difficult task before you and use all means, treat & praise, to keep the bitch compliant. Obedience is about conditioning the dog to obey without thinking, that's why consistency is so important. EVERY time the dog is given a command, it must comply. When it doesn't, it is immediately taken back to where it disobeyed and made to obey - even if you have to repeat it 100 times!

 

Training a puppy is easier than in your case, because it is a blank canvas. You present job is to undo the bad habits and then impose discipline.

 

Is there a local trainer available, he/shemay save you some heartache and time?

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Couple of points to above - rabbit pens - great but useless to watch a dog just chase rabbits about and lets face it if it runs off and you cant get it back when there are no rabbits, you wont stand a hope in hell in a rabbit pen, rule 1 don't put yourself in a position where you are not in control.

 

treats - if you teach a dog to do something for a treat that is his reward he does it for the treat, the dog runs off and finds a nice smell you call him back he has a choice to make, do I a, go back for a treat that I will get anytime or b, stay on this smell its lovely? yes they will choose b. but when it suits them they will come back for the treat, ive seen people teach retrieves by treat, now he has to drop the retrieve to get the treat, great good result. Dogs love dummies and if you teach and throw and the dog retrieve's you can take the retrieve and give it back as a reward, the dog will do to please you and because it loves doing it and you make a fuss and he likes that. The opposite of this is a collar he runs off you inflict pain, most dogs owners would go to hell and back to avoid hurting their dog so why would anyone use one of these? anything can be achieved with the right guidance and time and of course understanding, don't ask too much to quick especially springers they are not the brightest, but whilst they will learn and forget in one day it will sink in and eventually stay that's springers.

 

now in the home if you want the dog to do tricks, give a paw, stand etc then treats are fine, it is doing it for the treat but on the field or the training field its a big "no" now im sure there will be someone who says my dog does it ok and I started with treats. I used to walk 100 dogs/hounds in a field and I always had a pocket full of biscuits it was a sort of blackmail, I walk my dogs and would never take anything I want the dogs to be with me cause they want to not a form of blackmail.

 

There are some good points above posts and by using this you will find in time they will all come together.

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Electric training collar, get it responding, and taking notice, it needs to know disobedience doesn't go unpunished, I don't mean zap it to hell either use it for the purpose you require as soon as you get it responding, concentrate on the basics, master the recall, forget the other stuff that can come later. at 9mth you have plenty of time to correct any other issues.The dog needs to know you are in charge, all the long leads in the world wont correct the problem you have, sorry but its true, this dog is borderline lost it. Remember use it wisely, and it does work.

Oh and if all else fails do what a lot of people do sell it as a pet and let someone else have the problem "NOT" ring any bells lol.

Grez

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