If you’re a proud owner of an English Springer Spaniel, you probably adore their affectionate nature, boundless energy, and intelligence.
However, like any dog breed, English Springer Spaniels may also exhibit certain behavioural issues that require attention and understanding.
In this article, we will explore the common behavioural issues faced by owners of English Springer Spaniels, providing insights and tips to help you address and prevent these challenges effectively.
What are the common behavioural issues in English Springer Spaniels?
English Springer Spaniels are known for their exuberant personalities, but they can also display specific behavioural issues that can be challenging for their owners. Let’s delve into some of the most common problems:
Separation anxiety: English Springer Spaniels are highly sociable dogs and may struggle with being left alone for long periods.
Separation anxiety can lead to destructive behaviour, excessive barking, and even self-harm. It’s crucial to gradually accustom your Springer Spaniel to being alone and provide them with toys, treats, and a safe space to alleviate their anxiety.
Hyperactivity: English Springer Spaniels are a high-energy breed, and if they don’t receive sufficient physical and mental stimulation, they may become restless and hyperactive.
Regular exercise, interactive toys, and engaging training sessions can help channel their energy in a positive way, reducing hyperactivity.
Aggression: While English Springer Spaniels are generally friendly and sociable, some individuals may exhibit aggression towards other dogs or strangers.
Proper socialization from a young age, positive reinforcement training, and gradual exposure to new experiences can help address and manage any aggressive tendencies.
Excessive barking: Like many other breeds, English Springer Spaniels may bark excessively, often as a response to boredom, anxiety, or a desire for attention.
Providing mental stimulation, regular exercise, and teaching appropriate barking cues can help curb this behaviour.
Chewing and digging: English Springer Spaniels have a natural inclination to chew and dig, which can result in damaged furniture, gardens, and lawns.
Providing appropriate chew toys, sufficient exercise, and redirecting their attention to acceptable digging areas can help prevent destructive chewing and digging behaviour.
Fearfulness: Some English Springer Spaniels may be prone to fearfulness, reacting nervously or anxiously in various situations.
Gentle exposure to new environments, positive reinforcement, and patience can help build their confidence and reduce fearful responses.
Stubbornness: English Springer Spaniels are intelligent dogs, but they can also be quite stubborn. They may challenge commands or exhibit selective listening.
Consistency, positive reinforcement training methods, and patience are key to overcoming their stubborn tendencies.
Excessive chasing: Due to their hunting instincts, English Springer Spaniels may have a strong inclination to chase moving objects, including cars, bikes, or small animals.
This behaviour can be dangerous and lead to accidents. Training them to respond to recall commands and providing alternative outlets for their hunting instincts can help manage this issue.
Attention-seeking behaviour: English Springer Spaniels thrive on human companionship and may resort to attention-seeking behaviours when they feel ignored or under-stimulated.
Engaging in interactive play, scheduled training sessions, and providing mental enrichment can help meet their social and mental needs, reducing attention-seeking behaviour.
How to Address and Prevent Common Behavioural Issues?
Now that we have identified the common behavioural issues in English Springer Spaniels, let’s explore effective strategies to address and prevent these challenges:
Separation anxiety: Gradually introduce your Springer Spaniel to being alone by starting with short periods and gradually increasing the duration.
Create a safe and comfortable space for them with toys, blankets, and familiar scents. Consider using interactive toys or treat puzzles to keep them occupied during your absence.
Hyperactivity: Engage your Springer Spaniel in regular exercise routines, including brisk walks, jogging, or playing fetch.
Mental stimulation is equally important, so provide puzzle toys, interactive games, or obedience training sessions. A tired dog is a well-behaved dog!
Aggression: Consult a professional dog trainer or behaviourist to help address aggression issues. Positive reinforcement training techniques can be effective in teaching your Springer Spaniel appropriate social behaviour. Avoid situations that trigger aggression and gradually expose them to controlled environments to build confidence.
Excessive barking: Teach your Springer Spaniel the “quiet” command using positive reinforcement. Provide plenty of mental stimulation and interactive toys to keep them mentally engaged. Address any underlying causes of barking, such as boredom or anxiety.
Chewing and digging: Provide appropriate chew toys and redirect your Springer Spaniel’s attention when they engage in destructive chewing. Create a designated digging area in your garden and reward them for using it. Supervise them closely during the initial training period.
Fearfulness: Expose your Springer Spaniel to various environments and situations gradually, using positive reinforcement and rewards for calm behaviour. Create positive associations with previously fearful stimuli. If fearfulness persists, consult a professional to develop a tailored desensitization and counter-conditioning plan.
Stubbornness: Consistency is key when dealing with a stubborn Springer Spaniel. Use positive reinforcement training methods, such as treats and praise, to motivate and reward desired behaviours. Keep training sessions short and engaging, and avoid using harsh punishment, as it can exacerbate stubbornness.
Excessive chasing: Teach a reliable recall command and practice it in controlled environments. Use long training leads to prevent your Springer Spaniel from chasing objects. Provide alternative outlets for their hunting instincts, such as scent games or agility training.
Attention-seeking behaviour: Ensure your Springer Spaniel receives ample attention, exercise, and mental stimulation. Establish a routine of interactive play, obedience training, and puzzle-solving activities. Ignore attention-seeking behaviours and reward calm and independent behaviour.
FAQs about English Springer Spaniel Behaviour
Q1: Can English Springer Spaniels be left alone for long periods?
A1: English Springer Spaniels are social dogs and may struggle with being alone for extended periods. It’s essential to gradually accustom them to alone time and provide mental stimulation to alleviate separation anxiety.
Q2: Are English Springer Spaniels good with children?
A2: Yes, English Springer Spaniels are generally good with children. However, proper supervision and early socialization are necessary to ensure a harmonious relationship between your Springer Spaniel and your children.
Q3: How much exercise do English Springer Spaniels need?
A3: English Springer Spaniels are an active breed and require a minimum of one to two hours of exercise each day. This can include brisk walks, runs, interactive play sessions, and mentally stimulating activities.
Q4: Are English Springer Spaniels prone to excessive barking?
A4: English Springer Spaniels can be prone to excessive barking, especially when they are bored, anxious, or seeking attention. Providing them with mental stimulation, regular exercise, and positive reinforcement training can help reduce excessive barking behaviour.
A5: English Springer Spaniels are intelligent dogs and generally respond well to training. However, they can also be stubborn at times, requiring consistent and positive reinforcement-based training methods. Patience, persistence, and early socialization are key to successful training.
Q6: Can English Springer Spaniels get along with other pets?
A6: With proper socialization and introduction, English Springer Spaniels can get along well with other pets. However, it’s important to supervise interactions and ensure a gradual and positive introduction process to promote harmony between your Springer Spaniel and other pets.