Making for a great family dog, there are actually more than 20 different kinds of spaniels out there. Sweet and smart, you’ve definitely heard of the more popular ones like cocker spaniels and the very regal King Charles spaniel, but there are some rare spaniels out there too. No matter what kind of spaniel you have on your hands, one thing is for sure: All of them come from hard-working stock – blue-collar families if you will.
If you’ve ever thought that the name “spaniel” sounds a bit like Spanish, give yourself one point. The name is indeed derived from the Latin word Hispaniolus meaning ‘Spanish’. Which is a little strange, because the spaniel breed is thought to have been a hunting dog brought to Britain by the Celts. (1) In any case, compact and sporty such as they are, they were well-loved instantly. Their ability to work on different kinds of terrain and hunt many different types of game too was a “game-changer” for hunters everywhere. It didn’t matter whether they were hunting game birds in open fields, ducks in ponds, or rabbits in the forest. These little guys made great sidekicks.
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Interestingly, they make a wonderful mascot for families too! Since they’re so smart, resourceful, and athletic, a spaniel can add plenty of love and fun to your days.
Train Them Right, Right From The Start
No matter what kind of breed you have, spaniel or other, a well-behaved dog is important. A Good Boy is a treat for you, and the people who interact with you too. Think about it: No one really wants your dog to jump on them when they see you on the street. And you definitely want enough command over your dog that when you say “down”, they know what it means. You want to be confident that they will come when they are called. This command often keeps them safe from harm. So, in that way, good training is also a blessing for a pupper when they know what their commands are and follow them.
That means training starts right away for your new furbaby, and consistency is key. Decide what commands you will use for which actions and stick with them. For example, “sit” is always only “sit”. Not “sit down” or “down”. Unless that’s what you want the command to be.
The point is, the more you use the exact same words, the exact same tone, and praise them with love and treats when they do it right, the faster they will learn. Spaniels are hunters, remember. They want to work with you, they’re your little wingman. All you’ve got to do is show them exactly how you want it done and they’ll do it.
Potty Train Your Spaniel
If you’ve got a brand new puppy, the rules for house training are just more of the above to a large degree. Show them how you want it done, and be sure they know when they did it right. You’ll want to think about the best way to potty train them, the way that fits with your lifestyle the best. Some folks opt for puppy pads in a designated area of the house. If you live in an apartment, or in the city, this might be a great option for you.
Others choose to bell train that doggo, which involves tying a bell to the door and teaching them to boop it with their nose when nature calls. If you have a backyard, you can simply open the door and they can run out.
Another way is to simply take the little guy out at the same designated times every day. At the beginning, you go out all the time… every half hour or so… gradually stretch the time out until you are going for walks just 3 or 4 times a day.
Crate Train Your Spaniel
Many dogs love to have a space they can call their own. It’s close-in and protected, smells like them, and has their toys in it too. It’s like their living room. Crate training your spaniel is a great idea in a lot of cases, and bonus! It’s another way to accomplish the potty training business since they are very unlikely to soil their own living room.
Start by putting the crate in the place where it will stay. Placement of the crate should involve some thought toward your furbaby’s ability to see what’s happening with their family, but also their ability to chill out and have some space. Tucked into a corner of the living room might be a great option, but if you have kids who like to get rowdy in that room, then it’s not a good place for Fido’s crate.
Once you’ve got the location sorted, just leave it there. Since all doggos like cozy spaces, it’s very possible that they’ll just go in and hang out on their own. If that’s the case, this is going to be easy as pie for you. Congrats, dog whisperer!
If it’s not happening quite so easy, try sitting by the crate with them. Put some favorite toys in there, and even a treat or two. (2) Another angle to try is feeding them in the crate so they get used to going in and out of it and used to good things happening when they do. Until they no longer seem wary of the crate, don’t close the door behind them. It might freak them out and set your training back.
Every time they go in the crate, make sure they know what a great job they did! If you’ve taken to feeding them in the crate, eventually you’ll want to close the door when they eat, lengthening the amount of time until you open it again. There will likely come a point where they have no trouble being in the crate and look at it as their own safe space.
With that said, there is a chance your doggo will never take to crate training for one reason or another. Some have been previously traumatized and some just aren’t into it. Maybe they are claustrophobic? Hard to say. But can you imagine trying to “train” a claustrophobic person to just calmly sit in a small locked box? That’s a hard “no”. Some might call that cruel and unusual.
Train Your Spaniel With Love
So, with that said, the last big thing when it comes to how to train your spaniel, is to always do it with love. Even when they are a Bad Boy! It takes very little to convey to your pupper that they went potty in the wrong place, or aren’t behaving the way you’d like. All they ever want to do is please you, so gentle corrections are often all that’s needed to bring out the best in your sweet spaniel. So, be liberal with the love, and have fun with your new furbaby!