You are considering adding a furry child to your family, and you are pondering a springer spaniel as that breed. You’ve never had a dog, and this will be your first fur baby.
Is a springer spaniel a good first dog? Yes, absolutely! A few things must be considered before you charge blindly into getting your springer spaniel, and some research is also needed.
Listed below is all the information you’ll need before bringing that adorable people-pleasing spaniel into your home.
Is a Springer Spaniel a Good First Dog?
Yes, they are a good first dog. A springer spaniel is very quick to learn, obeys well, and is very loyal, making an excellent family dog. They are just as happy to lounge on the couch with you as they are to join you on a long hike in the mountains or woods. Anywhere their people are is where they want to be!
The springer spaniel is the seventeenth most popular breed in the UK, but this may not be the right breed for you even with all of its wonderful qualities. Owning any dog is a 24/7 responsibility, and each breed comes in many different shapes and sizes, along with differing traits. That’s why some research is best to see it as a first dog, a springer spaniel, fits into your particular lifestyle.
Training Your First Springer Spaniel
Training your springer spaniel will be necessary and time-consuming, but they make it fairly easy by being people pleasers and enjoying praise for a job well done. Springers are highly intelligent and have no trouble responding to commands.
Training is always an ongoing process. You can’t teach your pup to do or not do something and then not enforce it the next day. It would be best if you were consistent with your spaniel, so they learn and become confused.
You will be aiming for a fun but well-behaved companion for years to come. Time and consistency are key. Owning any dog is a big responsibility, and it will be your job and your family’s to raise a well-mannered pup. You must ask yourself if you have the time for this obligation.
Your springer’s training begins as soon as they become a family member with housebreaking. They usually pick this up pretty quickly if you take your pup out every twenty to thirty minutes in the beginning.
Puppies have small bladders and bowels and are unable to control and hold things early on. It will get better as they get older, and time in between outings will become longer. Have patience, be kind, and never yell or shout.
Accidents will happen, and you may tell them “no,” but only if you catch them in the “act.” They won’t understand the scolding otherwise. As they grow, they’ll be letting you know when they need to go out.
Training for manners, such as no jumping, no on the bed, etc., should also begin early on and commands to sit, stay, and come. Walking on a leash can start when your springer becomes accustomed to wearing a collar.
For a mannerly spaniel, training is one of the most important areas to concentrate on, especially for first dogs. Take it slow, be consistent, never lose your temper, give them plenty of love and cuddles, and give them your time. Building a bond between you and your springer and will enrich every aspect of both of your lives.
If you are unsure where to start with your spaniel and training, there are plenty of books and videos on this subject. Training and obedience classes are available at local pet stores.
These classes are immensely helpful in training and for your springers socialization skills with other dogs and people. Socializing your springer is another aspect of the training process. Expose your pup to many new experiences, sights, sounds, and smells.
Medical Care & Food for Your Springer Spaniel
Right from the beginning, your springer spaniel will require well visits with their veterinarian. Shop around for a vet by asking your friends for references. Your pup will need a few visits when they are young for various shots and immunizations and to be weighed and measured, ensuring they are growing correctly.
These visits are also good for early screenings of any diseases that can crop up later. Springer spaniels are relatively healthy dogs, but they can suffer from certain conditions such as canine hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and some eye diseases like progressive retinal atrophy.
Spaniels are also prone to ear infections because of their long, floppy ears. Once your pup is a year old, wellness visits are only required once a year unless there is a medical issue.
Veterinary care is not cheap, so keep in mind that if you are not financially able to afford a springer, consider this before you get into something you will regret. As above, springers are relatively healthy, but accidents and illness do happen, and emergency veterinary care can be quite costly.
For security, a route to go paying for pet care would be to acquire pet health insurance. Premiums are pretty reasonably priced, giving you peace of mind if an emergency should crop up.
Feeding your spaniel also involves money. There are millions of different pet foods and diets to choose from, beginning with ordinary kibble and ending with a raw food diet.
Again, research is necessary, and asking friends or your veterinarian is an excellent place to start. Good, high-quality dog food is best, so make sure you can afford another mouth to feed in your house.
Dogs sometimes develop food allergies, which also may require refined food with non-allergenic ingredients. This could be costlier as well.
Grooming a Springer Spaniel
Springer spaniels are a breed of dog that will need much attention in the grooming department. The spaniel has two coats, a dense undercoat, and a flat or wavy outer coat. This coat can trap dirt and create a stinky spaniel if not correctly cared for.
Again, consistency comes into play with your pups grooming needs. Brushing should be performed daily or at least two or three times per week to prevent matting and eliminate dirt and loose hair.
Dog wipes are available to remove loose hair after brushing and are nice to use in between baths. Begin the introduction to grooming when your springer is a puppy to get them accustomed to the routine. Brushing daily will help larger grooming jobs go much more smoothly. Please pay close attention to their ear area when brushing as this is a hot spot for mats.
Your springer will require baths to stay clean and smelling fresh. The frequency depends on how dirty they become. If they enjoy romping outside quite a bit of the time in dirt or mud, they will require baths more often.
Don’t bathe too often either because their skin contains oils to keep it protected. Too much bathing will dry out their skin, setting them up for itching and scratching, leading to skin infections.
Extensive grooming may be needed about two times a year. If you’re feeling daring, you can consider doing this yourself with a clipper or shears. If not, taking your pup to a groomer would be the best place to start. They can clip and tame fur, so it’s more manageable with less matting.
Along with brushing around your pup’s ears to prevent mats, your springer’s ears need to be cleaned inside as well. Clean with an ear solution for dogs and wipe with soft gauze pads. Dirt gets trapped in their floppy, long ears, and this can lead to an ear infection. Cleaning will prevent this. Never use Q-tips in your dog’s ears.
Wipe your spaniel’s face daily with a soft cloth to remove any crusty build-up around their eyes and to remove embedded food particles around their mouth.
Don’t forget your spaniel’s teeth. Just as your own, their teeth need regular brushing daily, or at least two or three times a week, to prevent problems down the road.
Dental treats can be used as well, and both will keep tartar and plaque from building up. This will save you on costly dental cleanings at their veterinarian and prevent other health problems from gum infections that can spread throughout their bodies.
Springer spaniels are a very active, high-energy breed.
Over the years, they have been bred as a working and retrieving dog. Exercise is essential to their health and well-being and helps to prevent a hyperactive dog. Lack of exercise can cause destructive behavior leading to chewing and scratching as a way to release pent up energy.
Ideally, your springer spaniel should have at least an hour walk or exercise in the morning and again at night, especially if you work away from home. If you’re able to get away at lunch, another walk or some playtime would be great. Try to satisfy your springers retrieval instincts with some throwing and fetching.
Weekends can be a time for extra exercise, especially if you or your family are active in the outdoors. Springers like nothing more than going with their family, hiking, running, swimming, playing ball, etc.
Keep in mind that if you are not an outdoors type of person, then a springer spaniel may not be good at all for a first dog. If you don’t favor the cold or snowy winters and live in this type of climate, this is not a good idea.
Exercise and outdoor fun and playtime cannot stop just because it’s rainy, snowy, windy, or blustery cold. Your springer doesn’t care about the weather. If you’re willing, exercise will not only benefit your spaniel but the entire family.
A spaniel could live in an apartment, and it’s not totally out of the question as long as they get plenty of exercise. A nice size home with more room and a fenced-in yard would be just the ticket. Consider your space before committing to a spaniel.
If you work and must crate train your pup, this is possible, but not the best scenario, having a crate being your spaniel’s primary home. It can be done if trained as a puppy and again with plenty of exercise. In this case, think of the dog’s needs and consider if what you want is best for a springer spaniel.
Love and Patience
The Beatles song, “Love Is All You Need” is a great song and a wonderful idea. Your spaniel pup needs plenty of love, and they will return it tenfold. If you have love to give but no time, energy, or money, then a springer spaniel would not be a good fit. In this case, you do need more than love, and in the end, no one will be happy.
“Patience is a virtue” and another requirement to owning any dog. Without patience in training, teaching your springer pup will not go smoothly. When you’re in it for the long haul, you must tell yourself that they are only puppies for a short time. The more patience you show from the beginning, the more well behaved your springer spaniel will be.
adding a springer spaniel to your family as your first dog is a big step and a responsibility. Having your pup can be rewarding, fulfilling and give you, your family, and your springer a bond like no other.
There’s plenty of help out there to help with the transition. You need to ask yourself if you are up to the task, can commit to the responsibilities, and meet all of the requirements for years of love and fun with your furry companion.