As a first-time dog owner, choosing a breed that best suits your lifestyle is crucial to a healthy human-dog relationship. As one of the most popular breeds, Springer Spaniels are a great choice for lots of families, as they are friendly and playful.
However, one key question to ask yourself before looking at this breed is ‘How much exercise does a springer spaniel need?’ Luckily for you, this is the all-you-need-to-know guide, including tips and tricks on how much exercise these beautiful dogs require.
How Much Excercise Does A Springer Spaniel Need?
While Springer Spaniels are gentle and loving dogs, they are also one of the most energetic breeds of dog around. Therefore, they need plenty of exercise every day. It is recommended that a Springer Spaniel get at least 2 hours of exercise per day (although this can vary with age), Exercises can include walks, runs, playing Fetch, and other exercise-related games and even working.
Springer Spaniels need a healthy and fit owner, who is up to the challenge of meeting the Springer Spaniel’s exercise requirements. Anyone looking to take on a spaniel has to have no doubt that they will give the dog what it needs!
Why do springers need so much exercise?
Springer Spaniels were originally working dogs that were bred and trained to be able to work for long periods. It is part of their breeding and instinct to have high levels of energy that last all day because that is what was required of them during their working days.
Looking after a Springer, and giving it the exercise it needs can be a challenge, so anyone looking to take on a spaniel has to be prepared for lots of activities.
If Springer spaniels don’t get enough exercise, this can lead to problems with whining, chewing, barking, weight gain and depression, which is why they need to get plenty of activity every day.
Springer Spaniel Exercise Techniques
As previously mentioned, Springer Spaniels need at least 2 hours of exercise daily, but this doesn’t necessarily have to be a walk. If you’re bored with the same old activity and want to try something different, here are the top 4 ways to exercise your dog:
- Obstacle Courses
- Using the stairs
Walking is the most obvious and most used technique for exercising your dog, mainly because it is simple and effective. If there is no other exercise in your dog’s day, you should go on at least two brisk walks for between 45 minutes and an hour, depending on your dog’s age and weight (see information about this below).
Fetch (and other games)
Fetch is a popular game with humans because it involves the dog doing all the work. It can be a great way to give your pooch an effective amount of exercise and can be played from home.
While a simple game is all that is required, you can spice it up by using more than one toy, throwing the ball into a place where it will be more difficult for the dog to reach it (like in a bush – just not too high, or it can cause leg problems!), or even running with the dog to make them move faster.
Obstacle courses are a fun and great way to exercise your Springer Spaniel, and they can be as simple or challenging as you want.. There are a hundred different course variations you could set out.
There is no need to buy any equipment – everything you could possibly need can be sourced from in and around the home! The best courses for energetic Springer Spaniels are below:
Horse show jumping-style – use a combination of plant pots, chairs and bean poles to create jumps for your dog. There are lots of different variations so your Springer will never get bored, and you can be as active or inactive as you choose!
The weave – this challenges your dog to use a combination of speed and agility to weave through poles as fast as possible – this can be done with anything self-supporting – cones and chairs work great, but the possibilities of what you can use are endless – even try it with people!
Ring of fire – this doesn’t literally mean you should make your Spaniel run through hoops of fire, but getting your dog to run and jump through hula hoops is a great way to work their cardio and leg muscles – it’s also the perfect way to tire them out!
Of course, the best obstacle course would include all three of these exercises, but it all depends on the equipment that you can get hold of. If you’re struggling to get your dog involved, start by simply guiding them around the course on a leash, and luring them through the obstacles using treats.
Make sure to give them plenty of praise and petting at the end- springer spaniels react well to positivity from their owners!
Using the stairs
As you know, Springer Spaniels have ridiculously high energy levels. While obstacle courses can be good fun, they take a lot of effort to prepare, and the dog doesn’t always understand what to do.
For a much simpler approach, try throwing a ball or a treat down the stairs to get your dog running. This takes minimal effort from you and will work on the cardio, agility, and muscle strength of your dog.
To make it more interesting, you could add obstacles like boxes or books, and give your dog challenges at each end of the stairs (this will need more than one person). Just have fun with it and be as creative as possible!
With any of the above games avoid any jumping games with puppys/young dogs (less than 1 year old) to minimise any damage to joints
Do’s And Don’ts
- Make sure your Springer gets at least 2 hours worth of exercise every day, regardless of the intensity.
- Make sure to switch up the activities you are giving your dog to do – repeating the same game of fetch will make both of you bored.
- Check out the age section below – the age and weight of your dog can change the amount of exercise they need to do per day.
- Get creative – making up your own new obstacle courses, thinking of different games and using other random objects to make fun activities for your Springer Spaniel are great ways to keep it fun and fresh.
- Do anything your dog seems scared or uncomfortable with – springers partly need exercise for mental health and making them do anything which they are not happy with can lead to depression.
- Push your dog too hard. While lots of exercises can be made more fun by challenging your dog to push themselves further, it is important not to overwork them, as this can lead to serious health problems in later life – check out the common problems in Springer Spaniels below and find out how to avoid them.
- Don’t hink that these are the only ways to exercise a dog – there are hundreds of ways of exercising your dog! The activities listed above are some of the most popular and effective ways to exercise a Spaniel, but that doesn’t mean they are the only ways – if you find something that you and your pooch love to do, then do it!
Different exercise for different spaniel age groups
When it comes to Springer puppies, the amount of exercise they need depends on their age in months. Generally, a Spaniel puppy will require five minutes of walking per month of age. Therefore, if your puppy is 12 weeks old, it would need 15 minutes of walking.
However, if your pup is off the leash and wandering around at its own pace, you can probably stay out for around ten extra minutes, but DON’T push it! As soon as your dog starts to get tired or lag behind, head straight home.
The same sort of rule applies to older dogs. As springers are so energetic, it takes them a while to feel the effects of age, but at around seven or eight years old, your dog will start to become more lethargic.
If your dog seems to get tired or lag behind earlier in a walk than usual, then it is the time to start giving them less exercise each day. Each year, take 10 or 20 minutes more off of their exercise time, and again, make sure not to overwork them.
Common Problems in Springers to look out for during exercise
The two most common problems which can be made worse by exercise are:
- Hip dysplasia – Link to AKC with info on hip dysplasia
- Elbow dysplasia – Link to PDSA with info on elbow dysplasia
- If your springer spaniel is overweight that can also cause problems with exercise and also worsen the two above conditions.
Here is a link to our article on overweight springer spaniels
Both of these are serious conditions, which mainly affect Springer Spaniels in later life. Hip and elbow dysplasia are hereditary and over-exercising and impact force such as jumping and make the condition worse. you can supliment your dog with glucosamine to help with joint problems. If you know your dog has either or both conditions its best to ask your vet for recommended exercises for your pooch.