How to Train Springer Spaniel Puppies to Retrieve

Written by ann lapan
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How to Train Springer Spaniel Puppies to Retrieve
Springer Spaniels enjoy activity, such as retrieving. (English springer spaniel image by Jeff Dalton from

The springer spaniel, also known as the English springer spaniel, is a medium-sized dog, whose coat comes in a variety of different colours. With their even temperament and friendly demeanour, they make wonderful family pets. However, springer spaniels are very energetic, and need to learn rules and boundaries as puppies so they behave as adult dogs. Setting boundaries for your dog can be fun, though, if you do it creatively by teaching your dog tricks, such as how to retrieve.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Ball or other dog toy

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  1. 1

    Give your dog a ball or another toy that you'll be using to train him.

  2. 2

    Ask your puppy to come to you with the toy in his mouth. Have him sit while he has the toy in his mouth as well. Springer spaniels are naturally possessive and will want to carry objects around. Use praise to encourage the puppy to carry the object.

  3. 3

    Train your dog to release objects on command. Ask the dog to sit while he's carrying the toy. Stroke his head, moving down under the chin and forward along the cheeks. Repeat a command, such as "give," which will let him know you want him to drop the toy. It may take some time and repetition for him to understand what you want, but when the puppy does drop the toy, reward him with praise.

  4. 4

    Find a large area without distractions for training.

  5. 5

    Ask your puppy to sit at your side.

  6. 6

    Grasp the dog's collar. This will keep him near you as you throw the toy.

  7. 7

    Give a "wait" command. This command will let your dog know he is not allowed to move yet.

  8. 8

    Throw the toy a short distance. Give the "wait" command again and hold your dog still for another few seconds.

  9. 9

    Give a "fetch" command and release the puppy. The puppy should naturally run and pick up the thrown toy.

  10. 10

    Call your puppy back to you.

  11. 11

    Say "give" and encourage your dog to drop the toy.

  12. 12

    Reward your puppy with praise when he completes each "wait," "fetch," or "give" command properly.

  13. 13

    Repeat the process with all the commands. It may take many tries before your dog understands the whole process.

Tips and warnings

  • Always be gentle but firm when training a puppy. Use eye contact and keep your voice even. This will encourage your puppy to respond to your commands.
  • Train your dog to come and sit before you begin training it to retrieve. If your dog knows these commands well before you start, retrieval training will be much easier.
  • If your dog is having trouble with the "give" command, you can use a two toy technique. After your dog retrieves one toy, show him a second toy and say "give." Your dog will most likely be more excited about the new toy, and will drop the first one.
  • If your dog doesn't run after the thrown toy, you can walk him to it and give it to him. Reward him when he takes the toy so he understands what you want.

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