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Thread: English Springer Spaniels

  1. #1

    English Springer Spaniels

    Hi all

    My folks have just picked up a 10 week old English Springer Spaniel, From good working stock. He will eventually work with me and my Lab on our shoot. I am fairly new to deer stalking and wondering wether the breed make decent deer dogs ?? I know they have a good nose on them hence why theyre used by customs, but would they be any good for tracking deer ?

    If so at what sort of age would you start his training and how ?


  2. #2
    Spaniels can make excellent deer dogs as they have a great nose, but then so can any dog. I have two myself, mainly used for rough shooting and beating but I have been thinking about training them on deer. I attended a dogs for deer training day with the BDS last weekend and they performed very well, I was impressed at how quickly they picked it up. Being hunting dogs they already have a game finding ability, they're just used to flushing or retrieving but I'm sure when harnessed they could lead me to a deer.

    The question is about having a duel purpose dog? I asked this question of a few people last week and most people, including myself, agree that it is possible. Using a trigger to change their behaviour, like fitting them with a harness, works for them knowling the difference between a rough shoot day and a mornings stalk! I was very impressed at how my dog reacted when in a harness and stayed close to me rather than hunting out.(Probably just nerves!)

    I plan to take my training with them on further and when I have researched it people have advised me to get this book:
    Niels Sondergaard, Working with dogs for deer. I have first trained mine as hunting dogs and am now trying to train them as stalking dogs, I have been told if you have the chance to do it the other way round so it might be a good way to start.

    I'll be interested to hear how you get on, also keep an eye out as I'll probably post my own progress on this site.



  3. #3
    I don't see a problem with having a dual purpose dog. Only thing with spaniels is they are a bit busy around your feet if you want to have it as a stalking companion as well. I'm getting a springer pup in the new year and will train that to track as well training for the usual pheasant work. I don't need another tracking dog but will train it because i can.
    Get the tracking training under way before you start hunting the dog. I see no reason why you can't do tracking training one day and a bit of dummy training the next day. Of course obedience training no matter what you decide to train the dog too.
    Last edited by Jagare; 14-10-2010 at 14:50.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Jagare View Post
    Of course obedience training no matter what you decide to train the dog too.
    Well said that man! I speak to a lot of different people about dogs and dog training and often get asked what the secret is when training gun dogs? I always reply it's the same secret with training any dog, get the obedience training right first, always do the basics no matter what breed or what the dogs going to be used for. Most people don't manage that though, as soon as they get the puppy it's on the sofa and ruling the house, I wonder why it doesn't respond well???

  5. #5
    My cocker is a hunting dog first and foremost and it is very hard to convince him that there is anything of interest that does not hide in the undergrowth!

    Im now taking him stalking in a bid to let him work the game out (and partially because it seems a shame to leave him behid when stalking and dogging in can both be done in a morning / evening). The walking to heel is a weak area and he does tend to move around a bit more than would be ideal but i think he will get the hang of it eventually, especially when he realises what we are looking for (and stops crashing about quite so much).

    Good luck with it, the general wisdom seems to do the deer thing first and then the game

  6. #6
    My young springer bitch seems to have birds hard-wired into her brain. She'll literally stop and watch them fly over her. I can honestly state that i've literally offered her zero training in retrieving birds; she's just always done it.
    However there's a little switch in her brain that flicks over when she realises that dad wants deer. She'll never indicate and point out deer like a GSP (especially Dalkur's GSP bitch) but she is great for following deer, especially shot deer.

    My sole training has consisted of hiding the occassional deer leg in long grass or under bushes after dragging it a distance. I'll start the trail by rubbing the wounded end of the leg in the grass and shoot a dummy launcher over the spot to simulate the bullet impact area. Then i'll tie the leg to a cane and 'bounce' it every 2 feet or so until reaching the hiding point. I keep a small tupperware of liver slices as a treat for finding it and she gets the leg to chew when back indoors. The only down-side is she demand the heart and kidneys when gralloching now.

  7. #7
    I have an 8 yr old springer who has no deer training whatsoever but is an experienced gundog. I used to take him stalking before I got my BMH. He will free track newly shot deer, locate them and if required hold them (roe). He has always been a good game finder and I believe that he just sees no difference between finding birds/rabbits to deer.

  8. #8
    I started taking my springer out last year as much for a bit of company as anything else. She has not been trained on deer but At last light when the beast has lunged into cover or into a plough line I know that she will hunt around the strike and stop on the deer. I just need to keep an eye on her so that I can see her stop. She will not however stay with the deer but the amount of white on her chest neck and face I can usually see that she has found something. I was out this morning and was taking a break before the last humph up the hill to the car. About 150 yards away a cracking looking big red fox was making its way towards me. I cannot help but get exited at the chance of a Fox and after waiting what seemed like ages it duly arrived on the banking. Single shot, heard the strike, thought that'll do. I set off with the dog at heel to check it out, about half way out the dog was itching to go. I held her a bit longer then sent her away. She took the wind and turned on the line the fox had taken before stopping on the body of the fox and looking back. As soon as she seen I had seen her she went back into hunting mode ranging around the area of the strike.

    Get the basic discipline right then get to know your dog. You'll never regret it


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