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Helping You Get the Most From Your Hunting Dogs

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All the while his tail beats furiously from side to side as his whole body seems to come alive with animation. The dog follows his nose as he sniffs every step made by wild game. When scent becomes very hot and his nose tells him the scent has changed from foot scent to body scent, he will raise his head, take to body scent and move with phenomenal speed driving game out of its hiding place.

Naturally, we find the elusive pheasant that would rather scurry away on the ground instead of being forced into flight, sometimes taking the Spaniel out of gun range. The well-trained Spaniel will respond to the hunter’s whistle command stopping him immediately in his tracks. The dog will then patiently wait for the hunter to move back into range. Once given the "hunt on" command he will continue to work the scent trail until he finally forces the running pheasant to take flight! The English springer is by far the ultimate pheasant hunting dog.

Upon the flushing of game he will automatically "hup" or sit instantly on the sight of the flush. Anxiously, he will be watching the flight pattern of the fleeing quarry, in anticipation of hearing the sound of gunfire. Once the game has been dropped, the Spaniel will mark the area of the fallen quarry while awaiting a "command" from his owner to retrieve the downed game! Then quickly traveling to the area of fallen game he will scoop up the quarry. Holding it gently in his mouth, he will return it to the hunter for his game pouch. This makes retrieving the shot game easy for the hunter. All he has to do is send the dog for the retrieve. The Spaniel does all the work even in those thick wild berry brushes! Hey, why should we get all scratched up! Let the Spaniel do it, they love to work in this type of "birdie" cover. In cases where game has been missed, simply giving a "gone away" command to tell the Spaniel he should resume his hunting pattern and seek out future game.

Spaniels can hold their own in a duck blind as well.
Photo by: R. Michael DiLullo
Although the Spaniel is not popularly known for waterfowl, they do have webbed feet and love to swim and retrieve on water. With their three different layers of hair, varying length of coat and a good undercoat, they can withstand hardships on the coast and in the marshes. Naturally, it appears to be the waiting in freezing water that will paralyze them in these frigid conditions as with many other types of gun dogs. However, keeping the Spaniels high and dry will help them to continue making repeated retrieves on cold marshes and lakes. The Spaniels are as much at home in the marshes as they are in the field.

A vintage, well trained, well breed gun dog of this type will not only fill your game bag, but will provide many exciting memories for you and your hunting partners. A true sportsman who thinks the thrill of the hunt is equally as important as the conservation of shot game will never hunt without a well-trained Spaniel.

Along with a strong field savvy, the Spaniel makes an excellent family pet at home with children, as well. With a natural characteristic of "wanting to please" his family members, training this breed can be easily accomplished. I have been a Spaniel person for close to twenty years and I can honestly say that if you are looking for a sporting dog with plenty of love and devotion to offer, a lot of heart and a strong desire to please, besides being a great family dog; you really can’t go wrong with a field bred English springer spaniel!
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