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Home Archive Forums Dogs Basic Dog Training Charlie!

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    I don’t really know where to start with Charlie! He’s approx 2yrs old, Springer Spaniel, and I’ve had him for about 5 1/2 months.

    To begin with he was very clingy towards me, and he could be aggresive towards my husband, when he was with me. This has improved a great deal, as he now seems to accept that my OH is also part of our family, and is as happy with him as with me, although I am still the one that walks & feeds him.

    He loves to play, and is very puppy like, in that he uses his teeth a lot…Ouch! But not in a vicious way.

    He’s good at meal times. He and my other dog Benji eat together, and there are no problems. That said, if he has a chew, I cannot get it from him. He is very possesive about somethings.

    His recall leaves a lot to be desired, but it is improving. I use a whistle, coz otherwise I’d lose my voice!! He often comes close to me, but is very good at not actually being caught!

    At his training classes, his sit, stay & recall are all fairly good. For a youngster! And the class is indoors. At home his sit and stay is also fairly good. He has learnt to ‘stay’ in the boot of the car, until I can get his lead, rather than shooting straight off as he did at first!

    The problems start when we are out. He pulls like a train on a lead. He is very dramatic when he doesn’t like something, like trying a new type of training aid, he will throw himself around and squeal. He is an escape artist. Unless his collar is quite tight, (tighter than I would like it) he can get out of it. He can extricate himself from a harness in seconds!

    He fixates on things. Mostly cats & birds. If it moves, he wants to kill it (not dogs). He won’t listen to me at all, just goes totally deaf! His recall becomes non existant. If he’s on a lead he will strangle himself trying to get what he wants. He has no fear and no feeling. He’ll plough through fences, hedges, ditches, throw himself at doors and windows.

    When it comes to other dogs, he is friendly if he doesn’t feel threatened, but if the other dog is at all pushy he can become aggresive.

    I take both dogs to work with me. I work in an office that is situated on a farm. Benji, my other dog, has been coming here for years, and has total freedom. He lays outside, watching the world go by, taking no notice of the ducks & chickens. Plays with visiting children, says hello to everyone. Barks when strangers come. Poor Charlie has to stay inside with me. I take him out three times a day. When we arrive and at lunchtime, and before it gets completely dark. Now he’s noticed the chickens, he has to stay on a lead for the first two walks. The only thing he wants to do is kill them (or the ducks or cats). The only walk I can let him off is the last one, after the birds have been put away.

    I know he is intelligent, but neither whistling nor food nor anything I have tried will get his attention. The Vet has recommended a ‘Citronella Collar’ but I am dubious as to whether it would work!

    Everytime I think were getting somewhere, something comes along & knocks us back!

    Any ideas :help:


    Yep you need to be Bev’ed


    Sounds exactly like mine when I first got him at 20months, except for the aggression. Amazing isn’t it watching a dog go head first into a five bar gate or wire fencing? worrying to.
    I was lucky that I had somewhere really safe to walk to start off with and we just walked there until he had settled, a bit boring but worth it. Have you nowwhere like this?
    I had always intended to take mine to work as I work on a nursery (plants not kids). I put up a secure kennel. Is this a possibility for you, if he can see the chickens/cats regularly hopefully he will calm down with them.
    Though being a spaniel his whole being is about hunting


    i agree with Val – the best person to help you will be bev (kizkiznobite) :yes:


    You need Bev hun 🙂


    Niki, didnt you say Charlie also caught a chicken and duck, but let them go unscathed? :-\


    Hi Izzie

    Yes, he caught a duck and a chicken, and yes, he dropped the duck (albeit accidently!) and when I finally got help to prise his jaws open, the chicken was still alive…..somehow, I think I shouldn’t have been surprised…After all, he’s a springer, and he’s meant to be gentle mouthed.

    I’m not so sure the chicken felt the same way, though  :surrender:


    Nik give as much info as poss, esp where these issues are concerned- what happened, what did you do, say, etc. what did Charlie do,etc

    the more info the better, waffle if needbe, everyone can sort through what is needed and what isnt.


    Chin up hon, I have a springer that will happily kill things given half a chance – it taken me a looong time to get her under control, and even now she has bursts of extinction when the mood takes her.

    You will get there with him, but you need Bev’s help :-*


    OG! To remember exactly what happened…..We arrived at work, where Charlie has been coming every workday for nearly for the last 5 months. We had reached the stage where….I told him to stay..I opened the boot of the car..he stayed.. I made sure there were no little animals around, then took the lead off and called him to come with me. We went straight out to the fields, away from buildings, people, chooks and into 20 plus acres of fields down to set aside & cover, where the two dogs could run and sniff & play to their hearts content. Until the other day….as we arrived in the car..Charlie saw a chicken….I opened the boot as normal, sensing he was very alert & watching the chicken, I grabbed the lead as he jumped out… I kept him on the lead until we were about 1/3 of a mile away from the car and I felt his attention had shifted… I asked him to sit… I let him off..he turned around & went straight for the chicken.

    He couldn’t see it from where we were, and he chased that chicken, straight past another chicken, until he caught it. From now on, it all becomes a little emotional.

    I’m shouting at him to leave, drop, no! and anything else I can think of, Kate, a friend, who’s chickens they are, is at the hospital with a new born who is being operated on, so her parents are there, they come out shouting & screaming & being aggresive to my other dog Benji, who is just watching in shock. I shout at them to leave him alone, they’re shouting at me that Charlie is a vicious brute, I’m smacking Charlie, trying to get him to leave the chicken…..Get the picture???

    It’s chaos :order: I’m crying, they’re shouting & telling me to replace the chicken before the children get home, I’m still trying to get the chicken, Benji doesn’t know what to do (and I’m very protective of Benji, but that’s another story). I get to my office, with Charlie and what I assume is a dead chicken, get someone to help me prise his jaws open, and out hops the chicken, who runs off!

    I cried even more :surprise: :surprise: With relief and anger and sadness, and I’m very hormonal at the moment which doesn’t help :'(

    After all this, the outcome is that every morning Charlie is looking for that chicken, so he’s on lead walking at the mo. He goes off on the last walk, coz I make sure the chooks have gone to bed.

    I love him to bits, but he’s so changeable. Tonight he growled at my husband when Chris went to pet him, but I think he may be a little of colour. He bit him several times when he first came here, but they have been getting on O.K. for a while. He’s too dependent on me, I think :confused: He, Charlie still lay on my husbands lap for a snooze this evening :confused:


    oh dear oh dear oh dear

    hun…you getting this all wrong…..

    everytime you take him out like this you are setting him up to fail….you are allowing the hunt and you dont have any martini cues in place…anytime anyplace anywhere

    make a start by reading the stickies

    the best place to be
    general levels of criteria

    and yep they have soft mouths…that is so that they do not damage the bird when bringing it back …dead……a good gundog has to know how to dispatch….

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