We all love long walks, don’t we?
For many of us, that’s why we picked the Spaniel breed, we had dreams of enjoying walks around the countryside, your spaniel running free off lead whilst regularly choosing to come back to you. The sun is shining, the birds are tweeting, you have a coffee in one hand, a spaniel in another, ah bliss, that is the dream.
Sounds good, doesn’t it? But in reality, even before you walk your spaniel it’s often a game of who can catch the spaniel who’s clocked its walkies time, just to be able to attach the bloody lead!
As soon as your spaniel spots the particular shoes you only use for W A L K S (yes you have to spell it out or all hell breaks loose) they start singing the song of their people to you and trying to open the door becomes mission impossible, as your spaniel tries to launch themselves out of it like some spaniel shaped missile, forgetting you even exist.
And forget trying to take a coffee out with you – your spaniel is going to end up wearing it or even worse consuming it, and no spaniel needs an energy boost from caffeine!
Walks are not stress-free, they are stressful, and by the time you get on your walk, you’re ready for a nap! Your spaniel on the other hand is not!
But it doesn’t need to be like this.
You’re not alone if your spaniel is a lunatic when you bring the lead out
Mine used to be loons, but now they calmly wait whilst I get ready for a walk and they CHOOSE to go and stay in their bed – even when they can see the lead!
The calmer your spaniel leaves the house, often the more calmer your walk is. Plus loose lead walking becomes more likely, as there’s no way you’re going to get nice walking out of the house if your spaniel is behaving more kangaroo than a spaniel!
When you leave the house calmer recall becomes more likely, and if your spaniel is a barky spaniel who loves to bark at people, dogs, and what feels like just the fresh air at times, as soon as you go out of the door in a bid to say hello to the whole world this will become less likely too!
I have helped many clients who have enquired with me desperately looking for an anti-dote to their spaniel’s walk induced craziness. In many cases, their spaniel is as ‘normal’ as a spaniel can be, but then as soon as they showed any sign of going out on a walk their spaniel would go absolutely bonkers. I’ve seen it with my own eyes, spaniels racing around the house doing zoomies as soon as a harness is presented to them, spaniels barking like crazy just because their owner puts one foot in a shoe, I’ve even seen (and heard) spaniels bark all through the car journey to the park, and let the whole world know they have arrived!
In fact, in my Spaniel Inner Circle, it’s an extremely common problem that all sorts of spaniels and their owners join for help with. We have training from me on how to calm this the hell down, and just recently I was helping several members teach some quietness in the car to!
Why is my spaniel like this?
Dogs learn through association, and our spaniels are no different. Notice how your spaniel knows exactly where that treat cupboard is if you even walk slightly in its direction? And how if your two minutes after dinner time, they act like they have been starved for a month?! Mine have perfected the spaniel starved eyes very well here!
So, if every time the lead goes on it = go in the car and go to park and get to chase around with my friends, you’re going to get a lot of anticipation and excitement when you even touch that lead, and if your spaniel is barking their head off whilst you attempt to attach the lead, and then they go to the park and live their best life, then next time you clip the lead on guess what they will bark again, because last time barking = lead on = go to park and have the best time ever!
Same for the front door, most things that happen are exciting, you go for walks from it, visitors arrive, and your spaniel gets cuddles, the postman arrives, you come home from work through it = excitement and usually barking.
How the hell can I help my dog Spaniel calm the hell down when going for a walk?
There’s a whole recipe of training that needs to happen to get complete calmness before a walk. And the thing is if you don’t achieve it before you get out, the chances of having a calm spaniel on your walk are pretty slim.
And when I say calm I don’t mean 24/7 we all want some crazy in our spaniel but it’s important to get the balance right. I love seeing the boys enjoy zoomies on their walk but not so much around my living room!
Once your spaniel’s arousal levels are up, it’s really hard to get them back down. This is why everything I teach to my Spaniel Inner Circle members and my clients is about getting calmness in the house and in the car before they get out on the big W A L K.
Leaving the house calmly means you will have more enjoyable walks, and after all isn’t that the reason you got your spaniel to begin with?
Tell me what I can do?
Ok ok, so there are lots but just two examples are:
- Mix up your cues, walk towards the lead and go and sit back down, pop them in the car with a kong and then go back inside the house, put on your walking coat and make a cup of tea. Change the association.
- Employ your spaniel, when that front door opens your spaniel is flooded with different sights, sounds, all the smells! You can try putting some different items outside your door with treats on them, or teach them some scent work so you can give them a find it cue when you go out the door, and thus a job.
And I have so many more ideas I can share with you!
Can you help me calm my spaniel down for walks?
Absolutely, all training links together so what you will start to find when we work together, whether that’s on a one-to-one basis or through the Spaniel Inner Circle is that when you calm your spaniel down before a walk, they will be calmer on the walk and you’ll have tricks up your sleeve to get them to chill out at night instead of pacing around your living room whilst you try to unwind.
Spaniels aren’t like other dogs, a walk through the park isn’t enough to tire out their overactive brains, and so by learning what makes your spaniel or spaniel mix tick I can help you to make simple, effective and easy adjustments to your daily routine so that you can finally enjoy walks just the two of you, or with the whole family.
Yes, a calm spaniel is possible, trust me, I’ve helped hundreds of spaniels from all over the world go from loopy maniacs to finding their inner zen.
All it takes is a recipe of understanding, patience, and breed-specific training.
There’s a reason they call me the Spaniel Guru you know!
“In Switzerland Working Cockers are not known and no one was able to help me. Hannah really understands spaniels and knew just how to help Blake and me. Working online with Hannah is great, no disadvantages at all. She also shows some exercises with her own dogs to make it all clear! Now we can enjoy our walks and his recall has improved a lot!”Chantal, Blakes owner
“Hannah is an absolute miracle worker, even via Zoom! We were really struggling with our 10-month-old Cocker Spaniel, Tilly. Working from home was a nightmare as Tilly was constantly jumping or barking at me and disturbing calls, we couldn’t relax in the evenings for the same reasons. Tilly was nervous around new people and was constantly trying to chase our cats. We also struggled at night as hearing the cats would make Tilly bark.
“We cannot thank Hannah enough, she is honestly worth every single penny. We now understand Tilly so well and she is such a calm, completely different dog. I never worry about work meetings and stressed evenings are a thing of the past.”Charlie, Tilly owner