Springer spaniels can be left alone, but it will take some effort on your part to make the transition stress-free for you and your pooch. Like all dog breeds, Springer spaniels are pack animals. The idea of being separate and alone for too long is something unimaginable.
With Springer spaniels, it is even more so as these dogs are highly sociable creatures. They love to be close to their family members, and the idea of being separated from their family can be very stressful.
However, this doesn’t mean that it’s impossible for Springer’s to stay alone for long periods.
With the right training, your Springer should be able to live a fairly happy life on her own as long as you don’t overstretch the time of separation.
Separation Anxiety Is Common In Springer Spaniels
Some dogs handle being left alone better than others. Unfortunately, Springer spaniels don’t do very well with being separated for too long.
When you are at home with them, they will shadow you wherever you go. This is normal, because you are part of the pack and it is just a natural thing for Springers to do.
So, when you first attempt to leave your Springer spaniel alone while you go out to work, there is a big chance that your pooch will feel highly stressed and become very anxious.
They will also begin to whine, howl and bark excessively until you finally come back home in the late afternoon. This is known as separation anxiety, and it is very common among Springer spaniels.
However, if you train them correctly, there is no need for the majority of them to have separation anxiety. It just takes a little patience from your side, consistency and the right training.
So, how do you help a Springer spaniel stay happily alone?
Training must take place before you even begin to fathom the idea of leaving your Springer alone for long periods.
You also have to consider your pooch’s age. If she is still a puppy, you will need to use a slightly different approach. However, you will find that regardless of her being a puppy or an adult, the core idea is still the same.
How To Train Your Puppy Springer To Be Alone
The first thing you should do is get a crate for your puppy. Crates are an excellent way to house train puppies as well as teach them that it’s okay to be alone.
Puppies generally don’t like to relieve themselves in the same place that they sleep and play, which is why crates are an excellent way to house train your Springer.
So, even when your puppy feels like she needs to relieve herself, she will try to hold it in until you remove her from the crate and take her to another area, preferably outside, to relieve herself.
The way in which you use the crate to help her be alone is by placing your Springer spaniel in the crate with their favorite toys and a comfortable bed and then removing yourself from the area for a small period of time.
The idea is to start with a few minutes, and then over the days, to increase the time. Keep in mind though that she is still a puppy, and that you cannot expect her to hold her pee in for longer than is necessary.
The rule of thumb is that for every month that your puppy ages, you need to add one hour. In other words, if your puppy is two months old, she can only hold it in for two hours.
However, never leave your puppy alone for longer than five hours max.
Also, you might want to initially buy a large dog crate that comes with a crate divider that you can then remove once your Springer becomes a full adult. This will allow you to gradually increase the size of your Springer’s den as she grows in size.
Just make sure that the crate dimensions are the appropriate size for an adult Springer spaniel and not too large.
Once your puppy Springer is used to her crate and sees it as a good thing, the next step is to set up a larger playing area within your home. You can do this by using pet playpens.
A good idea is to set up the playpen in such a way so that your puppy can enter and exit her crate to play within the fenced in zone.
Again, make sure that you provide a lot of fun toys for your Springer spaniel so that she has something to entertain herself with while being enclosed in this limited area.
While you’re doing all of this, don’t forget to give your little Springer enough exercise outside. It’s highly recommended to go at least two times a day, and to spend around a half an hour to one hour outside with your puppy.
Doing this will allow your baby pooch to expend all of that energy that she’s been cooking up indoors so that by the time she arrives back home, she will feel completely pooped.
When you put all of this together, you will find that it becomes easier for you to move on to the next stage, which is lengthening the time that she will be staying alone.
Once you’re ready to move on to the last stage, where you will actually be going out to work and leaving your puppy Springer alone, make sure that you do the following:
Before going to work, take your puppy out for a walk and to play for at least one hour. Again, this will allow her to expend a lot of that energy that she has built up throughout the night, and it will help her to feel more relaxed once she goes back home.
Half an hour before you leave, put your puppy in her playpen and make sure that she has enough food and water and all the toys she needs to keep her entertained.
At this point, move around the house every now and then coming in and out to see her, but don’t show too much emotion during this time.
When you finally leave the house, don’t exhibit any emotion of being sad. The idea is to be as indifferent as possible. This is important because it shows your puppy that nothing has drastically changed.
Also, the type of emotion you convey to your puppy will be mirrored back to you, so don’t train her in this way if you don’t want her to exhibit these types of emotions.
If you’re going to be staying away from the house for longer than five or six hours, it is highly recommended that you have a friend or family member, or even a professional sitter, to come in and check in on your puppy Springer spaniel.
It’s even a good idea if they can take her out for a walk and to relieve herself.
When you arrive back home in the late afternoon, don’t exhibit an abundance of emotion toward your puppy. This might not be easy, especially when you see your puppy being very emotional towards you as you arrive, but you have to be strong.
Instead, wait until your puppy is completely settled down, even if it means waiting half an hour. Only then can you praise your puppy and give her all the emotion she deserves.
By doing this, you are showing her that it is a normal thing for you to leave and enter the house while being away for long periods in between.
Providing her with the extra attention half an hour later is in a way praising her and making her realize that she can get that attention at any point, not just when you leave and enter the house.
If you’re consistent with this approach, you will find that your puppy Springer will gradually become used to the idea of being alone. This will ensure that the transition from being a puppy to becoming an adult Springer is easier for the both of you.
How to Train an Adult Springer Spaniel to Be Alone
If you have trained your puppy using the steps previously mentioned, then you just need to continue using the same method when your Springer becomes an adult.
The only real difference is that your pooch will be able to hold her bladder for a much longer time.
At this point, you will most likely also need a slightly bigger crate, and you might not need to use a playpen if you have been gradually training your Springer to be freer in the house.
However, if you have an adult Springer that has never been trained to be alone, then the approach will be a bit different.
While most people recommend using a crate as a way to create a happy zone for their Springer spaniels, I personally believe that it really depends on the dog’s personality and whether they have been previously introduced to crates in the past.
Some dogs like to live in a confined area because it makes them feel safe and secure. However, other dogs feel they need more space and prefer to have a less controlled area to run around and explore.
It will also largely depend on your needs. If you have too many valuable items lying around and you’re worried that your dog might destroy these items, then you need to find a balance between creating a more limited space but not confining your dog to such a point where she might feel stressed in her environment.
Another thing to consider before training your Springer to be alone is how clingy she is when you are around. This will give you a better idea of how to approach the situation when training her to be alone while you are at work.
Once you have all of this figured out, you can start your training:
During the days when you are with your Springer spaniel, train her to stay in different parts of the house, but alone, while you’re in another room.
Do this by gradually increasing the distance between you and your pooch.
For example, find a zone where you want your Springer to stay, tell her to stay there, and then walk a few meters away from her, but still within view.
With this distance created, don’t stare at her or pay any attention to her. Instead, pretend that you’re doing something else and then once you’re done, walk back to your dog and give her a treat and praise her.
Continue doing this for the next few days until you can increase the distance so much that your Springer spaniel is no longer within eye view. Also, increase the amount of time that you stay away from her while still being in the house, every time coming back to her and praising her with a treat.
Once you’ve accomplished this stage, you can move on to actually exiting the house while making her stay in the zone you set up for her and then coming back inside again. Don’t forget to praise her!
The next step is to do this during random times of the day using the same approach.
Over time, your Springer spaniel will see that this as a good thing and realize that there is no drastic difference in her being alone or being with you, and that in both cases, it is a good thing.
When you set up a zone for her to stay in, be sure that she has lots of puzzle food toys to keep her entertained and to stimulate her mind.
Your Springer spaniel must also have enough food and water and a comfortable bed so that she sees her zone as a happy place to be in when she is alone.
Before you exit the house to go to work, take your pooch out for a long walk so that she gets enough exercise. You want to make sure that she is panting at the end of the workout.
Be careful here. When she is panting, your Springer should be doing this because she is tired and not because of the heat.
When you come back from work, give her another good workout again.
Whatever you do, you need to do it in such a way so that it is not just before you go to work or straight after you come back from work. Instead, once you arrive back home, weight at least half an hour before you give her too much attention.
Do the same when you leave for work. In other words, wait for her to settle down from her workout before you actually leave.
In both circumstances, don’t provide too much affection. You need to show the same amount of attention that you would when staying at home with her throughout the day.
Your dog will see this as being normal and realize that being alone can also be fun and that you will always come back at the end of the day, so there’s nothing to worry about.
Your Springer Spaniel Needs Alone Time During the Holidays
When you are on holiday or are going to be spending longer times at home with your Springer spaniel, you need to be mindful that she will be spending less time alone. When this happens, your pooch will get used to the idea of you once again being close to her 24 hours a day.
While you might think that this is a good thing because you can make up for all the times you were away from her, it’s the complete opposite.
The best way to help your dog is by giving her “alone time” during the day while you’re at home. That way, when you finally have to go back to work again, she doesn’t see the changes being too impactful.
While Springer spaniels are prone to suffering from separation anxiety due to being highly sociable and loyal breeds, it is still possible for them to be alone for long periods.
However, you need to put in the work in order to create the right environment for your Springer to be happy during those times alone, and to realize that just because you’re not around it doesn’t mean that the world is about to crumble around her.
With the right amount of patience, caring and understanding, your Springer spaniel should be able to live a very balanced life with you and also alone.
However, if she still suffers from separation anxiety, it is highly recommended that you contact a dog behavior expert. Sometimes, there are things that are just beyond your control, and the only way to get the right help is through the help of an expert.