Springer spaniels, like all dogs, are natural chewers. This type of behavior is normal, and in most cases, healthy. However, Springer spaniels can also chew destructively, and this is where it becomes a problem if not dealt with appropriately.
So, when is chewing normal?
There are many reasons why your Springer spaniel chews on things. When they are puppies less than roughly 6 months old, they chew in order to relieve the pain that comes from teething.
When they become adults, Springers will chew on bones in order to strengthen their jaws and teeth. They also take part in this activity to entertain themselves and to get relief from anxiety.
Springer spaniels chew on objects as a way to explore their environment as well. They rely heavily on their senses to have a better understanding of things around them, and their mouth plays a very important part in this role.
And when is chewing not normal?
The problem arises when your Springer spaniel starts chewing destructively, and there are several reasons why this happens:
Your Springer Spaniel Has Separation Anxiety
Both English and Welsh springer spaniels are very affectionate and sociable dogs. These breeds love to be close to their family members. In fact, it is one of the main reasons why people adopt them.
While these are wonderful traits to have, Springer spaniels can also be a little bit too reliant on their family members for support and affection. Because of this, they are prone to suffering from separation anxiety if left alone for long periods.
When this happens, Springers will exhibit many destructive behaviors such as digging and chewing. As it is natural for them to chew in order to relieve themselves from stress, this is one of the first activities they will do to deal with their anxiety.
The problem is that they will find and chew anything they can get their mouths on, such as your shoes, cushions, and any other objects that is within reach.
Your Springer Spaniel Might’ve Been Weaned Too Early
When puppies are weaned to early, there is a big chance that they will chew and suck on fabrics such as carpets, blankets or clothes. This normally happens when Springer spaniels have been weaned before reaching roughly 8 weeks of age.
Your Pooch Might Just Be Hungry
Springer spaniels are very active dogs. To ensure that they have enough energy to run around and play, they need to be fed appropriately. If they don’t get the right amount of nutrition, they will start chewing on different objects in the hopes of getting the nutrition from it.
In most cases, you will find that they search for objects that might exhibit some taste or odor of food. This can be highly dangerous because there is a possibility that they will swallow some of these objects which could lead to serious consequences.
Your Springer Spaniel Is Bored
A big misconception is that because Springer spaniels are known to be highly intelligent and obedient dogs that they will always behave well.
I personally feel that people need to be better educated on what to expect when getting one of these breeds. That way, they won’t fall into the trap of believing everything will be perfect with their dog only to find out that later they have a potentially big problem on their hands.
Springer spaniels are gundogs. They have been bred to be highly intelligent, very active, and have a strong drive to chase prey.
While they are easy to train, this is only possible if the training has been done correctly and that they have been provided with enough mental stimulation.
If you don’t train them from the day you adopt them, regardless if they are puppies or adults, your Springer will exhibit very unwanted behaviors, which is mainly due to boredom.
When they get bored, one of the first things they will do is chew on things, and in many cases, those things will be your belongings.
They don’t do this to be bad. They do it because they are simply looking for some form of stimulation and some way to entertain themselves.
How To Reduce Your Springer Spaniel’s Destructive Chewing
The first step is in finding the underlying problem. Sometimes, it is easy to spot, while other times, it’s not. The best way to move forward in finding the problem is by getting the help of professional dog behavior experts.
It is always good to try to find the reason why your dog is chewing destructively then to look for a quick fix.
Another point to keep in mind is that the tips below will still need time to work properly. Changing behaviors such as destructive chewing doesn’t occur overnight, so patience is crucial here.
That being said, here are some tips you can use to help reduce your Springer’s desire to chew destructively:
If you have a puppy and she is teething, she will need something to chew to help her deal with the pain. Some dog owners let their puppies chew on ice cubes as a way to help numb the pain.
What I would suggest is to buy dog toys that have been specially made to be frozen, as they will ensure that your puppy doesn’t injure herself when she chews on it.
If you find your little Springer chewing on something that is not appropriate, deal with it in a gentle way. Simply remove the item she’s chewing on and replace it with her special chew toy and then praise her afterwards.
Your baby Springer spaniel will soon learn what is good to chew on and what isn’t.
You can use the same approach with adult Springer spaniels. As soon as you find them chewing something that they shouldn’t, simply replace the item with special chew toys and then praise them.
It’s always a good idea to have a variety of these chew toys so that you can interchange them. This will ensure that your Springer doesn’t get bored of her toys.
Remember, she needs constant mental stimulation. Providing variety in her life will help achieve this goal.
One mistake to avoid is giving your pooch old shoes, cushions, T-shirts or anything else that you don’t need any more to chew on. While the idea seems good at face value, if you think deeper, you will realize that you are simply confusing your Springer spaniel.
By giving them an old shoe to chew on, they might think that it’s okay to chew on other shoes as well. This becomes more difficult for you to train your dog not to do something when she is getting mixed signals.
If your Springer spaniel is chewing out of boredom, make sure that you have set up the right environment so that she doesn’t get bored.
You might even want to consider purchasing puzzle chew toys for your pooch. This is a great way for her to use her brain to figure out how to get to the food that is within the toy.
Make sure you also take her out for her regular walks and let her run around as much as possible to expend all of that extra energy she has accumulated. By the time she arrives back home, she’ll be too exhausted to get bored and chew on things.
And now for the quick-fix part:
Use special deterrent sprays that have been designed to be safe for dogs on all of the items you don’t want your Springer spaniel to chew on.
What I would do to make the process more effective is to quickly swap the things she didn’t enjoy chewing on due to the deterrent spray with something that she is allowed to chew on such as a chew toy. Once again, when you do this, be sure to give her a lot of praise.
Being one of the gundog breeds, your Springer spaniel needs that extra bit of attention to help her become the affectionate, smart and obedient dog you expect her to be.
Don’t assume that all of these excellent traits will be wrapped up in a little package just waiting to be opened up when you first receive your beautiful Springer. It takes time and patience to train your pooch correctly.
No dog is perfect, and destructive chewing is a common problem for all dogs. If you find that your Springer spaniel exhibits these behaviors, simply take a deep breath and then deal with the situation appropriately.
With time and patience, your pooch will be able to overcome this problem, and the bond between the two of you will grow stronger.