How to Train a Springer Spaniel to Come Back + 6 Tips

September 25, 2022

Anyone who has ever met a Springer Spaniel before will tell you how lively and energetic this breed is. Just full of life!

While this trait is one of my favourite things about Springer Spaniels this general enthusiasm can also work to their detriment when they are let loose outside and not really good at listening to recall commands.

At times it can feel like it's a challenge to completely grab their attention or even have your Springer come back.

Your dog running off and getting into mischief or trouble is a real concern for many pet parents. However, it is not just all doom and gloom. There are simple and straightforward ways of dealing with a Springer Spaniel who is refusing to listen.

In this article, that is exactly what we will be talking about, how to train a Springer Spaniel to come back when they are called.

If this is a problem behaviour you are experiencing, read on to learn how to solve it.

Training your Springer Spaniel to Come Back

The first thing you will want to do when training your Springer to come back is to control their environment and teach your dog to reliably come to you under ideal circumstances. After this is mastered you can increase the difficulty until your Springer comes to you every time they are called.

You want to eliminate distractions and reduce the chances of something going wrong by starting the training in your home. Try using a long leash to stop your dog being able to run off around the house.

Stage One: Start Inside with No Distractions

First, try a command that your dog is already familiar with such as sit or lie down. This will show you that your dog isn't too distracted to pay attention. And don't forget some high-value treats.

Next, you will want to be on the other side of the room and call your dog over in a positive tone. Use treats, and toys and play with your dog to entice your dog to come and then praise your dog when they come. Coming down to your dog's level can also help.

You will want to use your intending command word as your dog comes to you. This helps familiarise your dog with it early. If you can't pick one "come" works pretty well.

After you have tried this for 10-15 minutes you will see what is working best for your dog. Double down on that.

Stage Two: Take Training Outside

Once your Springer Spaniel is reliably coming back every time you ask it's time to make it a bit harder and head outside.

You can start in your back garden, local park, or anywhere else your typically walk your dog. Again aim to begin in a quieter area and then move up the distractions as you go. The process will be the same here.

You will want to start close to your dog and heavily praise your dog when they get it right. Gradually increase the distance and follow the same process as you did inside. Before you know it your dog will be running free and coming back to you on request every time!

When Should I Start Training my Springer Spaniels Recall Training?

The best time to start training your Springer to come back on command is while they are still a puppy.

At this stage, no bad habits have been formed, and they pick up new skills like sponges. Generally, younger dogs also want to spend more time close to their owners which makes recall training even easier. It is really important to instil what good behaviour looks like in young dogs.

Top Tips for Training your Springer Spaniels Recall

Now that you know the steps to take to train your Springer Spaniel to come back on command, here are a few tips that will make the whole process a bit smoother.

Start with No Distractions

The last thing your Springer needs when you are doing recall training is a distraction. Try to find a quiet area where you won't be disturbed when you are having training sessions.

There are many types of distractions you will want to avoid. It could be other dogs or noisy/busy areas with a lot of people, for a couple of examples. By avoiding situations like this you can be sure you have your dog's full attention.

Once you have mastered recall in quieter places you can progress on to busier areas with the goal of your Springer having a really reliable recall.

Positive Reinforcement

Springers are known for their gentle natures, and this means they learn best when you offer positive reinforcement for good behaviour more than scalding your dog for getting it wrong.

Always focus on good actions. By showing your dog what they are getting right they will want to do more of it.

Keep Training Sessions Short

While training dog recalls you want to have your dog's undivided attention. If you try to keep at it for too long you will start to lose your dog's focus. Keep sessions short and frequent. This will be far better than trying to make your dog practice recall for hours at a time.

Half an hour sessions are a good target to aim for.

Consistency Wins

Like with any endeavour in life, you need to work at your dog's training consistently to see results.

If you waver in what is acceptable behaviour or miss a few sessions in a row you will find it takes a lot of your progress away and you will spend more time regaining lost ground than actually making progress.

Pick a Short Command Word

It is always good to try to have short commands when training a dog. Clear, one-syllable words are best. You want your dog to instantly understand what is required of them and act.

Also, make sure the phrase you use isn't too close to another command you have used for your dog.

Play Games to Hone New Recall Skills

One great way to cement these new recall skills your Springer has mastered is to gamify it to make coming back even more fun.

If you are looking for a few games to play the AKC has a few interesting ideas.

What Should I do if my Springer Spaniel Doesn't Come Back?

This can be a very scary scenario that no dog owner wants to experience, especially if you are near a busy road or other dangers. Springers are curious dogs and can easily get distracted by other people, dogs, or even a smell or sound.

If your dog isn't returning when called the best way to get a stubborn dog's attention is with a high-value treat. I say high value as a regular dog treat might not be enough. Try chicken, sausage, or something else irresistible for your dog.

In the early stages of recall training with your Springer, you will want to use a long leash or be in an enclosed area so situations like this are fairly harmless and contained.

Resist the urge to chase your dog. They will likely recognise this as you are trying to play and make your problem worse.

How Long Does Recall Training Take for a Springer Spaniel?

Training recall from scratch should take between two and six weeks for your Springer to master. This is thanks to how easy English Springer Spaniels are to train in general.

There are many different circumstances you will want to train your Springer to come to you in. Covering all of the bases will take time. It all comes down to time and practice.

They have sharp minds and pick up new skills with ease. This is one of the reasons that this breed gained such popularity as hunting dogs in the past.

This timeline will require you to consistently have training sessions with your Springer on recall at least two to three times a week.


So, now you are a pro when it comes to the recall training process. Carry out the steps above and keep in mind our tips and you should have a clear and stress-free path to having a Springer Spaniel who is far more likely to listen to recall commands.

While Springer Spaniels are one of the smartest dog breeds out there and have an excellent track record as working dogs it is still worth remembering that all dogs learn at their own pace.

Have patience with your Springer if they don't pick up the recall training straight away. It may take a few goes before your dog is on the same page. You can be certain a clever dog like a Springer Spaniel will defiantly get it though.

If you are having trouble making progress, do seek professional help. There will definitely be a trainer in your area who can help. A dog not coming back can be quite dangerous!

I hope this actionable guide to training your Springer Spaniel to come back on command has been helpful and educational for you.

Good luck with your dog training!

Allan  Noble
Hi, my name is Allan! I am the owner of Spaniel Advisor and I've got over seven years experience of owning Spaniels.  
I hope this article was helpful for you! 
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