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Springer spaniel ball guarding and retrieving needs satisfied - VIDEO
The springer spaniel I filmed was a young female with very high energy. I was visiting her at quarantine but rules meant that I could only visit her twice a week during set hours.
The springer spaniel is known to be a tireless retriever, and a very high energy good swimmer that is only too willing to please. In the video you will see her very strong ball guarding behavior!
The issue for many people who take this dog on as a pet is that its mental and physical activity releases still need to be met, each day.
If they don't get daily exercise, extreme separation anxiety, digging, barking etc can occur. This can lead to self harm or longer mental issues.
What you can see in this video is this springer spaniel channeling all of its energy into 'owning' the tennis ball. The real dilemma for her is that she both wants to guard it, but also has a very strong drive to retrieve the tennis ball.
This is why you can see in the video her going through many mental processes as she works out how long she can do without having the ball, as I get ready to throw it for her before she can possess it again.
Her only function hundreds of years ago were to retrieve downed hunted birds for her hunter owner. They would track through rough terrain for hours in cold and sometimes ranging condition, and she would be ever faithful at her owner's side.
In quarantine, separation anxiety for such a breed can be extreme, which is why it is ideal to hire a dog walker to visit such a dog as often and for as long as they can if the owners can't make it.
DISCLAIMER: I am a professional dog walker who visits dogs at Spotswood Aqis quarantine station to help their dogs exercise.
The edited video only shows a small fragment of one visit I had with this dog over an hour. Because she wanted to retrieve the thrown ball, I was happy to play this game with her for a little while, but likewise playing this game constantly with her would only increase her stress levels, cortisone, and contribute to any stress she was experiencing from being locked up at quarantine away from her owners.
That is why I regulated throwing with her holding onto the ball, and patting her. Human contact is important for a dog going through such a stressful situation. However being in a calm assertive mood when approaching such a dog is vital, as if I fully 'bought into' the mental discomfort she was experiencing, this would only reinforce this pain and behavior.
Just playing with such a dog in confinement and not making a big fuss of her when I left, just as you do for a dog that has separation anxiety, is the only way to help a great little dog like this in the short term.
Article by Bruce Dwyer. If you wish to use any of this information please refer to the link www.healthydogtreats.com.au
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