How to get 2 English Springer Spaniels to get along?

QChickieMama

Songster
9 Years
Oct 1, 2011
393
36
206
We have 2 ESS dogs, a 1.5yo female and a 1yo male. They're HIGHLY energetic. The female is dominant. She was here first, and her temperament is not as docile as his. He has always been a flop-on-his-back kind of playful guy when they're "playing."

For the last 7 months or so, we've let them play together once in a while with supervision. The female bites his legs and his face, maybe all in good fun, maybe not. He doesn't yelp too often. When he does, we put them in their kennels.

If we put them both outdoors and leash the female to a table, the male will stay near her to play wildly. Even when it looks like he might be getting hurt, he stays near enough to play.

If we switch it around and tie up the male, the female plays with him until she's tired. Once in a while, they'll both lie down, completely tuckered out.

Tonight, we had them indoors, female leashed to the couch. The male left her zone only once. He kept near enough to her to play hard for a long time.

Argh! What can we do to help them get along better. I think if we just put them together unattended, they'd either get hurt or collapse from exhaustion.

Thoughts?
 

ellie32526

Songster
7 Years
Oct 21, 2012
423
21
103
North Texas
I have seven dogs, so I know a little about them, but I'm not an expert by any means. Since you did not say anything about their condition I am assuming they are intact, meaning you haven't spayed/neutered either. Not sure if you intend to or not, but sometimes that makes a difference.

You must be the pack leader, they both must respect your authority as leader. Make sure they know you are their source of food. Don't leave their food down and available at all times. Feed them at regular times, then pick up the food.

I would also walk them together side by side on leashes. Don't let one pull ahead of the other. When you allow them to play together, decide where the boundaries are and enforce them. If one gets too rough, step in and say NO in a loud voice so they know that behavior is not allowed. If I think of anything else I will add another comment. Let me know if you see any progress.
 

LissyB

Chirping
7 Years
I agree with ellie, I have a 5 month old and a 7 year old (dogs) the male (7) fixed and the female intact, it looks like their fighting, they chew on each other etc... but you know they are playing because their tails are up in the air and wagging, not tucked in between the legs. We can leave them alone together and neither one gets hurt or falls from exhaustion. it must be a pain in the butt to have them separate most of the time.
 

QChickieMama

Songster
9 Years
Oct 1, 2011
393
36
206
I have seven dogs, so I know a little about them, but I'm not an expert by any means. Since you did not say anything about their condition I am assuming they are intact, meaning you haven't spayed/neutered either. Not sure if you intend to or not, but sometimes that makes a difference.

You must be the pack leader, they both must respect your authority as leader. Make sure they know you are their source of food. Don't leave their food down and available at all times. Feed them at regular times, then pick up the food.

I would also walk them together side by side on leashes. Don't let one pull ahead of the other. When you allow them to play together, decide where the boundaries are and enforce them. If one gets too rough, step in and say NO in a loud voice so they know that behavior is not allowed. If I think of anything else I will add another comment. Let me know if you see any progress.
You're right--they're not "fixed." We may breed them later.

The pack leader concept is tricky here. The female belongs to my husband. He's definitely her alpha. The female will obey me 90% of the time if husband's not here.

The male belongs to my 16yo son. He's trained him fairly well, but he's often not here or unavailable b/c of school work and other activities. This means my 12yo daughter and I are mostly in charge of the male. When my husband is here, the male respects his orders very well.

SO, I think what I'm doing here is gathering info for my husband. He's probably the one who could work w/both dogs to cooperate.

They're not leash trained. Ugh. We have a place in the country where they can just run, and being social creatures, they stay pretty close to us. I can suggest leash walking to the hubby.
 

wyoDreamer

Free Ranging
10 Years
Nov 10, 2010
5,530
10,088
551
NE Wisconsin
Believe it or not, they are still puppies and will be untill almost 3 years old.

Growing up, our neighbor raised English Spinger Spanials. Very beautiful dogs, but also very energetic. I have had an English Setter and an Irish Setter, and the joke about setters is that they don't get their brain until they are 3 years old. Luckily for you, springers aren't quite as bad. My cousins English Springer Spanial started to settle down after he was 2.

I don't see what is wrong with them playing till exhaustion. Is there any real fighting going on, like snarling, snapping, ruff standing up? They need to have an outlet for all their energy, and that is a good outlet for them. There are many other outlets that they could choose: eating the furniture, shewing the legs off your kitchen table, digging up the yard, barking constantly, or becoming escape artists and running the neighborhood. They are a bird hunting breed, which means that they are bred to have high energy so they can run through the fields all day looking for birds.

But also, are you the boss? Do you work with them alot? Make sure to teach them basic obedience and make sure that they mind. If you are planning on breeding them and selling the pups, you will have better success if you can show potential buyers that your dogs are well behaved and mind.
 

Redyre Rotties

Songster
10 Years
Jul 8, 2009
1,542
40
188
North Carolina, USA
Tying the dogs up only builds frustration and boundary rage at not being able to interact normally. It is very unusual for an opposite sex pair of this breed to not get along. Loud boistrous play with a lot of grabbing and tumbling is normal for dogs. IMO each time you STOP their interaction, this builds more frustration and energy that must be worked out in their next meeting.

If they were mine, I would have 2 people present, let them drag 2 leashes, and I would not interfere unless I saw blood.
 

QChickieMama

Songster
9 Years
Oct 1, 2011
393
36
206
Tying the dogs up only builds frustration and boundary rage at not being able to interact normally. It is very unusual for an opposite sex pair of this breed to not get along. Loud boistrous play with a lot of grabbing and tumbling is normal for dogs. IMO each time you STOP their interaction, this builds more frustration and energy that must be worked out in their next meeting.
If they were mine, I would have 2 people present, let them drag 2 leashes, and I would not interfere unless I saw blood.
Okey dokey. I've let hubby and son know your advice. I have a feeling that if they did decide to let the dogs go at it for a LONG time, we might cross the hurdle into a more peaceful existence.
 

BlueCamas

Songster
8 Years
Aug 25, 2011
2,198
40
171
Milwaukie, Oregon
It sounds to me like they are getting along great! When you separate them for long periods of time and then keep reintroducing them, they get excited and will always wrestle. If you want them to be calmer around each other, just stick them outside or in a large open room and let them have at it. It may take a week or two, but eventually the constant playing will cease. What they are doing is completely normal for puppies and you shouldn't interfere. Just be happy to have two dogs who get along well enough to wrestle like that.
I have 2 female labradoodles, both intact. The older one is 8 years and is the clear alpha, while the younger one is 3 years, 35 lbs heavier, and is the ultra omega. When we first got the younger one earlier this year they got along fabulously and wrestled constantly, at the end of the day they would both be exhausted. They still wrestle/ play every day but not nearly as often as they did in the first 2 months. They are just having fun which is great for them, gives them a work out and lets them just be dogs
smile.png


One of their more relaxed play sessions
love.gif
They have way too much fun
tongue.png









 
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QChickieMama

Songster
9 Years
Oct 1, 2011
393
36
206
They're so pretty! How fun.

I took both dogs on a run this morning. I drive a golf cart around our pastures and they zip around all over. It's a good way to exercise them and get them together for some interaction. At the end of a 10-minute run, they did fight a bit with growling and a yelp. However, I'm planning to do this at least once per day when I'm watching them. Hopefully, dh & ds will let them play together more in the evenings, too. I'm eager for the day I can turn them both out and not worry.
 

20736

Songster
7 Years
Jun 6, 2012
493
58
156
Wow, brings back old times.
I had 5 ESS from 1974-1988. Usually more than 1 at a time.
We bred some, showed some, loved 'em all.
They really need exercise daily and together. I lived near a large park and then here in the country.
EXERCISE. TOGETHER.
Hope you have as much love back from them as I got all those years.
I really miss them now, but thanks for bringing them back to me for just a minute.
Good Luck.
 

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