The working springer spaniel "Miss Sophie" story

June 8, 2004

Sophie has now been completely adopted by both Foxy and Briz. They like to play with her every day and also otherwise estimate her as a family member. Foxy even threw up food for her at some stage so we believe she thinks of her as her own puppy, while Briz might think of her as a younger sister or an inevitable nuisance - who knows?

Anyway they are not of a British breed without a reason. They have thought as the British war strategist do: "If you can't beat them - join them!"

Foxy, Briz & Sophie
The older dogs have now adopted Sophie. Foxy to the left might think that she
is her own puppy and Briz might consider her as a little sister.

Foxy & Sophie
Sophie has now a playing partner in both Foxy and Briz.
Here she is improving her "Go for the throat and kill them" bite.

About 4 or 5 o'clock every morning she starts to make noises in her cage. If we do not wake up from the noise, then Foxy will come and wake us up, telling that Sophie needs to go out. One of us gets up, fills her food bowl up and takes the bowl and the puppy out to the kennel. There she can spend a few lonely hours while the older dogs and we continue to sleep. This time of the year the sun gets up around 3 o'clock in the morning in our part of the country. Towards autumn we hope that Sophie can have developed the fine art of sleeping long in the morning.

Her behavior is clearly positive. She is as lively as expected but she also has a good ability to relax when needed. I have started to train her to "sit" from a whistle signal. Fetch training is limited to "hold" a small dummy until told to "give it".

apport
Under supervision from the older dogs Sophie is gently trained to "hold" until told not to hold. The white bands over the kennel has the purpose of preventing sea-eagles to strike Sophie as long as she is so small that they might consider her as a dinner. Those eagles are known to have killed adult red fox and dachshunds. However adult spaniels and setters are not included in their diet.

In addition I tether her in a short line and throw dummies that she can't catch all around her. I want her neutral to any moving object. She is loosing interest in the flying dummies and rolling balls quite well, indeed. The final purpose with this training is to make her steady to falling birds and flushed game at this early age. Next stage in this training is to have her sit in a chicken- and rabbit pen until she completely looses interest in them.

Miss Sophie has also attended a gundog obedience class we have every week. Not that she takes part in the training but she gets this way used to many other dogs and learns that most of them are harmless fellows and girls.

First time she was with us she at first screamed out of fear for the dogs but now she is very used to them and would probably invite them to play if she was allowed. If there were any sense in making an estimation of such a young puppy I would say that she is a bit courageous. She is easy to frighten but she does overcome her fear very rapidly.

obediens class
Sophie is getting used to many other gundog breeds. Closest to the camera is a deerhound from France, then a Kleiner Munsterlander, a Labrador imported from Ireland and finally 2 different breeds of hare hounds.

I am fighting myself so that I do not try to train her much at this early age. She must be allowed to have her period of puppy hood.

In the autumn some obedience training will start and the field training has to wait until next spring.

What I can do now is passive training like to throw dummies and balls that she can't chase or catch and let her watch chickens and rabbits until she does not bother about them anymore.

Miss Sophie
Although she will never meet the physical breed standard of the English springer spaniel she has good changes to develop into a good-looking Working springer spaniel. There are no shows for them but a good gundog is never of the wrong color or shape.

Physically she has developed as one may expect. A healthy puppy with a good appetite, both for her own food and anyone else's she might be able to steal.

Her diet also seems to consist of pinecones and flowers and other vegetables as well as dry and fresh sticks and twigs.

Indoors she for some reason has not made any damage at all. I do not know why this is, maybe because we provide her with her own toys that she can chew or eat as she pleases.

Miss Sophie
Exploring the world is Miss Sophie's main task right now. Getting used to and to learn about new environments, places, sounds, smells, weather, dogs and humans is what she mainly has to do now. Our task is to provide her with all the different new things and give her the opportunity to learn.