The American Water Spaniel is a spunky breed that loves nothing more then to spend time with its owner. One of the benefits of having a dog that hunts often comes in the opportunity to combine training exercises with play. The Spaniel gets in a good amount of exercise while owners help their dogs learn valuable hunting skills. When training is kept short and exciting, the Spaniel is then able to keep a more positive attitude when out in the field. Spaniels who are put through rigorous drills and training are likely to give a less than successful performance. It is also a great way for the dog and its owner to bond and learn each other's cues.
One of the most common toys and training tools for hunting dogs is called a training dummy. The long cylinder is often made of a polyurethane foam covered in a heavy waterproof canvas. They can also be found in a thick but buoyant plastic in blaze orange. The training dummy can be used in several ways. When out in the field, owners sometimes throw the dummy and let their Spaniel bring it back to them. At other times, they scent and hide the dummy to train the Spaniel to locate downed and hidden fowl. The training dummy can also be thrown out on water. To make locating the target easy for their Spaniel, owners should use a blaze orange training dummy.
Another excellent toy for the American Water Spaniel is an aqua disc, a type of Frisbee that floats on the water. It not only promotes fun but a dog's target coordination out in the field. There are many training exercises that can be executed using this type of toy. Owners can throw the soft disc and let their dog catch it; or it can be thrown out and retrieved upon the owner's command. The toy can also be thrown out on the water, allowing the dog to simulate water retrievals. The toy is soft, promoting the dog to treat the toy gently, just as it would retrieved birds.
As all dogs chew to release anxiety, one standard plaything that should be found in any Spaniel's toy box is that of a treat dispensing Kong. Made of sturdy, chewable nontoxic rubber, a treat inserted in the middle of the toy has been known to keep dogs busy for hours. The toy allows the Spaniel to work its jaws while providing mental stimulation as well. Once introduced, they often become a dog's favorite toy. A Kong can come in a number of sizes and colors and are fairly inexpensive. They are most often found online, at pet shops or any number of pet supply stores.