English Springer Spaniels are much loved for their docile temperaments, affection and playful spirits, as well as their capable abilities as hunting dogs. In addition to these qualities, English Springer Spaniels are intelligent and learn quite quickly, making them excellent candidates for other pursuits as well. Their intelligence and quick thinking in addition to their powerful sense of smell make them wonderful companions in police work, while their kind temperaments have helped them become popular service dogs. In this article, we’ll take a look at English Springer Spaniels and their abilities in police and service work.
English Springer Spaniels have found a lot of success in working as sniffer dogs for police in Great Britain for many years. The Customs and Excise department in England started using English Springer Spaniels in the detection of drugs in 1978 and there are presently 65 of these clever dogs working in and around airports and major ports throughout the country. There is a common misconception that dogs that are used for searching out drugs can become addicted to the illegal substances, but this is not the case. These dogs are capably trained over a nine to twelve week period and perform their duties only for the love of the chase and the incentive of a treat or a game with their handler at the end. In addition to drugs, these dogs are also capable of searching out illegal substances, including firearms, explosives and ammunition.
In addition to drugs and other illegal substances, English Springer Spaniels have also been trained to search out other items, including one dog that has been trained to seek out mobile phones which have been confiscated by inmates and prison, while another has joined the London Fire Brigade in order to help them seek out accelerants at the scene of a fire.
English Springer Spaniels have also gained prominence working in service as therapy dogs. The concept of therapy dogs was created by American Elaine Smith, who worked for a time as a registered nurse in England. She noticed that patients that received visits from a chaplain with his dog generally responded very well and brought this idea back to the United States. In 1976, she started a program introducing dogs to patients in hospitals and other care facilities and doctors began to remark on the benefits of the visits, including relieving stress, raising spirits and lowering blood pressure.
Today, English Springer Spaniels can be found in any number of care facilities working as therapy dogs, including hospitals, nursing homes and convalescent centers. Plus, therapy dogs aren’t just pets with a good attitude – one English Springer Spaniel who works with Alzheimer’s patients is none other than Felicity’s Diamond Jim, called James by his family, who won the title of Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club show in 2007. Those that are interested in learning more about this wonderful service should contact the American Kennel Club or a local pet therapy organization.