I find it interesting looking at the search terms that people use to find my blog.  Today, there was a more descriptive one than most – “why is my 7 month springer tearing my plants up”.

Well, there are a number of answers to this question

  • Because he can
  • Because he thinks it is fun
  • Because he is bored

Let’s look at these in a little more detail.

Because he can– Puppies spend their time finding out about the world around them.  They pick up leaves and sticks, they want to see if they are edible or what the purpose of them is.  Digging up plants is (to the puppy) the natural extension of picking up a leaf.  The key thing is to ensure that your puppy understands that he should not do this and respects your authority over the garden.    The first thing to do is to make sure that your puppy fully recognises what is expected of him indoors and then move on to outdoors.  The article on Whose Garden is it? may help you with this.

Because he thinks it is fun – If you turn the retrieval of a plant into a game (in the puppy’s eyes) by chasing after him to retrieve the plant, then you are undoing much of the training you have already put in.  Do not allow this to happen.   Often the best thing to do (assuming the plant is not poisonous) is to remove yourself from the garden.  If you have worked hard with your puppy to ensure that you are the light of his life then he will quickly come looking for you.  If he doesn’t, try distracting him with one of his favourite toys and then quickly remove the plant.

Because he is bored – Puppies need lots of stimulation.  If you don’t provide it, they will go looking for things to do.   There are lots of things that you can do to keep your puppy’s mind busy and not all of them require mountains of exercise.  (A good thing since puppies should only have a daily 5 mins exercise for each month of their age to ensure there is no undue pressures on their growing bones).  Our 3 month old puppy has been to farmers markets, supermarket car parks, pubs, schools at going home time – all places where she sees and experiences lots of people and things going on without having to walk far.  Build it up gradually so as not to frighten them.  Eventually, as an adult, they should be able to go into a city centre on a Saturday afternoon and enjoy their afternoon out as much as the humans with them.

It should be said that these comments apply to all breeds, but there is little doubt that springers can be a little more energetic than some breeds!

PS – it should be noted that the photo above was provided by a friend of mine!