This section is from the book "The Dogs Of Great Britain, America, And Other Countries. Their Breeding, Training, and Management in Health and Disease", by John Henry Walsh (Stonehenge). Also available from Amazon: The Dogs Of Great Britain, America And Other Countries.
The breaking of all spaniels should be commenced as early as possible, as they are naturally impetuous, and require considerable restraint to keep them near enough to the shooter, while they are at work. After teaching them the ordinary rules of obedience, such as to "come to heel," to "hold up," to drop "down charge," etc., which may all be done with the pistol and check-cord, aided if necessary by the spiked-collar, the next thing is to enter them to the game, which they are intended to hunt. These dogs are better taken out, first into small coverts or hedgerows (provided there are not too many rabbits in the latter), as they are more under command here than in large woodlands. The dog should not be allowed to hunt by himself nor for himself, but should be taught that he must keep within shot. For this purpose spaniels must learn not to press their game until the shooter is within range, which is one of the most difficult things to teach them. "When they are to be kept exclusively for "feather," they must be stopped and rated as soon as it is discovered that they are speaking to "fur." This requires a long time, and therefore few spaniels are worth much until they have had one or two seasons' practice, from which circumstance it should not occasion surprise that a thoroughly broken Clumber spaniel fetches from $150 to $250. When they are too riotous and hunt too freely, these methods of sobering them are adopted: - 1st, put on a collar, and slip one of the fore legs into it, which compels the dog to run on three legs; 2ndly, buckle a small strap, or tie a piece of tape, tightly round the hind leg above the hock, by which that limb is rendered useless, and the dog has to go upon three also; and, 3dly, put on a collar loaded with shot.
If either of the legs is fastened up, it must be occasionally changed, especially if the strap is adopted, as it cramps the muscles after a certain time, and, if persisted in too long, renders the dog lame for days afterwards. In hunting fence-rows, the young dog should at first be kept on the same side as the shooter, so that his movements may be watched; but, as soon as he can be trusted, he should be sent through to the other side, and made to drive his game towards the gun - always taking care that the dog does not get out of shot. In first introducing a young dog to a large covert, he must be put down with a couple of old dogs which are very steady; and, at the same time, he should have a shot-collar, or one of his legs tied up. Without this precaution, he will be sure to range too wide, and, if he gets on the scent of a hare, he will probably follow her all over the covert, to the entire destruction of the day's sport. With the above precautions, he is prevented from doing this, and by imitating his fellows, he soon learns to keep within the proper distance.
In working spaniels in covert, stillness is desirable, as game will never come within distance of the shooter, if they hear a noise proceeding from him; hence the constant encouragement to the dogs, which some sportsmen indulge in, is by no means necessary. If the spaniel is properly broken, he can hear his master as he passes through the underwood, and will take care to drive the game towards him, while, if he is slack and idle, the voice does him little good, and prevents the only chance of getting a shot, which might otherwise occur.