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Hello! This is a long one, so if you do read, thank you so much for your time! If you don't, I don't blame you!

So after years of seeking, researching and waiting, I have found myself with an Irish Setter. Sometimes I actually stop and go "I actually have a red setter. Here. In my home. And he's my friend..."

We are on day 4. His name is Dash, and he's slowly getting that. He's already learned to sit and when I call his name from across the house he comes running. Sometimes he makes it without tripping over his HUGE feet.

From the moment we brought him home we have had the crate as his place to go. We feed him there and to be honest, he wanted in before we'd even put any bedding in there. No problems with being scared. Over the course of his first day leading up to the night, we would encourage him, leave a few treats, his puppy flannel that came with him. When he was napped we would gently move him there to sleep on his own in his own space. We occasionally closed the door briefly, and when he cried, ignored him until he was quiet for about 60 seconds, then playtime.

We would take him outside to his toilet area every time we thought he'd need to, so after drinking, eating, napping, and playing. Also when he was doing the "sniff and walk"
He had some accidents, but not a worry as we just took him outside, cleaned it up with some lemon scented wipes, and that's that.
First night we played, went outside, and took him to his bed. He cried up a storm. Since we knew he'd had all his needs seen to, he'd had a lot of human interaction all day, we decided to ignore him. He settled down, and slept for a while. When he woke up again and started crying, I waited for a brief lapse and then went to take him outside. He did his thing and went back to bed. He cried again but we ignored him again. This repeated around every two hours, but I was prepared for it.
Second night I did the same thing, but it took less time for him to settle, which was great.
Last night I decided to try something a bit different. I took his water away earlier in the evening after he'd had a big drink (about 8pm). I decided his bedtime would be a bit later at 11pm. Between that time he went outside a lot, played, napped a bit, general puppy stuff. At 11, I took him out one last time and put him to bed. He cried for a few minutes then went to sleep. I'd set my alarm for 2am. It came around. I honestly can't remember if he was crying all not but since I must have been asleep, I'm thinking he wasn't, or if he was, it was nothing panicked. I took him out and offered him some water, then back to bed. He didn't cry at all. :) my mother gets up at 5am for work so she took him out then let him wander around in and out while she got ready. When she left at 6.45 he went back to bed and I didn't hear him until about 7ish. I waited a little bit for him to settle, then too him straight out and began our day.

No accidents in the house since the day before yesterday, and no messes last night either!
I'm hoping to keep this routine going until he reaches 3 months and I will then start pushing the 2am break a bit further little by little.

He's been really great, but occasionally he will go where he shouldn't, or do something he shouldn't.
I'm just wondering what the ideal way to show a puppy his age he can't do something is?
Currently I am just doing what his mother would have done (to the best I can without actually being a dog) and that is just blocking him each time, saying a firm no, and if he still persists, taking his scruff and tugging him away, then distracting him with a toy or an activity. When he does divert his attention, stops doing the thing, I praise him and he's great. But sometimes he will really start to try it on, start growling, running to the thing (example, a plant) and then putting his mouth on my hand. If all else is failing I will use my hand on his scruff and "alpha roll" him. At this point though he's in the middle of his tantrum so I just remain calm say "no" or "leave it" firmly, but apart from that, standing over him and not giving him any attention. After a few seconds of this I will release and give him the opportunity to run after a toy, and give him space to "shake it off". This morning during what felt like constant altercations with a particular corner he once pooped in, and some wires that can't be moved, I did this and after described above, he eventually sat down and decided on a toy. To which I praised and we played with. Also, every time he went to the place I didn't want him to go to (also sometimes the bin) and I say leave it, sometime I do one sharp clap loudly, or block him, and he moves away. When r moves away I praise him and play with him. Most of the time this is the case. He does the thing he shouldn't -> I say no, clap, block -> he looks at me, moves away -> I praise and reward. This might go on several times. But he does eventually lose interest and I praise him for that too.

He's a happy boy, but the biggest in the litter, and I was warned by his breeder that he's very bold and will need training straight away as he is the most dominant. We have started as we mean to go on, so that a few weeks and months down the line when he's bigger , more boisterous and chewing everything, we have at least some groundwork in place.

What do you think about this so far? Does anybody have anything to add, or take away? It's trail and error, and I'm playing by how he goes, but if anyone can see something else from what I've described I would really appreciate the advice. I am naturally a very worried person. I really love him and want the best start for him so he can really enjoy being a dog. And I think he's been so so good as far as puppies go, so far. He plays so well and last night he figured out the kong toy. He was so amazed when he pounced on it and his puppy biscuits came flying out.

All this being said, we know he is young, he has to make mistakes to learn from them (which is why supervise him when he's out of his crate. He's beautiful.

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*please excuse the typos, I wrote this on my phone - is something makes no sense please say! :)

Becky it sounds to me like you are truly dedicated to getting it right with Dash, I personaly believe that you have got it exactly right. I wish that I had got everything worked out that well, enjoy your hansom boy look forward to hearings more about him as he grows ♡♡

I wish all my puppies' new owners were as thorough as you have been. You are doing great !

I think when a puppy gets to his new home, the first few nights if he cries is because he is lonely and missing the company of the other puppies. I always advise a toy (Which I usually give with the puppy and which smells of the litter box) and also a ticking clock near the puppy's bed and also a radio on low perhaps with classical music on. They usually settle quite quickly. You are right in saying to start with the training now. If he is bold, a firm 'NO' in a deep voice to whatever you don't want him to be doing. He will soon get the message. Always reward a positive action with a praise. Irish Setters are very sensitive by nature and also very intelligent. Have fun! Keep us posted!

Well you've obviously given it a lot of time and thought so, well done! If it works for you then you must be doing it right:)

Consistency is a key thing to remember at all times, so make sure everyone backs up the training in exactly the same way.

With the toilet training its a good idea to stay with him and ensure he performs so you can give plenty of praise. Also you could try adding in a word to associate with the action as he's actually doing it. Its so useful to have a dog trained to 'go' on command!

Any problems just ask and I'm sure you'll get loads of good advice on here. sometimes takes a while for people to have the time to answer fully though.

Please don't ever Alpha roll your puppy it a very old and cruel way of training. I suggest you find a gentle trainer straight away for puppy training. When you want a pup to leave something alone say leave it, distract and give him a toy he can have. Your pup will be showing you in so many ways he want to toilet. The trouble with crate is it stops the normal signs in my opinion. Your doing great in so many areas. If he starts to bite your hand say ouch high and loud like a littler mate would do and freeze looking away from him, say gentle he will soon understand words, As soon as he's stoped praise. if he won't stop walk away leave him for about half a minute and come back in say sit and when he does praise so he starts to know what pleases you and what doesn't. I suggest you go onto Dog Star Daily it's a wonderful training, question and answers site. Please never hit your pup he needs to trust your hands. Lots more I could help with but have to go out. All the best will look in later.

I totally agree with Rosie.  We spend a lot of time teaching owners positive re-enforcement and no alpha rolls or alpha roles !!! Dog Star Daily is a great place to go as is Dr. Sophia Yin.   My dogs are all trained using positive re-enforcement right from the word go and really enjoy what they do.  My current dogs were clicker trained from the word go, and still enjoy learning new things.

Thank you all for replying!
Some great advices and confirmations here. You're all very appreciated, it's so great to have a place where experienced people can correct me, and offer better solutions.
I must however clarify, I don't want you all thinking I'm pushing my baby around and being "cruel" to him!

He's never been hit. And never will be.

The alpha roll has only every been used on the very odd occasion. Exceptionally rare, for when everything else has not proved to work. Like I mentioned, even as young as he is, he is very very bold and I really do not want this to progress in to him becoming dominant in the family. There are five of us and for a young dog to think he's the leader I understand will cause him problems.

My reasoning (I had not come up with it myself - I saw this among my researching on some natural site) behind using this was an innocent one, in that it appeared to be a behaviour used by the dogs themselves and therefore a message most easily understood. In their language if you will. I still don't see it as necessarily cruel, though I can see that it's something that can be so easily abused. That is definitely not what has been going on.
Though, That being said, probably won't use it anymore. I'm really happy for alternative solutions that are proven to be better. :)
Fran, the only alpha roles I can think of (besides alpha rolling which I'm not using is subtle things such as walking through doors before him and just being firm but gentle and considerate with him.
Today, he's been very responsive to my words and therefore easier to distract. It is when he has set his mind on something that is when it gets difficult, but not something that can't be worked out.
On this note, what are people's opinions on a squirty water bottle? I have seen on my travels that is also a method used.

As for the crate, he has ample opportunity to go toilet. The whole point of him being crate trained is both for his safety and his training. Our house is all a big open plan, there isn't a room for him to sleep in, or to stay in when we have to leave the house. Every time he is about to be closed in his crate, he's already had playtime, and lots of potty breaks. We make sure he's ready for his nap. This results him falling asleep almost straight away. We actually put in some fake turf in there, as his breeder had them outside and they all slept on the fake turf from very early on, they never wet it as it was their bed until they outgrew it!
If he doesn't wake up before, the longest he's in there the during the day is between thirty minutes and two hours max, currently. After that, we go outside straight away. At night he's in for three hours at a time and his night is just over 6 hours. So far this is working well. The rest of the time he is supervised so we can see the signs and we take him out whenever we think he needs to go, it's working well for us so far with pretty much no accidents.

And to clarify even further, every time he does the right thing, be it stopping the "bad" action, peeing and pooping outside, responding to his name, successfully distracted from chewing a plant, he is praised profusely. Most of what you were suggesting, Rosie, is already being actioned. :) it's so good to have it confirmed though, so thank you.

Becky.  Have a good read of Dogstar Daily and I mean a good read, and also the Dr. Sophia Yin site. You are doing well with the potty training by using the crate and taking him out, he also needs rewarding for going outside too. Patricia McConnell PhD also has a great website with loads of information.  This idea of being alpha, walking through doors first, eating first etc has now been totally debunked. I first wrote about this in 2002 saying that the theory was so flawed that it had enough holes in it to sink the Marie Celeste.  The 3 main websites above now all confirm this, and also the person who first floated the theory, David L. Mech has published a paper totally retracting the theory. My 3 setters are beautifully behaved and I don't do any of these things. In fact as I am writing this, I have two lying on the bed, and one next to me on a chair. None of them have aspirations for a military coup, although they were little buggers as puppies, but like all good dog trainers, I spent time teaching them how to behave and giving them time outs when they misbehave. A lot of puppy 'misbehaviour' is a puppy behaving like a puppy, and particularly becoming well over stimulated. In fact one of my puppy owners put it brilliant last night by saying "she is becoming excited to the point of going beyond excitement". That is precisely what puppies do, but I showed her that what I was doing with the puppy I was handling, was taking control of the situation by placing the puppy on leash, and then rewarding and frequently rewarding the first signs of good behaviour.  The puppy I was handling had gone from a screaming banshee to a calm and focussed puppy within minutes, and was learning to settle and relax whilst the other lady's puppy was lunging and barking until I showed her how to take control of the situation without being forceful and then teaching what you require.   Again, I suggest reading very carefully all three of the websites above. It's a lovely way to train and also will give you lots of advice on how to teach a puppy.

Thank you very much, I have heard of dog star daily and now making my way through it. I will also check out the other sites too.

This is all very interesting stuff. I'm definitely going to use it. Perhaps what I called "tantrums" were in fact him over stimulated. I have a read of the sites you suggested and hopefully things will become clearer.

When you are rewarding are you using treats as well ?

As I write this, Dash an I are in the front garden, I'm sat on a bench and he's at my feet , now sleeping. I've saying "good boy" for him doing nothing and being calm - is this a good thing to do as well?

Thank you for taking the time to explain things to this new puppy owner! Like I said, I want to do the best thing for him.

Yes I use treats. They are made by a friend of mine as I can't bear making them myself.  Liver, a small amount of garlic, and she uses spelt flour and another ladies treats I use contain rice flour. So to the dog they are very high value, very tasty, and soft enough that they can be broken up into very small pieces.  When I use treats I only give very small pieces, but when the dog does something really well I give a jackpot.  I start to reduce the treats as the dogs understanding increases, and then when fully understanding they are completely withdrawn unless I am feeling very generous and  they are being very appealing. 

When Dash is selling down and being good, I start naming what they are doing "good boy, settle down" and repeat those words every time they do it until they associate the words with the action (which is one of the ways we learn language). You have to also bear in mind that we have about 63,000 words in the human language but dogs can only understand to up to about 260 when they have been specifically taught. I have worked out that my Tally knows about 125 with Barkley and DaisyMae understanding about 90 each. I have taught Tally more tricks than Barkley and DaisyMae.  I have also taught  them the name of varioud items such as socks, keys, gloves, phone, pens, all the things I loose on a regular basis so  that they find them and bring them to me,. Started teaching this out of the puppy 'naughtiness' turning naughty behaviour into positive things :-D Again rewarding the correct responses :-)

Hi Fran,

I have read that garlic is toxic to dogs. I understand that the amount in the treats is probably tiny and unlikely to cause a problem for large dogs, or with infrequent treats, but is there any particular reason that garlic is added to the treats?

Thank you Becky for being open minded to try with your puppy. They are like kids when very tired they can become cheeky they need to sleep but like kids fight it. Always busy early morning and evenings. Please as Fran said forget all this Alpha crap. We bring them into our home they have no language at all they read your body signals and as in traing hand signals. Dog Star Daily have puppy training videos on the site. Dr. ian Dunbar started the food reward and training pups at 8 weeks old. It is a brilliant site all done on gentle training.




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