Home for Irish Setter Lovers Around the World
It is very clear how much you love your boy, Dash, and that you are trying to do your very best for him.
I am sharing my views only to give you another perspective to think about. I do not believe in the Alpha/Dominance viewpoint even with a horse who can weigh 500kg+. I do not believe any dog/puppy wants to dominate a human being. A puppy is a baby. Above all else a puppy needs unconditional love as well as knowing he/she is safe and obviously good nutrition, etc. I do not reprimand a puppy if they chew a piece of furniture for instance. They are not being naughty. How are they supposed to know they should not eat something like this. I try to keep things like this out of their reach until they grow up a little. I am not “on their case” all the time about trivial things. I only use the word “NO” very selectively and when I do, my English Setters (and horses) really take notice.
English Setters cannot be left on their own so I have never purchased a puppy without another English Setter to help them (as well as me). A mature aged English Setter will teach a puppy so much. My boy, Hobson was marvellous with my baby girl, Annie.
I can prove that dogs and horses understand human language very well. I believe it is important to talk to your puppy. He will understand and will only want to please you, except puppies do need to be puppies in the process.
I have never used "treats" much at all as a reward with my English Setters. They thrive more on hugs and verbal praise. I give them "treats" any time and they soon learn the reason I do this is because simply, I love them so much.
I do not allow puppies to cry. My puppies/ dogs have always slept inside the home from the first night, and in my bedroom, so that I can keep an eye on them. I do not believe in crate training.
I like what Turid Rugaas writes about puppies. If you type “turid rugaas puppies” in a Google search you can download a PDF document "The Puppy and the Young Dog, About Growing Up".
Best wishes from Susan in Australia
Great job Becky,
I've used the crate from day 1 with my boys, particularly feeding them there to avoid food confrontations. They now know the crate is their private room and they'll go in there on their own if they are very tired or when they don't feel well.
BTW, Dash is a great name.
Here is a brilliant article, which tracks the history and then comes up to date with how things have turned the circle and fallen backwards again with Cesar Milan.
I was one of the first trainers in the UK to teach dominance theory when I worked with a man by the name of John Fisher who wrote several books. I was also one of the first to test the theory and found it wanting. I tested it first of all on my own dogs, and all it taught them was how to walk through doorways, how to lie in their own beds, and an expectation that I ate first, but this is how the brain learns. Persistence and consistence on rules. It taught them absolutely nothing about respecting me or trusting me. Nothing. Nada. This is also what people reported back to me in training and behaviour consults too. We eventually did a full scientific study on the pack leadership theory and that's when John Fisher decided he wanted to get a new book out to counter what he had previously written. However, he died of a brain tumour before we got beyond the first chapter.
What does work is being a good parent, interrupting poor behaviour and teaching teaching teaching, reviewing reviewing and reviewing - just like you do when you start a new job from scratch, or learn to drive a car.
Best wishes with your boy Dash, Becky. Oh and wave goodbye to your heart!