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Sorry about the clumsy title.

I'm aware a Setter must be allowed to "stretch their legs" but how important is this in a 9 month old with very little recall?

I've taken him regularly ( usually 5-6 days a week for about 2 hours at a time ) to a dog park where he often sets up a insistant high pitched yipping and pretty much gets in other dogs' faces.

I've tried calling and distracting him with little success and I understand this is annoying for the other dogs and their owners.

There is a 2 yr old retriever - they often bowl each other over or tear after each other around the park but the other owners would like both to settle down. 

I'm reinforcing the basic commands throughout the day, I've found after about 15-20 minutes on the short leash he starts to resist me pulling back so I call it quits, is that about right?


With thanks for any info/thoughts  

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Good advice Sue. Our boys are litter brothers. Murphy food orientated stays near by when off leash and comes ands sits bside you when called. Kerry not food or toy orientated and when off leash he is the red flash. Flash over there, dash past you with a grin as he tears off to another perimeter.  I wish I could turn the clock back. He did well at obedience but stopped when we got more into showing. He would be allowed off more if he was more biddable about coming when he is called, not when he has run out of puff. Keep persisting Louise.

Hi Sue, he's more like Kerry,

So less free running is OK -  I'll definately be trying the tips, I know in the long run it'll pay off.          

My boy is 2 1/2 now but we started daily in the dog park since he was a young pup.  They are more excited at your dogs age.  Mine if he gets really going once in a while will start circling a group that are playing a bit rougher and start his barking.  I immediately leash him right up and walk him away till he settles down.  I have done this from day one.  Yes it can be a challange to grab them but usually I used to just ask someone else to grab his collar if you can.  He learned pretty quickly that behavior that isn't what I want means you are done!  Now if it ever happens, I just show him the leash and he stops immediately knowing his time out will happen if he doesn't.  It isn't really an issue anymore these days since he is quite settled and has great recall.  But with time and patience, and most of all being consistent with what you expect from him, it will get better.  At 9 months they are just excited to do anything and everything.  I agree a training class might be a good idea.  I miss those day of crazy!


Hi Sue,

Yes it was a challenge - it became a game with me chasing him around the park then when caught he calms down almost straight away and I released him and he gets straight back into it. I thought this isn't working so I stopped, I'll be doing this again.

I was disheartened when we went to training but I see it's the way to go, it's good to know I'm not the only one, setters aren't popular here - most people ask me what breed he is.

At the dog park there are mainly malamutes/huskies and at training there are mainly german shepherds, border collies, cattle dogs, staffies and labs, he's the only setter in either place.     

He is special in many ways.

I love the thought of you dancing like a drunk uncle I must try that one. JD has always been very good at recall but the last few days he has decided he will only come back when he wants to. When Fergus comes back to the whistle do you treat or make a fuss of him?

Hi Finn, I've never used a whistle - is it he gets a reward when he comes?

How was it done in a week?

I know, every setter is different and may take longer to catch on.



Louise! I always do my recall training at home, either in the house or garden, before my setters get any freedom off lead! I do start them off as tiny pups and reward at first with cheese or chicken(little pieces) and as they improve, then with a toy or praise(depends on personality)

Short training sessions work best(2 or 3 mins at first) and always finish on a good note;o)

Whistle training works too and use same method of training in a secure place!

I never let my setters off lead in public until their recall is good! So far all of mine have good recall (Abbey best of all!!)

Best of luck;o)

I agree about the whistle because both Irish and English will return to the whistle but not always to their name.  Their breeder Nigel Naylor told me about this when we got our first English and I have always used it.  My 2 year old Golden Retriever is struggling to return to anything but does "hear" the whistle before he decides if he is coming back now or later!!  I had got fed up with him not coming back and kept him on the extension lead for a week and he is now much better. 

Hi Carmel, I've broken up the training a lot more and found he's much more interested in his toys - with not letting off lead in public until good recall ie a dog park, would it be better not to go until he does have a good recall?

 What I'm worried about is he won't be able to stretch his legs and the socialisation - thankyou

Kerry also is very birdy. That did not help during obedience classes as well. Swallows in the distant horizon were more interesting than nibbles, pats or anything we could come up with.

I usually break it up ...10 mins lead walking, then we have a game of fetch and then he has 10 mins off lead so he can play with other dogs.  I never just let Risgby off for long periods as it's asking for trouble.  I also use a training lead which is 10m long rather than a retractable lead. There's no tension with a loose lead so there's nothing for him to pull against, it gives him a sense of freedom but is still under my control.

I have been lucky in that his recall has always been reliable, even from a young age, so I'm more happy about letting him off to run free.  I'm still very much aware of what is around me...Rigsby went through a phase of chasing fast moving objects (joggers, cyclists, kids with kites), so I'm still aware at all times of what is around me.   I find it also useful to pair up with someone who has a well trained dog that has a good recall as it rubs off on the younger dog.  

I have to also say that from day one I've taken him to a very good training club and their advice has been invaluable.  It does make a big difference if you put in the hours from day one.




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