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On discussing the intelligence of dogs on the bbc this morning (9th August) Dr Roger Mugford when pressed on which breed was the thickest, replied the Irish Setter was mentioned, is this right? what do other Irish Setter owners think.

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The atention a dog pays to it's master and the way it obeys is not up to the dog, but up to the master!
To each dog you need to find the right way to motivate it to learn, once you find it any dog will learn fast and will be happy to obey. I found my IRS harder to train because I had a really hard time finding what motivaded her, but on the day I got there, she became the "smartest" dog I've ever had! She makes incredible associations and only takes 3 or 4 repetions to assimilate a new command.
I actually found setters to be very versatile and able to learn lots of things they're no supposed to be built for. They big problem is like Ursula said, people that get a setter just for the great looks. I'm the first to admit that I was missinformed when I got Pitanga, but as soon as I realised that, I looked for help and it turned out just fine, and I'm sure the next one will be a lot easier!
But in all my adventures with her, I found setters where lots of things... But they're not thick at all!!
Roger Mugford's Irish Setter Sam, was bred by my mother.He was from a litter that was initially half show and half working bred.He used Sam to promote his training methods and used him on his videos to illustrate the concepts.He exploited Sams good nature by allowing aggresive animals to come towards Sam as if they were going to attack him.Perhaps he might have thought that if the dog had any intelligence he wouldnt have tolerated such exploitation!!!!!! ?
For my part,I have noticed a big difference between my show Irish Setters at about 3-4weeks in the whelping box (with large sides) and my working Irish of the same age.My working pups are out of the box almost as soon as they have their eyes open where as my show pups wouldnt even dream of climbing over the top even at 6 weeks old.Incidently the working pups here behave the same as my pointer pups.
My working Irish are very clever and extremely quick on the uptake compared to my show ones.Over the years many people have expressed the opinion that Irish Setters are stupid but these comments usually arise from people who dont even know what an Irish Setter is bred for.People have described them as stupid because they run from side to side instead of in a straight line??????? They had no idea that the dog was naturally quartering across the wind doing what it was bred for.

I think that the Irish Setter is very misunderstood.They have a cavalier way of achieving what they want to,and i think they are very clever that they can lull their owners into a false sense of security,when in fact they are capable of buying and selling their owners to get what they want ,from tit bits, to ignoring commands, as the whim takes them ,if the truth be told.!!!

It would be interesting to know what is the basis for Dr Mugfords conclusions.????
I really think he was pressed by the presenter to name a dog and for whatever reason he picked the Irish, all Irish owners would disagree with him but we are all biased.
Hear, hear, Colette, very well put!
Love is blind:-) It might open a few eyes if you ring mr Mugford and ask him to explain his point here. As one of UK's most respected animal behaviorists he might be able to teach all lovers of the breed something. Like true love is not blind:-)

I've enjoyed Colette's post. The difference working/show is experienced here as well. That seems quite logical as conformation only selection schemes are not based on mental or physical properties but (interpretation of) the conformation standard only, a basic fault in itself ofcourse. And I do love all Irish setters!
I`ve e-mailed Dr Mugford regarding his comments , but as yet received no reply
love the comments about the children!!
Who cares what other people say about our lovely Irish Setters, my boys are not stupid, not for a minute, they know exactly which of my buttons to push for love, devotion, forgiveness etc etc etc! When God gave out beauty guess where it went, yes, straight to the Irish Setter both in looks and brains!
Sometimes I think let the others think they are stupid, or unruly and hyper. It is better for our breed to remain unpopular!
We saw what happened to setters years ago when here in the states they were one of the top 20 dog breeds. They did become unhealthy and high strung when over breed due to demand. I was thinking reading this post that perhaps he did the breed a favor. The less demand for them might be okay. It could be our little secret what lovely dogs they are. I know mine is smart enough to have somehow managed to get me hiking two miles a day and be out in the hottest of weather and the coldest as well. My own kids couldn't have done that.
well my layla is not thick and shes only a pet.yes she can "work the field"when we are out, she walks as though shes in the showring and she knows how to get whatever she wants from us by being vocal and not just yapping.she does these things excellent even though she has the disabilty of been blind to contend with.
ive had 3 pet setters in the last 33 years and ive not found any of them to be unintelligent
well said susan
I grew up with Irish and have owned and loved them most of my life.......THICK....they are NOT!!!!!! daft yes, but always on the right side ,this enables them to train you in their ways, When out walking mine, people remark often Ohhhh I thought that breed were always mad and scatty....yours are well behaved are nt they...
I used to take My Fionnbharr (WICKENBERRY RED RUM) to Afghan Racing at a race track in Cheshire, one day Fin decided he wasnt going to run all around that track chasing the hare so he jumped the rails galloped across the middle snatched the hare out of the holder, shook it and brought it back to Mum with a big grin on his face............now although extremely embarassing I think that prooves he was pretty clever..........Especially as all the Afghans carried on running

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