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Sounds a bit funny, but Anton always barks at the birds. They have to be in trees, otherwise he is not interested at all. Once he flushed them up with his racket he happily runs after them - until they touch down in the next tree. Then the same performance over and over.


Sometimes, especially on Sunday mornings in the park, it is rather embarrassing. He barks as if someone had turned on his battery. He barks so repetitively and doesn't stop.


I don't think gun dogs are supposed to bark at birds...


Do other Irish setters bark at birds as well? And if so, what do you do about it? Anti-bark collars and water pistols and rattling chains are not an option. Any suggestions?

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one of our boys would bark non stop at the magpies in the trees until they too got annoyed and flew to another tree then he would chase them and start again the other boy would bark but had no idea why, it was like he was saying "I'm in what are we barking at" having said that the magpies would sit very low but just out of reach and chortle  away as if to say can't get me ha ha
Mine bark at the birds in our trees, Ilona, and usually the bird has to fly off before they will stop.I have a group of reds underneath the tree, all going at the same time! Pretty frustrating for everyone! If you look back at some of my photos, it shows baby birds born, in a nest which was only just out of reach, height wise, of the dogs. What posessed the mother to have them in that small tree, was beyond me. Obviously the mother kept the setters in check though, because as soon as the babies flew away for the first time, the Reds jumped up and took down the nest!
I am glad its not just Blossom,  she doesn't so much bark however as scream,  she is on a wander lead and will stop when she is sure she isn't going to get them.  The worst thing is the swifts she also screams at them and they dive boom her which makes her worse.  It is so embarrassing and nothing stops the noise.  If anyone has any suggestions I would also appreciate it.  I don't like anti bark collars and all mine do with water sprays and water pistols is try to catch the water to drink it and then continue with whatever I didn't want them to do.

That explains why they hang around the local dog walking field. They must love Blossom despite the noise.


My two English lads are quite the opposit for them the presence of any bird means total silence & stillness not to mention some sneaky behaviour :) but they do come from very strong working lines and are really only interested in hunting. If they spot a pidgeon for example in a tree, they'll sneak quietly up to it & sit under the spot where it is until it moves, regardless of how long it takes & then they might give chase but it's all in total silence.

The only time I've seen Theoden bark at a bird is the odd time a wee sparrow gets temporarily caught in the hen house while stealing food. I free them when I hear all the commotion if they haven't already found their own way out. It's a rapid high pitched bark probably a mixture of excitement at being so close to a trapped bird flapping madly about & frustration at not being able to get at it. But now they've worked out exactly where they birds fly out and wait in that area & have caught a few. The instinct to hunt is very strong & I have to admit they've been a very successful team over the years. 

Cash does both.  He will silently stalk and freeze, moving ever so slowly setting his target.  Then as they fly away he bolts along after them and sometimes when they stay up on in a tree he will stand up on two legs and sort of bark/whine at them in frustration.  Till the next bird shows up in our path.  This is his favorite thing to do and he seems so annoyed when another dog comes along and gets in his way.  But the embarrassing barking happens when he gets excited and other dogs are romping in play.  He always then starts his yapping and I swear there will be dog showing up at our dog park with hearing aids on soon since he likes to bark in their ears to try to get them to run with him.


Thank you for all these lovely replies - so good to see that other reds are just as noisy! Funny enough, our two guys come from a strong working line, too. And all the clever books will tell you that setters don't tend to bark - haha.


I'm quite happy that the hunter who actually had an eye on sweet little Anton picked another dog out of the litter  This hunter was actually the owner of Anton's and Gina's father and had the first choice, and I'll never forget our prayers "please, don't pick Anton!" I'm sure he wouldn'd have pampered our Anton the way we do.


I guess we start selling hearing aids in the doggy park...


Molly here is a silent stalker....it can take her a half hour to stalk across the lawn to get to where the birds are....now those pesky squirrels are another story lately....they come right up to the other side of our glass patio door...........then when Molly can't stand it anymore she wants out to try to sneak up on them...once they see her the chase is on to their favorite tree which Molly now guards waiting for them.  I swear we have heard them chattering as if teasing her and even tossing things down on her which makes her stand on her hind legs with front legs on their tree trying to reach the little teasers.  This game is repeated in the early AM here for a couple of hours and then it seems all settle down to doing nothing as we still have heat warnings going on. Molly will bark when the squirrels leave our yard as she knows she can not chase them at the neighbors. 




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