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We have just had our second Irish Setter, Dana who is 15 weeks old. We have Bobby an Irish Setter who is 13.

When we had Bobby we had no children, so this is a very different experience and obviously much harder.

My main concern is recall, it was the same with Bobby. We have always let them off the lead from babies and her recall was wonderful, but now she is getting over confident and if she sees someone she goes over to say hello and we have to fetch her back because she will not come back and she jumped up a little girl, which is not good.

I know peole say you should have a dog fuly under control off the lead, but can you ever have a Irish totally under control. We had the same problems with Bobby when he was young. We consistently do recall training and is spot on when there are no distractiosn, but if there is something she wants to see she will go and no matter how much calling back she will go anyway, again Bobby was exactly the same. I do not want to keep her on a lead, as they dont get the exercise they need off a lead.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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No matter what people say, you can have an Irish without a leash. Mine 3,5 years old bithc is always without a leash - except near the road. It takes a lot of practise and patience.
It is importain that you have your Irish on leash when very young. As soon as the dog learns it can have a lot of fun without you, it will always go away and have fun on his own.
I would suggest that when you get on a walk, make sure you spent every minute with your dog, playing and having fun together (if you dont know how to play with your dog, there is a lot of book on that topic). That way the dog will like your company more. Now the dog is young, dont let it go away. The leash is a must. You can have a very very long leash, let the dog drag it. When you call the dog and if the dog ignores you, just step on the leash.
God luck!
Yep, that jumping business, I know it too well. Gina is 16 months now and just starting to sit down in front of people to say hello. It takes patience.

As to the "come' business, we let our two setters off the lead when they were very young, about 14 weeks. We started in a fully fenced dog park, first with long ropes, then off the lead. Heaps of reward and praise (lamb liver treats work like a treat).

Yes, you can have Irish setter off the lead and have, say 99 per cent control (they are living creatures, no robots). My personal trick: I make myself more interesting than anything else around us (even seagulls and other birds), she will always stay by my side. We go jogging, on and off lead, do training, "find the food", "hide and seek", she is simply too busy to wander off. She looks at me as if to ask, "hey, what's next?" As we do agility, we work with body language & hand signs, too. She HAS to watch, otherwise she misses out.

Another good exercise: WATCH ME. When she's distracted, I say "watch me" and her little head turns around, and there she is. We did that with food treats, too. This way she learns to focus. On you.

Then, there is this great command "stop", which - by-the-way - comes from a fellow forum member. It is the "emergency break". No matter what arises. She will stop and then sit, until I release her, either by going to her or by calling her back (always with big reward). Best to train without distraction, and gradually add some disturbance, such as people, birds, other dogs, more and more. Stop means she freezes and then parks rear end. As long as she moves further after your command, get her and go to the spot where you called the "stop". Until she gets it. It took us three months, but it works (99 per cent).

However, SAFETY FIRST. I would not trust her (or any other dog) on busy roads. Never, ever. Her life is more important than that little bit of more freedom.

Good Luck!
Hi thank you all for your replies.

We only ever loose her off the lead in a large sports field which is surrounded by woods, then more fields, so very safe and she is very keen to stay nearby. Its is just when she sees people she has to go and say hello and yesterday she jumped up a little girl, not too traumatic at the moment as she is only 15 weeks, but she will soon be a bigger dog and not good to have jumping up at people, especially chldren and we called her back but she wasnt having any of it.

I have to say Fran I so wish you were nearby. When we took Bobby training, the trainer practically admiited she was at a loss as he was so head strong, she was fantastic with the average dog, i.e Labs and German Shepherds, but she had never had an Irish in her class before and after we left, I dont think she would again.....lol.

I have been doing lots of research looking for trainers down here who know the breed, but all the ones I have spoken to have never trained an Irish Setter and when I mention it they say oh no, they are no different to the average dog to train, I'm sorry but I beg to differ.

This little lady is going to be particularly head strong I think, she is a lot more hyper around the house than Bobby was, but that may have something to do with the fact that we have children and the fact that it was 13 years ago and my memory isnt as good as it was.

But all the aside she is a beautiful little girl and I just want to get the best out of her.




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