Home for Irish Setter Lovers Around the World
Two weeks ago today we adopted a 2 1/2 year old (plus or minus) IS rescue. He is stunning and incredibly sweet...and energetic (of course). I'm involved with agility with a Border Collie mix (speaking of energy), and am working on some basic principles with Elvis now. However, how do I get him to understand "four on the floor" and not jump up to greet us or others? I realize that his brain may not fully arrive in the mail for a couple more years, but I'm patient. Still, the paws up "thing" really is not a good habit and I would love to have him understand it's not what he needs to do.
Thanks for any suggestions (any other suggestions are hugely appreciated, too!).
Hi Penelope and welcome to ES. Sorry I don't have any experience on this matter to offer any advice. Elvis is lucky to have been found by you. I hope some of the other members will be able to reply with suggestions when they read this. Best wishes for a great life together.
Thanks! I am loving how much fun this pup is - truly a new definition of exuberance! As I've learned in agility with my Leon, it is one jump at a time. So, too, with Elvis (although speaking of a metaphorical jump, of course). He's just so doggone happy!!! (Why the name Elvis? He's a pretty boy who loves to sing...A woo woo woo woo!)
Hi Penelope, welcome to the world of setters and to ES. I was a newbie dog owner some years ago, when we got Joy, a very, very lively version of the Irish - and if a dog could get a gold medal for jumping, our walls would be full of them :-). I always say: There are dogs and then there are Irish Setters - and then there is Joy. Some breeders hesitate in giving an Irish to a newbie like me, but when it comes to training I think it is easier to not having had another dog/breed before.
So my first suggestion is to forget all that Leon has taught you and look at Elvis as if you've never seen a dog before and learn from him. The Irish Setter is highly intelligent, easily trained, loves the clicker and is so much fun to work with. Our girl's brain-box has fully arrived, when we got her at age nine weeks and everything I taught her, she just took and turned it round and used it for he own fun in a playful, charming way so that you could not even be cross with her and simply had to laugh.
For the Irish Setter training has to be play and fun and excitement, not work or even worse: Boring repetitions. So if you want to stop unwanted behavior, it's best to take away the fun - at least, that's what worked for us. Our Joy was like a rubber ball - you could not get a hand in-between two jumps when she got excited in play for she was up in the air again as soon has her front paws touched the ground. When she started jumping, I turned round immediately, walked away - stoping all the fun - and ignored her for a few minutes (not even looking at her). That does sound simpler than it is, for Joy would even jump up from the back or get a hold of my Jeans with every step of mine to keep me from walking away - believe me: It was a long way from the garden into the house! But she finally learned self-control and manages now most of the time - she's 6 1/2 now :-).
Have fun with your Irish and en'Joy' your happy new family member! Oh, before I forget, agility with Joy looked like this in the beginning: Do one jump, then make an extra round over the course, barking at the other dogs or creating her own exercise, come back with a 'wasn't-I-great-smile' on her face and then do the second jump - and so on...
Wonderful, wonderful advice! I do thank you. (Prior to Leon, I had never trained a dog in my life - he was a puppy dumped in our back yard and I was desperate to have a better canine citizen, and found agility to be the ticket. It shouldn't be too hard to have the notion of never having trained any other dog before, 'cause even though we're now in Masters Level, I'm the first to admit I know nothing!) I know one thing for an absolute certainty - this is going to be a very fun, joyful journey filled with lots of laughs. Great advice on turning my back to stop the fun. He's already come so far in the last 2 weeks. I'll keep your words in my mind. Again, thank you!!!
Welcome Penelope! Cornelia, your description of Joy made me laugh so much as I recognise some of the attributes in my four! Irish love to look at you in the face and are quite happy to jump up to do so, turning your back and stopping the fun is really good advice...good luck trying to ignore Elvis IS have their own way of getting your attention, they love to play the clown...my first one at classes just messed about the whole time making everyone laugh and me very embarrassed! However he has passed his bronze and silver good citizen and loved his agility just like Joy he was sooo excited he did a poo the first time he was in a competition and was immediately disqualified of course but he bounced around all over the place with pleasure!! Enjoy Elvis, love to hear the woo woos...... xxx
Oh yes, I LOVE those woo woos!!!
He is sooooooo silly - this is a great adventure! Watching him in snow last week was hysterical - charging around, digging his head/neck in, then doing it all over again. This is a great dog, a great breed! We are a looooooooooong way from any competitions, but I honestly don't care at all. We may or may not get there - doesn't matter.
Turning my back on him is the funniest thing - he just is beside himself...but it works, hooray!
I have another question, though. This happens basically when he gets excited (OK, so that's a lot...). When he gets excited, I try really hard to slow him down by speaking in a lower, slower voice, and that helps. But the problem that I can't get fixed is that he likes to "mouth" me in a pretend bite. That's just really not acceptable behavior. I've tried yipping, as though he's hurting me, and although that sort of startles him, it doesn't make him stop. I've tried pushing my forearm/wrist/hand (whatever it is he is mouthing) further toward his throat, which has better success but doesn't or hasn't fixed it. I'm either doing something wrong that needs to be corrected, or I need to try something else, or perhaps I just need to keep on with these tactics.
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