Exclusively Setters

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I am new to the setter world. I've never had a setter before nor a dog for that matter, but I've been around a lot of setter dogs growing up. Right before Christmas my partner and I became the proud "parents" to a beautiful Irish Setter girl, we named her Harley. She is the cutest little thing and is such a lovely dog,  but she sure has her moments. She tends to get her fair share of puppy craziness, especially at night.I've read up online on all of this but I've never came across anything about Irish setter puppies so I thought I'd post here to see if anyone had some advice.. 

I know she is teething, and her most favourite thing now seems to be attacking and biting us..( she has days where she is amazingly well behaved and others that aren't so good) She will attack our clothes, feet, arms, even going for our faces ever now and then. She started this about a month ago so it's been a month with a lot of tests for us, she is though I have to admit getting better and we are starting puppy classes this weekend which I hope will help... However, I would love to be able to do something myself to try and make this better. We take her out for 3-4 , 15/20 min walks a day (read somewhere that you should do 5 min per month she's lived) because she's got so much energy. As for the biting we have been trying to use the "yelp", "ouch" making loud noises (did not work at all she just gets more excited), we get up walk away, and jump over gates so she can't get us (which of course helps but its not a permanent solution) we are now giving her time outs, she goes in when she bites and gets too aggressive and lets her out again after a little bit... And like i've said it has improved with this. 

But I would love to hear any advice from you guys as fellow setter owners, at what stage did this (if it, which I hope it does ) stop? Would you recommend some specific things to do etc. So if anyone has any advice they are more then welcome! 


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Welcome to ES, Ellie & Harley. Don't have a lot of advice since except you might want to consider a crate in order to prevent destruction to your home, when she is left alone whilst young. Although I've not had one as a pup, I watched my sister use one for her two boys when they were young and it was invaluable. Hope the training classes sort out her behavioural issues for you...oh, and have a great life together! I hope some of our more experienced members will comment and advise you when they visit the site next. Best wishes, James & Romeo.

She's got a load of toys, so that's not a problem. Chew toys, toys to distract her etc - as for walking we take her on one 15-20 min walk (on lead) and then a couple of short out in the garden/around the outside of the house ones, it came across wrong above :)

Hi there, I had huge problems with Jamie, jumping tearing clothes, was given lots of different advice from putting my hands in his mouth and pushing back, (this just made him bite more), to turning my back on him,(just jumped from behind and tore clothes), it got so bad I was afraid to go into the garden with him as I didn't want him to jump and bite. Then I came across a trainer who wouldn't stand for it, what did we do? lemon juice, she advised getting a squeezey bottle like  jif (i think thats the one shaped like a lemon) anyway I bought Waitrose own and squirted it at him in the mouth every time he jumped and bit. I have to say it stopped practically overnight. I carried it in my pocket always and when he saw it he stopped biting. As for the calming down we had to teach Jamie to calm down, first didn't allow him access over the whole house. Something that worked very well for us was getting him into a corner just with body language no touch at all and just standing there until he sat down, no vocal comments whatsoever and that worked a treat.

Hope that helps, good luck!

Thank you so much for the tip, some lemon juice and a spray bottle is now in house and we will be trying this! :)

Hi Ellie. We have a pup Misty who is about the same age as Harley. If its any consolation she too is quite a demon with the teeth. It sounds like you're doing all the right things so just persevere. Misty is our 17th Irish setter puppy and I can assure you it does stop eventually usually once all the adult teeth are through. Definitely always have something to distract her and if you squealing ouch is making her worse then don't do it!! We find the same, but she's worse with me, probably because I squeal loudest and at a higher pitch:) If over excited then we too do time out and follow up with a few simple training  things. Cycle through the toys so they always seem fresh and new ie don't let her have them all at the same time or even access to them for a couple of days.

Hope you enjoy every minute with your lovely new girl. By the way try the Labrador site online for some really good training ideas, techniques etc.

Wow your 17th that's pretty amazing! Yes, I try and keep a toy on hand so I can distract her and it seems to help and I'm able to get her out of the trans she's in and have her sit haha! And we stopped with the ouch and Yelp right away as if didn't work what so ever.
And yes I've been told it goes away with time and her adult teeth comes in, so can't wait for that :)

We sure love her and even when she's a little demon I really can't imagine life without her- she's currently snuggled up on my lap and is generally having a really great day!! The page will be looked at for sure, thank you for your reply and same to you enjoy your new little bundle of joy Misty!
I think a good, deep-voiced and stern "NO!" is in order here. You must not tolerate biting (especially on faces!) or a child may get bitten. This is what I would do as a start, anyway. But you must sound authoritative. She is the boss, right now, not you! Running away from her just shows her this.
We do that every time she bites,done that since the very beginning! she's never gone for our faces. it's only me and my partner she does it to. She's the most amazing thing when out and about, she's probably met around 10 kids that have pet her etc so it's just at home she does it. But Yeah, we're working on submission

Hi Ellie, welcome to ES and to the setter world! Your Harley sounds just like our Joy, when she was young: The friendliest pup to all others but biting us to the extend, that I carried her up- and down the stairs with long sleeves in midsummer and having the disinfectant with me all the time. My jeans, blouse and jacket were torn so that I was looked at very wary by one shopkeeper... The first time, I could really cuddle her was when she was a few months old and still drowsy from the anaesthesia after a small op. Saying 'no' or turning round did not help much at that stage (it did when she was older) - like Alison's Jamie, Joy would just jump up from behind and tear our clothes - and we did not want to crate her each time, she went mad. We were given the advice of using a house leash which we fixed to the piano and this would give her a few meters (2-3m) but not total freedom (of course, we never left her alone like that out of safety reasons). She was with us that way and could watch us but we could move freely and in and out of range; she also had space to move and play or go into her crate and use it as her den. We entered her space and initiated play and would move out again, when she started to go overboard. It helped to teach her the meaning of 'no' or 'ouch', as we could walk away right after it and ignore her for a while. There are some photos from that time in my old first blog: http://irishsetters.ning.com/profiles/blogs/our-joyful-bundle-is-18...

Just be patient and keep up the good work - you're doing a great job btw.! -, even if it means months of training and I'm sure one day, you will also be able to make fun of these 'biting' days, when Harley was young:

http://irishsetters.ning.com/photo/she-only-wants-to-play?context=user

Congratulations on becoming setter lover! You haven't mentioned about playing with other dogs, other puppies. This is very important in puppy;s life. Other  dogs can very easy  show her main  rules of life.I mean not only puppy school. After craziness with dogs she wil be so exhausted and fulfilled that you have a calm dog for a while. Trying to bite you, attacking people with teeth probably is a kind of test. You can;t let her to win.

Anyways, you are very happy owners of a little crazy red girl! Enjoy!

Yeah this is one of the problems I guess you can say- we don't know many in our neighbourhood nor many dog owners so that is a bit of a problem. We take her for walks and always meet loads of dogs but that's not really playing, I'm aware of that. So we need to figure something out!

We sure are, and love her to pieces!

Hi Ellie and Harley, Well both feet first ‘never had dogs’ and you start with a Setter Pup you are very brave, I would start by saying if you have not been told “please never exercise your dog after food for at least 40 min as setters are prone to strangulated gut”your dog will die a very painful death! I only highlight this as I myself lost one of my dogs some years ago though this. Harley is just like a new baby when it comes to teething,if you go to the chemist and buy some baby gum gel and put it onto Harley’s gums after food you will find it will help with the nipping, If Harley continues to nip,Nip him on the bottom of the Ear he will very quickly get the message and Stop.Puppy classes are a Must for you,it is not so much to train Harley but you are they are great fun! If your setter is long haired make a point of brushing when he is eating this will help with handling as he grow’s.Hope some of this helps and if you do get into difficulty please do not panic!! I remember my first setter escaping off the lead I ended up in a Lack, Finnegan my first dog was swimming after the swans and I was swimming after Finnegan, have great Fun with Harley and Best Wishes to you all Rachal.         

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