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This thread was started in the Setter behaviour group but I think both Susan and I felt it would be better in the main section as we have plenty of field-trail setters owners that may be able to give a hint. I have trained and competed with differant dogs but have found one scecific problem with most of my setters = Retrieving.
It started with my first ever setter, I was used to training german Shephards and there was no problem to teach them to retrieve. It was a piece of cake...just throw something...and they fetched it.
Well ALMOST as easy as that.
I tried the same with my first setter and came to a grinding halt.
I went to see Mr James (Wendover kennels in England) and told him about my problem.
(These were the early 70's...so perhaps english rules were differant, I dont know) but Mr James told me that a setter was NOT supposed to retrieve! After all, that was what you had other breeds for!
I then moved to Sweden and found setters retrieving at field-trials.
No problem.
Well generally I feel that (compared to other breeds) the irish setters I breed are not too happy about retrieving. A few have been naturals, but frankly most of them NOT.
Susan has a young dog that appears to retrieve everything...but not cold game.
Any suggestions?
We can try to copy in the beginning of the discussion so you can see how far we have got and what suggestions you may have?

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Well, your hawk-eyes spotted that the midlle part looked different...:o))

The slobbery chewed dumb-bell sounds rather revolting - especially to any well bred Irish Setter;-)) Has the question of the risk of transmitting kennel cough or other diseases never come up?

Shall we move on to send-aways next?
Yes, the transmitting of disease has come up with chewed slobbery dumb-bells, but no more than that...
Its your choice- compete or not :-)
And yes it is revolting!
And as I said...needs plenty of training. I have gone through groups of dogs that had to hold "my" wooden dumb-bell prior to me training my own dogs. Its going totally against the dogs grain (and mine as well to be honest).
But then you can see lots of Shephards etc that dont seem to bother at all!
For my setters the wet and chewed dumb-bells have been another MAJOR step in the training.

Yes we can go on to the send away if you want.
Should this be a seperate heading?
I think it should...in case someone is looking for it and will never expect to find it under the retrieving heading...
I can see that this is an extremely difficult retrieve to teach. Much worse than dead birds!

After writing my suggestion for 'send-away' I feel it is probably not really setter-related enough for this site. I don't know how many work their dogs in obedience...
You are of course right Susan.
The "send away" is not something that would come under the heading "Basic training for setter"
But I am quite willing to help if I can...
HiHi... more likely the 'come-back'
Hello, my name is Cora. I have a Gordon Setter (2,5 years old). I will try to explain my problem with retrieving cold game. He retrieve dummy's very well, is really enhtousiastic (spelling?), but when it comes to retrieve cold game he turns into another dog. I send him to the cold game, he walks througt it, with his tail between his legs and lay down on his back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I really don't know what has been gone wrong during the training, did all the same things with dummy's. Whit a stocking around it, he retrieved the cold game.

Any suggestions?
Cora, it is quite obvious that he does not like this at all, so lets make the picking up of cold birds a bit nicer for him, shall we?

And please dont PUSH him by repeating the cold-game-retrieving you are doing now! The more you push, the worse it will get, the more he will hate it.

STOP right there and re-think!
If he retrieves with stocking, take the game inside and let him retrieve (with stocking) just before he gets his food. Let him see you getting his food ready but let him pick up the game BEFORE getting his food. You have to work with this for a long time (depending on the dog) until you can realy see that he picks the bird up willingly!
Once this happens, you make things a little bit more difficult for him.
If you have read this thread, you will have seen that I have written about net-stockings etc. Use these (still indoors) until you have the same effect = the dogs retrieves happily!
Now you move all of it outside.
Foodbowl and all!
Repeat process in garden...etc.
If you give him TIME this will work!
But no rushing please!
And no pushing!
There are NO shortcuts!
You can sort this out!
Promise!
Hi Ursula, thanks for the tip. I've read your explanation about the net-stockings. I will try this to before giving him his food, only one question: what if he doesn't retrieve the game, no food then?

Oh and by the way, he gets his food at the same time with my other dog, should I give it now seperatily?
Hello Cora, as he retrieves the game in a sock (not net-stocking) when he is outside, I feel he will do the same when indoors. If not, no food.
And this is not as bad as it sounds!
I assume you feed twice a day so there are two chances. I want him at the stage were he will retrieve in a HAPPY way! :-)
Once THAT is there, you move to the net-stockings (I can see the sales going up!!!) :-))
And yes, feeding in different rooms Cora.
You can sort this out!

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