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Hello - I'm just wondering how many members on this site have experience with working their setter in the field? What are the possibilities in your country?
Here in Switzerland it is very difficult to train your setter as it is not permitted by law to train the dog on live game... so when I have the time and money I travel to France, luckily no more than 2 hours, to work my dogs. They love it!
regards to all, Susan from wet & cold Switzerland

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Hi Susan,

as you know I train my dogs for field work although I am not a hunter myself. Here in Slovenia if you want to breed from a setter or make him/her up to a champion they need a Field Trial qualification. We don't have such strict legislation as in Switzerland, but it is getting strickter every year. Anyway we have absolutely great support in our Pointing Breeds Club. They understand our problems and offer us training (from obedience to practical FT training, retrieving etc). The training is of high quality, very affordable and we are really pleased with that. During last 15 years we have seen great improvement in the quality of our dogs on the field and also in trainability. Characters are also excellent. Last few years the judges at our trails often comment how Irish are actually better than the more "traditional" german hunting breeds. Specially offspring of my Zennith have done really well on the field. Also Pika's children are doing well, though most of them are just starting out. And of course our dogs also love the field work. It is what they were born for!!!!!!

Love
Alenka
In my country hunting grounds are still public or to be more precise belong to the local communities and hunting clubs, and are not private. I guess the good side of not belonging to the EU is that we don’t have such strict and somewhat ridiculous laws like most of you people have. I live in great plain with really a lot of wild game, so when the hunting season begins with just a little bit of administration in the club you can have a great trip to hunting grounds and rest assure to find plenty of game. Rule is only that there has to be no less than three hunters at the grounds together and that we go to the specific place for which we got permit, because gamekeeper probably will check it out. Off course you can’t go around and kill everything that moves ( for instance only one pheasant per hunter is allowed) but you can spend the whole day training dogs if you wish.
As far as training is concerned, well it usually is consisted of putting young dog with an older and more experienced one in a brace and with just a little bit of luck he will quickly get an idea what to do. Although I must admit Irish setters are not popular with the hunters here mostly because of the long coat which after an hour in fields gets matted like hell (been there myself unfortunately).

I would really like to hear how the rest of you train your dogs for work in the fields?
(or maybe that should be another topic?)
Thanks for the response - it seems very different in every country, but I'd say Belgium and Switzerland seem very similar - although Switzerland is not in the EU:-)). Both are small countries with many inhabitants and therefore not enough space for running the dogs. Alenka and Dusan, I'd say you live in dog's paradise judging by the great possibilities you have...
Here the Swiss setter club does not offer training possibilities but expects people to be wealthy enough (& willing) to send their dogs away to a professional to be trained... There are however some very mountainous areas of Switzerland where you can still find capercaillie and a kind of mountain grouse (lagopus mutus). The hunters with there dogs (usually english setters) have to be extremely fit and used to the area to go hunting up there.
I must admit that I love working my dogs when I get the chance because that is when you see them doing what they were originally bred for. I'm lucky in that my young dog Glen has taken to his training like a fish to water...
Yes, I have also experienced a dog full of burrs after a day hunting - it takes hours to comb out!
greetings to all
Susan
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Hello Frances,
Many thanks! Next time I will try with loads of conditioner and maybe a horsey friend can help me get hold of that spray. The worst season with the really aggressive burrs is still to come... By the way, I find the dogs with a straight coat are much easier in this respect, also the wavy coated seem to get wetter and stay wet longer!
But we need not worry about wet dogs anymore - the heatwave has reached Switzerland!
Susan
Yes, dogs with wavy coats really have much more problems. Remember a few years back my friend had a lovely grandson of Nilson of the Hunters Home who was very wavy. After each training session she had to spend a couple of hours untangling him. I also noticed that lots more gets stuck in Pika's white spot on the chest than in the red coat. The white coat is totally different texture.
We also have well over 30 degrees here and next week should be around 35 all week. Seems we are never satisfied with the weather.
Alenka
Definitely texture has the most to do with how much debris the coats pick up. Having started my breeding program with a show bred bitch who had the "beautiful" excessive coat that does well in the show ring here, I know of what I speak. Becky was gorgeous in the ring - but few knew the hours and hours of stripping a ghastly undercoat that were behind the look. She had a wooly textured undercoat of extreme quantity. We have worked hard here to breed away from that coat towards a coat with no wool, a bit harder texture (not sure if that is the right word) and a brilliant shine to it. These coats are not as competitive in the ring (thought they should be, but that is another discussion) since they are of more modest quantity as a rule (not always, but often) and one cannot cut a dog out of the extra coat or hide as many flaws, but oh are they ever nice to hunt with, groom (EASY,) and live with. Gorgeous to look at, that lovely shiny, naturally shorter on the back - do not require stripping...oh I could go on and on. Correct texture that is where it is at. I'll take this type of coat and correct volume and length everyday!
hehe, next time i send my straight coated girl to you for untangling :-) for me it does not take less time for her... my old wavy one has at least some hair left after the sessions, as the coat looks more and fuller because of the waves. on the straight coat you can see any hair loss at the first glace! :-(
Pika has very straight coat and she runs in the woods and bushes practically every day. And you know there is not too much hair loss to be seen on her. I untangle her every day after her run and bath every 7-10 days (just the long hair on tummy, legs etc).
Alenka
Hello Birgit,
Your rules are even more strict than ours! I know in Germany the situation can be quite difficult for people who own setters as a family pet. Not all are willing or have the possibility to take up the challenge as you did and aquire the permit for hunting. Still, for those who can it is a great joy and the dogs definitely love it!
best wishes
Susan
Hi Birgit,
In Slovenia all dogs must pass at least a Junior FT before they are bred and you need a FT qualification for a dog to become a champion. But we are really lucky that our Club helps us in any way we need and we can stil train the dogs ourselves. You do need a permit from local Hunting society that tells you when and where you can let your dog run free and train.
Love, Alenka
Usually you must pay a small fee (few EUR), but this assures that you are on the field alone. Usually they check up on you, but they also help giving you tips where to go etc Alenka
This is a very interesting thread. I am not that familar with the Show scene in the States but I am pretty sure there is no FT qualification to become a champion. One of my current boys is champed out and I am pretty sure he hasn't done any FT. It makes a lot of sense though because that's what dogs are designed to do.

There is a lot of land here so that is not the issue. You would just have to connect with a private owner of a large parcel of land. Squirrel, Quail, Duck, Dove, Rabbit would be the main ones I would think.

My dogs would love hunting or field work. They hunt squirrels, rabbits, and ducks every day on our walks, although being on leash takes a degree of fun out of it.

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