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Hello all,  Summer tuned 1 year on May 24th, and is a delightful young setter.  Extremely smart, very headstrong, but a lot of fun.  She is my first Irish, always had and have 2 older goldens, but she will get nasty and try to bite me, if I grab her collar to discipline her.  It happens when I put her in a down stay, and she wanders off to where she wants to be down, where I go over to correct her she lashes out to bite me.  Today, after a lovely swim, and she was full of herself, being all wet, I didn't want her up against the sofa, and I directed her to another location.  She looked at me with that look, and when I went to move her she growled and tried to bite me, which if she made contact, I would have been at the doctors, right now.  It really has me thrown, as I have never had this problem with any of my other dogs.  It only happens if I go to grab her collar.


She has had a lot of training, and has done very well, except she is very Head Strong.


Any advice would be much appreciated........





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Gosh - this is a challenge for you. I have no experience on which to offer behaviour advice. Just a thought does she have any areas around her neck and ears that may cause her pain when you grab the collar?  It maybe money well spent to go to a dog behaviourist. Good luck Alayne will keep up to date with your discussion


Thanks, Maggie,  She is a very sweet and loving dog, actually very affectionate.  This is why I don't understand the switch to being so nasty.  Her neck and ears are fine, I think it is my taking control of her, that is causing her defiance.  I notice if I say "off" when she is on the bed, and I'm trying to make it, she gives me that defiant look, as I go to nudge her, and she gets very mouthy.


Hope to hear more...

Hi Alyne,

first all dogs should be taught to be held by their collar 20% of all bite are when a dog is grabed by the collar. from what you write it is used to discipline her so this i feel is fear based bitting. a dog on the whole has flight or fight once you grab her her flight has gone so fear takes over. i feel you need to start to gently hold her collar and reward just a light touch to start it will take time till you can hold it and play goocha games with her and be able to grab and release her. it will take time for her to trust you. also the down stay is the most vulnerable position for her to be in. i wonder how you are discipline her and why. if she is wet dry her off and leave her out to dry off. to hurt when she just comes near you seems hash she doesn't realise she is wet, she just tries to love you and the look i am sorry that is silly her look i feel would be fear. sorry if i seem harsh but i feel for your girl.


Thank you to all who answered.


I derived some great insight here, into what message I may be sending to her.  You are right, Setters are very sensitive to our emotions, and my boy Reese, is like that also.  I guess they mirror our feelings.  The fear or flight analogy is very clear to me now, thanks for pointing it out.  She is a love, with a sweet disposition, doesn't like to be anywhere I'm not, and I indulge her all day.  I guess when she doesn't obey a simple sit, I tend to want to correct her too abruptly, and in my haste, are conveying a challenge to her.  I will be aware of it, thanks to all your suggestions, as it is infrequent, when it happens, and could just be my emotions, she is picking up on.  I started working on it this morning, with lightly taking her by the collar, praising her, and a quick kiss.  She does respond much differently. 


I truly adore her, she is great in every other way, loves to be talked to all day, and this had me a bit baffled.  I wondered if I was giving her too much attention,  I's clear I have to watch what message I am sending.

Interesting what dogs can tell us about ourselves sometimes.


Thanks again....

Great reply Finn, well done :-)


I agree with you Fran, it is a very good reply.

Finn's reply is more or less what I would have said myself.

Wish every dog owner I teach would listen and then go home and practice......lol

Such great advice here.  I had problems for a very long time getting my dog on a lead.  He seemed afraid to be leashed up and would run for the hills all over the house etc.  Once on it, he was fine and was excited to go out.  I never figured out what frightened him about the actual hook up, but I just used tons of patience and praise and stopped yelling at him and getting angry about it.  I would ignore him until he did what I asked, then loved him up for it.  He got over it, but still goes into this submissive stance when I do hook him up to the lead.  They are such a sensitive breed that it can only take one time for something to register the wrong way for them.  I hold my dogs collar when I want him to heel next to me almost everyday.  He has to walk that way until he settles down and stops pulling me.  I would try to hold her collar in calm, relaxed times and give treats.  Almost like the collar hold and special treat are one thing.  So it becomes a very positive experience.  And maybe when she is on the bed or any place you don't want her, use that moment for the practice and treating.  And can I just say Summer is so gorgeous.  Wow just looked at her pictures and what a beautiful coat on that little lady.  Who is the breeder?






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