Exclusively Setters

Home for Irish Setter Lovers Around the World


Hi, I wondered if anyone can give me some advice about my Irish setter Scarlett. She is 12 months old and has suddenly become really naughty. She was very well behaved having attended 3 puppy training courses. She came in from the garden as soon as I whistled, had never weed indoors and never chewed anything apart from her dozens of toys. But in the last couple of weeks she has become a nightmare! She has chewed up cookery books, a tablecloth, table mats and anything she can climb up to get. She has weed in the lounge despite being outside for an hour before. She ignores all commands, jumps up all the time and is mouthing and biting our hands and arms. But the most frustrating thing is she just barks all the time if she hasn't got your undivided attention and especially at four o'clock every night.

We have 2 other dogs including a five year old setter that she sleeps with and is with during the day. I am at home all day so she has company. She is regularly walked, has a huge variety of toys that we play with and gets lots of cuddles.

Nothing has changed at home, she is very healthy and eating well, so why is she such a pain at the moment? I wondered if she might have her back teeth coming through - I am not sure when they usually grow? That would explain the biting but need to stop all the other unwanted behaviour especially the jumping up and barking!!

Please can anyone suggest anything to help?

Views: 797

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

I know others will have more informed advice, but the only thing that comes to mind is perhaps she is in heat?  Different species, but I had a little girl cat who suddenly began acting very strangely and that was what was going on.  The vet thought I was a complete idiot for not knowing this on my own!!


Hi Gigi,  thanks for your reply. She has already had her first season about 3 months ago so unfortunately cannot put the naughtiness down to that.

Oh Shoot, sounds as if she's in the teenage phase. That can take half a year. You'll get throught it.


Can you try to ignore her demanding behaviour and reward her when she's done the right thing?

I know it's wearing down to ignore excessive barking.Is there a trigger when she starts? Why not use that trigger and when she barks say "quiet" and as soon as she's quiet, reward her? Helped a bit with our barky. Stress on "a bit".


With this mouthing business, can you try to say "ouch", walk away from her and don't interact for say an hour? I know it's hard.

Do you have "house rules" such as "No Go in the kitchen" - you can set your own rules, most important, stick to them even more than usual.


When she jumps up, can you ingore and then make her sit instead and reward this? I found that jumping business was the hardest.

My experience: At one point I just got a bit relaxed regards rules and structure. Because I thought "well, they behave anyway". Which turned out to be a mistake. Maybe that happened to you and you just got to reintroduce the rules?


These are just thoughts and suggestions. HOpe they help a bit.


Good luck!

Ilona I genuinely thought you were about to suggest "SHOOT" Sounds like it might not be a bad idea!
Cash is 14 months now and he started just in the past month jumping on me while we are out for a walk and pulling on my gloves and coat sleeves.  He is way to big to do that and might throw me down on the ice.  I stop dead in my tracks.  I push him off me say NO firmly once and just turn my back to him.  I am like a statue.  He gets no eye contact, no response and we don't move on until he has stopped.  I almost have it nipped in the bud already.  Now when he tried it today I turned without saying a word and stopped moving.  He stopped immediately and off we went.  They figure it out quick enough.  I too have the suddenly barking all the time when he was so quiet before this.  We shhhh him firmly and I will close the shades if he doesn't stop.  He loves to look out at the birds, squirrels etc.  He loses that if he barks.  When he is quiet I open them back up for him.  I think it is teenage behavior and just stay strong and consistent for now.  I find that if Cash gets enough exercise then he sleeps and doesn't find trouble to get into.  If he is getting into stuff it means he needs to go let off steam and a good run is needed.
I had the same change in behaviour with Darwin at this age! I had to practically start over again with recall training too. After a couple of months he was back to "normal"!

Hi Fiona

do you have a crate to put the dogs in? We found if we put them in the a crate for a few minutes each time there was any really bad behavior  isolating them from the pack visually by putting a blanket over the crate they got the message fairly quickly.Barking at 4am may be more a problem if you are in close range of neighbours a squirt in the face with some water stops barking generally. hope this helps 


Thank-you so much for all your advice, looks like I have a stroppy teenager to deal with and lots of re- training to do!  She is such a gorgeous girl that I find it soo hard to be cross with her, but we have new neighbours moving in soon and I don't want them complaining about the lunatic setter barking every night because she has decided she wants to play! Gotta love those setters!

Standing still like Sue suggests definately works. Dog trainers suggested it to us. She does not get any treats until she stops jumping and barking. Molly's barking is only when we come home with excitment. The water squirt also works well. Good luck

As I have advised to others in the past, why not try watching the Dog Whisperer? (Cesar Millan) - it's worth giving his programmes a try.  I'm a complete convert.  She's of the age when she may be trying to assert her place in the pack and if she doesn't see you as the pack leader she will challenge you in many ways.  Cesar promotes calm, assertive behaviour  and shows on the programmes how to achieve this.  Important things are not to 'reward' excited behaviour by petting - it just makes it worse.  Don't take her out for a walk or put the lead on until she is completely calm - however long it takes!  Also, don't let any of the dogs go out of or into a door before you.  If you're the pack leader, then they must follow - it's how it's done in nature.


What do you have to lose?


Best wishes.



OMG!!! out of work actress who saw a way to make a fast buck




© 2024   Created by Gene.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service