Home for Irish Setter Lovers Around the World
I would forget the ball and start from scratch. You need to build it up gradually...almost seconds at first, 10 seconds, half a minute and then after a while she will stand patiently. Getting her into a comfortable stance is the key as she's less likely to fuss.
Lots of quick, short sessions and keep it light with lots of praise. I use clicker training as it's a great way to show the dog exactly what you want and praise her when she gets it right. You can't take the clicker into the ring, though.
It takes time and there's a lot to remember but it will eventually fall into place and you'll see progress.
Best of luck and see you in Coventry!
Don't rush it. Bitches can be stroppy and sometimes until they have had their first season they can be tiresome. Thereafter they are delightful.
Make her stand for a short period and when you've finished quietly reward her with your voice, be calm and don't touch her head at all, then take off the lead and play quietly (don't be overly excited) and give her her favourite treat. Let her settle.
Half an hour or sometime later do the same thing. Never try and stand her when you are agitated or she is hyper.
When you've got her routine established, start introducing new things, picking up her feet, making her stand and then walking around her then go back to your original stance and then follow suggestions in first paragraph. The next step could then be, stand, walk round, then look at her teeth, try not to speak at this stage. Continue like this and then get a friend to look over her like a judge would do nobody speaks, finish and follow first paragraph. Eventually you will take hold of her jaw, initially a finger underneath and take her weight and then progress to holding it. When Bess realises what you want from her she will oblige whole heartedly, but more importantly you will relax and enjoy it and so will Bess and whether you win or get placed is unimportant, you will both enjoy your day out and a real trust will be established. When she is resting play with her feet ask her to "smile" i.e. open her mouth and look at her teeth, hold her jaw in your hand, play with her ears and she will associate all of these things that will happen when she is being judged as just something that happens.
I had a bitch who hated leads and to get her over it I slipped it over her neck when she was on the couch and sleepy. When she woke up she would get off the couch with lead draped around her neck and then gradually i would unravel it, pick it up and lead her to the garden. The transition was such that she never realised that she'd been conned, it just became part of her, no arguments, no battle of wills, no bribery by far the easiest way to get what I wanted.
Can't emphasise enough about brainwashing, some of my suggestions may not suit you but may give you an idea of how to get what you want without making Bess feel anxious. Calm, gentle, consistent handling is what they understand. The more you do with her and establish leadership the easier she will become. Another thing I found useful for recall was changing my exit routes from the house/garden. If the dogs rush to the back door, I go to the front and a call them, make them sit, open the door and off we set. The next time they rush to the front so I go the french windows, the next time they rush there I go the back door. Eventually they cotton on and wait for me to lead the hunt and follow me to whichever exit I deem suitable!! Re the feeding, apart from pipping a whistle I should have told you that I don't put the food down until they are behind me so that they accept that I eat first from the bowl (err not really!!) and they have to wait until I put it down...........
Jolly good, don't over do it tho' and for the first dozen or so times always have cheese or chicken or something really special to treat her with and endorse how pleased that you are with her but calmly. Also BEFORE YOU GIVE HER THE TREAT make her sit and slip the lead on. Otherwise she will snatch the treat and dash off before you can control her. Make it fun, I am always fascinated by sniffer dogs who are just rewarded with a ball and maybe you could adopt the same tactic at a later stage. Dogs are pack animals and WE ARE their leaders so being with you and understanding what you expect from her is very good for her wellbeing.