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I'm asking because Bess has twice got dangerously distracted by birds lately causing her to disappear over the horizon. We did get her back, eventually, but not without a lot of worry and concern she might go too far and out into a road.

So at the moment she's back on the flexi lead. We are doing a lot of road walking on a short lead to improve her lead discipline, and then she has as much of a run as an 8m flexi permits on the fields.

I wasn't sure if totally mad galloping at full speed for about 20-30 mins was good for an 8 month old?

So what sort of exercise is best? And what kind of walks do you do?

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That's really good to know!  I've got a few shows coming up in the next few weeks so need to concentrate on ringcraft, but then I'll join the training class (they take place at the same time at the moment) and see how that goes. 

Thanks for replying - nice to know someone else had the same problem (and that it started at the same age!)

Oh where did that sweet little pup go that stayed close by?!

Hi Trish

I see you live in Maldon, Have you tryed Mersea Island our dogs love it there it always seemed like a safe place to let them run free...I know there is a country park as well but we always kept to the beach as they love the water.

We have been a couple of times this year and it was always quiet even in school holidays.

We would go more often but its a 45mins drive for us so its a special treat..


Not been there for years. Good suggestion. Will give it a try. Thanks.

It's not lack of places to walk, just that they are not secure.  We've got river walks and walks along the sea wall.  There are two places on the sea wall where she can get over into the fields, and Bess has found exactly where they are.  She now takes off from what is a safe walk, and heads for the fields!  It's fairly safe in that there are no main roads for about a mile, but it's still very worrying.  I only let her off when we're in the middle of nowhere, but the speed she gets up to is frightening! 

I've had a dog before whose recall was terrible (and English Setter), but he wouldn't disappear out of sight, he'd just run around and refuse to be caught. 

Oh well, back to the recall work.  She used to be pretty good, as I always treat her when she comes back.  But now she doesn't even bother to eat the treat!  She's good when being called away from other dogs (not so good with people who she thinks should all love her and who all want muddy footprints over their clothes).  Luckily on most of our walks we don't see another soul or dog - which will be useful when she's in season.

I did wonder whether walking with another dog would help, but I don't know anybody with a suitable dog round here.  I live out in a tiny village, and the only dogs I do know need to be kept leashed as they are a bit nasty to other dogs. 

Er, but you're doing it to yourself....and why? How could you???

Just close your eyes,click your heels three times and think...'there's no place like home!

Had a great walk today. Went to the sea wall when the tide was in - natty new iPhone app helped there - so Bess had no mud to disappear on. Let her off and called her back well in time before the gaps into the fields, and walked past with her on the flexi. When we walked back she went off the lead again once we were past the gaps. A walk without panics and lots of free running for Bess.

Until she works out what we're doing of course.

Hi, Setters are a galloping breed and need to have to free excercise but not at 8 months.  I think that their bones are not fully hardened off and therefore damaged can be done to their joints.   The way I trained my setters was:  when they were weaning I would whistle and then put their food down and very quickly they connected the whistle with food/reward.   Then when they were bigger and in the garden, and before they were fed so that they were hungry I would zigzag around, calling them and when they caught up I would reward them with hugs etc and given them a piece of food.   They quickly caught on, I would hide and call them and they would track me down.   So, by the time they were big enough for small walks in a safe place I would let them off and follow the above and they were keen to come back for treats.  If the puppy forged a few yards ahead I would turn back the way I had just come, whistle and when the puppy came back they were rewarded for following.   I brainwashed them into believing I am the leader of the pack, I was leading the hunt and they should follow me and it WORKS because I found the prey (biscuit) and was prepared to share it with them!  Change direction constantly and the puppy will then keep her/his eye on you because the only reward is to be with you.  Dogs are pack animals and like to have the leader in control and make their decisions, letting them run recklessly is actually distressing for them because they are leaderless and if they get lost they are really distressed.  Never tell them off if they get too far ahead, it's your fault that they have,  always make them welcome, even if you have to do it THROUGH GRITTED TEETH!!    They quickly learn to hunt around and get their excerise and enjoyment and we get to see them growing and doing what Setters love to do.        The other thing to teach them is NO! LEAVE!  I did this with food, putting pieces down, making them waite and when they complied release them to enjoy it.   If they went for it before being released a low growl or NO! from you endorses what their dam would have done if she was unhappy with them.   This helps if they forge ahead and you want them to stop etc.   Remember, puppyhood like babyhood is only a stage of life, the sooner they are taught what is acceptable to you the better, it's much easier to control a tiddler rather than leaving it until they are nearly grown and developing attitude.   Anyway, good luck and even at 8 months you can use the above tips but it will just take longer for her to take it but YOU must be PATIENT and CONSISTENT.   ps how did you do at Setter and Pointer??

Cheers for that. My breeder trained her to come for food b whistling. But I can't whistle. Anyway. Will try what I can. The shows not until the 3rd Nov so we're still practicing.

If I could go back six months I would! I had an English Setter previously who although was a devil to catch, he'd run round in circles, not run off. But he used to walk most times with a retriever of a similar age who lived next door. When he went I got a Great Dane, and then thought of him not obeying me never entered his lovely big head. I was lucky with my cocker spaniel as I got him when my Dane was just two. So partly I think it's Bess always having to be walked on her own, and she had me fooled for the first few months so it wasn't a problem.

If I can call her before she gets to a place where she can run she does seem to come back. She doesn't mind being put on a lead mid walk. Ill get a whistle and start trying to use that. There are times when the wind is blowing that I don't know if she can hear my voice.

Train her by combining the whistle with a super tasty treat or game. I find many dogs react to the whistle at first just because it is a new sound. If you do not go to the effort of training to the whistle the novelty will quickly wear off... and you are back where you started.

Mmm, you will need to buy a whistle, like you I can't whistle either and also it gives a consistent sound which the setters will recognise wherever you are.   Good luck..




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