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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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Hi Trish,
I walk my boy on leash in the bush here in Oz. where I live is full of deep old
Gold mine shafts and Roos, if he took off after one he could plunge down a shaft
Or get terribly lost. I then am able to take him to a big safe paddock where he can run and we play ball.
I also play ball every evening in my own training area. We have a few plays throughout the day as well.
That keeps him happy as long as he has a walk every day come what may.

That's certainly something to look into - I'm not sure if they do anything like that around here.  That sounds really interesting - I've always thought she has gundog instincts. 

It's any type of bird Bess chases after - and she'll follow them until they disappear!  Her recall has gone to pot anyway, but I'm putting that down to her age (8 months) and going back to basics. 

You have to be careful though Trish, as Finn will know well, not everyone offering good citizens and gun dog training are going to be good, some of them (despite their 'good' reputation) can use very harsh and outdated training methods, which won't motivate a setter at all, and then you will be told "well, you would get a setter and they are notably untrainable).  Find someone who uses reward/motivational training methods, who make these things fun for the dog to do and you will go far. I would like to say that finding somebody via the APDT (Association of Pet Dog Trainers) www,apdt.co.uk should find you somebody good.   At least they should do no harm,  but they might not do  any good either, so shop around with these people if you can. With regards to the Good Citizens scheme. We are just about to pull out of  it, as we think the training is far too basic, and doesn't offer people enough practical exercises, so we are devising our own scheme, based upon what pet owners tell us they want to be learning with their dogs, Good luck, but training and mental stimulation is certainly the best solution rather than the flexi lead option which often creates its own problems.  And whilst I am on the subject, please be aware of flexi leads around other dogs and people. The rope burns from those can cause serious injury, and some dogs have suffered serious leg injuries when the line has become tangled around them. My personal view is that they should only be used for serious lead restriction issues, and preferably not around other people and dogs. I have in the past put pictures of flexi lead injuries on my facebook page.

Well aware of the dangers of Flexi leads - I've been using them on and off since 1985.  I always 'reel' Bess in when other dogs/people are approaching, and a an adept expert on using the brake! 

Useful comments about training which I found out for myself having wasted £70 on Bess's first puppy training.  I didn't find it useful at all as new dogs joined every week and there was no consistency or any building on what we'd done the week before.  Then I joined another training class which was a million times better - and only £14 for 4 weeks!  Just shows you don't necessarily get what you pay for.

Interesting comments about the Good Citizens Scheme - I was thinking of doing it with Bess, but the classes currently conflict with Ringcraft which for now is more important.

I think the days of being able to allow the dog off lead for hours at a time are over.  The recent incident with the lady who was trampled by a cow, while out with her dog proves that point.  We have to come up with different ways to keep our dogs mentally and physically challenged. 

 I walk Rigsby on a 10m training lead (don't like Flexi-leads), so this gives him space to mooch but keeps him under control.  I then try and find a nice quiet, steep hill and play fetch off lead for 10-15 mins at a time, to try to build up his muscles.

As a rule of thumb, I've always been told 5 mins exercise for every month so at 8 months, 40 mins is plenty.  Anymore and you will tire the dog and it doesn't do anything for it's joints.

Agree with limiting the exercise.  We normally do 45 mins or maybe an hour.  But I can assure you that this does not tire Bess!  She comes home and tears about in the garden!  :0)

I will start trying to play ball with her more. 

Racked our brains and looked around, but there are no small enclosed areas within 25 miles.  And those are described as dog parks, but I don't know what they are like.  It's all arable farmland here, so the fields go on for miles.  My garden is only medium sized, so she can't have a good run there. 

I was googling today to try and find somewhere safe to let her off, but I couldn't find anywhere.  The only place I can think of is the sea wall at high tide, where half an hour's walk along you come to an area enclosed by two stiles which have dog gates, but no way through them if a person's not there to lift them, a wide deep drainage ditch which she won't go near on one side, and when the tides in, the sea on the other.  Trouble is the tide is only in for about half an hour a day - other wise it's the mud, and she could go anywhere then.  So timing is everything!  :0)

She's only started ignoring her recall in the last 10 days or so - I think the teenage phase has well and truely hit!  She used to chase the birds, but would always keep us in sight, doing wide circles round us.  Now she doesn't seem to care.  Useful reminder about not calling too much, but it's difficult when the fear that you might never see them again gets you!

I need to find somewhere to exercise her - she was hell on the lead today, even the OH was geting dragged along.  She needs a run, but god knows where! 


If 8 months is early for" teenage defiance" what do you call it when your 4 month puppy(at a distance of approx 10 yards) looks at you, decides the rattly tin full of sweets is not sufficient encouragement and refuses to come for the first time despite the fact that it's mother already has her nose in the tin?????

ps problem solved by walking in the opposite direction!!


Walking off  in the opposite direction and may I add : without constantly calling.  Mine learned from a very young age that if they didn't come for the sweeties, I would say "bye then" and then go off without them.  So many people walk away, then stand there saying "bye Rover" then "please come Rover, Rover!  Bye, Come ".  Mine learned that "bye then" meant precisely that.  Gone. I am sure some dogs take the attitude of "please keep calling me, because then I know precisely where you are".

Absolutely right, dogs don't hold conversations and this is very good advice especially if there is a hazard and you need the setter to come back immediately.

Hi Trish, I think the best exercise is where you can let your dog off lead safely for most of the walk, on a variety of terrain. However, I do not have the recall or behavioural issues to deal with that you do. We are spoiled for walks here in Northern Ireland. Locally, I choose between three types: playing fields,golf course or river path....all within five minutes of where I live. Then I can be at a forest in fifteen minutes or the beach in thirty-forty minutes. Doesn't get much better than that,does it?

Hi Trish, we had problems with Merlin between 7 and 12 months with distraction, not comming back etc, I nearly sent him back to the breader when he floored a woman in a white coat in a muddy field and we had to pay for dry cleaning. We joined an ADPT training club ( we still go and he's now 4) and really worked on walking on the lead and recall. We can now let him run free in woodland, canal banks, beaches etc and know he will come back when called. It took about 6 months of really hard work and he was frustrating at times but its worth it for a dog thats a pleasure to take out.




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