Exclusively Setters

Home for Irish Setter Lovers Around the World

I would like to ask members their thoughts/experiences on the importance of being Pack Leader and to what extreme they choose to or have had to take it.


I genuinely believe our 'pack' of 6 tick along beautifully - especially when you take into account it consists of 4 un-neutered males (if you include my husband and son)!!!  The boys are happy, balanced, cheeky typical setters. 


A trainer friend is horrified however at some of our practices.  We allow the boys on our bed (he says it is elevating them to our level and will confuse them).  He believes that dogs shouldn't be allowed to instigate play, it should always come from us.  Even the dog laying down with its back to you is an open display of disrespect and should be moved!  He believes that by giving these mixed signals, we make them insecure and can trigger dominant tendencies thus potentially causing trouble.


Whilst I appreciate that these techniques can be valuable tools with certain canine personalities that may veer toward aggression, do we really need to apply them in all cases? Am I simply confusing the issue by mixing and matching?  Can we have a 'happy medium' or (at the risk of sounding like a Gary Glitter fan) should I be the 'Leader of my Gang'???



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What a great discussion. I am so glad to read that most of you all are relaxed in your training methods and find the breed so easy to live with. I am curious Fran and other trainers, do you find certain breeds or even certain dogs require a much firmer hand? It seems from what I read that guard dogs or bully breeds need strong leadership from their owners. I always say that is why I own sporting breeds all these years. I wouldn't have the backbone or stomach to control a fierce breed of dog. I think of Irish as softies and so am I, so it just works perfectly.
my best friend had 5 rottweilers together with her boy-friend. it was a joy to see them walking and see how happy all those dogs were. raised the same loving method as described above. no fierce control or hard hands. i don't doubt that there are individuals who need a stronger hand but soooo much depends on the owner as well, how they can handle conflicts...
I might have the only irish here who prefers his bed to ours. We beg him to come up and he always runs to his bed at the foot of the bed. Some nights he moves to a couch outside our bedroom for a while and returns later on. He never sleeps in his bed during the daytime, he takes one of ours, but as soon as we start our bedtime routines, he hops onto his bed. He likes to stretch out and I think our bed is too crowded for his taste.
I wish it had been as easy 'training' my son as it is training an Irish Setter. I always tell my wife we should have got another dog instead of having children. As I type, Rosie's decided the sofa is her for the night.
Ha ha - or the bees!!!!!
I think I would choose not to instigate play with that trainer, nor would I allow him on my bed!! And I'm pretty sure my husband and Cosmo would agree as it would be a mite crowded!!
My IS Reuben knows who the "pack leader" is, but he is on a mission to change things, constantly pushing the boundaries and being cheekier than any child possibly could be. Thing is, he gives himself away when about to do anything "naughty", by sneakily staring at you, making sure you are not watching him, then he creeps off to do whatever it is he's decided on doing (usually hiding tea spoons in his bed.... don't ask). Not so subtle.

He also has a bad habit of wanting to sleep wherever our Border Terrier sleeps - found him the other day crammed into poor Buddy's tiny basket, legs spilling out everywhere, with Buddy desperately trying to escape from under him! However, I am in no doubt that Reuben knows who's boss - a certain look or tone of voice, and he's putty. Well, except when flushing the pheasants out on the moor..... ;-)
Well said Christine!!!!
Lovely discussion, Sounds like we all agree why we have our setters, they are our best friend always there when we need a hug or a laugh to make our day better.
Lots of normal love,lots of mutul confidence and calm approach always made my dogs a joy to live with,but they must know who is who,as I know who is who among them!
As the well brought children must respect the older people my younger ones do respect the older ones-
When I call all of them in their park:Where are my babies!? they are running all together leaving all other human and doggy friends!
I never say come to mummy as I am not their mummy but they know I love them to bits,I protect them in everyday life,simply to say I stay behind their backs in all situations that the life brings and they understand and appreciate it!
Living all day long together,but no bedroom as we all have to rest properly during the night.
During so many years with these special dogs the irish are,we had never had any problems with any kind of agression or misbehaviour.
They as the breed what we all know are not agressive,but again as by human beings not selfconfident there can be found some cases by the irish as well.Whose guilty is this???
Setters are unique. I had never had dogs like them, and I love every minute of it! My girls sleep in my bed, go everywhere with me. I never used any alpha training with them, and they still know I'm alpha and obey my commands better than most "very well trained" dogs I know! My method of raising order out of chaos works perfectly (to great despair of some of my friends) They get lots of love and atention, we play a lot and do an endless list of things together, and they know exaclty were the line is. There is never the tiniest bit of toenail trying to cross it EVER! They do what they are asked when they are asked, I have never had meaningfull conflicts between them or other dogs, and even the little things were solved quickly and without a fuss with just a word. I have other dogs that require more assertive methods of training, but I never went to the "extreme" of the alpha methods.
I the end, I think Setters are just amazing, and perfect the way they are... And they know it :) I love my girls the way they are, and I'm sure they love living they way we do. That's more than enough for me :)




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