TRAINING THE IRISH SETTER

Training dogs takes time, patience and always being one step ahead of your dog!

Irish Setters love to play and you have to sometimes view the world through his eyes to find the solution to a training issue.

Here are a few common training problems and a few ideas to get you started on solving them, wherever you live there are bound to be some obedience training or ringcraft classes so why not go along and have some fun as well as learning .

  • My dog won't come back!

 We would all like our dogs to be instantly responsive to us but the truth is just sometimes there is something more interesting going on elsewhere for your dog, the solution is of course to make YOURSELF the most interesting thing on the planet! Every dog has something that is important to them, sometimes it's a squeaky toy or it might be food or it may be that he just wants to be with you. The first thing is always give a clear signal to your dog, I suggest you try using a gundog whistle, there are several reasons for using a whistle

1. The sound never changes, unlike your voice which will rise a few octaves if you are angry or stressed .

2. There is no confusion of voices in a multi person household, whoever has the whistle, has control of the dog.

3. The sound REALLY travels, even in high winds and takes much less effort than calling.

Once you've decided just what it is that your dog is likely to come back to you for , start practicing. Begin in an enclosed area, like your garden. Blow the whistle a couple of times and hold your arms out to each side...as your dog turns his head to see what's going on, walk backwards and show him either the toy or the treat. As soon as the dog comes to you give him the treat or the toy and make lots of fuss of him. Dogs are creatures of habit so it won't take long for him to learn that the whistle means something good is about to happen. Unless there is dangerous situation never run after your dog, actually turning away often has the desired effect and your dog will run back to see where you are going. Play hide and seek goes when out walking, always reward him when he finds you, changing irection and path will keep him on his toes off lead and he is less likely to "straight line" over the next hill.

 

  • Why does my dog pull on the lead

Dogs think going for a walk is a pretty exciting thing to do! They see it as going hunting with you, the pack leader.

Your dog has to learn that it is you that is taking HIM for a walk, not the other way around. Whether you choose to use a collar and lead or a slip lead is up to you, however if you have a dog who pulls backwards I would strongly suggest a slip-lead for safety.

The first few hundred yards of a walk really set the tone for the entire walk, so as you set off if your dog pulls smartly turn around and walk the other way...as soon as he pulls ahead, about turn . The first few times you won't go very far but it' s about teaching your dog that you have the control of how fast and how far you walk, together. Some people do choose to use various contraptions to aid their control of the dog but there is no substitute for careful and consistent training. Remember to give plenty of praise when he gets it right.

  • My dog is destructive when I go out..

The most important issue here is safety...Can your dog hurt himself while you are out? Are there wires he could get to or heavy furniture he could pull down?

If the answer is yes and it's impossible to make those areas safe then you should consider crate training your dog. Offering a dog a secure and safe environment in which he can feel secure is what crate training is about, it is not a punishment and should never be seen as such. Buy a crate large enough for your dog to be able to stand up and turn around easily, he doesn't need masses of room , he's not having a party ! We want him to rest while you're out or at night so a comfortable bed in the base but don't leave water. Dogs should not be left in a crate during the day for more than a few hours, overnight is fine because the house should be quiet and restful. Don't put newspaper in the base of the crate or you will be encouraging urination, dogs memories go back to when they were pups and trained to go on the paper. At first ,just put your dog in the crate for a short time with something he enjoys to eat but don't leave him at first. Gradually build up the time you can leave him in there and then try going out for half an hour. It helps if you cover the crate to provide a warm, cavelike atmosphere. The other alternative is to give your dog something to occupy his attention. A tough rubber toy, such as a KONG can be filled with a yummy paste and keep your dog interested for some time as he tries to extract the paste. The chances are that, in most cases the distress and damage is done in the first 15 minutes, so long term, get your dog used to you being in another room that he cannot enter and then in another part of the house and finally detached from your presence completely as you leave him for 10 minutes. Try not to make a big deal out of you leaving him and when you return act as if nothing has happened. If you play up the event the dog will sense that he needs to be the drama queen too!

 

 

If you have any training issues, give us a call or drop us an email and we will do our best to help!

Geraldine Cove-Print (Copyright)

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