SO YOU WANT TO TRAIN YOUR
by ISCV member Sam Field.
Sam is an experienced obedience trialler, instructor and judge.
My intention with this article is not to teach you to train your dog, but to attempt to give you, the Irish owner, helpful advice on how your dog can be trained. An Irish Setter is like any other breed of dog and can be trained to any level of obedience that you require.
In depth knowledge on learning obedience exercises can be obtained by joining a reputable obedience club or obtaining a good obedience training book. You can find the dog training club nearest to you from your state's Kennel Control; usually they are listed in the monthly journal. If you are hoping to trial your Irish you will need an A.N.K.C. Obedience Rule Book, these are also available from your Kennel Control. The obedience clubs all have proven training methods, which may or may not be appropriate for your Irish. There are many methods of doing the same thing and you will probably be shown many different ways. You, as a handler, must ascertain which method is best for your particular dog. I would only recommend a club which does positive training techniques, so I advise you to go to some clubs and have a look; the club using a positive method of training is reflected in happy and attentive dogs. What can be discouraging to new handlers is the lack of sincerity or encouragement by some clubs where an Irish is concerned. Statements are made as to "the lack of intelligence" an Irish has, "impossible to train", "stupid" and many other unflattering clichés. You will wonder where these so-called experts obtain their knowledge and you can take great delight in proving them wrong.
Some people have trouble training an Irish as the dog appears smarter than its handler, therefore you have to try and think like him, anticipate what he is likely to do and try to be one step ahead of him. In my opinion two major points should be observed in training any dog, in particular an Irish, PATIENCE and PERSEVERANCE. He must be trained without breaking his spirit. The whole training process must revolve around keeping your dog happy. He must love to work and want to do it to please you, and Irish Setters like most dogs respond extremely well to food training. In the wild, dogs must hunt for their food to stay alive. We can utilize this drive by training our dog for his food. Make a rule that “nothing in life is free” Which means ask your dog to do something, a sit, a down, something, for every meal, and for every titbit, in fact every thing. Training your dog must never become boring for you or your dog. Make it a game, con him, do whatever it takes to make him happy to obtain the desired results.
Obedience training can be likened to that of training a child, a series of repetitions, and rewards to get the message across. An Irish Setter has all the qualities of a young child. They mature later than most breeds; they are often over active, high spirited and lacking concentration. However, they are extremely loving, loyal and eager to please. Puppies are like sponges; they soak up training very fast, so with today’s positive training methods they can be trained at a very early age, from the time you get your puppy home at 8 weeks. Most clubs wont allow puppies under 3 or 4 months in their classes. In the mean time joining a positive puppy socialization class, is a good idea. At the end of this article is a list of books that can help you at home with training your puppy until you can enrol in an obedience school.
Trialling an Irish Setter in official obedience trials can be great fun and very rewarding. It is as competitive as showing but when you succeed you know it was a team effort. It is judged on a series of exercises. You either do well or not. It doesn't matter who's on the end of the lead, or who the judge is, you either pass or fail depending on how much time and effort you put into it. Like most things you don't get anything for nothing. Patience and Perseverance is the name of the game. So come on Irish owners- show the world just how superior and intelligent our breed is, join a training club and let's see more Irish Setters in the trial ring as well as the show ring. YOU CAN DO BOTH.
IMPORTANT POINTS TO OBSERVE WHEN
TRAINING AN IRISH SETTER
1 Start basic training as early as possible.
2. Don't train just after a big meal (dog's meal not yours).
3. Don't train in the heat of the day.
4. Don't call your Irish to you and when he comes reprimand.
5. Don't over train (one or two sessions a day is better than a long session once a week).
6. Never ever lose your temper.
7. Remember to reward the good and ignore the bad.
8. Make the training fun, fun, fun.
9. Always finish training on a happy note.
10. Don't try to go too far too soon.
11. Patience and Perseverance.
12. Be generous with rewards and praise
13. Remember Nothing In Life Is Free.
14. A trained Irish Setter is still a dog and will sometimes make mistakes. Contrary to popular belief, there is no perfect dog (or person either)
For Puppies - The Perfect Puppy by Gwen Bailey
Before & After You Get Your Puppy by Ian Dunbar
For General Training - Don’t Shoot The Dog by Karen Pryor
For Trialling- Purely Positive Training Companion to Competition by Sheila Booth
Clicker Training For Obedience by Morgan Spector
"Clinton" doing well at"Agility" ........... owned & trained by Di Anderson.