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Help with my stubborn irish setter pup!!

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by harrybear, Jun 7, 2010.


  1. harrybear

    harrybear PetForums Newbie

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    Hi everyone. I'm new to this forum and looking for some advice on training my pup and some advice about the breed! I have a 6 month male who has responded quite well to training so far. he sits, stays (sometimes!), paw, and come (really well!). The trouble is.... he will bite still, although he is slowly coming out of this, however, he his very naughty with my 8 year old daughter. He has bitten her a few times (drawing blood!!) and seems to have asserted a dominance over her that we have tried to get out of him. (We do training with her, ie so that she walks through the door first etc!) He is also very stubborn in the house. He won't follow commands like in your bed or if he comes upstairs, which i've never allowed, he runs around and if you grab him by the collar to get him downstairs he will try to bite!! He is being castrated in a couple of weeks which I hop will help, but I really thought that this breed was quite obedient!! Are we just unlucky or going wrong somewhere??
     
  2. rocco33

    rocco33 PetForums VIP

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  3. leashedForLife

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    hey, harry! :--)

    i would toss the dominance/dumbinance term - dogs have no super-social agenda to overthrow the guvmint and install
    a k9 anarchy. ;) it would be more productive to think in terms of what do we want him to do?, and teach that.
    unless the door goes to a place where the *person* needs to recce first, who goes 1st, 2nd, 3rd really does not matter;
    if this was a formal dinner-party the hostess and guest of honor go first - this MATTERS to humans... not to dogs.

    if its the door to the dining-room, or from kitchen to mud-room, who cares? its immaterial.
    HOW they progress is more important than order - and putting the pup on a leash in the house can help a lot.
    try umbilical-training: attach pup to U via a leash hands-free, by slipping the 6-ft leash around Ur waist, put the clip
    thru the wrist-loop, draw it up to fit, and put the pup on the clip.
    now wherever U go --- he goes. :cool:


    i would toss STUBBORN, too - ;) if he does not understand, he won;t do it; if he hates or fears it, he won;t do it.

    when U say *command* - Does he actually know what bed means? do not assume that he does - test him.
    another issue entirely is, what happens when he goes to his bed? :huh: is he rewarded?
    is he ignored? has he been *punished* by BEING * SENT to his bed? the latter creates a poisoned-cue -
    when he hears that cue, his conditioned emotional response is a powerful aversive + avoidance.

    an analogy --
    imagine that U are 6-YO; every time that U do something more than slightly bad, Ur parent will say,
    go to Ur room, and stay there for X-minutes. theres no TV, the only windows look at the wall of the apt-bldg next door,
    there is no phone, all the toys are old + too familiar, U have read every book...
    how would U feel when U were sent there? U would hate it, i think - and avoid it if possible, which might easily
    mean slipping out the back-door and running to a friends house.


    the only way to turn this around? make going to his bed a Good Thing - he goes there + lies down, U give him a bone.
    a sterilized hollow leg-bone is cheap - pick a thick-walled bone with no chipped or shaved edges;
    fill it with a good-quality canned dog-food (NO wheat, corn / maize, or soy - meat is the first ingredient) and freeze it;
    or if he eats a quality kibble, add 1 part water to 2 parts kibble + put it covered in the frig; when its absorbed the water,
    stuff the bone, and freeze it. Ta-Da!! instant long-lasting busywork. ;)

    see the DogStar Daily website for 2 free books on puppies -
    Before U Get Ur Pup and After... they are free to download -
    Free Downloads | Dog Star Daily

    have him wear a drag (leash) in the house - if he is somewhere U do not want him to be, USE * THE * LEASH -
    don;t grab his collar. re-teach collar grabs as a good thing - start small, touch, treat; repeat till he stops flinching
    and is happy to have his collar touched; now put a finger on it, for longer periods; touch, STAY there - Treat.
    next try slipping ONE finger under, just for a moment - zip, treat... etc.

    find a pos-R group-class with an experienced trainer - What area do U live in?
    check the APDT-uk website for a local trainer, or look on COAPE.

    no breed is *obedient* - they all need to learn, just like kids. Setters are athletic, active, easily distracted,
    happy go lucky, eager dogs; he needs to find YOU more rewarding than his own activities. :thumbup:

    happy training, congrats on the pup! ;) any pics?
    --- terry
     
  4. harrybear

    harrybear PetForums Newbie

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    Thank you very much for your very thorough and informative reply! Lot's of "food for thought"!

    At present he doesn't attend puppy training. He responded so well to us training him for his basic commands that I thought I'd continue on myself. I think that this is probably why I'm struggling to understand why he is so good at some commands and so bad with others. The upstairs thing drives me nuts. He has NEVER been allowed upstairs, but over the last couple of months he makes a beeline for them. Sometimes it's because we re upstairs, but other times he will run up to kids rooms to "steal" a toy. (He already has a couple of their soft toys to play with). Each time I catch him, I point to the bottom of the stairs with the word "down". Sometimes though he will need guiding down. It has been known for me to repeat this process 15 times in a row, before I eventually give up and lock him in the kitchen. I have been consistent with the words and actions, but he still defies!!

    He is the same with the sofa, as I type this, he has run in and jumped on the sofa, whilst I repeat "OFF" over and over whilst pointing to the floor. I used to physically put him on the floor or gently push him off, whilst reinforcing "OFF". It ends up being a stand off whilst he sits and looks at me defiantly. He knows damn well that he is not allowed on there and If I try to get him off, he will try to bite me. Yet other times, if I catch him trying to jump on, I'll say down and he will not go on. (I praise him either way, when he get's on or if he doesn't!!)

    Reading another thread regarding teenage pups, i wonder if this has a lot to do with his behaviour. He is too clever a dog not to associate the word with the action now. I really do think that he has a defiant streak in him!! We met his uncle at the breeders and he was very highly strung, so it seems our little Chester is folowing suit!! LOl.

    I am going to press ahead with the training and look into obediance training, maybe clicker??

    I am also going to book him in for castration tommorow as I'm sure this will help tame him a little.

    I sound like a moaning minnie, but in reality he is a good dog, and I know that we just to be a little firmer with him.
     
  5. leashedForLife

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    what word do U use for lie on the floor or drop on cue or on Ur belly?

    a management suggestion -
    before U go downstairs (U being the grown-up), close every upstairs door... even the bathroom, any closet, etc.
    he is not defying U - i will lay $20 that what U thought U taught, and what he learned, are 2 different things. ;)
    for all i know, he thinks being chased around the 2nd-floor is a game of keep-away, and when U get angry,
    hes p*ssed-off at Ur rude behavior; its just a game, why are U so angry?
    of course, i cannot **know** that - i am only offering another possibility.

    also, i must point-out that U have not even been consistent in writing about the cues that U use - :eek: which makes it very
    unlikely that U are truly consistent in the heat of the moment, while frustrated + impatient, in real-life.
    so which is it? down or off?
    dogs do not learn verbal cues readily, which is why i usually teach the behavior FIRST, using a hand or body-cue,
    then after the dog gets fairly-fluent at the behavior (doing it 4 out of 5 on the first non-verbal signal, AKA 80% success)
    i add the verbal label WITH the already-familiar hand or body-cue as a bridge; within a few days to a week, depending
    on how much the dog practices the behavior in real-life scenarios, most dogs will perform the behavior with the VERBAL alone.
    but the hand-cue or body-parl is always the easier to learn, and the faster to elicit the behavior; if i SAY *sit*, the dog must
    think about what that means, translate label to action; if i SIGNAL *sit*, the butt is on the way down before my hand
    completes the gesture.
    but whatever U use as a verbal-label, it has to be consistent - it can be Down to lie-down,
    and Off to get off the sofa, but U cannot interchange them.
    he is 6-MO - how old was he on arrival?
    when did U begin training fairly regularly? i really think its sheer misunderstanding, and not willful at all.
    clicker-training would probably help a LOT - the confusion of labels is largely alleviated, and the desired behavior
    is clearly + audibly marked for the dog, with a sound that does not vary, is unique + unmistakable. :thumbup: excellent idea!


    think of the CLICK! as a camera-shutter - whatever the dog is doing when U snap that photo, thats what U will get -
    so timing is important, but its very forgiving: if U click too early or too late, just reward that one anyway (it was Ur error),
    but when the dog offers the mistakenly-marked behavior, *ignore it* - do not click or reward it, and it will quickly fade.

    i have to go run an errand, but if U will give me 10-minutes to train with U + the dog long-distance, i can start getting
    the sofa-problem sorted, when i get back? C U then,
    --- terry
     
  6. harrybear

    harrybear PetForums Newbie

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    Hi Terry, sorry i didn't get back to you sooner, I was out dog walking!!

    Anyway, to clarify the sofa thing, I ALWAYS use "OFF", I probably typed down as I was trying to actually get the dog off the sofa as I typed. lol. Actually, as I am typing now I have had to get him off 5 times. Now 6..!

    I use only this word and never lose my temper. It has occured that it may be for attention, so i do it firmly and never vary. The same with the stairs thing, I was aware at first that the kids giggling when he did it may fuel him. Now they too have learnt to just lead him downstairs with the same command and not make a fuss. Actually, it hadn't even occured to me to shut the doors, DOH!. 7 Times now, er 8!! I have one eye on him and praise him when he is making towards the sofa, but not jumping on!! 9 times...!

    His commands are as follows: Sit - self explanatory, Lay - lie down, leave it - not to touch, Stay, gentle - when taking treats, Off - off the sofa ( 10 times!!) Down - get down stairs, Heel - for walking when he pulls.(We stop and when the leash slackens, we say heel and walk again, I know a little unconventional, but we started with heel to stop him pulling and didn't want him to get confused if that makes sense!!) When I want to train him to actually "heel" I'll use "side". We also use busy, busy for toilet.

    I hope this clarifies. My explanations may be jumbled, but we are (as a family) consistent in his commands which is why I don't understand why the sofa thing is such a battle! 11 times now. Phew!!

    Thanks for taking the time to give me your advice.
     
  7. harrybear

    harrybear PetForums Newbie

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    I should also mention that we got him at 8 weeks. We started training him straight away, firstly toilet training, which he was amazing at. He was 90% clean within 2 weeks and the odd accident stopped by 14 weeks. He was also "Holding himself" by this age too. We began basic commands, sit, stay around the same time. In general he is a very good dog. He is not generally destructive, just playful. He is "my dog" really as I am at home all day and do most of his training. (I'm mummy, despite the user name!!)
     
  8. Sleeping_Lion

    Sleeping_Lion Banned

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    Bear with me, I'm a learner too!

    First off, dog/puppy training classes are MOST beneficial for you. They will help you learn how to handle your dog, and even after several years of dog ownership, you will still recognise *bits* that you get wrong, I'm still learning!

    Your dog has learnt some commands in situ, but also learnt, if I am reading your posts right, that he can ignore commands, you say you can give a command 15 times - every time you repeat a command it is devalued, ie the dog learns an instant response isn't required, it can potter about, sniff grass, eat mud, perhaps glance in your direction, etc, etc. Rule number one from the puppy class I went to, never give a command unless you know your dog will understand and respond, VERY important.

    Your praise seems a little odd, for example, if I recall my two, if they do an instant recall, great, if they don't not so great, ie, the praise is less depending on their response. They are only praised when they get things a hundred percent right, otherwise I'd be encouraging them to behave less than perfect to get my praise, if that makes sense?

    The last thing I'll say, is that in my brief experience of setters, they aren't the brainiest of dogs (this coming from the owner of chocolate Labradors remember) but are very capable of learning the basics very well. One thing you may not have considered with his standing there and not responding, is, as a HPR, he's bred to *do* something, he might be at the beginning of that behaviour, rather than being defiant, in your eyes.
     
  9. theevos5

    theevos5 PetForums VIP

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    have you got a throw that is usually on the sofa,or does he have a fav blanket?we got Alfie to stop going on the sofa by using the throw on the floor,as a special place for him,called it his MAT and we direct him to it for treats and made it a nice place to be,its also a place that he sits at when the doorbell rings,i say mat and he goes and waits,when visitors come he lays on his mat and waits for treats rather than jumping all over them:)
    I know how frustrating it can be when you feel that they are totally ignoring you,or you are doing the same thing 50 times a day but hold in there,there is light at the end of the tunnel.....honest:D
     
  10. leashedForLife

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    hey, harry! :--)
    no worries - i was out grocery-shopping, :lol: missed one bus by 5-mins to come back, and had to sit for 90-mins to catch
    the next connection. Whew! everything is unpacked + away, i am eating (cold) southwestern-bean soup, its delish, with multi-grain crackers, mmmm.
    is he wearing his *leash* as a drag, so U can use the leash (not his collar, not a verbal cue, not a gesture)
    to gently but firmly encourage him OFF the sofa, and reward him for 4 on the floor?


    this boy needs more exercise, hun. :huh: how much run-around time does he get?
    not walks, i mean real gallops - is there a safe fenced area that he can really rip with another pup, or chase balls?
    do U play tug with him? do U have a 30-ft long-line so he can run around U in an open area, a field, meadow or beach?
    install an eye-bolt in the baseboard + clip him to it with an 18-inch long double-ended cable, with swivel-snaps;
    Tethered to Success

    he can have a comfy mat or bed there, with a chew-toy or stuffed-food-puzzle to work on.
    or simply UMBILICAL him to U, with his 6-ft leash; if he is attached to U, he cannot be ripping off up the steps,
    nor leaping on the sofa.

    control first, as *brian kilcommons* says; then train. U cannot train while he gallops in + out of the room. ;)

    happy training, hope U get a leash on Haleys comet :lol:
    --- terry
     
  11. Freyja

    Freyja PetForums VIP

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    Irish setters are not stupid they are quite clever but they can be stubborn and are clowns. I have a 4year old bitch and she is a one person dog OH says jump she says how high. I say jump she just ignores me.

    I would definitely try the puppy classes with him he is just starting his teenage years so just like a teenage child will try to push the boundaries. As for the bitting Zoe mouths a lot she will catch hold of your arm or your hand and just hold it gently in her mouth. She is the only setter that I have owned so I don't know if this is just a breed thing or just a Zoe thing.
     
  12. harrybear

    harrybear PetForums Newbie

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    Hi. Thanks for everyones input. As we speak chester is curled up under my feet and NOT on the sofa!! YAY!

    In answer to some comments; there is no throw on the sofa. He does have a blanket though, which he is encouraged to lie on if in a room without his bed.

    Chester is walked a minimum of 2 walks per day for at least an hour. All of the hour is off the leash in an open space or wooded area. He loves to fetch, so we take a ball too. If I have the time, he is walked at lunchtime too for half an hour. (Again I try to let him have 20mins free play)

    I am going to enrol him in puppy classes and try clicker training. I'll let you know how I get on.
     
  13. harrybear

    harrybear PetForums Newbie

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    Quick reply. Booked chester in for castration today and as I wont be able to attend puppy training for a couple of weeks (he is also having a hernia and undecended testicle sorted too -poor thing!!) I bought a clicker and decided to start the basics!!

    WHAT A REVELATION!!!! As I type, Chester is asleep on his blanket ON THE FLOOR. He has only tried to get on the sofa twice, but each time I have commanded Off and he has obeyed with a click and treat! No need for a leash or any other great tips. He is naturally a scavenger so is eager to please for a treat!!

    A HUGE thank you for everybody's support on here, I'll update further and try to get some piccies of my good boy on!!!:thumbup:
     
  14. leashedForLife

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    Hurrah! :thumbup: and a > click! < for U, too... good human! :D
     
  15. Setter

    Setter PetForums Member

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    HI, well done on your progress so far and just to add my support as an Is owner! My Is Reuben is 12 months old and is very stubborn and in the throes of being a teenager. However with consistent training a firm but gentle hand his behaviour is quite good. He will push the boundaries alot but does now listen to my commands and us fairly obedient. Stick with it and as I keep being told when they have matured, Is are a real pleasure to own. Reuben hasn't been castrated as yet as we can't decide whether to do it because of the negative effect it can have on some setters coat. I a member of a fab site called exclusively setters and the other experienced owners has helped me loads. If you want to join it then you need to be invited which I can do if you give me your email address.
    Hope you are enjoying Chester and all his antics and probably already realised just what an affectionate breed ISetters are!!!!
     
  16. elise251

    elise251 PetForums Newbie

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    I was also going to suggest joining exclusivly setters, though you don't need to be invited to be able to join.
    In my opinion setters are an extreamly easy to train dog, you just have to stick to it, I have 4 of them!!!!

    Oh and they are stubborn, and do understand exactly what we are asking and chasing around a room is a good excuse to play, its how they are and how they will be untill they are taken from us.
     
  17. pip5869

    pip5869 PetForums Junior

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    Hi everyone it's been a while since i've been on the site and so I am catching up.
    Bronte will be 2yrs on Monday where has the time gone!!

    Harrybear your setter just sounds like mine was at that age never thought I would get anywhere with her. My poor son regularly got his ankles nipped when they ran round the garden.
    As for the mouthing it does get better it is a setter trait I believe, as lots of others I have spoken to say the same. Bronte does it when she gets really excited especially when my husband is playing with her.

    I am naughty as I have let my Bronte come on my bed and on the sofa, she like her cuddles and so do I!!!

    Castration in boys is meant to calm them down but oh their lovely red coat then turns dull fluffy orange.

    Setters do have a brain and a very clever one at that.
    I had Labs previously and yes they are easier to train but you have so much more fun with a setter.

    Leashedforlife some great advice even for me. I am beginning to get my head round how they think.
    I have been doing training twice a week all summer and have really enjoyed it, we work as a team more now.
    I still have to learn to trust her to come back to me. She does it really well in training but I still walk her on 3 horses lunge lines tied together when we walk around the airfield, so she can still have free running.

    My daughter let her of the lead yesterday and she walked all the way round coming back when the other dogs we walk with came back, 2 Great Danes and a Black lab (airfield is about 3 miles wide so you can understand my concern as she has legged it into the distance before so you can't see her)

    Anyway waffled enough good luck to you Harrybear with your little boy.:)
     
  18. puneeta

    puneeta PetForums Newbie

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    Hi I just got a 3 month and two weeks Irish Retriever male Pup !

    I have MANY questions :) He is lovely but driving me crazy as his fav toy is my i Phone !

    I need to start training him is now a good time or t0o late ?

    Any site which can help me signal train him ,

    I have a read many references to clicker training , what is that ?

    All help will be welcome I am quite lost :)
     
  19. smokeybear

    smokeybear PetForums VIP

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    Dog Training Overview | Karen Pryor Clickertraining
    ClickerSolutions Training Articles Contents
    Dog Training | Articles | Dee Ganley Dog Trainer | NH


    It is never too early or too late to train a dog

    Clicker Training Site above

    Some excellent books for puppy training:

    Sophia Yin Perfect Puppy in 7 days
    Brenda Aloff Puppy Problems? No problem
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    Gwen Bailey The Perfect Puppy

    HTH
     
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