How to Care for an Irish Setter

By J. Lang Wood


The Irish setter is a striking dog, with a gleaming red coat and a lighthearted personality. Irish setter coat colors vary from rich red to dark mahogany. The Irish setter loves to romp and play, and has a reputation as being a challenge to train. This breed needs some open space to romp and is not suitable for small apartments. The Irish setter is generally easy to care for and does well with mature children. The Irish setter is happiest when interacting with his family and can become mischievous when left alone for long periods of time.

Step 1

Feed your puppy a high-quality puppy food three times a day until he is 6 months old. Then reduce the feedings to twice each day. This breed tends to suffer from bloat, an intestinal condition that causes blockage and distension of the abdomen. Feed adult dogs smaller meals twice each day rather than one large meal daily.

Step 2

Housetrain your puppy by taking it outdoors on a leash after meals and 20 minutes after drinking water. Praise for correct behavior. Keep the puppy in a crate or in a room with a washable floor when you cannot watch him. Irish setters are fastidious animals; they housebreak easily.

Step 3

Begin training an Irish setter puppy early, as soon as the dog has acclimated to his new home, to avoid behavior problems, the Dog Breed Info website advises. The Irish setter may challenge your authority. Conduct regular, daily training sessions and be consistent with commands. Reward the dog with treats for good behavior. Do not allow poor performance. Go over the training repeatedly until the dog obeys consistently. This breed responds better to praise and treats than to negative training such as jerking on the leash.

Step 4

Teach your Irish setter to not jump on humans by gently tipping him backward when he attempts to jump on you. Irish setters have an exuberant nature and easily become jumpers unless trained not to do so.

Step 5

Exercise your Irish setter for an hour each day to prevent behavior problems. Irish setters are high-energy dogs that need both long walks and time romping in the yard.

Step 6

Groom your Irish setter’s coat every two weeks with a stiff brush and metal comb, removing debris in the fur and untangling mats that may have occurred from romping outdoors. Give a daily brushing to control shedding. Carefully trim long feathering on ears to keep it from hanging in the food bowl. Trim the hair on the bottom of the feet to prevent matting. You can also trim tail feathering to prevent messiness after defecation.

Step 7

Administer flea and tick treatments as recommended to prevent the setter from picking up pests on his long hair during long walks and romps outdoors.
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