An obedience trainer must be clever and resourceful in teaching obedience skills to English Setter. Also, an English Setter's soft disposition means that harsh corrections are counter-productive in the training process.
Setters are working dogs with a strong chase/retrieve drive. By natural instinct, they live and love to chase things. A Setter will run after just about anything that moves, just for the fun of it. Deer, squirrels, birds, opossums, cats, and even a plastic bag floating in the wind represents a rowdy game of chase to most fun loving Setters. If there is no boundary (fence) to stop the golden, the game will continue into the next county.
Do not expect your Setter to be a very obedient dog. Having a Setter requires a lot of patience, and quite often Setters will run off doing whatever they want. The relationship between the owner and the Setter is entirely based on trust. Hitting the dog will not make him more obedient, in fact, he will likely become less obedient.
If the Setter does not come when called for, do not be harsh on him when he eventually comes. Instead of waiting, go and get him yourself, and lead him back to the place where you called out for him. The reason dogs strides or detours when called for is usually because of uncertainty, or he expects to be punished. Starting yelling at him to make him come to you will only make things worse. Make it habit of kneeling down when you call for him, and pat him when he comes.
In my experience, the best way to "punish" a Setter is simply to order him to lay down in a corner at the opposite side of the room from myself for about an hour or so (don't do this to often though). If he tries to get up, I order him back down. Because Setters are so loving and caring, the bare thought of not being able to be near you is enough for the Setter to realize that he has done something wrong, and that he has to improve to be "allowed" into the "family" again.
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