Now that you've decided on a Gordon Setter, what method will you employ to train your new pup? The crate method has been gaining momentum with many dog owners, and it can work for you too! If you've decided on a larger breed such as the Gordon Setter, you will find this method simple and so will your new pet. Basically, crate-training involves a large airline-style crate or metal cage that is big enough for your Setter to sit, stand and turn around in. This crate will be used to confine your Gordon Setter when you or your family will not be home to supervise.
Why it's good
Wild dogs, like the Gordon Setter often live in dens in the wild. Dens are like caves that provide protection and shelter from the elements and predators; this is why you often find dogs balled up in a corner or dark spot in any room. Using the crate method to train your Gordon Setter is no different, depending on you, of course. If you make your dog's crate a safe haven for your dog to retire to when he's tired or sleepy, it will be a cinch to get him there before you leave for work.
Crate training your Gordon Setter will decrease the incidences of anxiety-related destruction in your home. Like most puppies when left alone, Gordon Setters suffer from separation anxiety and the only way they can shake off some of that nervous energy is to play, or more accurately destroy your home. More importantly, you can use the crate method to potty-train your Gordon Setter.
How to make it work for you
In order to successfully crate-train a Gordon Setter, you should always begin training in a positive way. Make sure the crate has a comfortable and clean blanket laid out inside, a chew-toy and even a few doggy treats to coax your pet. Making the crate more like a home than a cage will illustrate to your puppy that this is a safe and comfortable place that belongs only to him. Adding treats to the crate will give your Gordon Setter an added motivation to acclimate to the cage. If you use the cage as a means of punishment, the only thing it will train your dog to do is gain attention by barking obsessively. Be sure to always use the same name for the crate. If you decide to call it "crate" rather than "bed" or "home", that's acceptable as long as you keep it consistent.
Let your Gordon Setter get used to the crate as well: put treats at the far end away from the door and lead him or her to the crate and let it wander in and out to get used to it. The younger you begin this training the better, the longer you wait, the more difficult it will be to break your Setter of his bad habits.