The Irish Setter is a very enthusiastic and affectionate breed that is eager to form bonds with human owners and do anything in its power to please them. At the same time, they exhibit a very individualistic personality and once they have established certain habits, it can be hard to change them. As such, it's important to begin training your Irish Setter from a very young age, and to take the proper approach when doing so.
Socialization is one of the most important aspects of training the Irish Setter. This means that he or she should begin to be introduced to humans, including children, as well as other dogs and animals from a young age so that he or she can become used to their presence. Otherwise, an Irish Setter can display an excess of exuberance that could result in a small animal or child being injured by an entirely well meaning but over-excited animal who simply wasn't aware of his or her own size and strength.
The Irish Setter is a breed that is eager to please. As such, they thrive on training environments where their good behavior is positively reinforced and they're allowed to spend a lot of time with their owners and develop a strong bond with them. Though they can be a stubborn breed and that makes it very important to be consistent with your discipline (as well as your rewards). Becoming frustrated and reprimanding your Irish Setter in too harsh a manner can be an emotionally devastating experience for him or her and it might very well lead to anxiety problems that make further learning difficult for the animal. A lot of patience is required with this breed, but the results are well worth the investment.
Irish Setters are an intelligent breed and thus they learn better when their training consists of a lot of varied activities and rewards. Simply repeating the same commands over and over for a long period of time will result in an animal that is bored and who loses the desire to please that is so critical in training the Irish Setter.
The Irish Setter is not only a large dog, it's a dog that was bred for work. This means that the breed's exercise needs can be relatively high. Unless the Irish Setter is appropriately exercised, he or she might have too much pent-up energy and frustration to focus on training and an otherwise trainable dog will become a stubbornly unresponsive one.
If you plan to use your Irish Setter as a hunting dog at all, you'll need to adopt this into your early training as well. Typically, the use of domesticated pigeons for teaching tracking in conjunction with basic commands for stopping and posture correction will suffice and allow the breed's natural instincts to shine through.