Do not assume that because the Irish Setter is a large dog, he requires hours of exercise every day from the moment he is able to go out. It is not a good idea to give your puppy free running, except in the garden, until he is about four months old and then only about 15 minutes a day until he is about 6 months old. The Irish Setter grows very quickly and hips, joint muscles and ligaments can be permanently damaged by too much exercise too young. You can gradually increase exercise until he is 12 months old. He can be road walked from the age of 6 months, but again only for a short period, gradually increasing the time as he gets older. The minimum requirement for exercise for an adult is between 30-45 minutes, preferably free running once a day. A walk round the block is not enough and if he doesn’t get sufficient, regular exercise he will become bored, hyperactive and possibly destructive, although, occasionally will manage with about 20-minutes a day quite happily. Exercise can be built around your family commitments to some extent but Irish are creatures of habit
Again, it is not a good idea to allow your Irish Setter to climb stairs or jump on and off furniture, or at least not in excess, until he is 12 months old. Until this age his bones are soft and can be damaged easily by such activity. It may lead to damaged hips and shoulders, which in turn could lead to health problems later on. Once his bones have hardened off at approximately 12 months old, these activities will not stress his bones.
Your puppy will be happy running around and getting used to meeting people and dogs on his walk. Try to go to the same place at the same time every day and have regular reward points (biscuit stops) on the way round so he comes back to you and gets a biscuit.
However, the day will come, probably when he is about 7 months old, when he decides not to come back! Don't lose your temper or chase after him. Try shouting his name and when he looks at you, start running in the opposite direction. Yes, the opposite direction! He may then run after you, or he may not! Be patient and wait, keep shouting his name and do not wander too far, as he will know where he left you!!
When you are exercising your Setter use a collar and lead, but make sure it is very secure and that he cannot slip his head out of it (i.e. over the ears). However, if your Setter pulls on the lead and most do, no matter how much you train them, try either a ‘Halti’ or a ‘Gentle Leader’ head collar. Do not use a choke chain as they are not necessary and also damage the fur around his neck.
Always carry plastic bags so that you can clean up when necessary.
Remember, never exercise immediately after meals and never feed immediately after exercise.