Most Irish setters calm down a little after 2-3 years of age. However, Irish setters are known for having a lot of energy, so don’t count on there being a huge difference after 3 years old. Setters love to play, exercise, and be active at any age.
This article explains why owners must be proactive in managing their setter’s energy, and why time alone may not be the answer for a calm sensible setter.
When Will My Irish Setter Calm Down?
After speaking to many setter owners, it seems that their setters calmed down “a little” after around 2 years of age, and for some, it took a little longer.
Notice the “a little”. While there is a difference, it may not be a lot, so if your plan to have a calm setter is purely based on their age, you may not be pleasantly surprised.
Plus, there is no defined moment of change when you will notice a sudden difference one day to the next. In fact, your setter may calm down a little and you don’t even realize!
Why Are Some Irish Setters So Hyper?
For some owners, it may seem like their Irish setter lives life at a steady 100mph, and despite loving them to the moon and back, it gets frustrating.
So why does this happen?
Well, to start with, nothing seems wrong. In fact, Irish setters have always had a lot of energy, and they will continue to have a lot of energy. So it’s perfectly normal for setters to be highly active. To some extent.
This leads me to the next point, setters require a lot of care, time, and attention. They need a lot of exercise, training, entertainment and basically, a lot of your conscious effort. And if just any one of those areas is slightly lacking, your setter will definitely react to it.
Whether it be hyperactivity, disobedience, or destructive behavior, it usually comes out in one way or another.
For the vast majority of dogs, hyperactivity comes down to either not receiving enough physical exercise, mental stimulation, or it’s a combination of both. Physical exercise is more understood than mental stimulation, so it’s typically the mental stimulation that ends up lacking.
Working dogs NEED their minds to be stimulated, otherwise, they rarely get tired, no matter how much physical exercise they get.
This may be the case for your setter, so it’s really important to take an honest look at your setter’s daily routine and consider if any area is lacking.
3 Helpful Ways To Calm Down Your Irish Setter
If your Irish setter is more hyper than you would like, it’s important to take action, as waiting for him to calm down with age is a risky game to play, that you may lose!
One of the most important areas to focus on and improve first will be mental stimulation. This includes carrying out training, playing “nose-work” games, interactive puzzle toys, socializing your setter with other dogs, and even general engagement with him is included (actively playing with him, speaking to him).
Ensure you are incorporating at least 30-60 minutes per day of dedicated mental stimulation. In whichever form you like the most. Improving upon basic command training like “sit, stay, paw, down, and come here” are all great ways to get his mind working.
A solid hour of putting your Irish setter to work will be incredibly satisfying for him, and will likely result in him taking an even longer nap than he would after going for a run!
Here’s a great video of brain activity games:
Physical exercise can’t go ignored either. A healthy Irish setter in their prime should receive 1-2 hours of exercise per day, preferably split up into two sessions.
Setters have a lot of energy and love nothing more than to chase their ball in the field for as long as you can last.
If you aren’t already taking your setter out every single day for this amount of time, it’s really important to work your way up to this level.
Without sufficient physical exercise, your setter will have no choice but to channel his energy into something else, whether that be jumping up at you, whining, pacing up and down, or destroying things.
Socialize your setter more
Socializing your Irish setter with new dogs and strangers is crucially important, yet it may not be something you have considered before.
Dogs being pack animals, need to interact with other dogs and people to remain socially well-behaved and friendly. But the benefits don’t just stop there, the act of socializing is immensely stimulating for dogs… Whether it be with new dogs or new people, this experience is a potent dose of mental stimulation.
An hour of mingling, playing, and sniffing butts with other dogs at the dog park will leave your setter feeling very satisfied, calm, tired, and happy. Nothing beats it.
Thankfully, as more people are becoming aware of how important this is, there are many doggy daycare centers that arrange meet-ups for the sole purpose of socializing their dogs. With a quick Google search, you’ll likely find some in your area. And if you don’t, the dog park is the best place.
Spend more time engaging with your setter
Lastly, general interaction may need to be increased. I know, this may seem like the last thing you want to do when your setter is already at an annoying level of hyperactivity, but it will help.
Dogs crave the attention of their owners, especially setters, who naturally become very attached to their human family.
When dogs don’t receive enough attention from their owners, a whole range of adverse behavioral changes may happen, hyperactivity being just one of them.
So, try to increase the time you spend engaging with your setter. This means playing with him, speaking to him, exercising him, training, and so on.
By giving him more of yourself, you’ll be satisfying a lot of his needs.
Thank you for reading! I hope this has cleared up your questions. By ensuring your Irish setter receives enough mental stimulation, physical exercise, socialization, and attention, he should certainly begin to calm down sooner rather than later.
If you have any comments or would like me to add something, please let me know!