As puppies Gordon Setters should have a glossy and easy to care for coat with little feathering. Often the tail feathering is the first to appear as it seems to unwind along with feathering on the front legs. It is important to brush your puppy daily or at the very least 2-3 times a week using a soft bristle brush and a comb for the ears. Although you may think this is not necessary as they have little coat it teaches the puppy to bond with you, the owner, and gets it used to being brushed and handled. When the puppy is older or an adult with coat and feathering it will relish this special time with you and this will be beneficial to its general physical and mental well being. The dog can be checked for signs of fleas, ticks, burrs and thorns from their romp in the woods. Their nails can be checked and clipped if required, checking between their toes and in the eyes and ears for foreign bodies such as grass seeds and thorns. The bristle brush will stimulate the skin and remove excess dust and dirt and a wide toothed comb through the now more abundant feathering on the legs, tail and fore chest will remove any knots and bits of undergrowth caught. A setter will grow hair between their toes which is suggested you trim together with the hair under the foot to reduce the incidence of those afore mentioned grass seeds, this also helps to reduce feet from bringing, into the house, excess mud and water in the winter months. Removing the hair from behind the ears during one of your grooming sessions is also a good idea as often this is forgotten and can get very knotted.

Length and quality of coat is genetic but you can influence this to a degree by feeding a good quality food along with a healthy well kept setter. Which leads onto bathing your setter. This can be done quite safely every couple of weeks especially if your setter is one that enjoys lying in muddy puddles or rolling in the unmentionable smelly fox pooh!!! Using a good quality dog shampoo and a dog coat conditioner regularly is fine, follow the directions on the product. If need be you can use a very mild human shampoo such as a baby variety. Make sure all excess shampoo and conditioner is thoroughly removed from the coat using warm water throughout the bathing procedure. Towel dry and if a nice warm sunny day your setter can finish drying in the garden or if cold dry use a hair dryer set on the middle setting and keep him in the warm until totally dry. When dry brush the coat through for a lovely clean and sweet smelling Gordon…………..well until the next time they find the unmentionable!

Teeth should also be checked weekly. If you want you can introduce a soft tooth brush from about 4 months of age as part of the grooming routine but Gordon Setters teeth generally do not require any brushing especially if they have some form of item to chew on, nylon bones being very safe, hygienic and enjoyable.

Carry out your grooming routine daily or weekly, it is down to you but to have clean well presented setter is a delight and a pleasure be it a companion or as your new show prospect.

Suggested items for your grooming box, see ‘links’ for some web sites where these items can be obtained

A bristle brush…..mainly for the body

A metal comb with small and wide teeth…..for ears and feathering

A pin brush…..for the feathering before using the metal comb

A pair of nail clippers

A pair of hairdressing type scissors…..mainly for feet and ears

Shampoo and conditioner

Some old towels

Often people ask me what food I feed my dogs. There is no hard and fast rule that says my choice of food is the best or the worse. The food you feed starts with what the breeder of your setter has raised him on and if this continues to suit your new addition and your pocket then by all means continue. I find there is no need to chop and change foods as overall Gordon Setters are good eaters. I personally use a QUALITY complete dried food and there are many on the market. The cheaper dried ones tend to be high in grains and not meat and as dogs as carnivores meat is a main dietary requirement. I do give my adults left over table scraps such as gravy and cooked meat or vegetables which are added to their next meal, never at the table or after we have eaten, always to their own bowl of food. Once a week I add tinned tuna or tinned pilchards in tomato sauce as a treat. They also enjoy raw vegetables such as carrots, broccoli stalks and yes the occasional digestive biscuit amongst other things. My puppies leave me with a comprehensive puppy pack which gives my feeding instructions which starts with a 7-8 week old puppy being fed 4 meals a day reducing to 2 meals which I suggest to continue with for the animals life time. All my adults are wormed every 3 months with something like Drontal wormer tablets.

Bedding for your setter is also a personal choice, there are so many types on the market but as Gordon Setters puppies can be great chewers I would certainly suggest in the first instance a cardboard box or one of the good hard plastic dog beds, save smart doggy duvets for adults.

Overall Gordon Setters are good travellers but I strongly suggest you purchase a cage, or crate as often called, for the rear of the car. Firstly they travel safely without fear that they may jump over the seat and help drive your car which is highly dangerous for you, your dog and other road users. If your car is involved in an accident your dog will not be catapulted forward which can cause injuries or worse fatalities to you, your passenger or the dog. Also if your setter should be a chewer your car is not quietly destroyed. My Gordon Setters love the car and their cages so much so that they are happy to sit in there whilst the car is on the driveway in the hope a walk might be in the offering.

A word on cars and warm weather……………PLEASE DO NOT leave your dog in the car on warm, cloudy or hot days even with the windows open, the car in the shade and water available, your car can become like an oven and your dog could suffer heat stroke and die. Far better to leave him at home and arrange for someone to pop in and let him out.

Your new addition will require a course of vaccinations and yearly boosters against the major diseases. The vaccination is normally a single injection which covers distemper, leptospirosis, hardpad and hepatitis with a separate one for kennel cough. If you wish to get your setter pet pass ported then firstly he will require a microchip, if not already done, a rabies vaccination followed by a blood test 21-28 days post rabies vaccination to check his immunity levels. All this can be discussed with your vet whom you should try and have a good relationship with as you never know what time of the day or night you may have to call on their services. I strongly suggest you also take out some form of insurance against illness, accident and third party liability, there are many on the market with various cover options and premiums. Make sure you read all the small print and purchase one that fits your criteria.

So to finish be a responsible owner and follow these simple steps and see ‘links’ especially The Kennel Club as this has lots of information on training, such as the Good Citizen Scheme and activities to do with your dog as well as information on dog law, holidays and much more.

  • Keep your dog vaccinations up to date.

  • Worm at least 2 -4 times a year and pick up faeces both at home and in public places.

  • Your dog by law must wear a collar and a tag with at least your home and mobile telephone number on and a disc that says ‘I am microchipped please scan me’

  • Do some form of basic training.

  • Exercise daily, good for you and the dog.

  • Do not leave your dog in a car on warm or hot days.

  • Do not let your dog be a nuisance to other dog owners or members of the public, not everyone likes dogs.

  • Insure your dog, you never know when you might have the need to call upon it.

Keep your dog in good condition with good food, lots of love and care and hopefully you will have a companion to be proud and happy to own for many years. If at any time you require help your first port of call is to contact your breeder who will be able to help or suggest someone who can.


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