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My Irish Red and White Setters are active yet easy going dogs. A day doesn't go by when I don't think of how lucky I am to have them in my life. There are several things I enjoy doing with my dogs, such as hunting, obedience trials, showing, being outside, and just spending time with them.

First and most important, I simply enjoy spending time with them. They are good company in the house. Much of the time they can be found lounging around the house, either in their crates in the basement or in some other part of the house. Yes, they do like to spend time in their crates, especially in the summer when the rest of the house is hot. Despite their couch-potato tendencies, they do need exercise and will get creative when bored--Ciaran and Sally once removed the cardboard cores from several rolls of toilet paper without doing much damage to speak of to the paper itself.

Tweed dozing on sofa

The dogs love to hike in the summer and even to be out when it is -15F in the winter. They will object a little when it gets much colder than that. In summer we hike in parts of the Superior National Forest as well in other areas of forest. They prefer it if we go places where they can do some swimming when it is too hot. In winter we enjoy dog sledding and, more recently, skijoring in the same places. Well, the dogs aren't so keen on pulling the sled. However, Tweed and Ciaran seem to find it fun to pull me on my skis.

Two other activities that I like to participate in with my dogs is formal obedience training for trials and showing Sally in the breed ring. Sally is my show dog. The American Kennel Club fully recognized the Irish Red and White Setter on 1 January 2009. I took Sally to the first show in the state of Minnesota that first weekend in January. It was a pleasure to see so many IRWSs together in one show. I hope to have lots more fun with Sally in the conformation ring as the opportunity arises.

Obedience is something I have been doing with the boys. Tweed finished his Companion Dog (CD) in Duluth, in July 2008, at the age of eight. He was somewhat of a challenge in the obedience ring. For him, exploring and meeting new people are much more important than some silly heeling pattern. Ciaran's CD was less of a challenge to earn and he did so in both Canada and the United States. I am now working with Ciaran to get his Companion Dog Excellent title. He is nearly eleven and knows something that will make the CDX more of a challenge than the CD. That is, he knows it is easier to retrieve that dumbbell by going around the high jump rather than over it. We are working on an agreement.

Ciaran, the wise guy

While all of my dogs enjoy spending time with me doing different things, they basically tolerate those activities because we are doing them together, whether me with one dog or with all of them. What they truly enjoy, what they would love to do every day of the year, is hunting. Whether searching for Ruffed Grouse in the forest or for Chukar Partridge at a field trial, my dogs live for birds. If I could have my way, that is waht we would do all the time. Alas, I must earn a living, thus limiting available time to be in the field.

Sally On a Hilltop