Dutch & Rosie

Discussion in 'Labrador Rescue' started by Annie in the bundu, Oct 27, 2015.

  1. Annie in the bundu

    Annie in the bundu Registered Users

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    Help! I took on two 3 year old brother & sister black labs 3 weeks ago. They have been labelled "problem dogs" & I am their third owner. As far as I can tell, they've been taught (somewhat ) to walk on a lead but they have no manners. They've been outside dogs & only taken out of the garden for a walk but I want them to be part of our family as our previous dogs have all been. In the time I've had them they've learnt to take a treat from my hand without taking my hand too & I've sorted out the feeding so it's not a scrum/ free for all. I walk them every morning, about 4kms, which they love. The problem is the things they do when I'm not there to reprimand them. For example, they'll go into the kitchen & pull things from the sink but I can't correct them because I don't actually see them doing it. Previously our dogs have always slept in the laundry at night with the outside door open so they can come & go but these 2 just chew everything they can reach in the laundry overnight. Again, I'm not there to catch them in the act, but if they are outside at night, they behave really well. Also, if they catch sight of our cat (who has moved herself upstairs), they go ballistic! I'm determined not to give up on them because they have really sweet natures & are lovely dogs. My attitude is that they are not naughty just untrained & I fully realise that the brother/sister combination is part of the problem. I just need a bit of help in order to help them. Suggestions please. Annie
     
  2. Karen

    Karen Moderator Forum Supporter

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    Hi Annie and welcome to the forum from Poppy and me. I think that crate training might save your sanity! especially in this stage until the two have learned what is allowed and what is not in their new home.

    But mainly - hang in there, it's early days and it will take a while. There are lots of people on here who have rescue dogs, and who will be able to give you lots of concrete advice.
     
  3. Karen

    Karen Moderator Forum Supporter

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    By the way, I've moved your post to 'Labrador Rescue', as I think you'll get more of a response on that board. Hope that's ok!
     
  4. Rosie

    Rosie Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Hello Annie - welcome to the forum from me and yellow Pongo! I'm sure you will get lots of great advice here - I'm not an expert but there are lots of very experienced and helpful people here. You are doing a great thing to give these two boys a good second chance.

    Are you in the UK?

    Rosie
     
  5. snowbunny

    snowbunny Administrator Forum Supporter

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    Hi Annie and welcome to the forum from me and my twins, Willow and Shadow. It certainly sounds like you have your hands full!

    The modern methods of training are more about teaching your dog the right way, rather than correcting them for doing something wrong. This means not telling them off for doing the wrong things, but setting them up for success. It sounds like the absolute biggest thing you can do right now is ensure there is nothing they can reach. My Willow is a counter surfer, so I have simply learnt not to leave anything on the surfaces in the kitchen. She's slowly realising that there is nothing there of any interest; she'll still have a look, just in case, but it's becoming less frequent. You just have to ensure that you're not giving them the opportunity to self-reward by getting to stuff, because otherwise it will be nearly impossible to train out. Same thing with the laundry. Move everything inappropriate out of reach. When you leave them, give them kongs, stuffed with something tasty and frozen, to occupy them and give them something they are allowed to chew.

    As for the cat, it's great she can go upstairs to get away from the dogs; it's important she has a place she can feel safe. With this issue, you need to train your dogs to be calm around the cat. This will be more easily done individually. Training two dogs at the same time is very difficult (believe me, I know!) and with something like this, you will almost certainly fail if you try it. Get a pot of very tasty treats and one dog, on a lead. Have someone bring in the cat at a distance the dog can cope with without being nutty. Mark and reward for calmness. Over time - potentially a long time and many, many short sessions, depending on how ingrained the behaviour is - you can decrease the distance and increase the movement of the cat - but only one of these at a time, so you're always making one thing easier (eg farther away) as you make the other thing harder (eg introducing movement). Once you have guaranteed calmness with both dogs individually, you can start, right at the beginning again, with both dogs together.

    In the meantime, it's a really good idea to train lots of "nice" behaviours, that are contradictory to bad ones. For example, training them to go to a mat, to settle down etc. Once these cues are strong, you can use them in situations where you need them to be chilling out or out from under your feet.

    Good luck and keep in touch to tell us how you're getting on.
     
  6. MaccieD

    MaccieD Guest

    Hi and welcome. Some great advice already from Karen and Fiona. Let us know how training goes
     
  7. Cath

    Cath Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Hi Annie and welcome to the forum from Fred and me. Great advice already given to you form Karen and Fiona and Yes get 2 big crates :D
     
  8. Dexter

    Dexter Moderator Forum Supporter

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    Oh well done you ,giving them this chance .I bet it's incredibly challenging at times.there must feel like so many things to fix at the moment but you are making progress.....I agree with Karen ,if you can get them comfortable with a crate in the house then they,your house and your things are safe when you can't supervise them...even when you are there,popping them in with a frozen kong will give you a breather if things are hectic.If this isn't a possibility ,separating an area for them is an alternative...child gates will help you with that.We rearranged out utility room for Dexter ...all that was in there was his crate and this was gated off from the kitchen,so he could see and hear us.....gradually he was allowed more and more freedom and access to the house.
    Good luck and come and chat if you need any help.Dexter is our first dog ,he is 3 now so I haven't got a vast amount of experience myself but you will find a lot of help and resources within the forum and the Labrador Site
    Best wishes
    Angela x
     
  9. Emily

    Emily Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Hi Annie, nothing to add, just wanted to say hi from me and my choccy girl Ella ☺

    Looking forward to following your progress ☺
     
  10. Beanwood

    Beanwood Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Well done you for taking on these two labs..do you have any photos? :)

    I think it really is a challenge taking on a dog who is used to living outside in many respects. 3 weeks is still very, very early days in my opinion,especially as it sounds like they have a slightly chequered past :)

    Removing anything form work surfaces helps, so as has been suggested with respect to chewing, so they can't self reward. Chewing can be a sign of anxiety or boredom. Not uncommon in your situation. With dogs that have lived outside a routine really,really helps, they have been unused to human routines of day and night. Exercise and mental stimulation throughout the day, so they are well rested before bedtime. We didn't allow out rescue to take long naps initially, yes he rested, but we did a lot of gentle training throughout so at night he naturally slept quite deeply. Splitting up the exercise and training sessions helps too, so they are tired before bedtime.

    Crate training is really useful, does take slightly longer to train adult dogs. We are rehabbing a young dog from Cyprus, who was nervous, poorly and had never been in a house before it really has been a challenge. 6 weeks in and we are seeing real progress, so it really can take a long time, not withstanding the 2 steps forward three steps back that it feels like at times!
     
  11. Annie in the bundu

    Annie in the bundu Registered Users

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    Thanks everybody. Yesterday was quite calm but today Dutch is manic & noisy. I keep telling myself that it's early days & I can see big improvements already. A friend told me that I have 3 years bad habits to undo & I know that that's true. PATIENCE is my new word!
     
  12. snowbunny

    snowbunny Administrator Forum Supporter

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    Both of mine are manic and noisy today! Lots of bitey-face and wall-of-death games going on. We have some strange weather today and I think it's got up their tails.

    Currently, Willow is flirting with Shadow with a toy, trying to get him to take it off of her, whilst Shadow is pulling the bed - the one that Willow is on - around the room by his teeth.

    So, don't worry, you're not alone :)
     

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