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Puppy problems - will things EVER improve???

Discussion in 'Labrador Puppies' started by Karen, Jun 15, 2013.

  1. Karen

    Karen Moderator Forum Supporter

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    Oh dear I am sorry to read this Celin. I would encourage you to do some 1-1 sessions with a trainer, but continue with obedience classes. Maybe up the training sessions a bit, things that calm him down and make him use his brain, like hiding things and he has to search for them, in the house and in the garden. You could also do laying a trail for him, which he follows to find a treat. I use frankfurter sausages for this, the ones that come in a jar with smelly water! I use a syringe to suck up some of the liquid, and lay a trail with a bit of sausage at the end as the reward. It takes a bit of getting used to, but dogs that like to use their noses really seem to enjoy it once they get the hang of it.
     
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  2. Celin

    Celin Registered Users

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    Thanks Karen! He does like to use his nose and I will think of how to do what you are suggesting. I thought we would be going to some very beginner agility by now and give us both some fun but that can't happen until things get a bit better.
    I have asked the trainer for a house call and am waiting to hear back. This is very expensive to do for us but we will give it a try. I see now how lab owners send their one year old dogs out for a couple weeks of training. I always thought, how can you do that? Desperation is how! I thought I was going to have a small operation on my foot and would be out of commission for two weeks. I found a kennel not far from me who is a lab "specialist" and offers training while boarding. Well, that would be great I thought. He would be ok there and come home with not missing any training, better training that I am doing for sure. Once I got there to take a look at the place, there were prong collars hanging on the wall and his suggestion for crying in the crate was to squirt the dog with lemon juice. I asked if he was kidding? Oh no, he said. you only needed the prong collar for a few days and they got the message. I didn't ask how often you would squirt your dog with lemon juice as I left as soon as I said how barbaric that was. The worst part was his awful kennel was full.
     
  3. snowbunny

    snowbunny Administrator Forum Supporter

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    I don't think that's unusual of boarded training, to be honest. People expect quick results, and in order to do that, they use harsh methods. We all know that proofing with positive methods takes longer, and it wouldn't be as good for business. I sadly think there's a lot of people who find "out of sight, out of mind" to be true and, whilst they wouldn't dream of using the same methods themselves, are happy to feign ignorance if they don't see it happening in front of them.
     
  4. Karen

    Karen Moderator Forum Supporter

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    How absolutely dreadful :(
     
  5. Xena Dog Princess

    Xena Dog Princess Registered Users

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    Oh celin, that story is so sad. I had no idea what prong collars were until I joined the forum. I kept seeing people mention them so I googled and was horrified - they look barbaric and better suited to the wall of an interrogation room, not around a dog's neck! It blows my mind that anybody could think that was ok to use on a dog. Even my OH recoiled in shock when I showed him the photo.
     
  6. snowbunny

    snowbunny Administrator Forum Supporter

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    They're on sale in pet shops here almost like badges of honour. It turns my stomach. Every now and then I see someone using one and I get so upset; I can't say anything because they wouldn't listen, but all I want to do is grab them by the throat and say, "DON'T YOU SEE WHAT YOU'RE DOING?!".

    Barbaric, yes.

    But, y'know.. "they don't hurt"...

    :mad:
     
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  7. Celin

    Celin Registered Users

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    Who would anyone leave their dog there, even for boarding, when you see those collars hanging there? One thing I can say, he didn't try to hide how he trains, thank goodness. Worse for me is the thought that it's ok to spray your dog with lemon juice. I mean, he must be spraying it in their face. I wanted to see how he liked it. My dog is totally trying my patience but never would I imagine doing that.
     
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  8. DebzC

    DebzC Registered Users

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    Oh my goodness, I'm horrified by this story! I imagine the lemon juice must go in their eyes and sting like crazy. I'm so glad you didn't leave your pup there.
     
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  9. Celin

    Celin Registered Users

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    Oh there was no chance I would leave my dog there. If that is what he was freely admitting to do for dog training what is he not admitting to? I agree though, I was shocked about the lemon juice. I can't imagine thinking that that was ok.
    I had the person who does my dog training class come out today to give me some help with my crazy puppy. We have some new stuff to do and got a good pep talk about how he is ok and how we are ok and how it will work out. :) Sometimes that really helps.
    If I don't find a way to keep him from pulling so hard, we won't ever get to go anywhere again. Yes we use the gentle leader and it helped a lot at first but now he has figured out how to pull against it. He does this lopping digging in thing that is hard to stop!
     
  10. DebzC

    DebzC Registered Users

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    What is that he's doing??
    I did Pippa's 'imagine a circle' trick where you click and treat when they come to your side. I said heel and good girl each time she came beside my leg and gave a treat. Now on the lead I hold a treat firmly in my hand and say heel/good girl a lot, only giving the treat occasionally. Or rattling the treats box seems to work too. A loose lead makes the walk a joy. Lots of distractions still make it a pain but we're getting there. Good luck!
     
  11. Celin

    Celin Registered Users

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    We are doing all that as far as training him to walk nearby with treats, chicken and hot dog pieces. Our walks aren't too bad as we are in the country and most of the distractions are deer poop or the deer themselves. He is more interested in the the deer poop than the deer. But he does keep his nose to the ground the whole walk and does want to go at the speed he smells at, not that I want to walk at. It is when taking him somewhere where there are people or dogs that his true strength comes into play. He wants to go to them desperately and when he really wants to go forward, he sort of lunges forward and digs in with his strong front end, pulls us both forward, repeat, repeat faster on and on. No calling or treats or me trying to stand my ground are effective. He is a lovely dog in lots of ways but the ways we are having trouble are big as far as going anywhere safely. When stymied too much he gets frustrated and will turn and jump up with his teeth flashing. :( 8 months old is no fun and when he does that, it is scary. What I need to know is, is this a phase that he will grow out of or will he still be coming at me at 3?
     
  12. DebzC

    DebzC Registered Users

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    Oh no, that's no fun at all! I'm afraid I don't know but maybe time to ask a behaviourist to come in?
     
  13. Celin

    Celin Registered Users

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    We did. She came yesterday. She had good things to say and stuff we are working on.
    I do read many people on here have this reoccurrence of biting and craziness as a teenager so I can deal with that but I don't want to set up problems that will last his lifetime.
     
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  14. QuinnM15

    QuinnM15 Registered Users

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    Quinn does the pulling that you mentioned - really digs in to get where she wants to go, especially in her harness. I find that at this age, things are so exciting that it's much more difficult to get her attention. I use a running leash - so it's around my waist and I have more control (and less leash burns on my hands). I just stand still until she notices I've stopped and we do some sits, look at me, hand touch etc until she is calmer, then we keep going. I stop every time she starts taking off again. It's a slow slow process that i hope clicks sooner rather than later.

    The jumping/teeth thing sounds like pure frustration to me, not true aggression. Quinn is so annoyed by us these days (like an actual teenager)...lots of chomping her teeth at us when she doesn't get her own way. Again, we go back to some basic training things to re-focus her and do not give her what she wants with the teeth snapping/pulling.
     
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  15. Celin

    Celin Registered Users

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    Oh I agree it is frustration, he wants his way and hates being told no. I actually don't think I told him no enough, at least he doesn't seem to know what it means! I don't think it is aggression, as such, but those teeth feel the same either way and I don't want him to learn that it works. I was trying to get him off the counter this morning for the 5th time and he just turned and came at me. He was saying he likes being up at the counter. I get it, but its still not fun to be chased out of your kitchen.
     
  16. Boogie

    Boogie Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    I would use treats to bring him away initially and training to keep him from doing things you don't want. Pulling a dog around isn't going to work imo.
     
  17. snowbunny

    snowbunny Administrator Forum Supporter

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    Remember, your walk is for your dog, not for you. He needs mentally stimulating, not just physical exercise, and sniffing is a great way to achieve that, if there is nothing more interesting going on. So, you could try to make yourself more exciting by offering him opportunities to earn rewards - games or treats - by giving you behaviours. I very rarely just "go for a walk" with my dogs, I like to pop bit of training in all along the way, which keeps them interested in me and we are out interacting with each other as well as the environment, rather than being that sad picture you often see of someone, head down, trudging along while their dog does their own thing. It's more fun for all of us if we engage with each other along the route.

    This is simple (not easy, but simple!). You're too close. If he won't respond to treats, then he is over the threshold where they are effective. Only one thing is going to change that, and it's distance. You need to get farther away from the distraction. Use people or dogs as a training opportunity - he won't just grow out of wanting to get to them, you need to train it out. So, every time you see someone, don't think "Argh! I have to get past them!", think "Great, an opportunity to train behaviour around distractions". What you need to do is start off at a distance where he can still think. If you use a clicker, use that to mark him looking at the people/dog. If not, just use the word "good". You shouldn't be moving at this point, just stay at the distance where he's interested, but can cope. Every time he looks, mark and reward. If he's not interested in the reward, you're too close, move farther away. Once he's relaxed and not just staring at the people, you can move a little closer. Over many sessions, you can work on moving closer. Make sure you are always at a distance he is able to cope with. If the other people or dogs approach, either move away from them, calling to them if you need to to stay away, or, if that's really not possible, go into management, by standing on your dog's lead with it short enough so he can't lunge, until the distraction is past.

    The more you work on this, his frustration will come under control and you'll have less of the behaviour that appears as a result of it.

    I can recommend a book, Control Unleashed, which describes ways of dealing with reactive dogs.
     
  18. JulieT

    JulieT Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    No, he won't grow out of it. You have to solve it by training or he'll do it his whole life. Although as they get a bit older they get less silly so it does get easier to train and them growing up does help a bit.

    When Charlie was going through this, I just did not walk him around other people and dogs. It took about 5 months for him to walk into the park on lead. Each morning we'd do a little bit more - get to the entrance without pulling, get 1m inside, get to the first bush, then the swing, then the plastic elephant and so on. So each day we'd go a bit further, and move slowly closer to a busy place. It took a long time. But doing it like this, slowly moving into a busier area is the best way to do it. If your dog is just out of his mind with excitement, pulling and lunging, and you are not getting any loose lead etc. the whole time is just a waste, your dog isn't learning anything.
     
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  19. Celin

    Celin Registered Users

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    Thanks for the detailed reply. I have the book and we are working on some of it. Some of it is over my head I guess. I asked my husband to read parts to see if he got it but we are both a bit confused. The refocus is what I am working on now.
    On the walking, I love it and am not trudging along. We stop and practice sits and downs and then waiting until released, even though that is pretty short still. The sniffing is fine by me but the deer poop eating not so much. Even just saying his name and getting him to look and treating him for that.

    I get what you are saying about too close. I was too slow to realize how much of a problem this was going to be since, on a daily basis, we don't see anyone while out. I thought once he was good on a leash, that would transfer when we went somewhere but it is two different things totally. When we really knew it was a real issue was trying to get into dog training class and yes, we are too close but we have to get in the door somehow. My husband says he won't go again so that's a problem. Hmmm, not sure how far would be far enough, a mile maybe. :) That is something new to try though and we will figure out where to take him and start at a distance. I can do that.
     
  20. Xena Dog Princess

    Xena Dog Princess Registered Users

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    Oh boy, getting in and out the door at dog training is my current bugbear, I feel your pain. Winter training has been held at the NZ Kennel Club...can you imagine the crazy smell distractions? Plus there are at least 3 classes held at the same time, so you have to navigate your way past dozens of dogs in very close proximity just to get in and out of the door. It's awful. Summer training starts next week at the outdoor venue, so I just hope that's a little easier.
     
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