5 month lab contantly restless / active when awake

Discussion in 'Labrador Puppies' started by kejolive, Jan 13, 2021.

  1. kejolive

    kejolive Registered Users

    Jan 13, 2021
    Our 5 month lab has always either been 'on' or 'off' - with no in-between. So he's looking for attention, chewing, wandering around, jumping on the sofa, searching for food, chewing my feet etc or he's fast asleep in his covered crate. Left to his own devices he doesn't nap (a problem when he was little as he just got super-bitey due to being overtired), so we've been putting him in his crate every 2-3 hours, covering it and then he goes to sleep for 1.5 or 2 hours. I've spoken to friends with similar age lab puppies who describe their dogs snoozing and relaxing during the day - but that just doesn't seem a part of his make-up!

    The main issue is that my husband and I both work from home and we're finding it very hard to get anything done when he's awake - in order to occupy him we need to take him out for a walk, play in the garden, do some training etc. He's briefly occupied by a frozen kong or a chew, or by his kibble in a slow-feeder ball, but they don't last long enough!

    I realise the answer to this may just be 'well that's what a 5 month lab is like, and his needs and natural tendencies are incompatible with 2 people trying to work, even if they're at home' - but I'm wondering if there's anything different we could try. e.g.

    - is the fact that we put him to nap in the day in the crate with a blanket over it meaning that he's not learning to settle/nap on his own out of the crate?

    - does the fact that we're using a lot of positive reinforcement for good behaviour mean that he's constantly on the look out for attention / pieces of kibble coming his way? I know that the idea is to reward calm behaviour, and that's what we've been doing, but it seems to keep him constantly alert to the idea of food coming his way - i.e.the opposite of relaxed! He doesn't have fixed meals, just gets his kibble throughout the day as part of training or in a snuffle mat / slow feeder when we need him occupied.

    - We have an open plan house so if he's awake then we have to be with him to avoid eating sofas / chewing stuff - so he's not used to being awake and not being with us.... not sure how to get round this - we used to have a pen but could never really get him to be relaxed in it. I'm wondering if I should put it up again though.

    He's a delight and I love training him / walking / playing with him, but it is becoming quite stressful trying to manage his constant alertness and also to get work done... so any suggestions would be much appreciated!
  2. Outi Lehtinen

    Outi Lehtinen Registered Users

    Aug 23, 2020
    Does he calm down and sleep without the blanket when you are not at home?

    We had the same kind of issues and got an online camera to find out how long she can manage by herself. When we noticed she could sleep for hours when alone, we knew the rest was important. During the day we can close her in the hallway where her bed is, while we work at home. We don't have a crate.

    Is there a place you can isolate with a baby gate for him to make sure he stays in and doesn't destroy the place? Then give him a Kong or something nice to make him feel comfortable, and then leave him undisturbed.
  3. JosiePie

    JosiePie Registered Users

    Dec 18, 2020
    Our five month old lab thrives on routine.

    My husband and I also work from home and our lab has the run of the house during the day.

    I thought it might be helpful to share our routine.

    06:45: I wake up and wake the dog up. We go out to the garden for him to do his business.

    07:00: breakfast for us both.

    07:15: chewy play time (nothing too strenuous) - I give him a Yakkers or a teeth cleaning bone.

    08:30: I start work so I open our office doors upstairs and he settles himself down with something else to nibble (teething rings or Ted)

    09:00: he naps

    10:30: I get a coffee and bring him downstairs with me. He gets a bathroom break. He usually continues napping downstairs and I go back upstairs.

    11:45: he wakes up and comes to find me and sits at my feet until...

    12;30: walkies or obedience in the garden (20 mins)

    13:00: lunch

    13:15: fun play with my husband with a tennis ball or tug with a Ted. Something quite rambunctious.

    13:30: I’m back at work. Lab will sleep downstairs.

    14:45: Coffee break and bathroom break for lab; chewy play time and a cuddle

    15:00: Lab naps in the lounge or landing

    17:00: I finish work and we play and do training until dinner

    19:00: Dinner for humans

    19:30: walkies or obedience for 20 mins

    20:00: tug with Ted or tennis ball fetch game

    21:00: winding down with a cuddle and a Kong

    23:00: bedtime in his crate

    this has been a really good schedule for us as it means that he gets LOTS of attention and fuss whilst we also get time to get work done!
  4. JosiePie

    JosiePie Registered Users

    Dec 18, 2020
    Oh! And I constantly reinforce good behaviour (including calm good behaviour) by quietly telling him he’s a good boy and giving him some treat/s.
  5. kejolive

    kejolive Registered Users

    Jan 13, 2021
    Thanks - that's really helpful to see the routine - always interesting! We also have a routine which alternates sleep, training, walks, play etc, except that all daytime napping involves us 'putting him to bed' in his crate, rather than him 'settling down' or napping in the house! I think maybe your pup is sleeping for slightly longer stretches in the day.

    Looking at this - one thing I wonder is whether he's having too long a sleep at night. He currently goes in his crate at 6pm and apart from us waking him up at 10.30/11pm to take him outside briefly for a wee, he's asleep without making a peep from 6pm until about 7.30am!
  6. Adam Capetti

    Adam Capetti Registered Users

    Dec 11, 2020
    I was about 10 seconds away from writing what would be a carbon copy of your message!!! My lab is just over 3 months at 14 weeks old and I share everything you've just said. Including the working from home!

    He is on or off. Like flat out... or chewing skirting boards, pulling blankets out of his crate, trying to pull down the curtains chewing his toys, barking at the radiator, chasing his tail. I give him two 20min walks a day. Slightly more than he should have I know, but he is pretty mental without the exercise. Its gentle sniff and explore walks and some off-lead in gated field rather than solid walking. I train him twice a day, have four frozen kongs, slow feeder ball, cheese dental chew, lickmats... all these things to stop him from going into destructive mode. He has so many toys soft, chew, hard.

    My wife says he is broken...

    I have a crate and use it 2 hours in morning and 2 hours in afternoon to get my work calls out the way and try and work from the kitchen with him during the rest so he has company.

    I would love to hear from people about when their mental labs started to show first signs of calming down? I know I'm about 2 months away from you kejolive, so I think I have a way to go yet! :)
  7. 5labs

    5labs Registered Users

    Mar 19, 2019
    North Yorkshire
    Just to present the opposite- we have no routine here. My pup is nearer 6 months old now. Her day has to fit around ours. She sleeps well and doesn't usually wake until 8 (yay- love lie ins!). If I'm working (currently not as the shooting season has drawn to an early close), we are up at 6. I let her and a cocker spaniel out for a wee/play while I make a coffee, then I let the rest of the house dogs out and go up to the kennels. Everyone has a good half hour run in the field while I drink coffee :). Then it depend on what's on for the day. Normally I then feed everyone and the pup has at least and hour down time, then either pottering round the small holding until dark, going for a walk, or driving round with me to clients (training) puppy training, or if it's raining she might spend quite a few hours indoors. Evening meal is between 5 and 8. Last wee's between 9 ad 11.
    Everyone here has to fit in with our lifestyle which can never have a strict routine as is depends if we are out working the dogs, driving around clients, or working around the smallholding.
  8. SRW

    SRW Registered Users

    Nov 27, 2020
    Labs are working dogs. If you want a sedentary pet get something else, maybe a fish.
  9. Edp

    Edp Registered Users

    Mar 16, 2014
    At that age Meg would settle well after a good off lead run about and a period of training. The training exhausted her. We have a bit of a routine but it’s really flexible , from day one she has adapted to our chaotic family lifestyle. Exercise and mental stimulation are the key. They don’t automatically just settle. Labs are intelligent, active dogs that don’t do well left to their own devices or put in a crate for long periods. The only fixed routine Meg had is she takes herself to be at 10 every night, without fail, it’s quite comical. She will be asleep with us on her bed in the lounge, then gets up and goes to bed on her night time bed at the bottom of the stairs. She is a clever girl.
  10. Crofton138

    Crofton138 Registered Users

    Mar 28, 2020
    How much exercise is your puppy getting? Is it just a gentle walk on the lead or is he getting a good run twice per day, chasing and retrieving his ball/frisbee/toy? At 5 months, there should definitely be some off-lead time during your walks to allow your puppy to burn off some energy, if you've got a safe enough environment to do so.

    Also, ensure he has plenty of chew toys that are long lasting. Antlers are great, Google "puppy antler chew toy" and you'll find them. They aren't cheap but they last a lot longer than any soft toys!
  11. leahjw

    leahjw Registered Users

    Nov 20, 2020
    Our Bryn sounds the exact same as your boy and is 4.5 months old, when awake he’s constantly busy and we used to have to enforce crate naps as he will just keep going and going. We’ve been working with a trainer and she suggested using a pen, we’ve attached it to his crate on the landing (where he sleeps at night) so during the day when I’m working he has the run of the pen filled with toys, chews, kong, lickimat etc. He can still see me from his pen so he knows he’s not alone. It took a few days but now he entertains himself in there after a good morning of activities (up at 7am, playtime, 15 minute walk with time off lead, training, then in the pen at 9am). He will now fall asleep in there on his own, sometimes in his crate and sometimes on a blanket in his pen.

    I have also thought he might be getting too much sleep at night, he is brilliant at night though, he sleeps in his crate in the lounge in the evenings from around 7:30-8pm till 9:30, out for a final wee at 10 then he sleeps in his crate till 7am.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 17, 2021

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