5 month old Lab starting to ignore his training

Discussion in 'Labrador Training' started by DjSlimmyD, Jun 17, 2020.

  1. DjSlimmyD

    DjSlimmyD Registered Users

    Jun 17, 2020
    I have a 5 month old chocolate lab who has been very well behaved since we got him in early April. I studied training methods, and would like to think i did a good job considering his come, sit, stay, drop, etc. have been very good. It was tough to incorporate distractions the last few months though due to not many people being outside from COVID. So whenever there is someone walking in the neighborhood, I struggle to get him to not just run out to them. I don't necessarily want to use a tie down method or install a fence either.

    Up until the last week or so, He has stopped listening to the "come" command and it takes multiple attempts until he listens. I know i can't just give up on the training that we have done, but what other methods are there to use as the puppy gets older? I have been using the clicker method and small training treats as rewards.

    Any information is appreciated!
  2. Edp

    Edp Registered Users

    Mar 16, 2014
    At 5 months he is still very young and whist his training is in progress it is not yet secure or solid. That takes months, and you have to get through their teenage phase which can be challenging as well. It took my dog to be well over a year until I could relax a bit knowing things like recall were better. She is a clever dog and had lots of traing, but they need to grow up and explore the world abit. I would say, keep doing what you are doing but increase the treat value, make the treats irresistible. Warm chicken, ham, sardines...anything that encourages a response. You can wean them off them later.
    Jess_Bushby and DjSlimmyD like this.
  3. Marie

    Marie Registered Users

    Jun 23, 2020
    In the same boat here - got our lab at 8 weeks in late March 2020 and she's been doing quite well, but has developed significant selective hearing over the last few weeks. I'm also struggling to introduce distractions as it seems all or nothing.
    A few other questions:
    - I've heard you shouldn't repeat a command more than once, is that true? How do you deal with a situation where you say sit and she "doesn't hear"?
    - She'll "drop" whatever she's got if there's a treat, but no chance if you don't have something better...will that just come with time?
    - Also, she is starting to really pull on the leash - not to go faster, but to go explore smells off to the sides. I can lure her into a "heel" position with treats, but then she's off as soon as she gets one. Do I just have to keep luring her back?
  4. Jess_Bushby

    Jess_Bushby Registered Users

    Dec 16, 2019
    Hi @Marie

    In my limited experience (but extensive reading!) on puppy training here’s my suggestions for your questions... I would say that in short, it seems what needs to happen next with your training is proofing. Training a dog to do something in a low distraction environment (i.e. at home) is relatively easy, teaching them to do that in the big wide world, with all manner of distractions is the hard bit. This takes months, truly.

    - Repeating A Command:
    I’ve read to never do this as it can easily ruin the verbal cue and you have to then start again with a new verbal cue. I would continue with both hand and verbal cues at this age (and for many more months) given once and use a lure for the behaviour if they are not understanding or not responding. Remember the concept of generalisation and ask yourself if they know that ‘Sit’ means sit on that floor, in that room, with you giving the cue in that manner, or have they been trained in other environments.

    - Drop
    We still struggle with this at 9 months with mixed results. If I’m honest you are perhaps expecting a finished behaviour too soon, especially when it’s asking the dog to give up something they want and have it taken. We work on the exchange as the foundation. As long as he isn’t destroying whatever it is and will drop it for a treat I’m happy with this for now.

    - Lead Pulling
    I can’t stress enough that you should get yourself into a heel or loose lead walking course ASAP. We didn’t do this early enough, kept trying to DIY, and are now painfully (but successfully and slowly) breaking the back of this frustrating behaviour with some proper professional advice and techniques. Every time they successfully pull and reach a smell, a leaf, a dog, whatever, they are being reinforced to do this again. This is a challenging issue, which seems common for Labs and they are so strong... do yourself a favour and nip it in the bud. I really regret not taking professional advice sooner!

    Final point... When building in distractions, start slow, start far away and if at all possible set yourself up some training scenarios. I’ve visited people’s houses just to let my puppy not to jump to greet and gone home again, it was so worthwhile.

    Best of luck

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