Crazy dog, about to give up hope. Depressed and at wits end.

Discussion in 'Labrador Training' started by Lj, Aug 16, 2016.

  1. Lj

    Lj Registered Users

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    Other Threads You May Find Helpful The Forum RecommendsHow Long Can A Dog Be Left In A Crate


    I have a 5 and a half month old lab named Lily. Love her to death. Except she's the devil. I'm 19 and have had a dog my whole life, a chessie named sunshine who was the worlds sweetest dog anyone could ask for. She was smart, obedient and most of all very loving. I thought my family could use another pal so I went and I found a batch of new pups and picked out the yellow girl out of a litter of 9. And after 5 months. My family is pretty much fed up with her. She bites, attacks, barks, and intentionally disobeys commands.

    Her biggest problem is the biting. She doesn't just bite, she attacks. Is it sad to say after almost 6 months of seeing this pup I have not once sat down after getting home from work or school and have had her on my lap to pet? Or just sit down and pet her. She is nasty. Whenever you try to stick a hand near her to just pet her she snaps at it and tries to bite it. And after you've done that the game is on. She'll chase you and bite your shorts and anything she can. But the weirdest thing of all of it is that IT IS ONLY AT HOME OR IN OUR YARD. When I take her for walks or bring her out swimming or in public or to my girlfriends house to play with other dogs, she never bites me at all. Or anyone. After a day of swimming I rode home in the back of my friends truck and she layed on top of me so tired and sweet and she had a blast. But the second I got her out of the car at home the game was on, biting me and attacking and barking. And she is very smart and knows commands, but only when food is in front of her. But other than that she doesn't listen. She just keeps attacking. It's hard to put her leash on even. She lays on her back biting at me until I get it on, then proceeds to but the leash, even when walking. She has to have the leash in her mouth. If not she'll jump and grab it and lay down biting at it. And I hope you know these attacks get very crazy, because this is normal for a 8 week old pup, but for one that almost 6 months!? My friends dont even want to come over anymore because she attacks them whenever she is out of her crate. Which leaves me to the point of crate time. And yes I must say she's in there a awfully long time. We put her to bed at 10 pm and she doesn't bark. She'll start around 4am but I wait to feed her until and let her pee until 5am. Then we put her back. My mom takes her out around 7 again to pee and poop. I take her out around 10 to pee and do a little excersise. Depending on the day if I'm home or not she'll come out more. But then we usually take her out around 5:30 to play then feed her at 6:30. We put her on a runner outside until 8ish the play until 9 then take her for a little walk and sniff around then she goes to bed. It is a lot of crate time but it's really hard to change since nobody is home. And with school coming back it's going to be harder. We would let sunshine walk around the house so we weren't really concerned but with the way lily is we have to keep her in the crate. Please don't say give her away because of this either.

    This brings us to all the other things. With her biting and attitude it's so hard to train her. I try to get her to learn heel but she'll just lay down and bite at me. WHENEVER I TRY TO TOUCH HER SHE BITES ME. SAME WITH ANYONE WHILE AT MY HOUSE. ALWAYS. My goal was for her to be a off leash dog but she became stubborn along the line and ran away from me into the road so that stopped. I'm afraid to take her off of the leash in the yard anymore because when she grabs something she shouldn't (same with inside) she sprints away and plays keep away. And she won't come when called. I've tried running away but she runs close to me but never to me. She's smart. It takes forever to catch her and one day I'm afraid she'll get hit by a car or something.

    A few other problems are jumping. She'll jump to kiss people when out of the house, and if that weren't acceptable at home she jumps on us to try to bite us. All the time. And when outside or inside when I call her to come over some times she will just sit there and look at me, or she'll find something else and go sniff and ignore me. She also won't fetch great. Sometimes she'll get distracted or run off, and sometimes she decides she doesn't wanna play and the game of keep away is on. The only time she actually brings it back if if I have a treat, and that is very annoying and even sometimes she doesn't care and won't bring the ball back and runs off anyway. One last thing she hates going in her crate and barks all the time when in her crate. She tries to avoid being in it at whatever cost.

    I am at wits end with her. She drives me nuts. I know she needs more excersise but even days when I burn her out all the biting and everything still happens. I don't know how to fix any of these and I'm so depressed and scared. Please help me with this torture.

    Ps I did just buy an electric collar so that should be in within a week or so.
     
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  2. lorilou61

    lorilou61 Registered Users

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    There's a lot going on there but mostly you have what sounds like a very normal 5 month old lab puppy. They bite. A lot. It gets better and should start to do so soon. It is a lot of crate time, you're right. Too much for a puppy that age. Is it possible to set up an area with a pen in another room where she can be up and about more but not completely unrestricted.
    Also I really strongly encourage you to not use an electric collar on her. Labs respond fantastically to positive training, not to negative. There are lots of posts and links to information about lab puppies, the biting, the jumping, the recall. I know others who have a lot of that knowledge at their fingertips will be by to share that with you here. If you haven't looked at the website yet, take a look at the articles there about Lab puppies.
    I have Edsel, who is 2.5 yrs now and remember nights when I thought I'd go bonkers, but I promise you if you follow the advice here from all the great folks and the information on training these pups, it'll work out.
    Hang in there!
     
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  3. Lj

    Lj Registered Users

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    Thanks for the response and info, I will look more in depth. But it's not just a lot of biting. It's every single time anyone touches her or puts a hand near her at my house. I can't ever pet her. It's every time. Would puppy classes help?
     
  4. lorilou61

    lorilou61 Registered Users

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    I can tell you we refer to them as crocopups because they are biting maniacs. My arms and legs looked like I'd been in knife fights when he was little. They tear clothes, rip out hair, all sorts of things. It gets really bad around 4-6 months opinion most of them. We've all been convinced our puppies are crazed killers at that stage. Check out articles on the Puppy Board. Lots of good things there about biting, jumping, not listening to recall.
     
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  5. lorilou61

    lorilou61 Registered Users

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    I'm not sure where you are located either, but most of the folks on here are in the UK so may not hear back much til tomorrow. Labs do hate to be ignored, so it's always good to give no attention for unwanted behavior and reward/treat for any wanted behaviors. So when snappy starts to bite, immediately turn, walk away and ignore.
     
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  6. Oberon

    Oberon Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    I'm sure that it is really exhausting dealing with so much energy and enthusiasm. Do be assured that that's what it is - energy and enthusiasm, definitely not deliberate disobedience or nastiness. I would say that she bites when at home because home is kinda boring and there is not much to do (she is making her own fun and games) - whereas when she is out and about with you things are interesting and different and this keeps her brain occupied. I would say that you have a really intelligent dog there who needs to keep her brain busy. Unfortunately that means that a lot of crate time is only going to make the situation more difficult for her and you.

    I would very strongly recommend getting a good behaviourist or trainer to help you in a series of 1-to-1 sessions. Definitely do not use a trainer that makes uses of methods like shock collars (that will end in an even bigger problem). Only use a trainer that trains using treats, games, attention and other nice things as rewards.

    I think that you do need a hand from a professional though as there are a lot of things going on here. A lot of what you describe can be resolved using clear, structured training but it sounds like you need some help to develop some skills here. Also, you dog would benefit from having more activities in her day - many of us emake use of dog walkers or daycare which are a godsend for people who work but who also have energetic young Labradors (putting my hand up here! :) ).

    In the meantime, here is an article about dealing with a boisterous Lab:
    http://www.thelabradorsite.com/labrador-behaviour/#problem
    This article contains lots of links to other articles about different topics (jumping up, biting etc). I would recommend that you devote some time to having a good read of all of the above.

    When the shock collar arrives the best thing to do it to return it to where you bought it from. If you try to use a shock collar on this dog you are running the risk of creating a really serious problem. Right now you just have a young, smart and energetic dog who is making her own fun and who needs a lot more training. All that can be solved. But if you use a shock collar you are likely to end up with a scared dog who bites you out of fear and who does not want to interact with you at all. That is a whole other massive kettle of fish. So, don't risk it.
     
  7. snowbunny

    snowbunny Registered Users

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    I agree entirely with Rachael. Send the shock collar back. Please don't even consider putting it on her. They are illegal in many countries for a good reason. They can make the problems far worse and, even if they look like they are making a difference, as Rachael says, you are likely to end up suppressing the behaviours until they explode out of fear.

    I also agree that that is far too much time for the pup to be in a crate during the day. It's not fair and will only exacerbate the problems. You need to find a solution for this; your puppy needs more human interaction. Find a dog walker who will come in during the day, even if only to play with the puppy. Or find a good daycare locally that she can go to a few times a week. Imagine if you were cooped up in a crate for that long every day. You'd also be frantic when you got out, wouldn't you? And you might not be able to listen calmly to what people were saying to you. Dogs are social animals and need a lot of social interaction to be mentally healthy.

    I don't think your problems are insurmountable, I think you just really need to buckle down and get some good training in. It sounds like her bite inhibition training has been pretty limited. Puppies learn about the world with their mouths, it's perfectly natural. Even a Lab puppy that has lots of interaction will be a crocopup. For yours, who is excluded more than included, it will be worse. She just needs to be trained. Here are some articles which will help you understand how to do that:
    http://www.thelabradorsite.com/labrador-puppies-biting/
    http://www.thelabradorsite.com/labrador-puppies-when-biting-gets-out-of-hand/
    http://www.thelabradorsite.com/how-to-stop-your-labrador-puppy-biting/
    http://www.thelabradorsite.com/teaching-bite-inhibition-to-your-labrador-puppy/

    The big thing is to be ONE HUNDRED PERCENT consistent. If you sometimes shout at her for biting you, you'll lose the effect of removing attention, because you've just rewarded her for biting by engaging with her. It's hard, but the above articles will help you - if you are consistent.

    I do think that classes or one-on-one sessions would be hugely beneficial to you to help you work out how to train your puppy. She isn't wilfully ignoring you. That's not how dogs think. She simply doesn't understand, or isn't sufficiently motivated, to do what you're asking. You say she can do stuff when there's food right there. That's a good first step, but unless you can get the behaviours when the dog doesn't know the treat is there, it ends up being bribery, which is very different to training with food. It's actually not that difficult, as long as you know what you're doing. I think that it would help you to have someone show you rather than just reading it on the internet, though, because you seem a bit overwhelmed. Just make sure that you find a trainer who uses kind, rewards-based methods of training and does not use punishment. Punishment will worsen your bond with your dog, not make it stronger. I know in the USA (I'm guessing that's where you are?) that punishment-based methods are still more the norm, but behavioural science tells us that rewards-based methods are superior. Which isn't a surprise - you could do your job knowing that there's a reward at the end of it (a pay cheque) or you could do it because you're afraid of punishment if you don't. That's called slavery. I'm sure you'd rather work for the pay cheque, right? Same for your dog. You don't need to see the money to work for it, because you have a history of knowing that it's coming once you've done your work. Same for your dog. Once she trusts the "money" is coming for doing what you ask, she'll keep doing what you ask without the reward being waved in her face.

    Good luck and please do let us know how you get on.
     
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  8. Emily_BabbelHund

    Emily_BabbelHund Longest on the Forum without an actual dog

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    You've already gotten really good advice here. I second the "absolutely no shock collar" sentiment. Also no choke or prong collars. Or hitting (not that you would) or leash pops (also used by a lot of trainers in the US). Doggie daycare, if you can afford it, may be the best temporary solution. Plus lots of your time when you are home - training exercises for her brain (including scent work) and physical exercise appropriate to her age. She sounds smart and energetic, so being in a crate all day equals boredom and nervous energy which has no where to go. It seems pretty inevitable that she seems to you to be a devil dog when she finally gets out. Not that understanding it makes it easier for you!

    I will say that there is always hope, so don't give up. My boy came was rescued from a dog fighting ring and was the most nasty biting bitey machine ever when he was small. Then he graduated to being super dog reactive on leash. I really thought, what the %^*l am meant to do with this dog??? I loved him and he had many other great qualities, but the snarliness and reactivity nearly did me in. But we kept going to classes together (all the puppy classes, then advanced obedience, agility...heck, even doggie dancing!) and when he was old enough we started jogging together, which really helped his head space. It was a step by step process, but he DID successfully train for his ADI Assistance Dog cert and passed with one of the highest scores the school had ever seen. If anything, I feel like we were more bonded because of all this vs. my first dog who was pretty much smooth sailing from 8 weeks old on.

    I'm NOT saying you have to follow the same path I did... I just want to give you hope that what you see in a five month old puppy, no matter how bad you think it is now, is no way an indication of what you will end up with in a year or two. She's just a baby now and is no where near her potential. And keep in mind that likely you were too young to remember when your Chessie was in the Puppy Hell stage. She didn't just pop out full cooked either, though it's hard to remember once they are older and better behaved.

    Hang in there! :)
     
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  9. Joy

    Joy Registered Users

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    Your puppy (and at 6 months this is what she is) really is just bursting with energy. The fact that she lies on her back to grab her lead shows that it's play and not aggression. I'm afraid you've brought home a dog you don't have time for. I'm fortunate in being retired, but when I worked full time with a previous dog I walked early morning, evening and arranged for someone else to walk him during the day. I think you need to get up every morning and walk and train your puppy before school / work and find someone to look after him during the day. It's not fair to leave him in a crate for hours. Or rehome to someone who has time for him.
    I'm horrified that you're considering a shock collar.
     
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  10. Cath

    Cath Registered Users

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    Oh no pleased don't use that on her. She is just a puppy.
     
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  11. Boogie

    Boogie Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Most, if not all Labs are crazy at five months, so try not to worry that this is how she'll stay, it isn't :)

    You've had lots of very good advice and the main site has plenty too, you do need to work on all of this. It won't 'just happen' but with work and dedication you will get there and be proud for doing so.

    Your dog will thank you too.


    xxx
     
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  12. BevE

    BevE Registered Users

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    I couldn't agree more with all of the above! We have a 5 month old puppy and while the biting is now slowing down a good deal, the scars on my arms are proof of how Bailey was.
    It takes time, love, patience and training to get through the first few months but the payoff is enormous. Bailey makes me laugh every day and I am so glad he is part of our family. Because that what he is: a family member, and a much loved one at that. Sure he has his moments, but don't we all?
    Please send that shock collar back. No pup deserves that!
     
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  13. pippa@labforumHQ

    pippa@labforumHQ Administrator

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    In addition to the info you've had on biting, I have put a link, at the top of this thread to a section of an article on crate training. It isn't appropriate to leave a puppy in a crate for long periods of time (other than during the night) and this may be contributing to your puppy's frustration.

    There are some guidelines in that article for crate times for puppies. At the bottom of the article is a chart with recommended maximum times for crating at different ages.

    This doesn't mean you can't leave your puppy for longer, but it does mean that you'll need to think about buying a sturdy playpen where there is space for her to relax and play with her toys. Ideally, you need to find someone to come in during the day and interact with your puppy, even if its only for half an hour. Labradors are highly social dogs and are likely to become very frustrated at being alone for so long. You also need to invest in a stack of red kongs, and leave your puppy with frozen kongs when she has to spend time alone. This will help to alleviate her boredom and to some extent, her need to chew and bite.

    The main reason the biting is so bad though, is that the puppy is associating the biting with getting your attention. So I think you need to address this problem from two directions - giving your puppy more attention during the day, and treating the biting as outlined in this guide http://www.thelabradorsite.com/labrador-puppies-biting/
     
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  14. Lj

    Lj Registered Users

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    Thank you all for the info and support. Yes I am from the USA. Also, I cancelled the shock collar order, so no worries anyone! I am in the process of solving these problems. First with the crate time. I am going to try to build a pen so she can walk and play during the day. Buying a regular one is out f the question because most are too small and not sturdy enough. She would be able to get out easily. So any ideas how I can build one and using what materials that are easy to assemble and disassemble, and so she wouldn't be able to get out. Also with this big pen, would she go potty in it since its so big? Don't want her to start going in the house again. I am also going to see if i can find any dog walkers, but I'm afraid shell bite the hell out of them. I also am going to find a 1 on 1 trainer, even though they are very very pricy $$ around where I am. And agin with spending more time and more training. How am I sopose to play and train with her when every time I go near her all she does is bite me haha. And Any advice on getting her to listen to me without always having food in my hand? Thank you all.
     
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  15. QuinnM15

    QuinnM15 Registered Users

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    Most dog walkers do puppy visits and potty breaks and are well used to puppy behaviour and can even work on the training you are currently doing, so don't worry about her biting!
     
  16. Lj

    Lj Registered Users

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    Thank you all for the info and support. Yes I am from the USA. Also, I cancelled the shock collar order, so no worries anyone! I am in the process of solving these problems. First with the crate time. I am going to try to build a pen so she can walk and play during the day. Buying a regular one is out f the question because most are too small and not sturdy enough. She would be able to get out easily. So any ideas how I can build one and using what materials that are easy to assemble and disassemble, and so she wouldn't be able to get out. Also with this big pen, would she go potty in it since its so big? Don't want her to start going in the house again. I am also going to see if i can find any dog walkers, but I'm afraid shell bite the hell out of them. I also am going to find a 1 on 1 trainer, even though they are very very pricy $$ around where I am. And agin with spending more time and more training. How am I sopose to play and train with her when every time I go near her all she does is bite me haha. And Any advice on getting her to listen to me without always having food in my hand? Thank you all.
     
  17. Lj

    Lj Registered Users

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    Thank you all for the info and support. Yes I am from the USA. Also, I cancelled the shock collar order, so no worries anyone! I am in the process of solving these problems. First with the crate time. I am going to try to build a pen so she can walk and play during the day. Buying a regular one is out f the question because most are too small and not sturdy enough. She would be able to get out easily. So any ideas how I can build one and using what materials that are easy to assemble and disassemble, and so she wouldn't be able to get out. Also with this big pen, would she go potty in it since its so big? Don't want her to start going in the house again. I am also going to see if i can find any dog walkers, but I'm afraid shell bite the hell out of them. I also am going to find a 1 on 1 trainer, even though they are very very pricy $$ around where I am. And agin with spending more time and more training. How am I sopose to play and train with her when every time I go near her all she does is bite me haha. And Any advice on getting her to listen to me without always having food in my hand? Thank you all.
     
  18. bbrown

    bbrown Moderator Forum Supporter

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    I wouldn't worry about getting away from food for a bit. Are you feeding her kibble? If so then I would take her meal allocation and use it to train her. Pop it all in a bowl so she knows you have it. If she grabs at it or you lift it up and over her head, dogs can't look up very well so she'll probably sit. If she doesn't sit straight away keep it over her head and she probably will. When she sits say 'yes!' And scatter half a dozen pieces on the ground for her to ferret out. Do that a few times and she'll be sitting on cue before you know it!

    You can also create puzzles with her meals. Nando Brown put a video up about making a treat roll which was basically rolling up food in a towel for her to hunt out. Using her nose and her brain will tire her far more than exercise.

    When she's getting more stimulation and training she won't be quite so mental :)

    Good luck (and well done on cancelling the collar!)
     
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  19. JulieT

    JulieT Registered Users

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    Hi there, my new puppy is 4 months now, and for the last 2 months she has bitten me so badly...drawn blood most days, it's been awful but is now wearing off. I think you need to wear suitable clothes (sturdy clothes, and boots), you have to have management strategies like using chews, kongs and toys to divert the worst of the bites - and you have to 'man up' and take the rest of the bites (that's what I told myself anyway :) ), it does hurt, but you just have to interact with your puppy or it will never get any better.

    Read through the articles on the site, remember no reward for biting (just stand still, or use a management strategy). And try training things that are incompatible with biting. Like a nose touch (with her mouth closed!).
     
  20. Yvonne

    Yvonne Registered Users

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    Lj,when Cooper was 5 to 6 months old I had to explain to everyone that I was not cutting myself or in an abusive relationship....that I had a Lab puppy!! I had so many scars, bled every single day, was scared to death thinking I had a monster on my hands, and then I found this website......we all go through it and it DOES end but not fast enough, I know. Yes, Lily has to be well exercised or else she will get into all kinds of trouble, even after the biting stops. I cannot get dogwalkers here where I live.....but I have found a great day care and that really helps a lot. They get to play with all doggie sizes while being controlled by humans!
    Good for Lily and good for you. I use day care a lot when I can't walk Cooper. Hope you can find your way around this present situation....it will get so much better and you will have a great companion in Lily but you have to get through the tough times before that and it does take work and imagination. Good luck....you will make it through!
     
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