Lab having manic moments!

Discussion in 'Labrador behaviour' started by Mablab, Nov 4, 2018.

  1. Mablab

    Mablab Registered Users

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    Hello Everybody. I'm new to the forum and looking for some guidance. I've recently rehomed an ex Guide Dog who was removed from his training programme because of his hyperactivity. He has already been rehomed once but was returned back to Guide Dogs again presumably because of his behaviour. I've had him for four weeks and he is settling in but has shown a couple of worrying traits. For example, this morning when we got home after his hour walk - off lead with lots of activity, we started to play a game of 'tug' with one of his toys. He suddenly seemed to just lose it, becoming very boisterous to the point of aggression, throwing himself at me and barking furiously, he even managed to catch my hand in his mouth when jumping at me. He ignored my command and kept lunging at me so I went indoors and left him. He then started running round the garden in a frenzy before returning to the door to be let in. He went straight to his bed and stayed there. He has done a similar thing before and it is really scary. Fortunately there aren't any children in the house or it could have been a potentially dangerous situation for them.
    In an attempt to understand what is going on, I have asked the Guide Dog people why the previous people returned him to them but they have not responded. A vet check was fine. He's a lovely dog in many ways but is very hyperactive when out on the lead especially when meeting other people or dogs when he lunges at them, not aggressively but because he is excited. I'm working on this with him, taking him to dog classes at which he is getting better, but this manic behaviour is a worry. I have had big dogs before but not a Lab. Can anyone give me any advice here; it would be most appreciated.
     
  2. Mablab

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    Sorry, I should have said, his name is Rocky and he is just 2 years old.
     
  3. Michael A Brooks

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    Hi @Mablab

    I don't think he is aggressive. Just taking a while to mature. Some Labs are immature for quite a while.

    I would continue with the obedience training. Teaching and rewarding calmness would help. Sit stays and down stays, go to mat/place will help. Scent training is wonderful at expending mental energy. Targeting is too. Anything that requires shaping would help.

    But you also need some exercises when he can expend some energy. Walking a dog does not tire them out unless you walk very, very long distances. Retrieve would be good to teach.
     
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  4. Mablab

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    Thank you Michael,
    I'll certainly take your advice on board, thank you again.
     
  5. Jo Laurens

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    It sounds to me like what we call 'puppy zoomies' - when pups go into a manic state, run in circles around the house, wrestle people or other dogs without checking whether the other dog or person would like to be on the receiving end and generally lose their minds - then zonk out afterwards.

    All very normal, in fact my 4yo still does this occasionally(!).

    You might want to look into some active dog sport, like agility or gundog training - he sounds like a dog that needs a job to do...
     
  6. Mablab

    Mablab Registered Users

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    Thank you Jo, that describes it exactly!! I'll start to look at other activities for him as well; he's certainly not a lap dog!
     
  7. Johnny Walker

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    We have a 2.5 year old who has had bilateral CCL surgery and I am happy to see him get the zoomies again. Love it. It’s harmless and can be very entertaining. It amazes me how they can run so fast with their butts all scouched under like that. Lol.
     
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  8. Keithmac

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    Zoomies are a thing to behold!, better in the garden or field though..

    Sounds like he's just a happy pup still.
     
  9. AmericanLab247

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    Hi! We call this Piranha Mode! Our 7 month old American Lab does this same thing. He sprints into a full blown Indy 500 race around the backyard, attacks, jumps up, whites of eyes showing and all. We cross our arms and stand still until he burns this energy off, or if we can escape into the house we will. The bad thing about leaving him out their thought is he could end up digging!

    In regards to going for walks. He's over 50 pounds and already has given me Tennis (Dog Walkers) Elbow from the sheer strength i need to impede to hold him back on walks. We first switched to a Harness, but that wasn't enough to deter the excitement of passerby's, so we switched to a Prong Collar and now we have enjoyable calm walks. My hands stay in my pockets so if he gets hyper, he looks and sees that he is causing the pinch, and not me yanking him.He quickly resumes calm walking behavior.

    I have a new problem with my 7 month old. He thinks he's in charge. In our family room, he may grab something like a sock. Not the end of the world, but knows he shouldn't have it. He will taunt us, pacing around the family room showing it off, trying to make us get it from him. If we try, he will growl. So we just started to ignore this taunting behavior (since the sock isn't dangerous) and now he decides to pee, and poop (one time), basicallysaying, "you don't want to grab this socks from me and give me attention, well I'll just pee in front of you then". What a stinker!! The other half of this problem is sometimes he will have something dangerous in his mouth like an iphone Earbud. He growls as we try to pry his mouth open. It's so hard to pry open! He completely pretends he doesn't know the Drop It or Leave it commands! Any advice on how to deal with this growling behavior and how to ultimately retrieve the forbidden object would be helpful.

    This dog is so tiring and challenging. We purchased him for our son's birthday but am having regrets. I know I need to stick it out but I have never seen a dog act this hyper. It's hard to find the energy to constantly attend to him. I was considering a Remote Control Shock Collar (since our electric fence works awesome) and shock him when he growls or jumps up on people, anyone have experience with that type of collar?
    Thanks everyone for your help.
     
  10. Michael A Brooks

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    Hi @AmericanLab247

    Do you realise this site practices and discusses force free training? Prong collars and ecollars are not advocated here.

    If you would like advice on how to get your dog to walk using other equipment, and the other issues, then please let us know.

    It is clear that you are doing a number of things that are actually making your dog worse. Equipment is not really your issue. You have to change how YOU are training your dog.

    I am not attempting to be unfriendly. I realise you have asked for help. But I do think it's important to put some things in clear view from the outset. If the starting point is accepted, then solutions can be put forward.
     
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  11. SwampDonkey

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    I hope you realise how detrimental shock collars are. They have proven time and again to he cruel abusive and counter productive. Maybe it would be best if you did re-home your dog he's clearly misunderstood and treated with a complete lack understanding.
     
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  12. Jo Laurens

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    @AmericanLab247 there are many people here who can help you with all these issues, but you will need to learn to think differently about your relationship with your dog first.

    Some of the things you are doing (like taking things off him when he is growling) are very dangerous and could well lead to serious problems of aggression... How would you feel if I took your paycheck off you every week, just after you get paid? Would you stand there and let me do it, over and over?

    Your dog doesn't think he is in charge. He is trying to protect himself from having valued resources taken off him.

    Dogs don't urinate or defecate as a way of communicating what they think of you. Canine minds don't think like that.

    Come back and ask more questions if you are curious and interested in achieving a change in your dog's behaviour.
     
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  13. Ruth Buckley

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    I agree with everyone's replies here. I just wanted to add that in my experience positive reinforcement training does really work but it takes time and energy. I rehomed my dog from a family who couldn't cope with his behaviour and it has taken me a year of hard work but now he's 18months old he really is a lovely dog. Getting rid of the food bowl for a while and using all his food ration for training was the best thing I did. Jean Donaldson s videos on YouTube are great as well as Pippa's books ''Total Recall' and the 'labrador handbook' and have a read through some of the training logs here to see what other people have been through. Remember your dog isnt being dominant, or even naughty, he just hasn't yet learnt human rules.
     
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  14. AmericanLab247

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    Thank you all for the responses. I did not realize this site practices force free training and I wasn't trying to offend anyone. The Gundog Breeder we got him from encouraged Electric Fences so that is why I got one since we cannot have a material fence installed in our yard per neighborhood rules. He doesn't even activate the fence, since he was trained on the boundaries. He stays clear so he never receives shocks. And the hand held shock collar I was just inquiring about, we don't have one, so I am not cruel to our dog as implied above. I am just going off of what the trainers and breeders have given me tips on. I am new to all this so just gathering people's feedback, what's worked for them, and what hasn't. We have had him go through two puppy classes and now a manners class, and while he is getting better, he is the most rambunctious dog in the class. The trainers just tell me that is how all American Labs are, and that he is not any more hyper active than any other lab. Encouraging yes, but said it could be 2-4 years until he calms down. He is very smart and is trainable. 90% of the time he is great, its the 10%, like when he has something dangerous in his mouth, or running manic, that is the hard part. I understand about not pulling something from a growling dog's mouth, and we don't do that with things that really aren't a big deal, but what about an earbud which could get tangled in his intestines, or something that could hurt him? Our Vet says we do have to intervene and remove any dangerous items from the dog's mouth. Any other suggestions besides bribing him with a high value treat, to drop the dangerous object before he swallows it?
    I appreciate the You Tube and training site recommendations. I will look into both of these suggestions, thank you!
     
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  15. Keithmac

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    Me and my wife regularly spend an hour walking round the block with our Lab, every time she pulls the lead we stop and wait.

    Takes time and patience but she is learning to walk on lead really well now.

    Prong or electric collar won't teach your dog anything positive or anything at all imho.
     
  16. Chewies_mum

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    Don't think of using a high value treat as bribery, think of it as swapping. If it was down to safety I would rather do that than try to pry the object from his mouth, which can result in resource guarding, aggression or him swallowing the item really quickly.

    You can look up Chirag Patel teaching "drop" on YouTube. We have found it helpful, though you have to go slowly.
     
  17. Chewies_mum

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    Accidental double post. Whoops.
     
  18. Ruth Buckley

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    In an emergency I do resort to bribery to get dangerous or precious items off my dog. I know it's not ideal but the alternative is a game of chase or even tug which he finds equally rewarding, if not more so. One thing I learnt from someone on this forum was if the item isnt actually dangerous or fragile I usually give it back to him a few times and this makes him more likely to obey the drop command when it is really important. Ive also got in the habit of asking him to drop anything he has in his mouth (even his own toys) before opening the door for him to go outside and play so that's a non-food form of 'bribery' I can use too.
     
  19. Michael A Brooks

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    okay. I understand. When one is new to the daunting task of raising a puppy one tends to latch onto advice from every direction.

    That's all good news. You'll probably have to keep up going to class. When he gets unruly in class, cue him to focus or watch you and give food treats when he quietly does that.

    You might be able to get something out of the dog's mouth the first time, even the second time, but he will soon learn that your approach means "i will lose it forever. I had better swallow it now". @Chewies_mum is correct. Carry around treats in your pocket. Use them for exchange. In the end when you have a cued behaviour it is no longer bribery when you have them in your pocket, and only use them to reward the dog for giving up the item. Again Chewies_mum is correct, teach the dog "give" or "leave" (which is the term I prefer because down means something else, but a rose by any other name applies) as a cued behaviour.

    In your initial account, you spoke of uncontrollable moments. We call them the zoomies.

    Here's a link to a relevant article: https://www.thelabradorsite.com/dog-zoomies/

    @Jo Laurens recommends giving the dog a stuffed toy much bigger than the dog ihimself to play with when the zoomies comes on. Better that the manic energy is taken out on the stuffed toy than him crashing into something else in the house.

    With regard to the lunging at other dogs, you can try teaching him LAT. See the thread https://thelabradorforum.com/threads/look-at-that.22184/

    The video is excellent. Eventually use look to get the dog to turn to you to calmly receive a reward rather than lunging at other dogs.

    I am assuming you have been taught marker/clicker trainer. If not, just let us know.
     
  20. AmericanLab247

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    Thanks for the great info everyone!
     

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