So I just became the new owner of a handsome young fella who I've named "KING" from the recycler. He's a chocolate lab and about 22 months old (pretty much 2 years old). However, I do have a few concerns and I would be lying if I said I didn't have a slight feeling of buyer's remorse at the moment.
My biggest concern is the fear that he is too old to be trained and transformed to the dream LAB (the ones that obey your every command). He is very very very hyper, pretty clumsy and extremely goofy! He can be totally destructive when he's alone. First night at my house, he stayed in the garage and I woke up in the middle of the night due to his barking/banging on the door. I walk in and complete utter-destruction. Soda cans everwhere, torn shoes, cup o' noodle packages all over the floor, etc.
Second concern, he tends to bark in a "high-pitch" manner when he knows I'm leaving (as if to say, "Hey, come back and play with me...."). The bark will keep going, and going, and going just like the energizer bunny. When I first met him at the previous owner's home, he never barked, not even once (but then again, we never left him alone). He also tends to jump on people, of course in his own happy/excited way.
With all that being said, he does know a few things such as how to sit, comes to me when I call, walks next to me when we are in the backyard (but when I take him for a walk out in the neighborhood, he pulls frequently). At the end of the day, you can say he is pretty stubborn.
Based upon my conversation with the previous owner, they hardly ever spent "quality" time with the dog (gave me the "no time" excuse), they say he's afraid of other dogs (so I assume no socialization of any kind). I don't want to give up on him like his previous owner did and I know I can do this, but only with some help from you all. He deserves to be loved and all the attention in the world. I can give it to him, I just need some hope that he will return the favor that I ask, and that's to be an obedient friend....
welcome to the board and thank you for taking on a lab in need of a home.
1 - it is NEVER too train a dog. never. it can take longer to retrain a dog that has picked up back habits (as opposed to a clean slate puppy) but very very doable. I foster dogs who've had zero to little training.
2- there is no such thing as a perfect/dream dog. they are living beings with personality so no dog will be 100% obedience 100% of the time. what would be the fun in that anyway?
3 - labs need exercise. at that age, they need alot of it. walks are NOT exercise, they need free play/free run. some dogs at that age need over an hour a day. walks are a great part of a daily routine but are not going to let the dog release their energy.
4 - get a crate, crate him when you are not watching him (when you leave the house). you can read up on crate training (getting him used ot it). keep the crate in the house, not the garage. Labs are pack animals, they need to be with their family (doesn't have to be your room but in the house). crates keep the dog safe (and the house!) when you are not their to supervise. most labs have to be crated for at least a while.
5 - sign up for an obedience class ASAP. they are great at teaching you how to teach the dog and are a good environment to train your dog with controlled distractions.
6 - you have a dog that was trained very little, so think of him like a big puppy. you can't expect him to know everything, you have to show him what you want.
7 - have him on leash when he meets people, correct when he jumps. but MOST importantly, ask people to NOT pet him or talk ot him until he is calm (otherwise it encourages the behavior) - for some dogs just urning away from them and ignore helps. with others you have to use the knee technique. it helps to ask friends to help train the dog and set up meetings with htem (or have them come inside)
8 - barking when you leave is normal. do you have any idea how long i lasts? he is still going thru alot of change so it is possible when he gets used to his new routine he'll stop. try leaving some music in the house when you leave (or just the radio) and exercising him before you leave. I always give my boy a kong with kibble/peanut butter when I leave for work (same with my fosters).
9 - start reading on training, as many books as you can. the more variety of techniques you learn the better. set out times daily to train him (say 2-3 15 minute sessions in the day). heck, I would probably recommend doing NILF (nothing in life is free) with him for awhile.
Good luck! for some ofyour questions it will be better to have a full thread on them alone in the training section.
Charlie (foster) and Rocky
Tanya gave you some great advice. I have to repeat the crate training and obedience classes. The classes will not only help you train him (or train you ...) but also will provide you some quality bonding time with the dog. And most of all, thanks for giving King a new, loving home
Agree with all of the above, you got some great advice. Take a deep breath, be patient and it will all work out with time. Thanks for giving King a new start. Good luck and keep us posted.
Thank you all so much for the advice. I feel so much better and extremely motivated to give him the GOOD LIFE he deserves. Once I learn how to get pics on here, I'll post a few of KING saying his thanks to you all as well....
I agree with the prior posters and only want to add that routine creation with a dog like this is critical to making him feel secure. Do the same thing with him at the same time daily (if at all possible) and he will settle in faster. Dogs are truly creatures of habit.
Sharon, Blaise and Diesel.
Charlie (foster) and Rocky
I agree with the above. I want to pull my hair out wiht Bentley most the time because he is still a puppy asnd on top of that came from the pound. While Tank is the mom what can I do for you now dog.It was hard,hard work to get Tank to how he is now. Same breed but too completley different dogs. Everyone/thing is their own.
~It doesn't matter how smart the dog is,it matters how smart the owner is.