I joined this forum for some ideas on what to do with a mischievous yellow pup. I came upon Lexi about 6 weeks ago. She is a beautiful little girl who just turned 1 on Saturday. Up until a couple of weeks she was the PERFECT dog. Lately she has been the perfect dog in every way except one. She keeps taking things off the coffee table, flip-flops out of the shoe cubby and any random stuffed animal she can find. You know what happens next. The stuffed animal thing is my fiance's fault. She bought a couple of stuffed toys from Petco that only lasted about 3 days, but I still don't like Lexi destroying things.
Even when caught in the act and paddled she continues to take the same thing she was just caught with hours earlier. Since she doesn't get up on the counters or the furniture so I know the band-aid solution is to keep things off the coffee table, put the flip-flops in the closet and keep the stuffed animals off the floor, but I don't think we should have to do that. Besides getting a 9 year girl trained on that would be tougher than dealing with the dog. An odd thing is she doesn't touch anything that belongs to me.
Is all of this just a phase due to her age and possibly coming in to season or is this the start of a serious long term problem that needs to be dealt with harshly and/or by a professional? I welcome any help you can offer.
Paddled? You hit her?
I have a 9 year old, a 5 year old and a (almost) 3 year old dogs. NOTHING can be left for them to "retrieve". That's what they do, they are retrievers.
"Each is a creature of Earth and is entitled to reside on it with dignity"
Oh, and at almost 1, they are "testing the waters" so to speak, like a teenager would do. I would suggest keeping everything cleared. Also might want to work on "leave it".
"Each is a creature of Earth and is entitled to reside on it with dignity"
Please don't paddle her. They understand your displeasure by your tone of voice alone, even if they don't seem to respond, they do understand. If, at age one, all she does is take stuff off the coffee table and chew up flip flops, she sounds like a very good puppy. Redirect her to toys she's allowed to have. Most Labs love to destuff. My solution is to pull the rest of stuffing out and let them have the covering. As she gets older, she will settle down a lot. Until then, just don't keep anything valuable in her reach.
I doubt that there's anything in your house equal to the unconditional love she gives you,
I absolutely agree with the above comments. I don't think it's ever okay to hit your dog -- it doesn't do anything except instill fear in them. A harsh tone in your voice should be enough - also, you should never discipline unless you actually catch them doing it in the act. If you try to discipline after-the-fact, it will mean nothing to them as they won't know why you are angry (they live in the moment).
As for the taking of things off the coffee table and de-stuffing toys -- that's what labs do. I have an 11-month old and we know that we need to put things away out of her reach or we run the risk of those items no longer being around. She's a lab, and although we teach her to not touch certain things, the temptation of a pair of flip flops on the floor or a box of kleenex on a nearby coffee table is sometimes too great for her to resist! No matter what she does, we love her and never hurt her.
Labradors get into things that they shouldn't period....but only if you are careless and let them !
That includes counter surfing and raiding bins !
I keep my worktops clear of food and put the rubbish bins out of reach ! They know right from wrong but they are crafty and clever so where food or anything else that attracts them is available then they will make the most of your failures to secure your goods !
Of course, I am generalising as some dogs are little angels, but some test your every sinew !
Keep those coffee tables clear or you deserve to be paddled !
Labs can take up to two years to calm down and accede to your instructions and even then some don't !
Sadie is 8 and she must be a rare Lab because she never gets anything unless told to. I think she learned not to counter surf from about 2-3 yrs. You have to train your dog and because Labs are very smart they will learn quickly.
Toby is 4 months and is known as Toby Troublemaker he is just learning so we have a long way to go. He is never left unattended for a second and we do put our things up that we don't want him to chew. Although he did destroy 2 pairs of DD flip flops while under her watch so I blame her for that
You must tell your dog NO! and yes it takes a lot of work but well worth it.
Google "teaching leave it" or "teaching drop it." These will take you a long way with a Lab.
My boys are both six. They have been trustworthy for quite a while, but I still do a morning sweep of the house to make sure nothing is left out that could tempt them, because they have fallen off the wagon a few times. I realize this would be more difficult with a young child (we don't have kids), but you do get used to keeping things picked up, and after a while it becomes second nature. Bonus: House always looks nice.
Management is the key to so many "behavior problems." Don't knowingly create situations where they might fail.
it sounds to me like you have a pretty good Lab too. You obviously have no idea how much worse it could be. I'd take occasional stealing of shoes as an "only flaw" in a heartbeat. Be grateful!!
I agree with all the advice you've been given. Especially with regards to the paddling. Even if done at the time of the behaviour, it should just never be done.
They are smart dogs, they completely understand if they've done something wrong. I've never met a Lab that ever did something "intentionally" to upset their owner. They are mouthy dogs, they chew, retrieve, grab, etc. It is their nature.
You say you have a 9 year old daughter? step-daughter? I am guessing you don't leave things in her reach that at her age of maturity she would not be able to understand the consequences of fiddling with say... matches, liquor, drugs, guns.... ?
She sounds like a great Lab, in return for her unconditional love & devotion why don't you give her a hand & keep things out of her reach??
I have had 3 labs now, 1 girl is long gone, the other 2 are still making me crazy. Are they intelligent? Absolutely! It just takes about a bazillion times of reinforcement with no, drop, leave it, then all of a sudden one day they look at you with that face that says "OHHHHHHH, THIS is what makes you crazy! Okie dokie mom, won't do it anymore!" Sure I have swatted Gus's fanny as he goes running past me but he knows when it's swat time, I'm not mad. When I'm angry at him he sees it in my face and he knows to just stop, whatever he is doing, just stop. If there is a swat it's more of a slow down warning and then I generally get knocked down anyway to get a kiss. Paddling is a never & a swat to that big old boy is a love tap and he knows that, nothing to ever worry about.
I agree with Angus, every morning there is a sweep of counters, coffee tables, remotes put up on the mantle, shoes tucked in closets, bedroom doors closed and a last glance look telling them "I already know what you are thinking, don't do it!" Then I just go out the door whispering a prayer that they attempt to maintain control today. Last night I got home to a Chinese food bag on the floor and the dog attempting to open duck sauce. A quick yell of "What did you do???" and they were off and running, panting, barking... they basically told me if I didn't leave it out, they wouldn't have gotten into it. Good luck, you'll get there with her, just do it with love and reinforcement of the rules. She'll learn, she is very capable of learning, just give her the chance.