Behavioral problems
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  1. #1
    GizmosMommy's Avatar
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    QuestionBehavioral problems

    Not sure where to post this thread so I figured I would ask in the general discussion..hope that is OK.

    I have a yellow lab named Gizmo, who is my baby. I love him to death! However, I am having a lot of behavioral problems with him now. He is a little over a year old at the moment and he went through (and somehow graduated lol) obedience classes when he was 6-8 months old. He is good as far as the commands go (sit, down, stay, come, etc) but he has been pretty wild lately and I am not sure what to do.

    We kept him in the crate while we were at work for a long time, but when we would get home he would be out of control excited and energetic. I wanted to try and leave him on his own to maybe let him expend some of the energy during the day without him being confined to the crate. So, about a month ago we left him out (closing all the doors in the house) to see if he could handle being on his own. He did fine for the first few weeks, so we continued to leave him out. But now he has been getting destructive. He ripped holes in the couch (the brand new couch, might I add) on more than one occasion, has shred any sort of mail in his sight. Even things I keep hidden he somehow finds and destroys. He doesn't go to the bathroom in the house at all, which is why I suspected he was being destructive because he was bored. So I left him things to do while we are at work such chew toys, a rawhide, and even clothes from the hamper for him to lay with. But it doesn't seem to work.

    When I get home from work at about 5pm, he gets plenty of exercise. I either walk him around the block, throw the ball in the yard, take him to the park to walk trails, take him to the dog park to hang with other doggies, take him swimming, or even for a ride to Pet Smart to browse, since he loves the pet store. It sounds ridiculous to say, but sometimes we even play hide and seek around the house so that his brain gets some activity as well. However, he does not calm down until about 8-9pm at night.

    I asked the vet about his behavior when he went for his check up last week and he said he's still a puppy and he has a lot of energy. I do understand that he is still a puppy and has the brain of a young dog, but the destruction and hyperactivity are a lot to handle.

    I am wondering if you have any suggestions on how to prevent the destructive behavior? Would an advanced obedience classes be an effective solution? Or is it just that he is a "lab puppy" with a ton of energy and I have to wait a while for him to calm down somewhat? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated since I am not sure what to do anymore (or if I am doing something wrong)!

    He is my pride and joy and I love him so much, and I know that he needs a lot of attention and exercise, which I make sure he receives. I just need to figure out what else I can do to help him calm down!
    <3 Gizmo

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    deidra's Avatar
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    Can you take him to doggie daycare or higher a dog walker. I walk a older lab for someone who can not walk him during the week adn he loves it! How much exercise do you give him before you do to work? How long is he in the crate? Have you tried a kong with forzen peanut butter in it?
    ~It doesn't matter how smart the dog is,it matters how smart the owner is.

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    GizmosMommy's Avatar
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    Thanks for your input. I am seriously considering finding a dog walker or someone to come by during the day to check on him. In the morning before work we do a little play, throw the ball quick, but he's usually not in the mood in the morning and would rather go lay down. He is not in the crate at all anymore because he is 105lbs and though the crate is HUGE and he has plenty of room, I like giving him the freedom to stretch or chase his tail if he wants to throughout the day.

    He did have a Kong and he loved when I put frozen peanut butter in it.. however, despite the fact that those are supposed to be indestructible, my Gizmo Gremlin found a way to start shredding it after a few months. So we have to get a new one, threw that one out so he didn't swallow the pieces.

    He really lives up to his middle name of Gremlin. lol
    <3 Gizmo

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    Tanya is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by GizmosMommy View Post
    Not sure where to post this thread so I figured I would ask in the general discussion..hope that is OK.

    I have a yellow lab named Gizmo, who is my baby. I love him to death! However, I am having a lot of behavioral problems with him now. He is a little over a year old at the moment and he went through (and somehow graduated lol) obedience classes when he was 6-8 months old. He is good as far as the commands go (sit, down, stay, come, etc) but he has been pretty wild lately and I am not sure what to do.

    We kept him in the crate while we were at work for a long time, but when we would get home he would be out of control excited and energetic. I wanted to try and leave him on his own to maybe let him expend some of the energy during the day without him being confined to the crate. So, about a month ago we left him out (closing all the doors in the house) to see if he could handle being on his own. He did fine for the first few weeks, so we continued to leave him out. But now he has been getting destructive. He ripped holes in the couch (the brand new couch, might I add) on more than one occasion, has shred any sort of mail in his sight. Even things I keep hidden he somehow finds and destroys. He doesn't go to the bathroom in the house at all, which is why I suspected he was being destructive because he was bored. So I left him things to do while we are at work such chew toys, a rawhide, and even clothes from the hamper for him to lay with. But it doesn't seem to work.

    When I get home from work at about 5pm, he gets plenty of exercise. I either walk him around the block, throw the ball in the yard, take him to the park to walk trails, take him to the dog park to hang with other doggies, take him swimming, or even for a ride to Pet Smart to browse, since he loves the pet store. It sounds ridiculous to say, but sometimes we even play hide and seek around the house so that his brain gets some activity as well. However, he does not calm down until about 8-9pm at night.

    I asked the vet about his behavior when he went for his check up last week and he said he's still a puppy and he has a lot of energy. I do understand that he is still a puppy and has the brain of a young dog, but the destruction and hyperactivity are a lot to handle.

    I am wondering if you have any suggestions on how to prevent the destructive behavior? Would an advanced obedience classes be an effective solution? Or is it just that he is a "lab puppy" with a ton of energy and I have to wait a while for him to calm down somewhat? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated since I am not sure what to do anymore (or if I am doing something wrong)!

    He is my pride and joy and I love him so much, and I know that he needs a lot of attention and exercise, which I make sure he receives. I just need to figure out what else I can do to help him calm down!
    1- training is a lifelong thing, not just getting thru one class. I highly recommend another round of obedience classes, and daily training sessions (they don't have to be long)
    2 -you call him your baby - do you have boundaries, rules he must follow? or is he pretty much doing whatever he wants in teh house? Dogs need rules, boundaries. This ties into the training in part 1 but is more generalized. If a dog is only required to listen during official training sessions they become a "trained" dog but not a behaved dog.
    3 - you list quite a few potential daily activities. How many would you day in a day? Ex: do you play ball then go for a ride? Or is it one of the other? Alot of labs here need over an hour of exercise (including offleash stuff)
    4 - is he getting offleash running daily? (fetch, the offleash walk)? Or just every few days? How long are your games of fetch?
    I ask all these questions as I am trying to see if he needs more exercise. Walks are great, but not enough (no matter how long) for a young lab after sitting at home all day. The offleash walk sounds great, the fetch is good (assuming it is long enough). walks are a great addition if paired with something like the fetch. Same with the trip in the car - alone that isn't exercise, but a good activity.
    5 - he is a big boy - are you sure that is a healthy weight (it'spossible but labs are not generally quite that heavy)?
    6 - on top of physical and mental exercise (see all the ablve) at that age they also often need to "learn" to relax. YOu need to balance "gogogo" with teaching that it is ok to just...sit.

    dogs left loose in the day do not "expend energy". they either do nothing OR they get into trouble (that could potentially be harmful). If he is chewing/destroying he needs to be crated during the day, no questions asked. My guy was crated until 4ish.
    Last edited by Tanya; 05-12-2011 at 07:30 PM.
    Charlie (foster) and Rocky

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    1- training is a lifelong thing, not just getting thru one class. I highly recommend another round of obedience classes, and daily training sessions (they don't have to be long)
    2 -you call him your baby - do you have boundaries, rules he must follow? or is he pretty much doing whatever he wants in teh house? Dogs need rules, boundaries. This ties into the training in part 1 but is more generalized. If a dog is only required to listen during official training sessions they become a "trained" dog but not a behaved dog.
    3 - you list quite a few potential daily activities. How many would you day in a day? Ex: do you play ball then go for a ride? Or is it one of the other? Alot of labs here need over an hour of exercise (including offleash stuff)
    4 - is he getting offleash running daily? (fetch, the offleash walk)? Or just every few days? How long are your games of fetch?
    I ask all these questions as I am trying to see if he needs more exercise. Walks are great, but not enough (no matter how long) for a young lab after sitting at home all day. The offleash walk sounds great, the fetch is good (assuming it is long enough). walks are a great addition if paired with something like the fetch. Same with the trip in the car - alone that isn't exercise, but a good activity.
    5 - he is a big boy - are you sure that is a healthy weight (it'spossible but labs are not generally quite that heavy)?
    6 - on top of physical and mental exercise (see all the ablve) at that age they also often need to "learn" to relax. YOu need to balance "gogogo" with teaching that it is ok to just...sit.

    dogs left loose in the day do not "expend energy". they either do nothing OR they get into trouble (that could potentially be harmful). If he is chewing/destroying he needs to be crated during the day, no questions asked. My guy was crated until 4ish.
    Thanks for your reply, Tanya, I appreciate it.

    To answer your questions so you can get a better picture of the situation..
    1- We learned in obedience class that training is a lifelong thing. So we do daily training inside and out. I've also grown up with dogs my whole life so one thing I've learned is that there is always room for more training. Ive contacted his obedience teacher to ask about advanced classes, hopefully that will help a little.

    2-Though he is my baby, he does have rules. I do admit that he is spoiled in some ways (like sleeping in bed with us) but we are tough with him when need be. We spent a lot of time repeating training to correct negative behaviors (ie- he has to sit before we put the leash on...no sit, no leash.. which is now almost automatic for him) and he has to sit when people come over, etc. So though is spoiled in some ways, other ways he is not. Could this be part of the behavioral issues?

    3- I try to combine as many of the activities as I can. Of course, it depends on the weather. I am fortunate enough to live very close to a dog friendly park with many trails, and I bring the long lead (which we used to train him to "come") and let him go ahead of me so he can go at his own pace, while I still have control of the leash. So, if it is nice outside, after work we go there and then come home and throw the ball around the yard. Rainy days we play inside, throw the ball around the hallway or play hide and seek. And on weekends, he is with us everywhere we go. If we run errands, he comes too (one of us stays in the car with him of course) and then on weekends we usually plan a Gizmo-centered activity like a swim in the bay (benefits of living on an island) or a trip to the dog park so he can run around with other dogs and a trip to the pet store.

    4-I try to combine the walk with the romps in the yard for the reason that you mentioned. I like him to run around off leash because then he has the freedom to run around the yard and chase the ball. But I also greatly enjoy walks with him and I. I would say he gets about 2 hours a day of exercise during the week, mostly outdoor if it is nice outside, and then we play inside a little more before he crashes. I knew before I got him that labs were high energy and needed a lot of exercise, so I was prepared for this before I got him. And I love playing with him so exercising him is by no means a chore. It's something I look forward to at the end of the day.

    5-He went to the vet on Monday for his check up and the vet said he is naturally just a big boy. He would like to see him lose about 5-8lbs and get down to just below a hundred. The vet said if he gets any thinner than that, he may look too thin. So I have already started switching his milk bones to baby carrots. With the nicer weather coming, losing 5lbs shouldn't be a problem. At only a few weeks old we could tell he was going to be a larger lab based on the size of his paws.

    6- The balancing is the hard part. When he was in obedience class, one of the most important lessons was the "long down" which he couldn't quite master. It is something we still work on.

    I don't have much of a choice other than putting him back in the crate while I am at work. How did you know your dog was ready to be left alone? Did he calm down around age 4 and that is how you knew? Thanks again for your help!
    <3 Gizmo

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    Tank is 66lb's and Bentley is 60ish. Can you feel the ribs by not pressing on them? Try another kong. I think it would help with the extra obedince but be firm and consitant. Oes everyone who comes in goes know what he can and can't do? I think a dog walker will be a good idea (as long as he lets the stranger in his house). I would make sure they meet first and see how they interact.
    ~It doesn't matter how smart the dog is,it matters how smart the owner is.

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    Tanya is offline Senior Member
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    well sounds like you are doing everything right

    I tested Rocky to see if he was ready. his issue was not destruction but getting into food. he'd jump on the counters to get into the cupboards and chew shirts/jackes that had food in them at some point (i.e. I put treats in a pocket and he'd smell crumbs) Like I said, he was crated until about 4 years of age. I got him at 18 months. I tested him a few times before the age of 4. He would be good for awhile. But then get into trouble again, so back in teh crate. This is more a maturity thing. Some dogs are crated their entire life as they are never trustworthy. Others are crate free as puppies!! I know it sucks to crate him, but it is for his own good.
    Oh and one thought, if you can try him in seperate rooms to start off (i.e. one dog proof room rather than the entire house) that can be a first step as well. If he does well. If not...crate.
    Charlie (foster) and Rocky

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    I can feel his ribs without pressing on him..and you can actually see them when you look at him from the side. I try my best to keep him in shape because at the rate he was growing, I knew he was going to be a big boy, and I don't want him to have any health problems as he gets older and settles down a little.

    Gizmo does the same thing with breaking into cupboards and cabinets! He figures if he can open it, it should be his. Actually, I figured out that he can open all the doors to the rooms downstairs. So I thought by closing the doors I was doggie proofing them, but turns out smarty pants knows how to turn the handle down and push his way in. I've since locked them all once I leave and use a nail to break into the rooms when I get home. lol Unreal.

    I guess he will have to go back in the crate and we will take it from there. I really appreciate all the suggestions and the input! I've been a dog owner my whole life. Growing up we had 4 at one time for many years, and that was nothing compared to one Gizmo. lol
    <3 Gizmo

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    Your not the only one with a dog who can open door A certain yellow boy of mine learned how to open his outside run door. I used to live in the country and we were the "dump your dog at that persons house" we had 25 before. They all found good homes since it was 2 pregnant dogs ( that were dumped) is the reason we had so many plus the other that were dumped. The moms were sick and so we were surprised that them and the pups made it. GOt to love good vets. Now we live in town and have 3 dogs.
    ~It doesn't matter how smart the dog is,it matters how smart the owner is.

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    dek
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    Have you tried taking him for a walk in the morning as well? Mine also does not want to play much early before work, but if I get out the leash and go for a walk, he's all energy and we can get a good walk in, which at least helps at bit.
    Also, I agree with Deidra about doggy daycare or dog walker. Even if you just took him to doggy daycare a couple days a week, it would help burn off some energy and he might even be a bit more relaxed the next day. He may be bored and lonely at home alone and if he's destroying things, I think you have to crate/isolate him for his own safety (and your sanity).
    I don't know how Gizmo will react to the weather, but it's already full summer down here and mine doesn't want to do much during the day (too hot), so he's much more energetic in the evening and it does take quite a lot of play time for him to tire out.



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