Sorry for all the silly questions but this is the first time I've owned a lab and I know every breed is different so I can't use past experience.
Hamilton is four years old and still chews on everything (toys, boxes, socks etc) Is this normal lab behavior or should I be concerned?
Hamilton sometimes pulls and does a "kangaroo jump" when he gets excited outside, would it be better if I used a harness with him instead of a collar?
for the chewing start back from number one. One of the best words ever is Leave it! With a lab it comes in handy many times! it si not the colar/harness that trains the dog it is YOU! i have 2 happer active labs. i use either a head collar or easy walk and sometimes a choke collar when i wanlk them. I taught them the word heel and they have to stay in a heel until i tell them it is ok to have the full leash. what i would do is this
-put him in a sit and stay.
-when he is calm enough put the leash on and reward(good boy,treat)
-then walk to the door and say sit stay and then wait till he is calm and walk out he door if he starts to get all crazy repeat the door exercise.
My uncle did this with his rottweiler and now his 3 year old son can walk her! She used to be abig puller and then he starting teaching heel,waiting till she was calm and it woriked! Some people that are more experineced may have better ideas.
~It doesn't matter how smart the dog is,it matters how smart the owner is.
No question is silly. Many of us have had or still have the same problems.
Ernie is 9 and still can't be left alone without chewing something. If I am in the room "leave" works unless he is pushing my buttons, then nothing but time out works.
There are various ways to treat pulling. The more knowledgeable people will chime in here.
I used a halti at first, but they hate it and we did the halti waltz. Few steps forward, then 2 side throwing my leg out trying to miss Erns head rubbing on my leg tripping me up. So flat collar and lots of treats I would stop turn when he started to pull.It took weeks to get to the end of the road. Great now.
Gems didn't respond to treats or the turn method so used the dry/wet spaghetti. When she started pulling I would stand still like a tree and make her come back. Limp lead and off we went until it went tight again.
I have a 2 year old lab that also jumps like a kangaroo. Good to hear mine isn't the only one who does that. I use a martingale collar on my lab because he easily slips out of his regular collar. Also, my other 2 year old lab is a chewer and has been from day 1. We just be sure to crate him when we aren't home. Good Luck
Hunter & Chrome
Oh Also we use a easy walk harness on my bigger lab who used to be leash agressive and a puller. It has made the world of difference. We are going to put the harness back on my other lab as well as he pulls like crazy. I have tried the stopping waiting for the leash to go limp then keep walking when he is pulling. Didn't work too well for me. Someone suggested to me, use a spray bottle when they pull. Haven't tried it as of yet though. I also tried the halti, don't bother my dogs rolled on pavement to get it off which is a shame cause it works really well.
Hunter & Chrome
Labs are very mouthy dogs and because of their retrieving instinct most of them love to always have something in their mouths. You need to keep appropriate toys for him to chew, and always correct him when he chews forbiden things, then give him his chew toys. Home is always moving around the house with his favorite nylabone or a rope toy and he´s 3 years old. My Brownie lived to 12 years old and always carried things in her mouth.
For the leash and collar, I use a training collar (the infamous choke). Used properly it works. I usually refrain from recommending because each dog responds differently to the many leash /harness / collars available, I would search for help with a trainer.
I am signing Hamilton up for obedience school tomorrow so I will discuss the collar/harness issue with his "teacher"