Hi we would really appreciate some advice and help.
My Partner and I have a 11 month old Chocolate Labrador (Bruno) which we have had from a local well known and respected breeder.
During the early months he started biting our fingers and clothes a little, I say a little because he never put much pressure on our skin and people called this the teething stage and we tried to show him that it is wrong to bite or try to bite us.
As time went on we started to see a very excited and aggressive side to him which started normally when playing with him and having a toy. I tried to teach him to release a toy on my command however he would never do this and he would become very aggressive and possessive with biting and jumping myself or my partner.
Walking him was a big problem as he would be pulling us all the time. My partner found it very hard to walk with him and her arms would ache after walking him. When I walked him I had the same problem but found a solution of cycling with him. So I would cycle with him in the morning for 30-40mins and my partner would walk him in the evening for and hour.
We took him to dog training where he was the most excited dog in the classes. He was always jumping and pulling on his lead. The trainer said he was a very excited dog and he just needs to have a release for this energy. He also recommended changing his current food which was (Hills Science Plan Puppy chicken) to another brand as he said Hills has too much protein for him and changing his food will calm him down.
He did learn to Sit, Lay down, stay and Heal which he did fine. After 6 weeks of classes he had learnt things but was still very energetic and aggressive sometimes.
His aggression started to get worse in terms of it would come out of nowhere and he would bite and hold onto my partners arms or legs. As he was getting bigger and stronger very quickly she found it very hard to control him. He would be very aggressive with me but not to the same level. I think it is because I could physically stop him and lay him on his side.
While walking him in the park we always keep him on the lead until we are 100% alone otherwise he runs to other dogs or runners/cyclists and jumps on them and doesn't return when called.
Whenever we have visitors he jumps up on them and gets overly excited. We try to calm him down but he just won't listen. Our friends have a new baby and we are scared to let him off the lead. My mother would love to take him for walks during the day as we are at work or even let him out in the garden but she is to frail to control him.
Right now we are very concerned as to his aggression. It does seem to be getting worse. He can walk with us with no problem and then suddenly start biting for no apparent reason. This is now a daily thing.
Example would be today where I woke him up for his morning run. He was very calm and listened to all my commands. I tie his lead to my cycle and ride with him. We came back he picked up a big stick and started biting it. I ignored him and started to prepare his food. As my back was turned and I was filling his water bowel at our outside tap he came and bit my arse. Then started running in a circle aggressively, showing his teeth and barking at me. I tried to grab him and eventually I did and lay him on his side until he calmed down. Which he does but he never really calms down 100% as he would lay down without me holding him down and then suddenly get back up and ready to bit me.
My Partner is very stressed and down as Bruno is a lovely dog but he has a side to him which is really bad. Her arms and legs are all bruised from the biting and twisting of his lead.
Just to add, Bruno lives outside all the time. He has done so since we got him. He has his own shed with bed inside and then he has his own grassed area which is fenced. My wife and I work and are away from the house from 7:30-18:00. During this time he is alone. He does come into our place and we have a cushion and bed for him.
He does destroy his toys and we have bought many toys for him. This XMAS a relative bought a rubber squeeky ball and in less than 10days he has ripped it apart.
I hope I have described the situation properly I am glad to answer any further questions from anyone. I could do with some help and advice because we cannot continue to live like this and I think he would be happier if he could become more balanced.
I think Bruno's whole problem is that he is alone for almost 12 hours a day with no human or animal contact. Not surprised that he is crazy rambunctious and difficult to train when he finally does have human contact. He needs more mental as well as physical stimulation. In my opinion, all that you describe is not true aggression, but too much unvented energy. Is there any way you can arrange day care for him so he can be with someone or with other dogs?
Check out the training section of JL.
I agree with the needing mental and physical activity.
One thing with the bike ride is to be careful with is letting them run too hard before they are 18 months old as it can effect their joints. I adopted a 3.5 year old who was exactly like Bruno sounds. Lots of training, being consitent and sticking with it helped. He is good now, except for the bad joints which he was born with, but made worse by his previous owners not walking him or running with him when he was young.
from your post it does not sound like an aggressive dog at all. Just a dog that is very wired. 12 hours is a very very long time for a dog to be alone.
How long as those walks? How long on those walks is he off leash?
as soon as you get home he is going to need TONS of exercise. Along the lines of an hour off leash of running. walks are not exercise for labs at that age, they are warm ups at best. If you do not have a fenced yard you will have to find a safe place for him to run. A chance to play with other dogs would be great as well but he will need exercise before playing most likely as he's probably so anxious and has so much pent up energy he'll be "too much" for other dogs right now.
AS WELL as much more daily exercise, I would do NILF (nothing in life is free) to work on his training. But NILF alone won't work, this dog NEEDS physical exercise each and every day.
I agree with your comments and we have talked about getting someone to walk Bruno or be with him while we are not home but we are scared that they won't be able to control him or something happens like they get bit or Bruno runs away from them.
I would love my mother to be able to be with him but with his aggression I can't trust him with her. She also wants to look after him but she is scared. She see's him during the day and gives him a treat but he is behind gate. She is home most of the time.
I thought that being with him a lot over XMAS would help but he seems to be more aggressive.
Over Xmas break he was with us in our place and we took him for longer walks but nothing seemed to help.
The aggression is not only outside, when he is in our place we can be sitting with him on his cushion and he is playing with his toys then suddenly he will go from biting his toy to jumping on us and biting us. He has been Neutered back in Oct which I hoped would calm him down.
Thanks for the reply.
I was thinking of getting a treadmill for us and him. What do you think?
When it's summer we have no problem but with our horrible winters it gets hard to take him out.
My worry with having him off leash is that I do not have control over him and when he is off the leash and a runner is in site he runs after them.
I would stop stop calling him aggressive, from your description that doesn't sound true at all. He is a young lab that hasn't had nearly enough exercise and has tons of pent up energy (and lack of structure)
Find a safe place for him to run. Ify ou do not have a yard, ask a friend or family member to use their fenced yard, find a fenced baseball field or tennis court, find a dog park that is fenced and go when it is quiet. Just look around and brainstorm. Leashed walks are not going to do it. Depending on how he is you can try a long line to play fetch.
Please look into another training class ASAP as well.
I don't personaly like treadmills for dogs. They can work in a pinch but not day to day (in my view). Plus, you have a dog with lots of pent up energy that needs free play, you can't elimnate that with a treadmill he needs to run and play.
You got a dog that needs year round exercise. Get some winter clothes and get out there! It was -20F here yesterday with the wind (-28) and i have gone out when it was colder that that. and I got out there with my dog to ensure he got the needed exercise. You can't just use a treadmill all winter.
Last edited by Tanya; 01-04-2012 at 08:08 AM.
I agree with everyone else. Where in the UK are you? I don't really think you can say we have 'horrible winters'; yes it's cold, yes it's wet and at the moment blowing a gale but you got a dog, an active young dog and it's your job to take him out rain or shine. It's blowing a 35mph wind at the moment and me and Zack have just got in from our walk
Also, if you're calling him 'aggressive' for natural behaviour, I don't think you did enough research on Labs prior to agreeing to having him