We have a yound black lab (coming up to 6 months old); and we have a young family (2 kids less than 5 years old). My job role has recently changed and I am having to spend time away from home (~1 week/month) as a result of my job change, We are finding that we are really struggling with our dog and the pressure it puts on my wife when I am away is getting unbearable. In additon, he is constantly running off with the childrens toys (though he will drop them on command), he wakes up at 06:00 every morning (and even though we ignore him, he continues to 'cry' and wake the house up), he is getting more and more boisterous around the house (and sometimes knocks our children over when he has his mad moments). People tell us that we haven't even reached the tough times yet (adolescence at 7 months onwards) and that labs do not begin to show signs of calming down until well part their 3rd year. We are very close to giving up for adoption by someone else, especially so if the hard times are still to come. Our question is: Are we likely to see a calming down in his behaviour within the next 6 months or is the 3 year+ accurate. (note that he is going to puppy lessons and is a lovely dog..it's more about our ability to cope with him with such a yound family and changing job role). Any help/comments would be really appreciated. Thanks in advance.
You are in a tough period, and the next 6 months will be hard. My son is dealing with a dog of simiilar age, and with similar aged children. Need to give your wife support and make sure both of you are consistent with your expectations from the dog. The energy level is going to be there, but the behavior can be altered.
Kids toys, they need to be picked up, and out of reach. The toys go in the kid's bedrooms, and the doors get closed. The stage will pass.
Coming up on 6 months, the dog is losing its baby razors,a nd adult teeth are coming in. Once that is complete, life will improve.
There is no switch that causes the dog to become that calm lay at your feet Lab. It is gradual, one day you realize it has happened.
Up at 6:00, and you have young children. Not intending to be nasty, but you should be used to that. The dog needs a potty break, and probably wants his breakfast. He is still growing and most of it happens when he sleeps. He needs his food.
The reward for working with him through the difficult period can't be beat. He will be your companion, the companion of your kids. He will do whatever he has to for your love and attention, and wil give it back 10 fold until the day he passes on.
Hershey Kisses, In charge of getting Ed out to the dog park so that he gets some exercise.
My dog is not yet 2, but has already calmed from some of that puppy craziness. However, he still has a ton of energy and needs to run and play. What are you guys doing to exercise the pup? Usually, more exercise will lead to a calmer, better behaved dog.
Another option to consider might be doggy daycare. If your wife could take him in a couple days on the week that you're gone, it would provide the dog with exercise and socialization and her with some peace and quiet......
Lab temperament differs from dog to dog. Some dogs are little angels at 1 year old - some are hooligans forever !
It doesn't seem to me that he is doing anything that isn't normal for a regular Lab puppy ! Labs love to have something in their mouths at any age. I presume that he has his own toys ? It may be that your children should be taught to put their own toys away just as you expect the dog to leave them !
How much exercise is he getting ? If your wife has the children to cope with does she have time to exercise him ?
As for getting up at 6am, then that again is fairly normal ! My two will now sleep until I decide to get up ( They occassionally pace around if I am too late but that's about it )
Presumably he is crate trained ?
I don't really think that there is much else that you can do ! He's a Lab pup after all !
I second the doggy daycare idea or even a dog walker. Something to get the dog some exercise and your wife a break. So many people give up on their labs at that age--both of mine were 8 months old when I adopted them. They do start calming a little bit afer a year, but won't become couch potatoes. He will still need exercise, regular play time and mental stimulation.
“If I know every single phone call you’ve made, I’m able to determine every single person you’ve talked to; I can get a pattern about your life that is very, very intrusive. And the real question here, is what do they do with this information that they collect – that does not have anything to do with al-Qaeda? And we’re gonna trust the president and the vice president that they’re doing the right thing? Don’t count me in on that.”
Joe Biden, 2006
Honestly, you need to sit down as a family and analyse if you have time for a puppy. Realistically. NONE of thsi will improve without training. They don't hit an age where things are "poof" better. Without training and exercise he will not be getting out of this phase.
How much exercise is he getting? at that age they are goign to need over an hour a day of running around and free play. Ify ou have a backyard that help as it gives you a place to exercise but you need someone out there with him (dogs do NOT exercise themselves),
This is also a time when you need to ramp up training. Daily. Not saying you need to do an hour a day of training but a few short 5-10 minute sessiosn through the day. This also helps exercise the brain - which is also important (they need mental exercise as well as physical exercise).
Kids toys look alot like dog toys - it's not really a surprise he is taking them to play. There is no easy answer other than more training (leave it and such) and controlling the toys (I get this is not easy with two young kids but it's just part of the deal when you have a puppy and young kids).
Some options that could help is doggy daycare and/or a dog walker (that can bring him soemwhere safe to run). This helps give him exercise even if you are busy. It will NOT solve teh problem but help you.
If you chose to rehome him PLEASE first contact teh breeder (assuming this pup comes from a reputable breeder - if not please go to a rescue). Do not rehome him yourself.
Charlie (foster) and Rocky
They do calm down gradually. It's very hard to deal with kids and puppies, but they aren't puppies forever, and he'll grow into a dog that your kids will always remember.
He's still young, but enough exercise really helps calm them down. If your pup likes to play fetch, half your problem is solved. What helped me a lot when dealing with an active puppy while babysitting my toddler grandson is getting a 50' nylon lead and attaching it to a screw-in tie out stake in my yard. Bean has enough leash to chase a tennis ball and bring it back to me, and since he's tethered, I can safely leave him to deal with my grandson if needed.
When I think back just a few months, I wonder how I survived the puppy time! Keep working with basic obedience; learning things also tires them out. Bean's 15 months, and he is showing a lot more "dog" behavior vs. puppy madness. There is light at the end of the tunnel
Good Advice from all. I have 3 young children at home also. Thankfully we have a toyroom that is off limits to the dogs. I have taught all 3 kids (youngest is 3), that toys don't belong in the dogs area. They can have toys in their toy room, or bedroom. Exercise is Key. If you can the dog tired out, it makes life with a lab so much better. When days aren't good outside, I toss a tennis ball inside. Another thing that I have taught my children, is don't run in the house. I know it is tough, yet when the kids are running the dog will chase. Your lab is only going to get bigger, and him chasing the kids, they are going to get hurt. Also if you aren't doing it already Crate Train. This will give your wife a place to put the dog, when she needs a break from the dog.
It doesn´t seem like an easy situation at all. It sounds soo familiar (my brother´s case). To me this sounds like a normal puppy doing normal puppy things. it also sound like the typical wife with young kids who´s sick of having to deal with the puppy, plus taking care of two little kids.
Since you are not providing any consistency to the puppy, then things are blown into a huge problem. A puppy (and even an adult) Lab waking up at 6 AM is pretty much the standard. At that time you have to get up, take the puppy out for a potty break, play, exercise him, train, etc. So that by the time you get back home the puppy has burned off the excess morning energy.
Puppy taking the kids toys... pretty normal. Since kids always leave their toys everywhere, the puppy finds it irresistible not to grab them.
Having kids under 5 plus a lab puppy is not easy at all, combine that with your traveling and I can understand your wife.
Labs don´t "calm" down i.e. become couch potatoes. They need a lot of activity and exercise, consistency and attention. They are pretty much like your kids.
I honestly would look for a new home for your puppy, but since the puppy is actually the victim here, please take the time and effort to find him a good home where he will be given all he needs.
Hi Hersheys Dad. Thank you so much for your note (indeed to all replies). It's comforting that this is a familiar position for some families. We really did our homework before getting lab (spoke to many owners and breeders) and chose a Kennel Registered breeder with impeccable credentials and excellent hip/eye/elbow score 'ancestors'; however, as eluded to in my e-mail, my job change has tipped the balance somewhat (and wasn't anticipated). I notice that many of the posts refer to crate training and exercise (our dog, Murphy, is both crate trained as has ~ 1 hour exercise...walks...every day...even when I am away with work..and weekends are action packed days outside). We smiled when we read the 06:00 start...most days the kids are waking at this time...but every so often they have a cheeky little sleep-in...yet Murphy is consistent with the 06:00 chorus call. I think there is 'light at the end of the tunnel'; it's really just a case of getting clarity what that light means and when it could happen (months, years, never)? Are there any 'rules of thumb' as to how long the difficult period will last? At the end of the day, he is a lovely dog. Is great with the kids, hasn't damaged any furniture in the house and is excellent during walks. It boils down to the capacity of our family to cope. Again, many thanks in advance.