"Thanks a lot KAZ!!! That really means a lot! You are definitely on the right track. Great lesson that you taught your son! You absolutely did the right thing. There is nothing worse, especially when I was beginning my pups training, when someone would come racing up to us wanting to pet the dog. First of all...dogs are very uncomfortable when a stranger is looking them in the eye walking quickly toward them with their hands outstretched. Usually people who do this have no idea how to read a dog or its body language. It is natural for a dog to feel threatened in this situation which is why I immediately foose or heel the dog or simply put him behind me while I deal with the bozo.
I was in the elevator with my dog two days ago. The elevator stopped, two older ladies got in with two young girls. The young girls saw the dog...before they even looked at me or said hello, or even asked permission, they stuck their hands out and started yelling "doggie doggie doggie" and started touching his face before I could even react...I yanked him to the other side of me away from those girls who then proceeded to jump up and down (in an elevator I might add causing extremely loud echoing noise) and stomped their feet and shouted loudly about who knows what. At this point my dog started to growl which I am perfectly fine with...I said to him "thank you" which means: Thank you for the warning I'll take it from here. I put him right behind me and blocked him from the girls who then got out of the elevator, and one of the older ladies said sorry and just left me there. Thank goodness they left.
The worst part about these situations is if my dog feels threatened, and a stranger persists, my dog bites a hand or whatever the case may be, the dog is punished, and possibly put down or taken away from me because somehow I am irresponsible and labeled as not fit to own dogs.
My dog is not cranky...he does not bite, he does not "attack" however, I do believe if he is provoked, he has no problem protecting himself. I have never put him into a position where another dog or human has threatened him to that point, and I never plan to. I do have him trained to be verbal to strangers approaching us (he will growl quietly until I call it off) and if I feel threatened, I will let him know and he will growl and bark loudly which is usually enough to scare someone off. I would think twice before crossing an 80 pound black dog...
Kaz - my dog is still a pet, and he is still my companion. He comes to work with me, we do everything together, he sleeps in my bed, and we are constantly training and learning new things - last week we went on a road trip to a cottage where he spent the week swimming and relaxing in the sun. I have a couple of pieces of advice. The first is - training never has an ending. I do not believe in that stupid saying "you can't teach old dog new tricks". Because you can, I have done it.
For example, I can tell my dog to sit, lay down, on your feet, back up, left, right, foose, heel, turn, swing, stay, head up, head down, on your side, get that, bring that, which are just a handful of what he knows. He is completely off leash trained (and perfectly comfortable on a leash). He is trained with hand signals, verbal, and nonverbal. Does this mean I have trained him and now we are finished? The answer is NOOOOOO. WE WILL NEVER BE FINISHED. He loves training sessions, and I love working with him. We are always doing new things!
You don’t want training to be negative! You want to have fun…sure there will be things that he doesn’t really care for. When we first started doing shows, my dog couldn’t “sit up”…Sit up as in keep his bottom on the floor, sit up with his back strait, head up, and paws up in the air. He also couldn’t “bow” front paws and head on the ground with his back arched and back legs standing up tall. These aren’t natural positions to a dog. He didn’t enjoy learning them at all. He had to build enough muscle to sit up nice and tall and he had to build the strength in his back to support him in the bow. We worked on it and we worked on it and we worked on it and now with the hand signals he does them willingly and easily. Labs want to PLEASE US and they are very determined animals.
I have totally hijacked this thread and I’m going to end this here because I could talk and talk and talk and talk. If you read any of my other posts you know I have a habit of writing too much. I’ll end it with this final piece of advice:
Find out what your dog’s strengths are and push them to the limits. My dog has started a search and rescue program. Like most labs, he has an unbelievable nose. They have natural instincts to track. Our first class, we went to an empty construction storage yard. It was littered with various construction trucks, dump trucks, pipes, cement blocks, towering piles of dirt, and gravel. It was late in the evening. Pitch black. The yard had no lights on or anything. We got there and were instructed to hide in a dark shadow on the side of a gravel pit. While we went and hid, our trainer’s assistant held onto the dog out of sight behind a building. This construction yard was in the shape of a large rectangle fenced on the front and the sides. Our dog is whistle trained, but has never been trained in scent work. Once we were hidden our trainer sent the dog in. He immediately ran the perimeter…down the front, down the left, down the right, he put his head up to the air, caught out scent, and froze, mid stride. He put his head down and started sniffing back and forth back and forth and right towards me. He ran right into us!!! He continued to do this time after time after time. There is truly nothing more amazing to watch than this. We watched him teach himself this new set of skills. It was truly remarkable. These are the things that we love the most. These are the things that I believe he loves. I’m so excited all week long to get out and train with him because IT IS SO FUN AND EXCITING. Also, I know he loves it because when we pull into the parking lot he starts whining and jumping…he just wants to get out and work. "
Thanks! So appreciate all your advise. I moved this here as we were hijacking the other thread, BUT I truly would love to continue the conversation.
In the past, we always had well mannered pets, but think this time, we might just go a bit farther. My husband see the strength of tracking starting to form with this pup. It's amazing to watch him when he picks up a scent. Truly believe though we were heading towards therapy but might go "search and rescue". Never know.
Again, love what you do with your dog. Truly believe he is a companion and NOT a robot like some pet owners might think. Amazing watching them learn, amazing watching the light bulb turn on and yes, my pup gets so excited when he sees such pleasure on our face.
Thanks again. You gave me lots of "food for thought".
Thanks a lot Kaz! If there is anything I can do or help you with, just message me any time! I can talk for hours and hours and I love giving advice and helping people.
Have you started working with your pup already with a trainer or anything? If not I can give you some advice on what to look for...tell me more about your pup
Truly appreciate your offer. And can sit for hours and hours listening (reading) and hearing (reading) different advise. Also write a lot too.
no official training with a trainer. I am waiting until 16 weeks. I might have to wait until the following month as the Vet wants to wait with the rabies shot. Getting the last puppy booster at 16 weeks, but wants to wait until the following month for rabies shot. Have been given some good advise on where to go so looking forward to brushing up on my abilities, hopefully learn new ways (been a while since puppy training) and letting pup meet some new dogs and people.
We have started training though. Basic from Day one bringing pup home. In the past, we used to use a choker collar, but this time picked up a "walk and train" (pet store name), but think it's what a martingale looks like. You mentioned a slip collar? What is that?
Regarding picking up scents, it's just amazing to watch this pup pick up a trail. We have lots of rabbits and squirrels. The rabbits, the pup isn't really interested in. I guess he sees enough of rabbits in the house, lol. Squirrels are a different thing. Example: Throw a ball (loves to retrieve) but will get distracted by a scent where the ball lands and then off following the trail. And it's not just a few step, I watch him zig zag all over the yard following I guess this one scent trail. My other dogs loved to smell but watching this pup, amazing.
Would love to hear any advise. Don't know if this is normal for a lab or his strong suit is his nose. First time Lab owners, but not first time dog owners.
Yeah, good idea to wait until all shots are completed. The number one best tip I can provide you with at that young age is to CLICKER TRAIN. I do not treat train dogs. I've mentioned in other posts that I do not reward behaviors I expect (I do not reward obedience with food...I praise verbally and with pets but I will not reward obedience commands with food)...I believe that I was feeding my boy 3 meals a day...I measured his food...and his whole meal he had to work for. He mastered sit, and down within a week. Each time I gave a command and he obeyed, I would give him 1 kibble of food. He had to work for every single kibble for weeks and weeks. When the pup is young (like yours is) this is a great mental work out, and a great positive way to learn the basics. I do not recommended trying to teach your dog tricks like roll over, and paw etc. My preference is to master the standard commands first: sit, down, stay, and here or come...make every meal a training session. You are teaching your pup that food is not free. You are also teaching your pup that you are the pack leader and YOU control the food. Food belongs to you. Your pup will start to cheat in anticipation of your commands...do not reward cheating even if it is cute and funny. Go on youtube and you can watch videos of people doing this with their pups. Most pet stores sell clickers. This is a great tool for a young puppy like yours.
Martingale collars are a great tool for Puppies. There is nothing wrong with that style. I would use a martingale in a puppy size and then once the pup grows out of it, I would switch to a slip style chain. Our trainer and our team use Deval chains. They are fantastic. Our trainer orders tons and tons of them. They come in black, silver, and gold…my boy has worn all three. I don’t think many people sell them so you will have to do some research. Measure your dog’s neck as you want them to fit snug…too loose and you will end up pulling out a lot of your dog’s coat. A quick google should lead you in the right direction. They are all I’ll use. They are a fantastic tool…really popular in obedience training, rally, and used a lot at shows.
There are pretty much 3 different categories of dog training…the first consist of people who bribe, and lure their dogs with food or a toy. They do not use corrections, or distractions while training. Big pets stores like Petsmart and Petco use this type of ineffective training because it is the most “politically correct.” The reason this type of training is crap is because dogs will choose not to do what you are asking because either your reward isn’t good enough, or high enough in value to them. Eventually these dogs end up being aggressive, loudmouthed, and have tons of bad behaviours. It is usually these people that end up returning their dogs or take them to the pound because their dogs are “crazy and so badly behaved, and there must be something wrong with the dog”. The real reason they act the way they do is because of this simple ineffective way of training.
On the opposite side of the scale, there are people who put a choke collar on a dog, and force it to do everything – the old school dog trainers. A lot of professional dog trainers use this type of training because it provides results immediately. The problem with training like this is that the dogs usually dislike and do not trust their handlers. You won’t get very far with a dog that doesn’t trust you.
The third category of trainers is the ones that are right in the middle of these two categories. This is the way I have been taught, and this is the way that I train. A balance between positive training, and corrections. For example, I believe in teaching a dog a command, making sure that the dog understands what the command actually means, and then use distractions to strengthen that understanding of the command. Here is an example. If I tell my dog to lay down and stay, I should be able to walk away, throw a ball in front of him, eat some food, drop food in front of him on the floor, and he should not move until I give him a release command. If he moves and tries to go after the food or the ball, then there will be a correction for being disobedient. You don’t correct a dog unless you know that the dog has learnt that command. Practice inside, with no distractions. Once your pup has mastered “sit” etc. You can start to introduce distractions. Also, if you are interested in teaching hand signals like we have, you would introduce these after the dog has an understanding of the command. Transition to verbal+hand signal commands and then transition to nonverbal+hand signal commands.
Any suggestions on what a good "clicker training" book? Or a website with some really good instructions. I've never done clicker training and want to make sure I'm doing it right and not confusing the pup.
Glad to hear about the martingale. Pup is doing very well with it so far. Not trying to grab at the leash as much as he did when wearing the flat collar. A correction and jiggle (sound of chain) and he looses his attraction to the leash and focuses on me, with a look like "Ok mom, I'm listening". Haven't done real training yet with the leash and martingale. Just getting him used to it. Some days are better than others. Keeping the session short as with the growing spurts, pup gets a bit tired and when tired he gets very distracted with the leash. Plus age has to do with it. Attention span of a nat but see it becoming longer especially at free play. He is really enjoying retrieving. When I first started, he would retrieve maybe one or two times. Now up to four consecutive times. (sit, throw, send, retrieve, and back to a sit at my feet).
Sit command is good. Can see how pups can cheat so when asked to sit I make sure butt hits the floor and stays for a count of 5. If butt leaves the floor before then, no food and command given again. At first, count was 1 or 2. As he's getting older, expanding the count. On walks, pup must sit next to me when we see traffic. Pup is still more interested in the vehicle going by, but I am making him do the "sit". Does that mean he knows the command but has not mastered it?
I do use food at first. I did with sit and with the flat collar. Sit now is mandatory. No treats as he does know the command. Flat collar was a disaster so that's why we went to martingale. Didn't use any treats with that. I'd rather my pup listen to me and look for my affection than looking for food. He gets that twice a day and in the morning he gets his goodies.
Only know choker. Understand about forcing but never forced my dogs. Correction were the only thing I did and I must have gotten lucky because corrections used with other dogs, I guess were at the right time, because they got it. didn't have to force them at all as they both enjoyed their walks and I did too. Both were very well mannered and hoping our Pup follows suit.
Really like the third category of trainers. Like the balance between positive training. Do believe in corrections with dogs as how are they supposed to learn.
Again thanks so much. Will have to look up the "slip" collar.
The collars all of the working dogs, obediance dogs, and everyone on our drill team use these My dog wears it always...in the house, outside, in the water, wherever he is...he has one on. Once you transition to this type of collar (we use the fine thin ones) you will want to invest in some type of pull tab like this This way you always have control and you can always provide a correction to the dog if necessary. ESPECIALLY IN THE HOUSE. Thats why this is so handy.
These collars dont stay tight when you pull on them, they BITE and then release. This is why they are so effective - because they emulate a bite to the dog.