I am normally a lurker but I really need some help. My pup Mo-Dean just turned 18 months old. We have taken puppy obedience and several agility classes. He does great with agility. Here is the problem....in class he is so obnoxious. He barks at the other dogs and jumps at them. I think his dog manners are lacking. I have a dog daycare that is about 30 minutes away. I am wondering if this is the place that he can improve his socialization or will the other dogs just kick his butt.
What suggestions can you give me to nip this is the bud. The little stinker will never be able to be able to compete in agility if he can't play nice with others.
Thanks in advance for your help.
How is he with other Labs playing? Has he had ample experience as a puppy playing with other Labs?
My first Lab, Bess, we got at age 5 weeks and was never socialized with (learned to play with) other Labs. When others attempted to play with her, she ran next to them, and then gave them her hip -- sending them sprawling tail over teakettle, whereupon she proudly trotted back to the species she identified herself with -- people.
In our weekly LabFests, we've had maybe 50-60 Labs participate over the last 5 years. A few have been Labs, like Bess, that have never learned to socialize. Often they bark at the others, as if wanting to initiate play, but not knowing how to. They're sad.
I suggest looking for other sociable Lab playmates and arranging playdates for an hour or so in a fenced backyard at least several times a week.
Very possibly, with enough experience in this, the barking would decrease.
If a dog is deprived of sufficient early experience playing with littermates, it will be extremely difficult (if not impossible) to bridge the gap and have them comfortably socialize and play.
Scott & Fuller in "Genetics and the Social Behavior of the Dog" were the first to thoroughly investigate this and exposit its dimensions.
Puff [YF, AKC field line (from competing HT/FT breeder) 62 lbs, dob: 8-'01]
Bess [BF, AKC bench line (from competing show breeder) 55 lbs., 1967-1981] "Poor Bess, the Wonder Dog":
He needs to learn both self-control and focus in highly stimulating environments. There are a number of methods to help you (and him) achieve this - has your trainer given you any assistance at all? What have you tried?
Monty's breeder shared something with me when I got him that made a TON of sense after raising Libby up from 7 wks without any other dogs in the house.
During those crucial growth (physical AND mental) periods, dogs really *need* a ton of interaction with other dogs to retain their ability to communicate and interact properly with them. If they don't, then they're only learning to communicate and interact with us, as humans, and they remain pretty obnoxious when *trying* to interact with other dogs.
Libby had a couple of set-backs in socialization because not only was she an "only dog," but she also had to be kept out of puppy classes and other dog social groups for a long time because she had to undergo elbow surgery (both elbows) at 6 months, and then recovery...which we took reeeeaaaalllly slowly in an effort to minimize the development of arthritis in those elbows. She passed her CGC at 11 months, though it was not without a bit of difficulty with the "greeting a strange dog" station, and now that she turns 3 on the 4th of July and has 19-month-old Monty to lounge/play/interact/communicate with (and has since he first came home at 8 wks), she is fine around other dogs. It just took "re-learning" how to "speak" dog again!
Anyhow, interesting concept and one that makes a ton of sense to me! It kindof reminds me of those movies/stories about the kids who get raised by wolves and lose their ability to communicate with people. LOL
~Julie, Rogue, Monty, and Eddy~
"The reason a dog has so many friends is that he wags his tail instead of his tongue." -Anon
It sounds like you need another obedience class, one that will teach "leave it!" See if you can find a more advanced class than puppy.
Jackie, Champ, and Buddy
My Phoebe is the same at 9 months. She had a lot of socialization with all the breeder's dogs as well as those he boarded. Since we just got her a month ago, her formal class training starts this Thursday. We did a few private classes to get the class work down pat and she learned so fast and easily. Now, we go to the class to add the distraction. I went the first class without her. She couldn't go because of the complications from surgery. I warned them she would bark a lot. She barks at everybody and everything. And because she is a black lab (not a big one yet at 50 pounds) with a very deep bark, you'd be surprised how startled and scared people get. The private classes also allowed the trainer giving the class to get to know Phoebe and understand how sweet a dog she is under normal circumstances.
I've had puppy playdates with her and she has gone to doggie daycare. Daycare does seem to help. I am starting the spray bottle in the house. So far, it has been effective. I will carry it outside today. If you find the magic cure, please share.
Thanks for your suggestions. He has two other labs that he lives with. He remained with his littermates until he was ten weeks old. He is so high energy. The breeder picked him for me for agility. He has been going to classes since he's had all his shots. He's very advanced at agility and has been promoted up and skipped some of the beginning classes due to his skills. He just gets so excited. However, he can still do the agility drills and is at the top of the class. When he is at the start line he is constantly looking behind his back at the other dogs. The other dogs do not seem to like him. This has been a consistent trend from class to class. I work with him the entire time between turns teaching him to watch me or having him "leave it" with treats on his paws. I also work him with quick sits and downs. Anything to distract him. I am exhausted after an hour of training. My instructor tells me to have him look at me and distract.
I would love to have him go to daycare to maybe get over the excitement. I think he needs to learn some dog manners.
Is he neutered?
"Each is a creature of Earth and is entitled to reside on it with dignity"
Yes, he is neutered. I wish his over enthusiastic response was as easy to fix as removing his boys
Although the dog daycare might help burn off some of that energy and make him easier to live with, I really doubt it will have any effect on his focus and attention in class. For that, keep following your trainer's suggestions - keep the rewards and motivation high for working with you, and you may want to absent yourself between exercises so that the dog is not constantly surrounded by other dogs.