Aniston, our seven month old yellow female is a beautiful and very intelligent little girl. Problem is that she is destroying our home. We're retired so she is very seldom left alone. Yet, when we are in another part of the house she gets into trouble. She's torn up a leather couch, the sheet rock in several places and, this morning, a four foot long piece of molding. We lover her, but we can't be in the same room with her 24 hours a day. She's a keeper and we're committed so we'll hang in there with her, BUT???? Any suggestions?
There are 3 main ways to make this better.
1) no time alone unsupervised. Is she crate trained? If not, buy a crate and get training. Crate her any time you can't be in the room with her (you're in the shower, out for an errand, etc.). You don't want to overused the crate so I suggest that when she's out of it she's tethered to you - leash attached to her and you. That way you can be hands free and correct any unwanted behaviour.
2) Excercise!!!! A tired lab is a good lab. How much exercise is she getting? A lab that age needs a good daily off-leash run, lots of off-leash play time, training to stimulate the mind, etc. At that age I was taking Archie daily to a local orchard and playing fetch for at least an hour. I also looked up any events I could take him to - fundraiser walks, doggie events, anything that would tire him out.
3) obedience class - A trainer will help you troubleshoot issues, and will give you exercises to work on at home. Training is a great way to learn to work with your dog and to tire out their mind.
Good luck! Glad to hear you are determined to help her get through this.
Archie gave you some excellent advise.
I'd go with 1 & 2 first. Crate is really a good investment, and will help both of you keep tabs on your sweet girl. She is sweet, just doesn't know what to do with herself when not supervised, which all pups have a problem with. At times when we can't supervise fully, pup goes in crate. Now don't leave her in all day, which I doubt you will.
If needed, go with a trainer. But sounds like a crate and some lively exercise or even redirection with something she would love to chew (not the couch) could be the start you need to help your girl.
Wishing you all the luck. lol, after reading this, got a call from my husband, while on the phone our 13 week old attacked our spider plant RIGHT in front of my husband.
It will get better.
I honestly think every lab should be trained by a good trainer, if not field or gun dog training, then most assuredly obedience training. The dog is much happier when well trained and owners are much happier as well. I don't regret one penny I spent on training for my lab.
Agree totally with the crating - and KAZ hit it right on the head with lively exercise.....
Keep us posted on your progress.
I think it's too late for the crate. We've got one set up but never used it with Annie but for a form of punishment when she is bad. Now, she doesn't understand why we put her in the crate and is just devastated. We've had many labs over the years and really screwed up on this beautiful little girl. We should have started out with the crate training when she was tiny.
Hope someone can give you some tips to help Annie realize the crate is not that bad. A place all to herself, keeping her safe and secure. As I'm typing, I'm hearing the snores of our pup, fast asleep in his.
We have a 9 month old chocolate boy- very strong, quite large, and when he acts off, i.e., starts pushing his teeth into my thigh or mouthing my arm, he either gets a "time out" in his crate, or gets tied (on advice of the trainer we are working with) to a short tether line for about 10-15 minutes until he can compose himself. That seems to work quite well. He seems to like his crate - he will go into it by himself to have a snooze. Keep it up - as everyone said, consistency is the key here....
A dog that is 7 months old requires exercise. A dog that is 7 months old also requires training. A well trained 7 month old pup shouldn't need to be monitored. Everyone else here is correct in saying the pup doesn't know what to do when left alone. A pup doesn't know not to be destructive. It's really easy to show the dog not to destroy things. It's your job to make it VERY CLEAR what is acceptable and what is not acceptable. A lot of people have this mentality that "it's just a puppy acting like a puppy"...well part of that is true. A pup that is 7 months old though absolutely has the brain power to be a fantastic dog. At 7 months, my boy was already working towards his working dog certifications. They are very very very capable at this age...they just need guidance, training, and direction. There are usually similar factors for a dog that is destructive...they are usually not getting enough exercise, or they are not getting enough training, or they are not getting enough of a "mental workout" throughout the day. It could be a combination of those as well.
Unfortunately the crate is the absolute best thing for a pup. It gives them their own little bedroom, if you will...It provides them with their own little safe place. A place that is safe to eat, a place that is safe to sleep. For example during the work week, we have the same schedule. I wake up at 7, take my boy outside, come back inside and he gets his breakfast. I go and get ready in the bathroom and he lays on the bed watching me half asleep. As soon as I put my work clothes on and step out of the bathroom he jumps down and stands at the crate. I open the door and he walks in a lays down and looks at me like I LOVE YOU HAVE A NICE DAY I'M FINE HERE DONT WORRY ABOUT ME!!! I don't even need to say anything to him. He sleeps on our bed at night but during the day when we are not home, he stays in his crate.
The way that we trained this was to carry the crate out wherever we were sitting when he was a pup. If we were watching the tv or in the kitchen. they crate was always out and open so the pup could get inside it and lay down and see us. We put a little bed in that he could rest on. When it was his meal time, we would put the food in his crate for him to eat. At night, we would bring the crate into the bedroom beside us so he could see us and wasn't separated from us. Whenver he would go in on his own, we would praise him like crazy. Everytime he goes into the crate when we ask him to, we still praise him. Every day he goes into the crate, I always praise him and tell him he is such a good boy. He usually just lays down and looks at me. I close the bedroom door and then leave the house.
Unfortunately by using the crate for punishment, you now have to teach your confused lab that the crate is a nice safe place...not a place for bad behavior. If your pup is going crazy in the house, teach her that is not tolerated. Put her on a leash in doors. If you are doing something else out of sight, bring her with you. If you have trained a recall - call her to you wherever you go in the house. If you keep this up, she will realize that she is supposed to just follow you and stay close to you. I can't go anywhere without my boy following me or my girlfriend around.
BOTTOM LINE: It's never too late to fix any of this!! Try to find a highly reputable trainer in your area. Enroll in classes. I always recommend starting obedience classes at this age - with a training style mixed between positive reinforcement and corrections. 90% of the classes are to educate YOU the handler.
Yes, you can be with your dog 24 hr a day. But if you can't you confine them to a crate. Letting them eat your sofa is YOUR fault, not the untrained dog's fault.