I just wanted to double check some of my training practices. It has been 3 years since I have trained and a 1 year since I trained any dog at all. Also I had a Rott, Bo so not sure how much different lab/lab mixes are.
The biggest reason for this is my own fear factor and worry that I did not train Bo right. Below is how I trained Bo and how we are traing Token. This is a slow process I know.
whinning, crying, barking = no attention
Start in small doses of crate time but am working up to longer periods of time.
Training him to sit, quitely and waiting to be released to leave his crate. Training him now to understand that just because I open his crate door does not mean he has been released to leave his crate.
When we first brought Token home we hand fed the first meal but all other meals where in his bowl.
We are in the process of teaching him to sit and waiting to be released to eat. It's sometimes a long process but I believe in it firmly! How I teach it is I put him in a sit and start to put the bowl down the minute he starts to get up I stand up and we start the process all over again. Right now I do not make him wait long at all and am usually about half way up to a full stand before I release him to eat.
I do not harass my dog, nor allow the kids to do it but we do drop small pieces of the NV dog food rolls radomly into his food bowl.
We never just walk up to Token when he is eating. We always make sure he knows we are there and are in the process of teaching him to sit when we approach his bowl. He's catching on fast.
We always reward him by putting nummy's in his food bowl when we do approach him when eating.
We discourage biting by always having chew toys for him. When he starts to nip/bite we tell him "no bite" and replace our toes, fingers, hands, etc with the toy. It is a slow process.
4) Fear/unsure behaviors
Token seems to startle easily but he also recovers very fast. We ignore fear behaviors and reward calm and or recovery behaviors. By recovery I mean when he is startled but then goes to investagate I praise the investagation.
5) Dragging a leash
I always had Bo drag a leash in the house and if I could not "watch" him the leash was around my waist, an example is when washing dishes. I cannot keep my eye on him but with it around my waist I know if he is trying to walk away or get into anything. Actually Bo always, except when crated, dragged a leash. Bo was a year and had a rock solid recall before he no longer dragged a leash.
We practice this religiously in our house. Token has to work for everything he gets. Right now it is very simple like a sit.
Anyway any suggestions? Anything I should change?
Token (rescue baby and salmon fisher extraordinaire)
Sounds similar to how I taught Merlin. He didnt have a crate, but the ideas are all similar. We just used the laundry as a 'time out' if his play got too rough. Always ignore whining and barking, they dont get noticed and dont get encouraged.
Merlin learnt very quickly to sit for his meals, and now he will sit and shake paw before we click our fingers to allow him to eat. I think that is a 'pack' thing that the leader tells when the others can eat.
He isnt allowed in or out of the house before me- the pack leader goes first.
I used the same technique for biting, and letting him now what he is allowed to touch (just toys) and what he isnt (everything else).
I read your intro with Bo in your story. It was very sad for me to read, I had no idea 'well looked after' and well bought up, socialized dogs could 'turn' like that.... Its certainly something for me to keep in mind. I love Merlin to pieces, and trust him a lot, but in the back of my mind, I know I can never trust him 100%. I knew that before I read your story, and now its just another element for me to keep in mind.
Your training sounds right... The way you trained Bo, in your previous story sounds right.
I used NILIF training with Puff for teaching sit, down, stand, come, stay, and fetch.
I also recommend Jean Donaldson's "Culture Clash" New it's about $15 + S&H from Amazon. Excellent.
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":
Sounds perfect! I wouldn't change a thing; this is how I've always raised my dogs. I guess my only suggestion is to read "The Cautious Canine" by Patricia McConnell (sp?). Its great that he recovers quick from being startled. But I know you have said before about just ignoring fears, ect... and partly that is true. But if the fears become more pronounced, counter-conditioning is super helpful (especially in a young dog). Be confident; you're going to be great at this