Okay...so it's agreed that even a generally well-behaved lab is going to get in the garbage and on the table/counter tops? Just wondering. Sounds like we are expecting too much of him and this is entirely a human problem? Just want to get clarification on that.
As far as socializing...this is hard to do for a number of reasons:
1) Although I outweigh him, he is very strong and has been known to make me fall in his efforts to get at whatever he's barking at. Generally, there is no snarling going on. What he does is raise the fur on his back, short growl, barking, tag wagging. I won't let him near anyone's children. Don't even let him around anyone he doesn't know. It's sort of a catch 22. I don't want to get sued or anything, right?
2) He isn't a puppy. He will be 6 in January. Is there hope for socializing a dog this age?
3) What if my dog hurts someone during obedience training?
We perpetuated the problem. When he was teething, his teeth were like razors, so we kept him away from people, afraid of any legal issues. (Sigh) I'm afraid we created a monster, though he's good with us.
Several times in the beginning we were going to give this dog up, but we feared whoever took him would be as exasperated as we were and abuse him. We couldn't have that. He's excellent with my husband, adores him actually. He's good with our immediate family.
no - you shouldn't just "expect" or "allow" a dog to behave like that.
honestly - sounds like you need to take on the role of alpha/leader and do LOTS more training with him. he may just be abit more hardheaded that some dogs.
I would suggest you do more training. Take more classes if you can, or just take some time out of your average day to work with him. Sounds as though he needs mental stimulation. Labs are a working breed, and most need some time of job. IF they do not get enough mental stimulation they act out like you do. Training is not something you just do when they are pups then assume it is all memorized for life - it needs to be practiced and worked at throughout their life.
I would give the dog more exercise. A tired dog is a good dog. I would mix structured exercise like walks with more free runnning like fetch or playing iwth other dogs. Both types are important.
I would start NILF (nothing in life is free) wtih this dog. Sounds as though he thinks he is boss, mostly because no human has stepped into the boss shoes. THis does not mean being mean or physical. But it means constantly remind the dog you are leader/alpa. Make him work for everything, for example, he is to do a command (ex: sit/stay) before he can eat or get a treat or get pet. You go in and out of doors first. Make him sit and wait when you open the door before going thru.
This will all take time, it has taken SIX years to get these behaviors ingrained in the dog, so it will take some time and consistancy on you as owner(s) to change things
- more physical exercise (structured AND non-structured)
- more MENTAL exercise, training!!! You can do some hide and seek games as well or just find some way to mentally stimulate the dog (obedience, rally, flyball, agility, etc)
- daily training - prferably more classes but if that is not possible stuff at home
- CONSISTANCY and time
Charlie (foster) and Rocky
oh - regarding the barking - if you YELL at a dog who is barking (or raise your voice at all) you are basically barking back which encourages the behavior. There are various ways to tackle the issue
- ignore completely until they are quiet, when they are quiet, praise
- redirect their focus (if you are with the dog at the time) - give a command for them to do
Charlie (foster) and Rocky
You should expect that your dog will learn to stop these things, but IMO these are not your biggest issues.
His behavior on a leash is a problem. You really, really need to get him into a structured class (maybe with solo lessons for a while) and learn to manage him on a leash around other people.
Mouthiness during puppyhood is normal and by keeping him away from people you did create his anti-social behavior. You can still undo this. IMO - he is much more of a bite risk/lawsuit risk as an unmanagable dog who you cannot trust.
Have you tried walking him on a prong collar or a head halter like a Gentle Leader? You may find he is a much better dog when you use a tool like that.
Sharon, Blaise and Diesel.
It might work to find a room or area to leave your dog where he cant get into anything while you are away. I had the same trouble with Saff, all the dirty dishes ended up in the living room and licked clean, missing bags of English muffins, etc... but shes got her own room & space now which has been dog-proofed. And its much calmer to come home now... and you wont have to be quite as rigorous with cleaning up the kitchen.
Lauren the one who buys Saffy's Kibble
With Bess, as far as trash cans or food on a table or counter the only thing that ever successfully worked with her was to NEVER leave food on a table or counter without it being constantly visually monitored and guarded AND to NEVER leave the trash can out, always keep it behind a latched door when it's not being monitored.
About the barking -- I suspect more daily offleash running exercise (retrieving a Chuck-it or training dummy) would be a big help.
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":
Wow. I want to thank everyone for taking the time to write out their thoughtful replies and try to help us.
Like I said, he's ours for the long haul, so there is no giving him away, putting him down, or anything like that. He is like he is because of us. Years ago I had a terrier mix who learned quickly and gave us very little behavioral problems. I think when we got Ted, it was a few weeks too early (7 weeks) and that I took for granted that he would be like Sugar and do just as well. What a mistake.
He will not fetch. Believe it or not my retriever will not retrieve. lol
However, he most certainly needs more exercise, to lose weight, and more games, I think. I will think long and hard about all the advice offered, and I sincerely appreciate your time and insight.
Thanks a bunch.
Oh, just wanted to say that I do have the Gentle Leader. Of course he does hate it and keeps his head down as though he's being punished, but the prong collar I'm going to think about, as well as the Simple Human garbage can.
By the way, he hates to get collars put on, so if the prong collar isn't something I can keep on him, I'm not sure it will do.