Hi, I'm Jay, a new member and a new owner. We have been doing ok with our new addition, but still looking for improvements on my part.
Chopper for the first two weeks were excellent. He was more than on point with socialization, training, and behavior. We tried to set him up with a routine and he was executing like a machine.
The last two weeks he seemed to have plateaued. He knows the commands but choose to ignore them as he pleases. He became more demanding of us to his needs, and started some bad behaviors.
He started to nibble more and pick on my 5 year old daughter from time to time. When wife is cooking he barks for attention and food until we give in. He "fakes" bathroom emergencies for walks and treats. He is still above our initial expectations but a bit concerned about the setback.
Is it unrealistic for me to expect him to be excellent at 12 weeks old? Considering our experiences and his age are we expecting too much? How do we improve his attitude a bit to fit our expectations?
Thanks for reading and looking forward to any suggestions.
LOL! I am sorry, but the way you describe his little diva moves just brings back such wonderful memories of my Diesel!!
Labs are great, but can be willfull, especially until fully trained. Don't give in, no matter how he tilts his head or gives those soulful eyes you must stand your ground!
Nibbling is not acceptable. Make sure to follow through with "No Bite" and either a hand gently over his muzzle, or leave the room and ignore him completely -- pick one method and stick to it, everyone must be on board for success.
Barking for attention? Just like a baby that you don't go in and coddle every time they cry -- a dog is the same. Ignore him. He will get the idea eventually that his barking is a waste of time.
Faking a potty break? No treats unless he makes. Walks are okay, you should not be treating for a walk unless you incorporate training.
As for improving his attitude to fit your expectations, don't expect a lot from a 12wk old puppy, expect there to be setbacks along the way.
Sounds like typical puppy wanting attention issue.Whether it's negative or positive the pup's desiring more direct attention from you and that is fine . They are companion animals , no doubt they can be a little stubborn and unruly. Our 16 week Chester is doing the same things and I am just now starting to give him his "space" and not be to possessive about his progress in training . Dont respond with any attention at all when he is unruly and redirect his energy into something positive. That is my goal now. He can pick up and develop other skills as he goes along for now he has the basics.
not saying to let him get away with everything and submit to his whims, just expect these things and realize they are NORMAL and part of growing up.
Stop giving in. If he barks "until you give in" then he learns this works and it will be VERY hard to correct later on. IGNORE IGNORE IGNORE. negative attention is attention.
make sure he gets plenty of exercise off leash in the yard, play dates with friends dog's (that are up to date on their shots). Make sure he has plenty of toys to play with (different kinds, see what works - stuff like nylabones and antlers are great for chewers, stuffed kongs can buy you peace). ANd make sure he gets plenty of training throughout the day (short sessions).
After that, stick him in the crate for breaks so you can do other things. practice no attention until he stops barking. no treat unless he does something for you like a sit on command, and definately no treat for barking.
make bathroom outings all about potty, take him out on leash, walk a small area and only reward if he pee. then bring him in. If you are not sure it was a ploy to get out, stick him in the crate and try again later.
I think what is happening is as he gets a little older he has more energy to be rambunctious (as opposed to an 8 week old that is all short bursts of energy and tons of sleeping). So it is normal he is exploring more by biting and seeing what he can do and trying different things. Kinda like a baby moving from the state where they can't even roll over to the stage where they crawl and suddenly are everywhere!
training is not a straight road. there are LOTS of steps back even after they are 1 year old. it's a lifelong road.
Charlie (foster) and Rocky
“I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.” H. Keller
Congratulations, you have a genuine Lab puppy! If you follow the wonderful advice above you will be on your way to a well behaved dog...in a year or 2, lol! They sure can be trying but they are SO worth it!
Maxx & Emma Jean
Ozzy - 10/16/02 - 06/28/11 - Always in my heart.
Sometimes the hardest part isn't letting go - but learning to start over.
Ditto on crating but do it before he acts up. If he is barking during cook time, crate him before the cooking starts. It will be much easier and calmer in the household.
Don't read into his behavior. Puppies don't have the capacity to plot how they are going to make you do things. They behave - you react - they repeat the behavior. They will always, always work to get your attention.
You need to work on driving behaviors (through reward - attention is a reward) you want and you get there by ignoring the behaviors you want to discourage.
It's a folly to expect "excellence" from a baby of any species - particularly a Lab puppy. What you have there is the equivalent of an 18 month old human child. You need to nurture. You need to teach and lead. You need to learn about canine behavior and HOW they learn. Apply your learning to managing your canine baby.
I recommend you find a good puppy kindergarten class which uses positive training methods - their focus will be to teach YOU on how to train your dog.
Sharon, Blaise and Diesel.