Sam is adjusting very well to his new home after being outside in the kennel almost his entire 5 years of life. He and Mo are getting along very well and were even playing tug-of-war last night in the living room. He does put Mo in his place when he gets too rambunctious but doesn't growl at him and just mouths him to the ground. They both wag their tails when Mo settles down. He has absolutely no food or toy aggression and lets Mo steal toys right out of his mouth without a sound.
My concerns and issues are that 1. Sam is not neutered and due to my contract for the adoption with the breeder, I cannot get him neutered in case he is needed as a standby to breed if another male has "problems". Sam has marked a few areas in the house like the garbage can, my husband's toilet, and my bathroom door. I cleaned all 3 of the areas up with clorox wipes and used an anti-stink pet spray on top of that. I also steam mopped that section of the floor. Any suggestions for alleviating the problem. The breeder suggested filling a spray bottle with water and when Sam gets too interested in an area, spray him with the water and say "NO!!" or I read filling up a plastic water bottle with coins and when he starts sniffing in a certain area, shake the can to get his attention and say "NO!!".
Concern 2-He is very crate anxious. We got him a large plastic crate and got a vacuumed sealed pad last week. We have given him his food in the crate and left the door open so he can go in and out. He even fell asleep in it the other day when I was taking a nap. I give him treats to "go to bed" and praise him when he goes in but as soon as we walk to the bedroom and he knows he's going in his crate, he races back down the hallway. I usually end up putting his leash on him and walking him back to the bedroom, lining him up with the door, and gentle nudging him in. Not sure what else I can do to help him realize he is not being punished and that his crate is his den.
This is my first older lab adoption and I want to do everything the right way. He is already a nervous Nelly after not having much human interaction during his first 5 years and sticks to me like velcro so I am working on socializing him with other people in the neighborhood to show that people are friendly and not going to hurt him. I realize it is going to take time and I am up for the challenge. I just want to make sure that in the end, I have a well adjusted lab. Thank.
I had the exact same thing with Annie. She was 2yo when I got her and she was kept in a barn. First off she did pee on the floor and seemed to do so especially when she got exited. I kept her in the crate and kind of just started from the beginning on basic potty training and after a couple months all was good.
If you see Sam looking like he is going to mark, or potty, Say in a loud voice something like AAAAHH and take him outside ASAP and say "go potty" or whatever words you want to use, then use lots of praise as soon as he goes. Part of the problem I had with Annie is she simply didn't know how to let herself go outside.
Now she will go stand by the back door and I know she needs to go out. I also say something like "got to go potty" and she'll start jumping around like crazy.
My puppy Rubin does not like a plastic crate, that I have in my bedroom. He uses a metal one in the Den. I think it's because with the metal one he can see more. Try throwing a treat in the crate and telling Sam to "go home" or I use "get in your kennel" with Rubin. Rubin is now 7 months and I still feed him in his crate.
One other thing I noticed with Annie is that it did take about 4-6 months for her to really bond with me and become totally comfortable around the house. This April with be a year since I've had her and all is well.
Annie Roses 8/11/10 Rescued 4/21/12 (was living in a barn)
Rubin Hunter 7/12/12 Gotcha 8/1/12
We do not crate our dogs and never have. What we use is a dog gate between kitchen and hallway. They have the entire tiled area of mudroom, laundry room, kitchen as their "crate". Is this type of arrangement possible at your house? Maybe the small space of the crate makes him uneasy after living outside all his life, not sure how large his kennel area was.
Our adopted Lab also follows me around and lays outside the bedroom door while I shower or take a nap, etc. She does not like to be seperated from us, but does okay with her adopted brother in the garage while we are at work. It took her several weeks before she would lay down while I was in the kitchen, before that she was standing by my legs the whole time!!! For kennel dogs, anytime a person came to the kennel it meant something was going to happen: food, a walk, a bath, etc. So it took her awhile to just relax and realize we would move around in the house and it did not mean she had to be on alert. I am sure he will adjust slowly to being a family dog, it is just all so new! He looks so sweet, I know he will eventually be a great dog.
I can't give you any ideas with the marking problem as we have never dealt with that issue.
It takes time for them to settle and I think peeing inside is part of it.
Ernie used to pee in the house and mark when he went to other peoples. I kept him on a lead and if he looked like he might lift his leg I yanked the lead and said a firm No..I went back to basic house training and he came right quickly. I used the can of pebbles to distract Tess and Gems when they first came and peed inside.
I like to get them used to a crate as you never know when they need to go to the vets, or need to be confined. I give lots of high value treats, and take it slowly. I sit beside them and close the door for a little while, then open it so they know it will be open and closed. Mine love the crate as their space and if we go away for a weekend they feel more comfortable sleeping in it.
Hang in there it is all new for both of you and won't be long before everything is settled.