This is my first 'proper post' so apologies if it's a bit lengthy!
We have a 1 year old male Labrador called Charlie and would like to get some help with an issue that we just can't seem to iron out, I've explained in as much detail below:
Jumping from side to side and snapping back and forth when;
• Stopping from digging in the garden
• Getting something from him that he shouldn't have (usually another dogs ball!)
• Trying to lead him when it's home time on the field after playing.
• Sometimes occurs when excited, post play or run etc...
This behaviour is not a regular behaviour and is unpredictable. I would say that it happens once or twice a month in the different scenarios explained above.
I would say this behaviour has happened intermittently for approx. 4 - 5 months.
As I mentioned, it is irregular and overall we have a happy go lucky, playful lab with virtually zero aggression!
However this behaviour happened recently when my wife was out with him on her own, when she tried to lead him after he jumped up at an elderly guy who was making a fuss of him giving him a treat! On to the old guy and any onlookers I think the 'bouncing / snapping' action looked pretty aggressive which made my wife more worked up too.
Our previous attempts at resolving the issue:
• I have tried approaching the dog in a calm manner, walking towards him head on to either; prevent from digging, to lead, or take an object from that he shouldn't have
• I have tried approaching the dog in a calm manner, walking towards him from the side on to either; prevent from digging, to lead, or take an object from that he shouldn't have.
• Unfortunately I admit to having lost my cool on the odd occasion and smacked him on the muzzle as he darts towards me snapping when trying to lead or stop digging.
• I have tried to ignore the behaviour for a few minutes then approach again in a calm manner with no success.
Recent successful resolution has been random with no consistency. When this behaviour occurs, I have found that the only way I can 'wind' him down is to;
• Distract him with a treat, another toy or ball etc…
• On occasion, sheer patience on my part ignoring and allowing him to calm down .
Background to our lab:
For a bit of background to our lab which might help any experts out there see below:
Age: 1 year old
Neutered: No (we are planning to have this done)
Mon - Fri
45mins to 1hour in the morning (combination of leaded walks and play with other dogs every other day).
Followed by 1 - 1hr30mins leaded walk in the evening (sometimes with a half hour jog thrown in!)
Similar kind of exercise but for longer periods - regular trips to the beach too and forest treks!
Attended dog socialisation classes from a puppy as well as obedience training to work on recall, heeling and correct lead walking from when he was approx. 8 months old. I have also continued this kind of training myself.
As of last week he now has a 7 month old Pug - Shi Tzu cross companion that he gets on with very well indeed!
Time left alone:
Mon - Fri - 8.30am - 1:00pm (I will arrive back from work at 13:00pm for half hour)
1:30pm - 4:45pm (when I arrive back home from work)
Hope you're still awake after reading this and would love to hear if anyone else has this problem at all...
Great, informative post of your issue!
First, I don't think it matters what direction you approach Charlie from, head on or from the side. Second, I wouldn't ignore a behaviour that is unfavourable, not the ones you describe... he wins that way. I would ignore barking or puppy nipping kind of thing.
I think you should try NILIF (nothing in life is free) use the search tool on this forum for NILIF or NILF and you will see tons of info from others that have had to use it. It does work well.
It seems he is getting enough physical exercise, what about mental stimulation? Do you train on a regular basis with him? Daily training like even 5 or 10 minutes going over his basic commands or teaching new ones will tire him out mentally, strengthen your bond, and remind him you are the boss. Even though the behaviour is sporadic, 4-5 months of this happening is far too long and will only get worse.
When it occurs, as NILIF won't work overnight, for the digging and getting something he shouldn't have you need to teach LEAVE IT/DROP IT. For trying to get him home when he just wants to stay and play, make it really super fun to go with you. Nice high pitched come on, Charlie!!! try running in the direction you want him to go & he'll think he's still playing then once he is leashed, take it down to a walk, lots of good boys & a cookie. Make coming to you & gong home a fun thing.
And what ever you do, I know it is difficult, they can be so trying on your patience sometimes but don't ever smack your dog. On the muzzle on the behind, just don't do it at all. Not only is it counter productive for training, as much as dogs "live in the moment" they remember things like that & you are causing more confusion than anything else. And you end up feeling like crap after, right? Stop, take a deep breath and understand that if your dog is acting up it is often a result of something you are not doing or something you are doing wrong. That's just the way it is.