We got our Yellow Lab puppy when he was 9 weeks old. We've learned a great deal from this site and have grown to love him, but gosh.... he is still SOOO much puppy!!! I'm wondering if we are doing everything right with him. It seems we have more bad/annoying moments with him then good ones. For instance:
- jumping up on table/counter to get food ~we tell him a firm DOWN! when he does this.
- chewing on things like toilet paper, clothes, figurines, end tables, daughters toys...etc (and then he runs away when we try to take it out of his mouth) ~when he does drop it we always say good boy.
- trying to bolt out the door... and then not coming back when called ~he hasn't done this in a while because we are careful with opening the door, but he certainly TRIES!!! We put him in a sit and stay and he does really well with a treat, but forget it if we don't have one.
- pulling on leash when walking ~ we are doing the "act like a tree" method and give him a tug and say "BACK"
- going nuts around other dogs (he acts like a spaz around other dogs)
- barking at us when he doesn't get what he wants ~ we usually end up putting him in his room if he doesn't quit barking
Is this normal puppy behavior? I am REALLY trying hard with training, and being consistent. And before it comes up.... YES he does get exersize, and walks, and plenty of chew bones and toys. So when will he be a GOOD puppy??? This is just getting so frustrating.
He can sit, stay, lay down, drop (his toy) and come when called... but will only stay and come if we have a treat. otherwise he doesn't listen at all. To me this is meaningless. We want him to listen when it counts, in emergency situations (like if someone rang the doorbell or he accidently gets outside...) don't get me wrong, he also had good dog moments, he's not all bad ,and he is a joy... but I'd say that's 40% of the time. 60% of the time he's being a pain.
I guess... just someone tell me if this is normal and that they did or did not have the same issues with their puppy who is now the best dog ever! I mean, by 5 1/2 months should he be acting better now?
Have you done any formal training with him? A good trainer can help you with recall, jumping and bolting out the door. These things have to be taught properly. Labs are notorious counter surfers, move it or lose it is the motto for some! I have lost great cuts of meat and other food items to my previous Labs.
You need to remove all objects you don't want in his mouth from places he can access. My youngest just turned 2 and it was only recently that the toilet paper went back on the holders in the bathrooms. It really is just lots if training and patience but they can be very challenging at this age and some formal obedience will go a long way in helping all of you.
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.
Labbies seem to stay puppies for a long time! Keep the temptations on the table and counter out of his reach. Continuing with the training you are doing when he gets into trouble. Sophie is now 2 and is a joy. Her destructive puppy days are mostly behind us. She will still chew up juicy headphones and baseball caps if she gets a chance. We try to keep them put away, but she still chewed the plug off my lighted flower arrangement the other day. We use a no pull harness from Petco. It has really been great to stop the pulling. I would say Sophie is 95% good girl these days, but I think it is because we are diligent doggy parents. Like with human children, we keep things we know she will put in her mouth put away. It does get better.
Sophie DOB 04/13/2011 6 mo
Sophie 15 months, with Skye
I highly recommend puppy classes (see if he is too old) or getting to classes ASAP.
First question for you - exactly how much exercise and what kind of exercise does he get?
DO NOT CHASE. EVER. that is the game he wants you to play. If you have been chasing then you are going to have to work on this even more as he has already learned it works. You want to grab something appropropriate (toy, treat) and make it look like THE best thing int eh world. Play with it. walk away from teh puppy buts how him what you have. Get a toy they love, with squakers - throw it. PLay it it. (toy may work better than treats) and have him coem to you and reward for dropping by giving him the toy and playing. Eventually you won't have to make the same level of fuss and they may start bringing things to you.
At the same time, work on training drop it.
Should he be acting better? well puppies will be puppies but it depends on how much training and work the human does and if they are doign ti right. I wouldn't say any 5.5 month old is anywhere near perfect, they can be brats even with the best trainers as owners.
Do not use a command the dog does not know and can ignore. For examplet he recall. If you are not 100% he will come DO NOT USE THE WORD. otherwise the dog leanrs the word means "come ifyou want". you need to got hru a long training phase to ensure he knows teh command, using a long line to reel him in and only training in environments he is ready for (so at first that is zero distractions and very close). then slowly increase distractions and distance (one at a time). Slowly though, not all at once.
Thanks everyone for your replies...
To answer your questions Tanya:
Exercise...Either I or my kids will play fetch with him in the morning for about 1/2 hour outside. We have a big backyard so as far as we can throw, he can run to catch. We play with frisbee's, balls, and other toys. Various times throughout the day we'll play stuff... Sometimes tug-o-war, sometimes fetch...etc. then later in the evening we play more outside stuff for another 1/2 hour-hour. He also gets a daily "training" walk. All in all he gets probably about 3 hours of play, and then 1/2 hour-45 min. training walk.
Jumping on the counter...yes, we say "get down!" and pull him down. He does know what it means because when we say it his ears go back and he looks around to see if we are coming to get him off. Sometimes he waits until we almost reach him and then he gets down on his own... lol... what a brat. BUT when he is down we praise him and say "good boy!" and pet him.
Chewing. We certainly try to keep things out of his reach but he's gooood at finding things. Like he goes straight for the bathroom garbage can if he gets in there, he jumps up and grabs my daughters coloring book while she's coloring and starts ripping it to shreads, SHOES...etc.
Chasing. yea, that was a no-no on our part. We very quickly realized he LOVED to play "na-na-na-na-boo-boo, you can't get me!" So now we do not chase we just call him to us and pet and praise and treat when he comes and drops whatever object he has.
Bolting out the front door. HAHA~ that thread you mentioned was started by me! And because of that info received we have been working really hard on sit, stay, come. he does SO well with a treat, EVEN with us opening the front door, GOING OUTSIDE. He sits and STAYS!!!! But only if we have a treat. If there is no treat, or if this is not done in a "training session" it doesn't work. If he's running towards the door because my 4 year old is going outside he tries HARD to bolt out the door. When we catch him and try the sit, stay...he is just too excited and won't do it.
other dogs. Yes, he's been around other dogs, which is how we know what he's like. We have friends with other adult labs and golden retrievers and those dogs can't STAND our dog, lol.
Barking...Yes, we ignore and/or put him in his room if he doesn't quit.
Using a command he can not ignore. I don't understand this??? I know that he knows all commands I've mentioned because he does them on que EVERY TIME when we have a treat and we are "training". But it's the quick, spur of the moment times when we NEED him to obey that he doesn't. We are good at making sure he does do it though, which usually requires us pushing his butt to the floor for sit, or holding his collar for a stay.
Ugh. I had NO IDEA puppy parenting would be this HARD!!!!!!!
you need to better puppy proof, if he is getting to the washroom then it's human error.
do you always give the ok command when you let him walk out the door (when you want him out)? That is kinda the key part tot he training. Because you are not training him to not go out the door in what you describe, you are training a sit/stay near the door. two very different things.
A command he cannot ignore: this means you cannot issue a command in a situation with high distractions unless you have trained that. so if you are training "sit" you start at home where it is quiet with a lure maybe at first. Then waiting for the sit. eventually rewarding only teh quick ones. then slowly with increased distractions. But you would not ask for a sit at the pet store if you had not added distractions at home - because you are likely to not get the sit. The dog hasn't leanred to work with distractions.
For a recall, it means you workin the house, no distractions and a leash. then without leash but with the dog's focus. you then go to the yard with a long line so if the dog does not come on their own you tug the to you gently and then rewards - the dog CANNOT ignore your come command.
Basically it sounds like you got part one of the training done - in the house with treats. But that is step one. it si nto the entire training process. you need to make sure treats are nto VISIBLE, never in your harn. you can have staches through the house to grab quicky - just give the marker to indicate when the dog did something good "yes!" then you have a few seconds to get the treat from a hiding spot or your pocket. You need to practice in different locations. when you change locations, take a step back as it is like a new trick. add distance, add distractions but not both at once.
Last edited by Tanya; 08-20-2013 at 01:08 PM.
an obedience class would really be helpful.
Treats are used to establish desired behaviors until you get to the point the behavior is ingrained. You can ultimately stop issuing treats. All my dogs were trained with treats and follow commands without treats now. You do it consistently initially, then randomized the treats, then slowly wean them off (or convert to a toy or petting).
It sound to me like you got yourself a pretty high energy Lab. What you describe as exercise seems like a good start. I would add another 40 minute walk in there. He probably needs more mental exercise than he is getting too.
I second the obedience class.
Sharon, Blaise and Diesel.