Hi everyone, this is only my second post so am still quite new to the site
Some of you might remember me posting about Bo my Black Lab retriever but for those who don't here's a little background:
I purchased Bo from a reputable breeder to eventually be a seizure alert dog for my disabled daughter. We have found a training program that we are happy with and will be starting that when Bo is around a year old.
Bo is now 6 months old and I'm having a few problems that I hope people can help me with?
When I take Bo out for walks (3 times a day aprox 40-60 mins a time) she does nothing but pull. Iv'e tried just a standard lead and collar, a harness and a haulti. Iv'e also taken the clicker with me as well as treats but to no improvement. She will constantly pull me making the walk unpleasant for me and I can imagine for her as she coughs all the way.
I enrolled Bo into puppy training classes but had to stop them as she was deemed to be "too hyper and would benefit from private training". I then took to see a private trainer and was again referred to find a behavior specialist of which I'm still looking into.
I crate Bo at night with her blankets and toys and also a treat as she has a tendency to chew my sofa, I let her outside to go potty right before I go to bed (approx 12am) and let her out in the mornings as soon as I wake (6am-ish). Everytime without fail, I have a dog PLASTERED in poo! I don't feed her past 5pm during the day either to try and stop this, but no luck so far.
Does anyone have any tips or advice for me? I really want to try my best for her, this is my first time owning a lab and I know how difficult they can be. I completely understand that everything she is doing is obviously down to something I'm not doing right so if anyone can help me figure out what it is that would be great
Thanks all in advance
Bex and a very hyper Bo!
Pulling on a leash: Try a Prong collar, size it correctly at the store with "dog in hand" and get a few extra prongs so you can add on as she grows. At six months I wouldn't use to much force with your corrections, and you may find you wont have to. Stores should have someone to help with this. a harness might feel like it gives you more control, but really, it gives him more power to pull. Great to use in the car to keep his butt in the back seat.
Potty training: How much do you feed him at 5PM? Do you give treats after that 5PM feeding? Does he go poop at night before you put him in the crate? Be sure you do not feed him anything after that 5PM feeding, take him out twice before bed time. Maybe try 5:30 or 6pm and then again right before bed.
He's only six months old, it can be very difficult, we've all been there... with consistency and discipline he will be an amazing dog.
OH, what happens at training that these two trainers cant seem to help? The leash pulling? One more thing... Bring treats on your walk? Might also help a lot with the pulling to have a treat and work with him staying next to you looking for that treat.
Hi K2! Thank you so much for taking the time to get back to me
I will absolutely try the prong collar (I have never heard of it before now). I do take treats with me on walks and try to reward or anything good that I can so she knows I have them on me, but I rarely get to give them to her lol.
I feed her 3 Meals a day with treats in between but don't feed her past 5pm. 5pm is her cut off time for feeding and she has no treats either after that time, she is rewarded with toys in the evening
I let her out right before I go to bed at 12am and she always goes potty, so I don't know why she always goes in her crate in the middle of the night
Yeah the other 2 trainers have said that she's far too hyper for their classes and a behaviorist who can give her 1:1 would be better suited! (Not up for the challenge i think lol )
Most Labs require a lot of vigorous exercise to be sufficiently docile and comfortable.
"Vigorous" does not mean being walked on leash.
It means running, chasing, swimming, etc.
A generally accepted rule of thumb is that Labs up through one year of age need about 5 minutes for every
month of age. (BUT some Labs may need that amount twice a day -- you judge proper amounts by
IF your Lab hasn't been trained to "fetch", teach it -- it'll be invaluable for you.
(Look in "Training Tips" for how to do this.)
Fetching for 30 minutes a day will be great as a start. Also, you might look around your neighborhood for other
Labs and arrange "play dates" so they can wrestle, run, play-chew on each other's necks, etc. While other Labs
are usually (but not always) ideal, other young retrieving or other breed dogs are completely acceptable.
Regarding his being plastered with poo, it sounds as if your Bo is relatively regular in the times of day he needs
to defecate. If so, those would be great times to take him for a walk on leash (after you have him burning off his
excess energy by the means described above). Take plastic bags with you so you can pick up his stools from
I take my Puff out 3X day (I'm retired), 7:30 AM, 1:30 & 9:30 PM. One of the advantages of doing this is that
you can also do some training. For a couple weeks, whenever you see Bo lifting his leg to urinate, you can say
"Bo, pee-pee!" (or whatever you prefer to use as a command). And, when you see him arching his back and
positioning his legs for the typical defecating posture, you can say "Bo, potty!" (or whatever you prefer).
After a couple weeks of you saying this whenever you see Bo doing "his thing," you will have built up a Conditioned
Response so that, usually, when you say "Bo, pee-pee!", he'll do it when he has the ammunition. (And say your
mantra as he does it to re-charge it.)
Dogs have urinating under volitional control since they use this to leave "pee mail messages" on their walks. But
defecating isn't under willful control. BUT, when you now that it's about time for Bo to defecate and, when you've
spent a couple weeks saying your mantra for it whenever you see Bo starting to do it -- THEN when you
say it, it'll begin getting the peristalsic movement in his intestines pulsing so defecation will soon occur. (At which
time, it's important to again give the appropriate mantra to keep it re-charged.)
Hope these help settle Bo down (and give you some worthwhile commands).
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":
The prong collar is similar to a choke collar but instead of choking the dog, it pinches prongs on her neck. Looks/sounds worse then it is, and many people prefer them to a choke collar.
Training starts before you even leave your front door. Make him sit at the door and wait for you to open it. Then make him sit with door open until you leave the house first. If he moves to run out the door, shut the door, tell him stay. Only when you walk out is he able to go out, you can use a command like "OK".
Then move to working on the leash pulling during your walk. When correcting, its good to pull sideways or straight up. When he is walking next to you or just not pulling, give a treat "Good boy". As soon as he pulls in front of you, correct him.
Im not one to care if my dog is walking a few feet in front of me, although if I want her next to me, she does stay there. Pulling on the leash is a big NO NO.
YES!! EXERCISE is key!
If you have a local dog park... nothing will turn that 6 month old into a 12 yr. old grandpa faster then a good hour or more at the dog park. To bad the bliss is only temporary, but works wonders before training classes or the vet.
I would not put a choke or prong collar on a 6 month old puppy. You may want to read a few books there are a lot of good ones out there that will teach you the proper way to teach your puppy to wallk on a leash. Also, I've never heard of a training class that turns away a puppy for being a puppy. I would try to find a different class. Or train Bo yourself. Again, there are several good books and videos. It takes time and patience. It's a lot of work. Bo will reward you 100X over for every minute you invest. Good luck
You said you needed a lot of help so here are my two cents:
All these people are well respected experts. Get busy reading!
Victoria Stillwell, Patricia O'Connell( Patricia McConnell | Training Your Dog | McConnell Publishing Inc.) Sophia Yin (Training Pups and Adult Dogs to Heel: Repeat Sits on the Left Side | Animal Behavior and Medicine Blog | Dr. Sophia Yin, DVM, MS), Ian Dunbar(Dog Star Daily)
If you don't get the loose leash walking under control, walks will not be fun and you won't want to do it. Make it a priority. It's going to start with connecting with your dog. Click and treat every time she looks at you when you say her name (name game). You can't run before you learn to walk. Are you using the clicker correctly? Check out Kiko pup's videos for clicker training:How to start clicker training your dog! - YouTube. If you are being referred to a "behavioral specialist" Bo may have some reactivity or other issues and I would take that seriously and keep looking until you find one. It sounds like you need professional help but, at six months of age, it's not too late.
And if she's pooping in her crate, that doesn't sound like she's "potty trained". She is finding it acceptable to poop in her crate so the crate is not helping with your potty training. Is it too big? Preventing accidents is the key and first step to potty training. You have to do whatever it takes to prevent her from going in the house/crate because this is just reinforcing her habit. She's got to poop at night before she goes to bed or you have to get up even earlier to prevent it. Then, once you have established a pattern of NOT going in the house/crate, you can consider her potty trained.
I also agree with the exercise advice. Think: CARDIO; fetch, swimming, RUNNING! If you don't have a yard, buy a 50 foot tow rope from Amazon for $10, attach it to her harness, NOT her neck, get her to the park and get her RUNNING. Even the smartest puppy in the world will not be able to focus unless that puppy energy has been run off. Then, try you newly acquired training skills! Keep trying, don't give up, it's an investment of time and energy right now, it CAN be done and will pay off later.
Best of luck! I've been going through it myself for the last year.