This will be semi long so thanks four reading. Just a little background - I have a 7 month old black lab named Duke who I love. My fiancé live in an apartment with Duke and two cats. I didn't want a dog in an apartment because I don't think it is very fair to the dog since he needs room to run. However we got him from a friend because she couldn't take care of him. We also thought we could find a house for rent not long after She had already started to crate train him so we decided to keep it up, although I always thought crates were kind of mean.
Problem - He is uncontrollable. I have trouble getting him enough exercise because I can't walk him or he will break my arm. He pulls and will try to jump all over anyone walking by. I've tried a gentle lead which and a choke chain. Neither of which worked. We take him to the dog a couple of times a week but he upsets a few people sometimes with all the jumping and digging in the water buckets that are out there. He plays rough and bites the other dogs faces (not in an aggressive way). I usually get embarrassed and cry in my car after. Two people left because of him today. He destroys everything. We give him bones and chew toys which he destroys. He's chewed the baseboards and the walls. He chases the cats and bites their necks. It's hard I watch him every minute and we end up putting him In his crate a lot. I hate crating him! I know it's cruel to leave him in there so much. I cry just seeing him in there sometimes. I just don't know what to do. It will be a little while before we get a house. I know he needs to be trained but we just don't have the money for it right now. He does know sit, lay down, and shake. I think he knows stay but just doesn't like to do it. He doesn't listen to me, but he will listen to my fiancé. I feel like I'm a terrible dog owner. I think pets are forever animals and I don't want to get rid of him. Sometimes I do wonder if he would be happier with someone else where he can run around and play all day. Has anyone experienced this? Does it ever get better?
I strongly recommend that you take him to obedience classes. Not only will it help him, but it will help you with handling him. Check with a local kennel club. Many have basic obedience classes that are much cheaper (and with better trainers) than places like the local Petsmart.
third the recommendation for training.
and he need daily exercise. we can help brainstorm ideas on exercise but it is not something you can put off and do only a few times a week. He will be hard to train if you can't let him get the crazies out daily. Off leash. Or fetching on a long line.
I have had high energy dogs in an apt with no problem. they want to be pretty much at your feet indoors anyway. but you need to get out and get them exercise. having a yard can be helpful though it can also be a crutch to not get the dog out and about.
What's with the word "get rid of". sigh. anywya, if it comes to that please find a reputable RESCUE do not rehome him youself or he will likely keep being bounced around. If you can't make it work that's not the end of hte world but please surrender him to a rescue (if it comes to that) and not rehome him yourself. they have the ability to screen homes much more thoroughly than individuals and will ensure he isn't bounced around.
1) we do plan on getting him trained it has just been hard because my fiancé got recently laid off so we have had no money for extras. I had only been looking into like PetSmart and such so I will look into the kc for reasonable priced classes.
2) I play fetch with him indoors (we have a small space of grass at the apartment and it's hard to let him off leash since as soon as he sees a person, a cat, a squirrel, a leaf.. You name it he chases it. We are upstairs so I only let him play fetch inside when my downstairs neighbor isn't home.
3"get rid of" was the wrong phrase to use. I should have said find him another home. But my point was I don't want to do that, and I don't plan on doing that. I just need to find ways to get his crazies out at my apartment for days I can't take him to the dog park.
4) I just get frustrated and upset sometimes and just wanted to know if other people have ever felt this way or if it's just me. Thank y'all for your replies.
1. walking him on leash. Look up loose leash walking. In short, never ever be in motion when your dog is pulling on the leash. Go out several times of day without any expectation of getting anywhere. Wait with your dog on a leash until he stops pulling on the leash. Start walking. The instant your dog pulls on the leash stop. Repeat. Don't worry about getting anywhere and don't worry about exercise(mental or physical) while doing this. Do this several times a day for a couple weeks and your dog will start to get it. Dogs are smart, they will figure out the walking rules.
2. dog park. If your dog is darn right mean and harming dogs then get professional help. If your dog is just rough and needs a lesson in manners then there is something you can do. At my local dog park, and probably yours, there are several owners with big patient dogs. Tell them about your situation and go to the dog park only when their dogs are there. Let your dog be a snot around the other dog or dogs. The larger, patient dog, will tolerate only so much and then correct your dog. Now you will have to be careful that the larger dog is well mannered and controllable by their owners, but dogs can teach dog manners faster than humans can. It also helps if your dog is REALLY tired before even going to the dog park too.
3. dog manners in general. Teaching dogs how to react to their surrounding is A LOT OF WORK. Once you start walking your dog around town figure out places where your dog goes berserk. Walk around the boundaries at the maximum distance away that your dog can handle. The next day get a little closer. Repeat. Your dog will eventually learn that they should not get overly excited. A quicker way is to practice basic obedience with your dog at the boundary at which your dog would go berserk from a distraction.
4. LASTLY, BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY. You have to become your dogs favorite most fun person. If your dog truly believes this, then all of your other problems all but vanish! Again, dogs take a lot of work!
you really really really need to find an exercise outlet asap. Do you have friends that are good with dogs that could maybe help you in hte meantime (in person)?
here are some good books, some you can probably get from the librairy.
Culture Clash by Jean Donaldson is terrfic.
The Other end of the leash by Patricia Mcconnell
You can also refer to the website by Ian Dunbar, dogstardaily (sorry I can't post a link on this board for some reason)
Thanks guys that helps. He's not mean just bad mannered. I'll start working on what you suggested.
I'm new to the forum and so haven't had a chance to read up about everything on here yet so not sure what peoples views are on the advice I am about to give...
We struggled for a while to take Darcy on walks whereby it didn't involve your arm being ripped off - she would walk perfectly when there were no distractions, but put another dog or person into the mix and that was a different story!
A trainer mentioned using a 'canny collar' with her (sometimes called a halt) this collar involves a strap going over her nose (it is by no means a muzzle as she can still pick up balls etc!) but works by not allowing her to lead by her nose when there is tension on the lead. It was a miracle for us and as soon as it is on she stops pulling straight away and walks very nicely next to us!
We didn't get to use all the time, but it meant we could actually take her on walks which were 1) less stressful for not only me but the dog 2) she could get the length of walk she needed. We still worked on loose lead walking at other times, but using shorter intervals. She is now a lot better at walking on the leash (she is 14mnths) but I will still use the canny/halti collar when I know I am going somewhere with lots and lots of distractions!