Advice needed my lab is a nightmare when he is off the lead. He wont come back if he sees another dog he just bolts. Rewards dont work he just spits them out. He just wants to play not aggressive.
In the house he is the perfect dog. Its been down hill since he was 16 weeks old when I took him to group training classes. This was purely for the social side not the training as he could already do it. He spent the whole time being so excited I couldnt control him and was told to find a quite spot in the arena.
His lead walking went to pot as well. I now use a Halti collar as nothing else works. Here are the things I have tried:
Rewards - dont work
Starve him and take his food on a walk with us.When he sees a dog show him his dinner. But he still bolts.
15m training lead - always on full stretch if he sees another dog.
group training lessons - made him worse
one to one lessons -currently doing and he goes out with other dogs and will come back with them. But I cant keep paying for a trainer to take my dog out. I need to get control of the dog and its not happening. Please help me ......
have you worked trained a recall? using a long line, lots of praise?
Recall training is multi step. Start in the house, no distractions in a hallway so the dog has no where else to go. praise praise praise. ONLY use the word when you are TRAINING. and know the dog will be coming. once the dog gets the idea, you use a long line so the dog has no option but to come back. if he doesN't you can gently real him in until he is headed for you. Reward should be HIGH LEVEL. not kibble. something of HIGH VALU.
Slowly increase distance OR distance not both at once. coming to you must be a jackpot, the funnest thing ever.
NEVER ever ever get mad at your dog when they get to you no matter what they have done. that just teaches them that coming to you sucks. I get being upset when they have blown you off, and it is very hard to be happy and prasie but you have to.
It sounds like he also needs more chances to play in safe places. Set up play dates, find a dog park where he can plan safely and you won't need to call him. reward him when he just randomly comes to say hi to you.
NEver starve a dog for training. Yes you don'T want to train right after eating (full belly) but that doesn't mean you have to skip meals, just work before a meal.
how much and what kind of daily exercise does he get?
He can do the recall in the house and on a long line without any problems. High value treats of any kind don't work outside the house. With regard to starving what we did was not give him his breakfast at the usual time but saved it for when we took him out for a run. Thinking he might prefer food rather than running off.
We tend to do 2 x 20 min lead walking everyday (was advised not to overexercise at this age). or off the lead he runs for about 10 mins and 10 min walk to get there.
My trainer suggested we go back to basics (what you suggested with the recall) Personally I dont think it will make any difference but I will try it. There isnt a dog park near me and not aware of any. Thats why I did the group training sessions so he could be near other dog. My trainer has 2 labs and we all go out together and he plays with his dogs and comes back with them when they are called,so he is getting a bit of socialisation. All he wants to do is play but not all dogs want to play and he needs to learn "doggy social skills" Im also arranging doggy playdates for him as well. I do all the praise and he gets the "special toy" to play with as an award. Im doing all the right things but not getting any further. In the house I cant fault him, doesnt go upstairs or get on the furniture, hardly barks, toilet training he was very good at, goes in his crate when told too and brilliant with the children.Its just outside. Cant seem to understand where Im going wrong ... lol
that does not sound like nearly enough exercise for a pup that age. They generally need an hour off leash. leashed walks are a good part of a routine but not at all exercise, they are warm ups.
He will need to get the crazies out of his system in order to be able to concentrate and work for you. the play dates are great for that.
I agree with the basics. and practice with increasing distractions. train outside. start in quieter areas (the back yards) then slowly increase the distractions - a quiet park with no one there. a quiet park with a few people there but no dogs, etc.
I was advised by the breeder not to over exercise at this age as it can damage there joints later on. But do several short walks. We have a hugh back garden and he gets plenty of exercise playing fetch with the children. He does have crazy moments we just all stand back and let him have his funny 5 minutes!
Maybe going back to basics is the answer. I will give anything a try. Thanks for the advice
I would think that would be before 4-5 months old (shorter walks). My 5 month lab goes out for a 1.5 hr walk off leash in the am then some on leash training when we get home (5-10 min) this helps cause she's tired and isn't always pulling. Then again in the afternoon we take her for 30-45 min off leash with another 10-15 minute leash training when we get home.
Was told when doing on leash (loose leash) training keep the length short and do it when they are tired so they are not as likely to pull and get excited.
Set the pup up to succeed with on leash
As for the excitedness with meeting other dogs, my take on it is as long as they are safe and PLAYING they are good to go. Important thing is to end it early on a good note!!! Get used to reaching in and separating the dogs while giving them the treats (I use the word 'gotcha') to give them a break. Give them 30 seconds apart then you can let them go at it again but end it early with another gotcha and treats. Also you can cycle the amount of gotchas, sometimes end after one or two, sometimes after three or four. This way they learn that they don't always go back to play at after a certain amount of gotchas. When it's time to go, just put him back on lead and excitedly call him to 'come' or what ever your recall word is then treat when he's walking next to you away from the other dog.
Good luck and keep us updated
Libby - 11 Sep 2013
You want to avoid FORCED exercise, which is anything on leash, particularly on hard surfaces. no biking, roller blading, running with a dog on leash. But you ABSOLUTELY need to build muscle tone and stamina at a young age and let them run and play.
Well I have just taken him out over the fields and braved it by letting him off! Was good for the first minutes then saw some people in the distance and bolted and wouldn't come back on recall. When he got to the people he realised they had no dog and came running back to me .... LOL. The we went over to another field and he just bolted it for no reason as we were the only people there. I called and called but he was so far away he couldn't hear me. Of course I panicked but I saw the gate was shut as knew he couldn't go anywhere, so I just turned around and walked in the opposite direction hoping he would come back. Luckily he saw me walking off and came running back. I made a big fuss when he came back (mud as well). Put his lead on and walked home.
Every walk is nerve wrecking for me. I have also been asking around if there is any doggy parks near me. See my trainer this week and back to basics with the dog.
If YOU are stressed or anxious your dog FEELS that and it will feed his own energy.