New here - couple of questions
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Thread: New here - couple of questions

  1. #1
    BudGirl8 Guest

    DefaultNew here - couple of questions

    Hi everyone - I'm new and I have some questions. I have an 18 month old Lab. She's got some basic obedience training and is VERY smart and incredibly athletic. I've only just now had her for a month so we're still learning about each other, and she's still settling in to living in a house instead of a correctional facility (she's a rescue that was rehabbed in a women's correctional program - if you've never heard of these programs I HIGHLY recommend checking them out!).

    There's two things right now that are making the transition a little rough. She's very mouthy. I understand the chewbaca destructo Lab thing, and have tons of chew toys handy. But she likes to take whatever toy she has in her mouth, shove it up against my leg and gnaw on it, usually missing it and biting me. And when we're playing fetch, and I am removing the frisbee/ball/bumper from her mouth (something that has improved but is still a bit of a fight) she will give it, but then whips her head at me and sometimes lays her teeth on me. If her teeth actually touch me, I hold her mouth shut and say "NO BITE" repeatedly until she struggles a bit then let go. When we're just hanging out, she wants to put her mouth on me, hands arms whatever. It's not malicious but I know it's not good. I tell her "NO" and again, if the teeth touch me, it's the "NO BITE" routine. Any suggestions? Am I doing this wrong? I know this mouthy thing can really be a problem if it's not nipped in the bud.

    The second problem I'm having is figuring out how to get adequate exercise/play time for her. I live in the heart of KC in a very densely populated area. I can't take her off leash because we have NO recall (that can be relied on anyway). I want to work with her in my backyard, play frisbee, throw the ball, whatever she finds fun, but her attention span is about 5 minutes and she's done. I take her out in the yard for about 45 minutes in the morning before work but she's not terribly interested in running or playing. When I come home at night, I'm happy to throw the ball or run around with her but she's more interested in putting her nose down and inspecting the yard. If I go in, she sits by the door. I'm happy to go for a walk, but I can't walk as fast as she does (her handler jogged with her so her "heel" is at a MUCH faster speed, and I spend a lot of time correcting her and that's no good...). I'm used to ball obsessed/frisbee obsessed dogs who will chase a ball until your arm is worn out. Now I'm lost as to how to play with my dog!

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  3. #2
    Bob Pr. is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: New here - couple of questions

    I'll let someone else handle the mouthiness -- although what I recommend may help greatly.

    If you have a fenced backyard, use that for playing fetch.* AND if your Lab too quickly tires of playing fetch,* remember to keep it fun.* Build up interest at the rate your Lab can tolerate.* Look in your neighborhood for other friendly dogs with friendly owners and arrange playdates with your dogs.* *Also look for fenced in school yards, play grounds, etc., where you can take your Lab for longer off-leash running.* (Be sure to take along some plastic pickup poo bags so both you and your Lab can be good citizens* -- use that bag like a mitten and then, when the poo is grabbed, turn it inside out to capture it.)

    Daily vigorous exercise is a necessity for peaceful living with most Labs.

    Another suggestion.* Sign up for some group basic obedience courses with your Lab.* That's not so much to train your Lab as to train you how to train your Lab.

    And, if the 2 of you will ever be in Topeka on a Saturday, 2-3 PM,* let me know --* we have a weekly LabFest with anywhere from 3 to 13 Labs playing together.
    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":
    http://forum.justlabradors.com/showt...?p=748#post748

  4. #3
    Join Date
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    DefaultRe: New here - couple of questions

    Your on track with the biting mouthy issue. Continue with No Bite. If your dog puts your teeth on you, you can curl your dogs lips alittle as you hold the snot snuggly. This will allow your pup to understand that their teeth hurt. When Allie was doing this, I would hold her snot until she would cry a little (3 seconds). The second your done correcting the issue, instantly turn your back to your dog and pay no attention for a few minute. This will re-enforce that you really dislike the action given. After a min or so return to playing and make sure you give HUGE praise when the dog does something correctly. This will teach the dog that it wasnt your positive attention, not your negative attention. Your dog is older and this may take more time to break bad habits, but with time any dog can learn what you want.

    If your worried about your dog getting enough exercise, work on fetch in a hallway, where he/she cant escape. This will start you on the road of fetching and coming when called. You can also use brick walls or anything that forces less options for the dog to run in. I've heard people use these techniques in flyball, to get the dog to turn a certain way when bringing back a toy.

    You can always used the long check cord, but it can be a hassle. I would perfer having two people a distance a part, and trading the dog back and forth using the come command...You could do this on a football field where a fence could help which directions the dog could run. Also, there are some off leash tools you can buy to help assist with these items.

    Get yourself enrolled into a class, to train you on how to train your dog properly. It will be VERY beneficial.

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  6. #4
    BudGirl8 Guest

    DefaultRe: New here - couple of questions

    Thanks to you both...I'm looking for a class at the local Petsmart...I think clicker training might be a way to start. She's very sound oriented so that might be one way to get something going. And I do need a class to get me going. I have a friend with a Lab but we live on opposite ends of the city and her work schedule is heavy, so getting together is pretty challenging...but I'm going to suggest a field trip to Topeka for LabFest!! ;D

    I'm also going to try taking her to the lake this weekend if these stupid thunderstorms would lay off. I figure we can learn to swim on a long line. That might be some good exercise. I came home to a destroyed pillow off my bed, and I know it's because I've been cooped up with her in the house due to heavy thunderstorms for three nights in a row. Small house=limited play room indoors...and no hallways to play fetch in (weird little house) **shakes head**

  7. #5
    Bob Pr. is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: New here - couple of questions

    Destructiveness (chewed pillow) is almost ALWAYS due to boredom and a lack of exercise.

    "A Tired Lab is a Good Lab"

    As long as* you don't have lightning, go out with an umbrella or get a rain suit/foul weather suit.* You can always dry your Lab off with towels when you come in.

    "A Tired Lab is a Good Lab"

    My Puff is WIRED if she doesn't get enough exercise.* (BTW, a couple recent studies found that dog owners were significantly healthier than non-dog owners because the owners got more exercise in exercsizing their dogs.* So make sure you get the full benefit.)* She gets 60-70 minutes of offleash retrieving early each morning in a nature preserve.* I walk 2 1/2 miles and Puff runs maybe 6; she gets 30-50 retrieves, some of them long (1/8th mile) from my dropping her training dummy on the trail and sending her back to fetch it.* From there, she goes to a lake for 10 minutes of swimming.* After that, she's conked out for the rest of the day UNTIL she hears car keys, or my opening the door -- then she's right beside me on high alert.

    "A Tired Lab is a Good Lab"

    My first Lab, my beloved Bess (BF, AKC, bench line, 55 lbs., 1967-81) taught me well the importance of daily vigorous exercise. When I got home from the hospital where I worked, Bess was ready to go out for 45 minutes of rapid fire swimming retrieves from a nearby pond (60 minutes on land when the pond was frozen).* If I wasn't quick enough for her, she'd start picking up anything she could grab in her mouth and dropping it at my feet where I sat on the couch.* In a few minutes, she could create quite a pile and, since she never put anything back, she made a quick learner out of me.

    "A Tired Lab is a Good Lab"

    On those days when it was hailing or we had too much lightning, etc., we made up games involving retrieving things from the baserment or upstairs since climbing stairs takes more effort.

    "A Tired Lab is a Good Lab"

    About coming to Topeka, let me know and I'll give you directions.* The typical Daylight Savings times of the year, we meet in an unfenced park about 1/4 -3/8 mile away from a street.* Labs are so social with other dogs and their owners that it provides a critical mass that keeps them near us.* We bring a light folding lawn chair to sit in the shade of a pine grove where there's always a pleasant breeze.* We park our cars at 2400 SW 29th St* and walk NNW to the pines from there (in case you want to use MapQuest to see where we are).

    "A Tired Lab is a Good Lab"

    The typical Standard Times of the year, we meet in a fenced softball field just south of Colmery-O'Neill VA Hospital on Gage Blvd.* (Only about 7 blocks from I-470).* Parking is within 100 feet.* Not as good a view and sometimes cold.

    "A Tired Lab is a Good Lab"

    Many of us meet regardless of weather, the only exceptions being tornados or lightning hitting our area during our 2-3PM time there and driving time to and from.* During iffy weather, we have an emergency alert NOAA radio.* Snow, rain, wind, cold -- some of us will be there because:

    "A Tired Lab is a Good Lab"

    But that's a long drive.* We'd love to have you join us and meet you but you might also* see if there isn't a Lab group or two in your area.* Maybe try Craig's List and see if there are any others that have already found that:

    "A Tired Lab is a Good Lab"

    Before you come, check with me for directions and my cell phone #
    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":
    http://forum.justlabradors.com/showt...?p=748#post748

  8. #6
    Join Date
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    DefaultRe: New here - couple of questions

    What exactly is LabFest? Maybe I will make a special trip for it if its on a weekend.

    I dont play outside with my dog if its raining, so your not alone there. But as soon as it stops, I usually double up on play time to tucker Allie out. Having other puppys over will help when its raining, if you join a class, you might find friends willing to have you over to work on training and let the dogs play. Labs are hard work, thank god I have a wife who helps with it, Im not sure I could provide the needed attention alone and still take care of every day duties...

    Good Luck!

  9. #7
    BudGirl8 Guest

    DefaultRe: New here - couple of questions

    I would dearly love to be able to let her run off leash like you're talking about. As it stands right now, I don't think I'd ever get her back though. Unfortunately I'm still recovering from a nasty round with a couple of heavy hitting blood clots in my lungs so my stamina isn't what it should be so long distance walking (almost running at her pace) is difficult but I'm working on it. Hopefully she likes swimming, my buddy up north and I are going to start making weekly trips to the lake and it seems like she's taking more and more to the retriever play in the back yard in the mornings. I know for sure the destruction thing is my fault, I absolutely don't blame her for it. We went out in the rain last night and played because the lightening laid off, so that helped.

    I'll venture a guess that the field trip to Topeka will be the weekend of the 17th...I'll let you know and get pertinent info...


  10. #8
    Bob Pr. is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: New here - couple of questions

    What exactly is LabFest?* Maybe I will make a special trip for it if its on a weekend.
    Our LabFest is just a group playdate for a bunch of Labs and their owners.* It's been going for almost 4 years, every Satuday, 2-3 PM,* Nothing special except the joy of watching a group of Labs play and run, etc.

    "I'll venture a guess that the field trip to Topeka will be the weekend of the 17th...I'll let you know and get pertinent info..."

    You can, of course, come on any Saturday but the following weekend (the 23rd) I'll be back visiting family and friends in Vermont.

    Keep up the retrieving.* You might try the "Chuck-it" (a tennis ball launcher,* kind of like in Jai-Lai).* Minimal exercise for you, much more for your Lab.
    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":
    http://forum.justlabradors.com/showt...?p=748#post748

  11. #9
    BudGirl8 Guest

    DefaultRe: New here - couple of questions

    I have friends in town the 23d and my friend Dianne (who would be bringing her Lab with her as well) is getting ready to move so we'll probably shoot for the 17th.

    And I'm going to Petsmart at lunch. I came home to a destroyed couch cushion last night, despite doing my best to tucker her out. So last night we spent about 30 minutes walking and working on the heel and trail manners thing, and matching her pace to mine. I didn't want to bore her or make walks not fun, so we came home and played frisbee for about 30 minutes, then played soccer for another 20 minutes or so, then ate dinner, came back outside for another round of frisbee, and did the inside, then back out for more play thing for another few rounds.

    I'm at a loss. I live in a rental house. I can't have it destroyed. Nor can I afford new furniture. ???

  12. #10
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    Trickster is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: New here - couple of questions

    Playing fetch in the yard is fun but mentally it does very little for them. Physically it satisfies them but really Labs require ample metal stimulation on top of the running/swimming/ball/whatever. They are intelligent dogs and need to use their brains. Here are a couple of things I would suggest;

    EXERCISE; keep up with the fetch, but don't over do it. Some dogs will fetch all day long, some won't. If yours won't fetch all day long she is never going to be "ball mad" like others but if you keep sessions short and varied there will always be interest. Changing what you play fetch with helps. Use an assortment of toys (kongs, balls, bumpers, ropes) and switch them each time. Tethering her up while you toss some dummies around your yard and sending her to hunt for them is also great stimulation.
    Does she like playing tug? mine love this. It tires them out in the house and is equal fun for you and her.

    WALKS; IMO, walks are absolutely essential for all dogs. I think of walks on leash as more mental stimulation rather then physical but you should still make the effort to do at least one daily. ALL dogs need some time to sniff around and explore even if they are restricted to a leash. You can still make leash walks fun. Have you tried using a retractable flexi leash? these are BRILLIANT for dogs that can't be let loose. I would always carry a normal back up leash while using the flexi.

    Another thing I really recommend would be to take a handful of her kibble and scatter it around your yard. Do this each meal time. Don't just toss the handful as most of the kibble will end up in the same area. Take a few minutes to hand place the pieces. This keeps my dogs busy for at least 30-45 minutes.

    TRAINING; drill her through obedience every day. Teach her new tricks. Work on distance recalls in your yard (running to and forth is great exercise). Sign her up for more obedience classes. You could even try a dog sport like agility. Even if you think she will be rubbish at it, it is still great fun --remember that you never have to compete if you don't want to. Many people do dog sports purely for fun. If you live in a highly populated area I bet there are lots of clubs in your area.

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