I think most people who have had a lab pup will say that when you deal with one problem, there is always another waiting to take its place! Crate training, potty training, jumping up, mouthing, chewing furniture... there's just a whole succession of problems to deal with one after the other!
Our latest one is other dogs, and I think it's going to be the toughest problem to resolve yet.
When we take Rocksy (6.5 months) out for walks, she still pulls a bit if someone walks by, but nowhere near as much as she used to. However, she still goes absolutely nuts when another dog approaches. Nothing I say seems to make any difference - she will strain until she is choking to get near the other dog, and even if I say 'sit' she will just carry on straining. Last night was the worst so far. My OH was out walking Rocksy, when a woman walked past with a tiny little dog. Apparently Rocksy went absolutely ballistic, barking, straining, pulling - anything to get near this dog. The other woman said she would wait until she calmed down, and let let her sniff her little dog - which was really nice of her. But Rocksy didn't calm down, and the woman had to leave.
I must admit that we didn't do a great job of socializing Rocksy with other dogs when she was younger. Our vet said puppy kindergartens were useless, and we are new to the area and don't really know anyone with dogs.
I accept that we may have a problem now - so have got in touch with a dog behaviouralist who will hopefully be able to help us...
It's just so embarrassing, you feel like everyone thinks you can't control your dog, or haven't brought it up properly.
Do you have someone in the neighborhood with a social dog that Rocksy could play with in the backyard?* I think trying satiation would work better first rather than trying to control it. Just be sure that Rocksy is sociable, too.
Puff [YF, AKC field line (from competing HT/FT breeder) 62 lbs, dob: 8-'01]
She has just spent three weeks with her parents on a farm while we were on vacation, and she got on great with them - especially her dad. So she knows how to socialise with dogs - it's just that she doesn't seem to be able to control herself when she sees a strange dog in the street.
We don't really know anyone around here as we are fairly knew in the area, none of the people we do know have got dogs sadly.
DON'T BE EMBARASSED!! Dogs here have done a lot worse, including mine!! I've got a lab who decided on a recall in an obed class to leave the class altogether. I spent the hr chasing him in the dark thru the instructor's neighborhood. SO please, we're all friends here. No embassment.
The biggest piece of advice I can offer you is to TRAIN (and proof) how you want your dog to react in these scenarios. I would recommend that she be sat and told NO NOISE/NO BARK/NO VISIT as the other dog passes. Hang onto that collar if need-be. And don't be afraid to correct until you get the behavior you want.
IF you decide the other dog is okay to play with, use a release word -- GO VISIT/OKAY TO PLAY -- and let them socialize.
But you've got to be in control of your dog.
If sitting is just too hard at this point, try a DOWN, and step on the leash (foot right behind the snap, so there's not a lot of arguing room) if necessary. She'll thrash and complain and maybe do a death-roll and get MAJORLY pee-ohed, but you're to stand firm. I'd probably throw in a SETTLE or CUT IT OUT to let her know you're displease.
Eventually, she will realize she's more comfortable lying still, and you can praise.
Be careful, though. I've been 'thrown' by dogs doing this. You'll need to be steady on your feet and have a solid clamp on that foot on the leash.
When she settles, PRAISE - PRAISE - PRAISE. And use the same vocab (it catches on more quickly): Good no visit. Nice settle. What a good girl.
She's looking for you to tell her what to do. You've got to step up to the plate and do it.
What about an obedience class now.* Maybe you'll be with dogs that have completed a level already, but at least you'll get Rocksy into a setting where she's meeting other dogs and there's an obedience trainer there to help guide you and Rocksy with the "meet and greets".* Practicing in a class how to meet and pass other dogs when you're walking.* The obedience instructor where I take Scout always asks if anyone has problems or wants to work on something specific.
I used hot dogs or liver treats for those moments when Scout was not getting it and I needed her to focus and listen to me.
I think training and behaviour problems are a young dog thing.* *Scout is 2.5 years old, just starting to shed some of the young kid thinking, maturing.* We had lots of the one-step-forward/ 2-back days of obedience training.* Still do, but not as much. We're both showing our class work!* (I had as much to learn as Scout.)*
Hang in there!* Oh, and I've met some new friends at our obedience classes.* An added bonus.
Thanks very much for the reassuring words and advice. Not seen another dog on walks yet to test out the suggestions, but no doubt I'll get the chance soon.
She isn't normally as bad as she was the other night with that small dog, and my OH reckoned she thought the other dog may have been a squirrel because it was so small! Don't understand the point of dogs like that but there you go...
Don't feel bad, we all probably have those embrassing dog stories.
My almost 7 month old has been socialized from day one. We had in Puppy Classes, Play Groups and as of 9 weeks she has been going to Doggie Daycare. She stills acts like that! She pulls like a mad dog for people and other dogs, plus the annoying bark thing. Her problem is she loves everyone and thinks everyone is there to play with her! She is a brat!
I did have her sitting, down, shake and the 5 second stay prior to her starting Puppy Classes at 9 weeks. She did so well at the classes, mainly for the trainer. She is almost 7 months and still has no recall, well she will come once in a blue moon when she is not doing anything of course. So with that in mind, we took her on her first camping trip this weekend. Well for the most part she was good, except when she broke her leash and went running around the campsites. She ended up in a marsh, with Jesse and I at the edge about to kill her. After about 20 mins we finally got her. To have this dog staring you down in this buggy marsh, knowing you were not going in after her...UURRGGG! I wish I could have got a picture of her not so innocent face, priceless. I guess all she really wanted was to swim or maybe it was more than that! Kenda is a very smart dog, probably too smart for her own good.
With all the frustration, I still would not trade her for anything in the world! I do know that one day all this will change but part of me is trying to enjoy my puppy as a puppy, good and bad.
I think and obedience class now would help.* Also in the future, puppy kindergardens are a good thing.* They may not learn much, but it's good for them.*
Are you using a prong when you walk?*
No, but we are definitely considering getting one. She is very good out walking, hardly ever pulls anymore - until a dog comes along that is!
The annoying thing is, that since I first posted this thread, I haven't see a single dog out walking! What are the odds of that!!