First I just wanted to say that this website is great!* I've read a ton of posts and have picked up a lot of valuable information.* Gotta love the internet!* I picked Suzy Q up Tuesday evening from a lady I work with who doesn't have time for her. She rescued Suzy about 6 months ago and Suzy has gone through basic obedience training with her.* Suzy is great!!!* She has some minor issues we need to work on but overall she does really well.* She's crate trained, potty trained, sits, walks on a leash well, down (with a treat easily, without I have to push her down a lot of times), we're working on stay.* She barks when I put her in her crate if no one's in the room.* Last night I left to get some jeans out of the dryer and was walking back in but she started barking so I couldn't go back in.* Thanks to this website I know this.* She barked a few minutes and was quiet for a couple minutes so I went back in then.* Our new kitty and her don't get along too well.* Suzy is so jumpy and it scares the kitty.* Suzy is kind of scared of the kitten actually.* Last night Suzy went after her and I reprimanded Suzy by yelling no at her and I lightly spanked her butt, told her down but she wouldn't go so I forced her down and laid on her.* I don't know if I should have done this but it was just instinctive for me.* Suzy also jumps up but we're working on that one too.* She doesn't like playing fetch.* Most labs I know absolutely love it.* Is there something I can do to train her to love to fetch?* I'd like to wear her out with this in the fenced backyard.* She pants all the time.* Is that normal?* It's not hot in the house with the a/c on.* She also paces around the house A LOT.* TO the point it makes ME nervous.* Do you think the panting and pacing is due to the stress of her new move?* We went to a local lake last night.* She loves water!* But again, she wouldn't fetch a stick in the water.* She does awesome on her pinch collar with people and other dogs but if it's just her normal collar, she tries to jump and doesn't heel as well.* We've got some work to do - me especially.* I know I need to be more patient, it's only been 3 days.* I just want to train her right.* I haven't had a dog since I was a kid and we never really trained them.* They almost learned on their own.* They wouldn't even poop in the yard (we lived on a farm).* Thanks for listening to my random thoughts.* Please enlighten me.* I'm looking forward to learning a lot.* I do believe that Suzy and I are already forming a bond.* One other thing, Suzy has to be around me or Alison ALL the time. She follows us around. If I go outside, she has to go outside. If I go to the bathroom, she has to go. Sometimes it's tough to get stuff done. Is this normal?
YES, what you are experiencing is COMPLETELY NORMAL. You have a puppy...Its got a ton of energy at 6 months. This will taper off around a year. Now, we have a hard time getting Allie out of bed in the mornings, she wants to sleep in. But when she was a pup she was an early riser and I am NO early riser.
Fetch. Some dogs want to play fetch immediately, others (like my dog) it had to be taught. The first thing is to find a toy they LOVE to chase. Its more of a labs instint to chase prey, so the returning part is usually taught. But some dogs are naturals. I think its safe to say yours is more in my category. Find yourself an awsome toy your pup loves. Throw it SHORT distances and try to get her to return it. The best way to garentee a return to start off playing fetch in a hallway, theres only two directions and one of them is towards you When she comes back with the ball, praise like heck. Make the dog think she saved someones life or something big like that. Dont freak her out, but just lots of praise. Be consistant with the praise, and use words like fetch when throwing it. Over time your dog will associate fetch with getting what you asked for and returning it. It takes time. At first only do fetch 2-3 times in a sitting, they way it doesn't bore her, she finds it fun. As she gets older you can add more throws. ALWAYS STOP PLAYING FETCH WHEN YOU CAN TELL THE DOG IS GETTING BORED. This will garentee it stays fun... If you struggle to get your dog to return the toy to you, use a lead and pull her towards you...Its going to take time...Also, water can be a distraction when playing fetch, so its something that takes even more work once fetch is down.
Dog chasing the cat. I dont have cats, but I will give it a shot. Dogs and cats play differently, dogs are all over the place, cats like to be stealthy and pounce on things. Over time they two will learn each others play style and will adjust to each other. Keep them interacting in good ways, dont lay on your dog, but hold her and tell her to be nice. They wont be friends over night, but after 6 months they will have more fun together.
The pacing and panting. Your dog is stress...It was with one owner and at one place and now her world is upside down. Your dog is pacing because its still uneasy plus she maybe bored. As the weeks pass your dog will learn your daily schedule. Once your dog knows this (1 month) she will be much more confortable. You should start noticing the stress signs to disappear after 2 weeks of living with you, USUALLY (not all cases). Keep your dog entertained, as a puppy, this is a lot of work. It will help with the pacing. Also your dog may feel the need to protect. My dog is a protector, she immediately lets me know if she hears ANYTHING strange outside. She also paces the fence daily to make sure nothing has changed. On several ocassions she will jump on the bed and wake me wanting me to check outside because shes not sure about something. Usually its a sprinkler or a rabbit that scared her, but she has that drive to check on the house. She does it 2-3 times a night, checks every room. Shes not aggresive, but she likes knowing whats going on.
You have soooo many questions, these are the ones I was able to answer without writing an entire book. I will let some others speak about their experiences. If your a reader, there are several books people can recommend. I dont enjoy books, so I got a trainer to answer my questions...
GOOD LUCK! Remember to have fun, and your dog isn't perfect over night...
Opps for some reason 6 months old stuck more than 1.5 years...The advice still holds true, your dog is probably still very much a puppy in most cases.
Right now you should just focus on bonding with Suzy. Her life is in flux so she's unsure of everything including you and the cat. Stick to a schedule (eat at the same time, go to bed at the same time, take her to the bathroom at the same time). Dogs like a very regular schedule. If she knows what to expect when, she'll adjust quicker.
Also, don't be afraid to enforce rules starting immediately. As long as you are fair, she won't mind. That means if you don't allow your dog on the furniture, you don't ever let her up. You don't simply say "Suzy get off the sofa", you sternly say "Suzy OFF!" and point to the ground. She will respect you if you say what you mean and follow up by removing her from the sofa if necessary.
I'd give it 2-4 weeks then enroll in an obedience class. This will further the bond between you both.
As for the cat, I'd keep Suzy on a leash until you are sure they can get along. Suzy may never had seen a cat before so of course she's going to be both scared and inquisitive. If she has any prey drive, a running cat is going to make her give chase. The only way to stop her is to have her on a leash that you can grab.
When she jumps up on you, grab her front legs and quickly walk her backwards making her hop on her back legs. Dogs don't typically like this and will quit jumping up if you do this every time. You can also include a rough pat (not banging but not stroking) on the top of her head as you are walking her backwards. They hate that as well.
Good luck with Suzy Q...I just adoped a 1.5 year old female as well.* Well, she's pushing 2 now as I've had her most of the summer.*
Everyone gave good advice...regular schedule, consistent commands, calm voices etc.* Billie paced and panted a lot too.* I got her from a prison rescue program so she hadn't been in a "home" environment in I don't know how long.* It took a few weeks before she would respond to me regularly, even with her obedience training.* Patience is key.*
I too had trouble getting her to "play" with me.* It takes a while, until they're bonded with you, and more so if they've never been taught how to fetch.* Brianttu gave a great explaination of how to teach it.* Billie plays fetch wonderfully with me in the backyard but ignores me completely at the dog park.* Invest in a "chuckit".* Best 14 dollars I ever spent - keeps the slobber off your hands and saves your arm a lot of wear and tear once your dog gets into chasing a ball.* There are some great books at the library about how to teach some little games and exercises for your dog, like jumping through a hula hoop and stuff.* That might be fun to do for later, when you've got the basics down with her.*
Oh...and on the following you around...it might not always be that way - some females are a bit more independant...but mine is in the room with me everywhere I go, and usually touching me.* Includes the bathroom, though she hasn't tried getting in the shower with me, thank goodness.* *
Thank you very much for your replies.* I just need to be more patient with her.* I am pretty firm and consistent.* It's good to hear other people have been through some of the same things.* Alison just called me and told me she chewed up a basket we had magazines in.* Alison's not too happy with Suzy right now.* I told her to expect all these things and that the house was gonna get messy, time consuming, etc, etc, are you sure you still want a dog?* of course now she's 2nd guessing her decision.* But I'm not!!!* I bought the Complete Idiot's Guide to Labradors last night.* I just started reading it.* Thanks again for hearing me out and for sharing your experiences.* Take Care.*
I came home to a chewed couch cushion, and part of my comforter on my bed shredded before I came to the conclusion that I needed to crate Billie when I was gone for more than an hour. Tell Allison I know how she feels...I don't have kids but my house now looks like a playpen with all the kongs, chewie toys, nylabones and occassionally crate bedding strewn about. I am starting the process of teaching Billie how to "pick up" her toys and put them away herself. You might try keeping her on a leash tied to you for a while if she's getting into things while you or Allison are in the other room. Someone else on the board can probably give you better advice on that.
You both will second guess your decision several times before SuzyQ settles in and you all develop a routine. Stay with it, she'll become the love of your life (well, pet wise anyway...). For now, I'd advise getting anything up off the floor and out of reach and put in closets or behind closed doors that you don't want chewed on. Invest in Kongs and Nylabones. Be vigilant about not leaving stuff anywhere (even on tables or counters) until she settles in and you know what her favorite contraband is.... and then you can start to break her of the bad habits.
Welcome to owning a young Lab...I affectionately call mine Chewbaca the Labradork now. When I first got her it was Chewbaca Destructo. I didn't take enough precautions at first. Now I know to treat her like a very mischevious human toddler and the chances are better that the house will survive. You have many people on this board who will give you great advice...pick their brains. I'm new here and have learned a ton in just 3 months, so keep asking questions!!
I agree very much with the directions Brianttu gave you for teaching Fetch.
Teaching that is VERY important to comfortable living with a Lab.* It will reduce the chewing on things which happens very often when Labs are not sufficiently exercised.* And a dose of vigorous exercise just before an obedience class is sometimes helpful if your Lab gets too excited when there (mine did).
Let* me add a few other things to what Brianttu told you.
If you do not have a suitable hallway, you can play outside.* I tied a 30 ft .tough nylon line to a rubber dumb-bell shaped dog toy,* Puff usually ran after it but had to be trained to bring it back. When she picked it up in her mouth, I pulled the toy with Puff attached back to me, praised, and treated.
We did most of* our training just before her meal times and used some of her regular kibble as treats.* That insured high motivation.
Also, be sure to vary the directions you throw the toy and the places you use.* That's because dogs are somewhat site-specific in their learning.* (Several years ago, one woman complained on the forum that her Lab would only fetch when she sat in a certain chair in the Living Room and threw a toy in a certain direction; that's how she'd trained it.)* Fetching it while swimming is great because it provides greater exercise.* And the attached line insures you'll get it back IF SQ doesn't get it.
And especially follow Brianttu's advice to keep it fun.* If Suzy Q loses interest after 4 retrieves, drop down to 3 for a few times.* Always stop when they still want more.
Giving enough vigorous daily exercise will be a godsend to the cat, the furniture, your girl friend, and your relationship.* At this age, Suzy Q can probably use 60-70 minutes (not walks but activities like fetching, swimming, etc.)* That usually produces a dozing Lab the rest of the day unless something exciting is about to happen (visitiors, car ride, walk, another dog, etc.).* If your schedule won't allow this, look for compatible dogs in your neighborhood and arrange playdate sessions.
"A Tired Lab is a Good Lab" -- Socrates
"A Bored Lab that is not Tired is a Royal P.I.T.A" -- Confucius
"A Dozing Lab Rarely Causes Problems" -- Bhagavad Gita
"A Lab sufficiently exercised has partaken of Nature's own Prozac and Valium" -- Hippocrates
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":
This is really good, I hadn't read this technique before. Thank you!Originally Posted by rottnlabs
Josh, congrats on your new dog!!! Puppy proof your house, everything that's on the floor that you value needs to be put away or up on a shelf. As she adjusts to her new home you can start putting your house back to normal.
I have two cats and my lab, Lexie, still wants to chase them. Lexie is still limited on where she can go in the house. She has free roam in the family room and master bedroom, but when we're in the living room I typically put her on a leash and wrap it around my ankle and give her toys and chews so she stays by me. She's getting better with her down stays so I'm hoping that we don't have to do this much longer.
"Leave-it" is a great command to teach your dog. This can be used to keep her from picking up objects, getting in the trash, chewing on the cats, and chasing other dogs. I used treats to teach Lexie this at first. With her in a sit position I would put a treat close to her face, when she went to grab it I would tell her to "leave-it". When she pulled away I would praise and then say "take-it" and give her the treat. We practiced this many times per day for short periods, each practice session I would increase the amount of time that I made her "leave-it". After she understood "leave-it" we started using the command on objects in the house, the cats, and when she goes for an object when we were out on walks. In the house, keep Suzy Q on a leash and do the same with objects she wants to chew.
We're still working on fetch. Lexie isn't that into tennis balls, but she has some other toys that she loves so we use those to teach her the basics. I find that I have better success with her retrieving when I use the "favorite toy of the week".
Good luck, you're really going to enjoy having a lab; they're wonderful loyal dogs who bring a ton of joy to our homes.
All the adivse you have had is great.
I once read some dogs have natural abilities and as pups it is good to keep these going. I did these extra things as games.
I would sit on the couch with my coffee and throw soft toys for Kassa to fetch. I would have a treat in my pocket. She became so good at this i started to hide the toy. She loved this game. She would chew my slippers so I taught her to fetching my slippers. If I was late home my slippers would always be at the door waiting. She would then take my shoes and put away.
Ernie chews my slippers and shoes so I have trained him to get them. He was never taught retreving and is hopeless. Maybe not so hopless. Just doesn't see why he should do it.