My husband and I recently rescued an abandoned Black Lab. We live on a military base and the dog was left behind I'm assuming when his family moved to a new duty station. Jack is a wonderful, loving dog and we have had him for two months now. We are not sure of his age but we think he is around 1-2 years old so still a puppy. Recentley some issues that we at first assmued were just anxiety and transition issues have gotten worse. My husband is way more active with Jack and plays with him constantly!!!!!! Jack gets exercised everyday for atleast an hour but usually more. Usually by my husband because I am 7 months pregnant and have a hard time playing with Jack as vigourously as he likes. Well anyways Jack loves to chew things up usually my things. We have read that this is common with Labradors. My issue with it is that Jack always seems to know that he has done something wrong before we even know what has happened. He will put his head down or lower himself and run away once we enter the room where he has commited the "crime". He just recently started pooping right on our front stairs where we can see it even after he has been outside for an extended period of time and we are home to let him out. To me it seems like he is deliberatly doing this to try and let us know he is upset. I have noticed that he usually does this destructive behavior while we are asleep or when my husband is at work. I just dont know why... He gets what I assume is enough attention and plenty of activity time... Although I have noticed that he is one of the most dependent dogs I have ever met! He is by our side always and in need of constant attention even more so than the typical Labrador as my entire family owns Labs... Is there anything I can do to better understand my dog...and help to stop this behavior? Is there a reason he tends to do these things when its me home alone with him?
boy oh boy can I relate to you! My black lab apollo is about a year old and my boyfriend and I just adopted him from the pound about 2 weeks ago. BOY did we have some issues with apollo. He was previously abused as a young pup and had been passed from home to home, as a result he has seperation anxiety and chews our house to shreds! He has chewed: two of my favorite head bands, 2 rolls of paper towls, 1 roll of toilet paper, 13 dvd cases, a chair, the carpet, a coat hanger, my glasses. It is REALLY stressful dealing with this chewing. So I know how you feel. Like Jack, Apollo chews when I am asleep or away at school/work. Like Jack apollo is frequently exercised and yet this does NOTHING to curtail the chewing.
You don't have any way of knowing what experiences Jack has been through before he came to you. My guess is that his chewing is based in seperation anxiety and that he is chewing your personal items because he is afraid you'll leave. Who can blame him or Apollo, both of them were dumped by their old families, ya know?
My suggestion would be to crate train Jack. We are having to do it with Apollo. Whenever you are not home or you cannot directly supervise him (such as when you are sleeping) crate him. Put several chew toys, bones, etc in the crate with him. It took Apollo a while to learn how to use chew toys. Knuckle bones and stuff like that are GREAT chew toys and personal favorites of apollo. Kongs are also a LIFE SAVER and there are a million different ways to stuff them to keep your dog entertained for close to an hour!
With time and practice Jack will eventually be able to be unsupervised in the house, but like Apollo, it will take time and crate training before that can happen. I was a bit wary of putting apollo in a crate, but honestly the dogs don't mind, it isn't cruel and it isn't upsetting to the dog (even if they do whine or whimper at first) i promise.
As for the pooping I dunno what to tell you about that. Apollo was having some issues urinating on himself but that seemed like it was a submission type thing as opposed to a "hey I'm upset with you so i want your attention" thing.
Hang in there, I know it can be tough to live with a dog that is going to the bathroom all over the house and chewing your possesions to shreds! Its NEVER fun or easy. But with time, patience, understanding, practice, and determination you, Jack, and your family will be in sync and he will fit right in with the family, knowing what is acceptable behavior and what isn't.
I hope I was able to help you a little! Hang in there!
PS- check out my post "hooray" in this section to see the latest damage that apollo has done to my home! its the second to last post.
Love,<br />Giuli<br /><br />
The only thing that I can think of doing in this situation is to praise him when he does the right thing. No matter how insignificant it is, or seems to be. Maybe he is doing these naughty things to get attention from you? even though he knows its bad.
Good for you taking on this wonderful lab.The previous advice sounds great.
Labs chew. The thing to do is if you don't want it destroyed put it away. Erns is 3.5 and still chews remotes, shoes, handbags, ear rings, you name it he destroys it.
I adopted a 3.5 year old street boy so know they can have issues. You never know what has gone on in their lives before you took him. Sometimes things have made them fearful or nervous.
Perhaps someone has shouted at him for doing something and when you walk into the room it reminds him of this so he lowers himself in a protective pose.
Puppies are hard work and if his previous owners had constantly shouted at him he would feel unwanted and nervous and being bad gets attention.
Some wise Lab owner may have more ideas than I do.
I would crate him when you can't watch him.
Be firm and let him know the rules. Praise, praise and more praise.
My bad boy had never been praised or given treats. Two years later as soon as I say good boy his eyes light up. He loves to be a good boy. Most times he can't. Ernie did things out of fear when i got him. He is relaxed and a much better dog.
hang in there. It does get better.
We are here if you need us.
I agree that you should crate train Jack. He needs to learn house rules before you give him free reign. That will help with some of this stuff. It's good that your husband is exercising him because that is the other part.
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Thank you so much for the advice! I am just so frustrated with Jack although we refuse to give him up... we have made a commitment to him that others have obviously pushed aside. He has chewed a air mattress to shreds, two pairs of shoes, headphones, couch, eaten a lasagna from our counter when I turned my back and thats just a few things!!!! AHHHHHHHH! He is just so darn lovable though! We are saving money for a crate and hopefully that will help. As of now we put him in our backyard when we leave. I always feel bad and let him in at night while im asleep and it keeps biting me in the behind! I'm wondering if maybe Jack doesn't view me as an authorive figure and that is why he does these things mostly while I am home with him??? Has anyone had any experience with that? I've been watching the Dog Whisperer on National geographic I am in awe of what that man can accomplish in a couple hours!
Your situation with Jack sounds SO similar to our situations with apollo. I know its really hard when your dog is destroying your home and chewing your possesions to shreds, but I'm proud of you for not casting him aside as a result. For all you know the problem could be as simple as no one ever teaching Jack how to behave. If he was a 3 month old puppy his behavior would seem more "normal" but since he's older it does not, ya know? Developmentally, Jack may still be a "3 month old puppy" and also his bad habits may be more ingrained and as a result, harder to correct. I know that this is the case for apollo, although I cannot speak for Jack.
Sam and I were lucky enough to find a crate for free! Here is what we did, maybe I can help you out. We went to petsmart with Apollo and ran into a couple that really liked apollo. We got to talking and ended up discussing Apollo's chewing and (at the time) potty accidents in the house. They offered to give us their dog's old crate because she wasn't using it anymore. I have found that many people are willing to give away their dog's old crate or atleast sell it for dirt cheap. You just have to ask. If you are able to take Jack to petsmart or a dog park or any other place where you can meet other dog owners, you might just be able to find a free/affordable crate. And in turn that translates to your house's destruction comming to an end a little sooner then if you had to take the time to actually save up and buy a crate.
I hope this helps! hang in there, it gets better, i promise!!!
Love,<br />Giuli<br /><br />
umm you leave him outside at night when you guys go to sleep??Originally Posted by heliumfiasco
If possible take some obedience classes with him. Or you and he can do obedience training at home. Doesn't have to be anything complicated. Just sits, stays, down and come. Leave it and drop it are good ones to teach as well. Obedience training is a good way to bond with your pup.
Anyways...like the others said...definitely get a crate and crate train him. His clingyness could be stemming from the fact that his previous owners abandoned him :-\
Good luck with Jack!
<3 01/01/2006-03/18/2017 <3
Helium, first, you should be commended for adopting this great guy!
Good for you!
I also agree with the crate training as well as some of the other good suggestions by the members here.
(This forum is great, very knowleagable people in here!)
Please alllow me to add one more. Be Patient! Looks like you guys are starting out in the right direction. The consistant and steady approach always wins with labs. And the main thing to remember is, they are extremely smart!!!!!! (Basically they're people in dog suits!) It will get better, believe me. The payoff will be well worth it if you follow the praise/reward with good behavior. Combine this with the crate training in order for him to learn his new limits and boundaries, while your husband provides the exercise. It will take some time, but everything worthwhile does.
Please Keep it up! And while your doing all this (although i know it can get frustrating) Please remind yourself that labs don't do well with "the heavy-hand" and yelling thing. You'll all be OK. Please keep us posted on Jack's progress.