He's recently discovered the ancient art of 'counter-surfing' so now whenever he finds something he likes he'll pick it up and carry it around and have me chase him to get it, leading me to believe that I'm making it all a game to him. how can i break him out of this habit?
Um, Labrador RETRIEVER. It's what they do. Don't leave things around where he can find them and pick them up.
If he does manage to swipe something, chasing is the absolute worst thing to do. Coax him to you with a treat and do an exchange. Do not scold him, since again, he's just doing what he's bred to do.
♣ Laura ♣
Welcome to the world of Labs.
♣ Laura ♣
Yep- Mine has a sock fetish. He lives to carry them around the house. Also likes to re-arrange shoes. Not being destructive - and I never, ever, ever chase him to get it back. He drops them soon enough and I can put it back where he found it.
We keep doors closed so he stays out of rooms where the socks and shoes live (hypothetically - husband not so on board with this) and he is not a counter cruiser at all.
You really need to "puppy-proof" and anticipate what trouble he could get into.
Sharon, Blaise and Diesel.
Ever heard that old saying "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure?" I can hereby attest to the relevance and wisdom of that saying.
Basically, puppy proof so that he can't get at anything bad, and then whatever you do, don't chase him, as thats when it becomes a game and it's self-reinforcing enough that it makes it a tough habit to break. Agree with the idea of teaching "trade" and trading treats for stolen items.
Baloo - 5 year old black lab
Peanut - 7 year old minpin
Monster - 3-ish year old frenchie/jack, rescue
The pup is doing what his instincts tell him to do. I had one that counter surfed, she never ate anything that hurt her, but she sure loved bread. I got in the habit of slipping the bread in the upper drawer of the kitchen island. She would also carry socks around and whimper. She was always gentle with whatever she carried ... well except the bread, I could never figure out how she managed to get those twisty ties off and leave the bread wrapper intact.
The "down side", if there is one is that I did such a good job teaching it to him that when he feels neglected, he'll pick up something that isn't his, and peek around the corner at me with it sticking out of his mouth- sometimes something as small as the corner of a piece of paper. The up side is I also taught him to get my slippers and the paper!
why can't you turn this into something constructive? My lab is exactly the same ... she used to find the thing closest to her and carry it everywhere, nothing better than a shoe soaked in drool. She never chewed them, just carried them around as if it was comforting to her.
So we used to 'trade' her a shoe for one of HER toys. Praise when she carried HER toys. Bought her LOTS of HER toys. Now, she finds which ever of HER toys is closest to her and carries it around. It's about teaching your Lab what is acceptable and what isn't. Chasing and scolding will NOT work.
Here is a good example LOL - she is interested in something outside. She HAS to carry her toy to the door to take a look.
Now, she also carries the peg bucket for me to the clothesline. She carries the recycling out to the bin for me, she will bring in the paper, bring me my shoes, she also gets stuff for me from under the house (IE: tennis balls!!) Turn this natural instinct into something constructive and acceptable and you and your lab will both be happier for it. Work WITH the problem not against it.
thanks for all the replies I'll be sure to try the trade command now