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Discussion Starter #1
Lately Merlin has become destructive!!! Chewing things he isnt allowed. I know he knows that he isnt allowed to, because when he sees me find whatever is in pieces, he slinks off.

I walk him for an hour everyday, which seems to tire him out, coz he conks out after that for hours. He cant be trusted off leach to play fetch in the park, unless I get a retractable lead (will that work? or will he get tangled?!?!)

He is wherever I am during the day, so I can watch him, but when Im at work (5hrs a day, 4 days a week) then he has the laundry room, with his bed and the doggy door to the entire garden. Which is where he is doing most of his destruco work.

His toys consist of a kong, a mega large rope, a squeaky bone, my boot ::) a little rope, and a paddling pool.

tell me what I can do! Is this just a phaze, or does he want attention?! or is he bored? I really dont want to confine him to just the laundry when im at work.

edit: He chewed my outside chair, and my plants, and now, the cable that goes from the trailer, to my car.
 

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Is Merlin bored? Most likely, "yes".

For most Labs, daily walking is NEVER EVER enough.

Most Labs profit from daily offleash running and fetching.

Look for fenced yards or ballparks, parks, woods, etc., where you can teach your Lab to run and fetch offleash.

A Training Dummy (I prefer the "Lucky Dog" brand, their vinyl 2" X 12" model, such as sold by http://www.gundogsupply.com and many others) is useful to sling.

IF your Lab -- like many/most -- runs after the TD when you sling it but doesn't instinctively bring it back -- teach it to retrieve.

Tie a 30 ft/10 m. kite string on it and when your Lab runs out and grabs it, pull the TD with Lab attached back to you and exchange a few kibbles for surrendering the TD. Very soon you'll have the retrieving part hooked to the 'chasing after'.

Most Labs do need a certain quantity of VIGOROUS DAILY exercise in order to be good citizens and comfortable companions.

My first Lab, Bess, taught me well -- she demanded it and forced me into it every day. So I knew what would be needed with Puff and we follow EVERY day what Bess taught me. Puff and I walk very early each morning in a nearby nature preserve for at least 60 minutes. She runs offleash, explores, and makes maybe 30 retrieves. I walk 2 miles while Puff runs about 6.

The rest of the day Puff's mellow, sanguine -- unless there's any possibility of a ride in the car or some other activity on which she wants to accompany me.

P.S. -- Use TDs only for retrieving. NEVER allow them to be used as chew toys or toys. Reserve them for fetching only.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
well, so its the retrieving I need to do more of. Merlin isnt really interested in it most of the time tho, so much for a Lab Retriever. When he is off leach and I throw him his ball, he sniffs it and runs off. he is more interested in exploring!!


Will the training dummy be more appealing for him?

edit: what TD do I need to look for? This deadfowl geese looks cute.
 

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I think it is partly his age and also partly what Bob said, the need for a bit more physical activity. Leash walking is more of a mental workout than a physical one. I think you should absolutely keep up the walking as it is VERY important but you do need to find another more vigorous output for his energy. I think off leash free running and swimming are the best. Retrieving a dummy from a pond or lake is also fantastic as it combines two of a Labs favorite things in one. I took my crew out for an hour of water retrieves in the nice weather yesterday and they were totally zonked for the rest of the day.

You can try clipping a long line to his collar to let him have some freedom.

How "bad" is his recall? don't forget that he is still young and it won't be perfect. It is ok for you and him to mess up. As long as he doesn't bolt off into the blue and refuse to come back, taking him to a safe area a long way away from roads and other distractions to run free would be a great idea. Just keep working on that recall. As I said, it won't ever be perfect but unless you actually let him off to begin with you won't make progress. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
If he is off leach and we are walking along the river, if he sees another dog, or person, he will sprint up to them, and play, and lick, and leap around like a rabbit.
He just wont leave them alone, even if they walk off, even the dog could walk off, and Merlin would still be prancing around after them.
At the dog park around the corner, he heard voices that were coming from out of the dog park, and almost a block away, and he started after them. ::)
I just dont know what goes through his mind, so I dont know how far he would think of sprinting off too.

I trying to find a dummy retriever online, having trouble with companys shipping to Aus tho!!
 

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In addition to more exercise, I've also learned to switch out Piper's toys. I'll give her access to about half her toys for a few days, then put those away and give her the other half. She seems to find the toys more interesting this way - not the "same old stuff" as they're new again every few days.
 

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Rocky is very particular about what he fetches, I'd suggest trying different types of toys. Rock prefers CERTAIN tennis balls so I stick to those. Dryf will fetch anything but prefers the Bumper.

Other than that the others have made great recommendations.

I have to ask - if there is a dog park so close, why do you not go there? Is it fenced in? Or is it due to the low recall reliability?
 

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Well, ok, I can see why off leash is a problem for you, but as long as you understand that the way he is behaving when off leash is TOTALLY normal. My two Lab boys especially were exactly the same for the first year -- must say 'hi' to everyone. Most of the time I could leash them up and get them back under control but sometimes they got the person/dog before I could. I would always apologise but then realise it was not the end of the world...we can't help it if our dogs are socialable. They do tend to grow out of this. They never run up to anyone now -- man or beast.

I think the thing is, sometimes you have to take 'risks' to make progress. It is annoying when they don't listen to you but you have to bite your lip and realise that he is still a puppy and he is still learning. Keeping him leashed 90% of the time can make the problem worse. It means that when he IS off leash he is excitable out of his mind. If he gets the chance to be off leash everyday (or every other day) it becomes less of a novelty and more of the 'norm'.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Tanya said:
Rocky is very particular about what he fetches, I'd suggest trying different types of toys. Rock prefers CERTAIN tennis balls so I stick to those. Dryf will fetch anything but prefers the Bumper.

Other than that the others have made great recommendations.

I have to ask - if there is a dog park so close, why do you not go there? Is it fenced in? Or is it due to the low recall reliability?
We have a dog park very close to us, but its the only one around for kilometers, so everyone goes there. counsels in W.A. dont seem to fence around dog parks.. ::) even though one side of the doggie park runs along a main road. :eek: ::)
what I will do though, is get the retractable leash, and a a 'duck dummy' and do some retrieves, then practice commands off leash.
Operation save house!!! :D and Merlin. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Trickster said:
They do tend to grow out of this. They never run up to anyone now -- man or beast.
At what age did this they grow out of it? I think another part of my problem is people and their dogs coming up to us when we're in the park. They dont think he's a puppy. It so frustrating. Im there thinking 'go away, go away, merlin commmmeeeee.'
 

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At what age did this they grow out of it? I think another part of my problem is people and their dogs coming up to us when we're in the park. They dont think he's a puppy. It so frustrating. Im there thinking 'go away, go away, merlin commmmeeeee.'
They improved ten fold when they hit 18 months.
 

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At this point I wouldn't trust Merlin off leash. As far as the chewing I would clear the area of anything he could chew up and redirect him to things that are acceptable for him to chew on, marrow bones, frozen treat kongs, ect.
As far as getting a reliable recall, I tied Oona's leash to 50ft of clothesline, put her in a downstay and walked away from her about 30ft. Then I would call her. If she didn't come I would give her a tug on the rope, and then she would come. When I was able to get to the end of the 50 ft I increased the rope to 100ft. Eventually I was able to put her in a downstay in one corner of a soccer field, turn my back on her and walk to the other corner of the field without her breaking the sit. I did this everyday for about three months.

I know that some won't like this option but you might want to consider an electronic collar. A friend of mine moved to farm country and had a heck of a problem with his dog chasing deer. He only had to give her a mild shock one time and she stopped running off.
Olie
 

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8 months old and destructive? That sounds just about right. :) Oh, my Frankie is 2 and there's no way he can be trusted alone without destroying something. Labs can be like this until the age of 2 or 3 (in some cases more!!).

I would not let him have access to an outdoor area unsupervised. Especially since that's where most of the destroying is being done. Do you realize how dangerous that is? What if he chokes on something and no one is around? :( I would crate him when I'm not home. You only work 4 days a week at 5 hours each day. He's certainly old enough to be left alone in a crate for 5 hours.

:)
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I have never used a crate with Merlin, so I wouldn't want to start now.
Crates just aren't what people use here, I doubt if I could even find one! Merlin has been sooo much better with a walk in the morning before I go to work, and I'm stimulating his mind with some weave poles at home, more agility stuff to come!

Thank you everyone for your advice! I think Merlins a lot happier now, as am I! ;D
 

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Max is a year in a couple days so he is still in this stage. I think he chews stuff up when he gets bored Merlin could be like that too. I keep him in a crate when I am at work or he would destroy everything. Max likes nylabones for general chewing therapy, I get the huge ones.

It is difficult to find the time to exercise him and his hips slow him down. We take him out hiking and that is great, one thing I have always done when he runs off is turn around and walk away. I have done this since he was very young he always comes running after me. There is some good recall training in the "our best advise" thread.

He also MUST go up to everyone and everydog, labs are friendly which is why I got one. Make sure you praise him for returning to you. Sounds like a friendly, healthy, normal lab.
 
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