- Pet forum for dogs cats and humans 


Matty's latest update, and a few Q's

January 9th, 2006, 03:37 PM
Hi all,

Matty's had his first christmas and let's just say the puppy got more Christmas gifts than myself and my wife ;)

He's also completed his first obedience training. While I was skeptical of it, because I figured I knew most of the tricks already, it actually helped and Matty's a noticeably better behaved dog after the training than before. He's still far from a 'model citizen', but the course definitely helped. Maybe it was a matter of training him and rewarding him when there's distraction from the other dogs, or it was simply a matter of trainers reinforcing us on something we always knew but didn't do enough. Either way, we're happy we took the training and the $200 or so we paid was worthwhile.

Last time I mentioned Matty being a counter-surfer ... he even stole half a plate of (expensive) cheese when we're preparing food for a christmas party and got severly punished for it. Since then we've reinforced on the "off the counter" training and he's much better now.

There are a few areas I still wish Matty can perform better and I'll appreciate if any of you can give us some suggestions / comments:

1. Jumping on people
Matty doesn't really jump on myself or my wife anymore. If we're holding something really attractive (new toy or food) he'd actually sit still instead of jump up. So the training's paid off, BUT ...

Everytime we walk him and run into strangers, or other dogs, or everytime someone come visit us, Matty'd still resort to jumping up on the person / dog and nipping as part of his 'welcome routine'.

Matty's 8 months old and still very much a puppy. I just wonder if he eventually grow out of this habit or do we need to spend (a lot) more time training him in this area?

It isn't easy to train him on this because he doesn't really jump at us (or my parents for that matter, cos they visit quite often). We need to get friends + family over to train him. We did train him for one of our christmas parties when we had a bunch of ppl visiting us, and he did seem to get it at the end of the party, but the following day we had some other friends over it's the same thing.

Matty is 55 lbs and can potentially grow up to 75lbs when he's fully grown. Him jumping on ppl is NOT acceptable, but I just don't know how to train him.

2. Recall command
We must have practised the 'come' command for hundreds of thousands of time by now. Everyday when I take him out for a walk I always practise the 'come command', and reward him with treats when he does come. At home my wife and I also play the 'hide and seek' game with the 'come' command.

At home, he comes 100% of the times. However, when we go out, I'm confident he'd come only when he's not being distracted. When distracted by smells or garbage on the ground, he'd respond to the 'come' command only 50% of the times. For that reason, I'm not confident to let him go off-leash at all.

What I've been practising, is ask him to 'come' when he's distracted, and reward him when he does come. When he doesn't, I pull him over with the leash, tell him he has to come on command. Immediately let him go off and ask him to come again (and he always responds the 2nd time), then reward him.

Am I doing the right thing? Is there anything else I can do to train the recall command more effectively? I always admire ppl who can still control their dogs when they're off-leash, and under distraction of other ppl and other dogs. Our first dog was a beagle, which was hard to train for this because hounds always follow their nose. I think trained labs can be very good in this area though, I just want to know how.

Other than that, Matty's learned a lot and we enjoy spending time with him a lot more now than 2 months ago ... especially my wife. When we walk him he gets distracted by all kinds of things but I like to hide in some corner or behind some cars when he's not paying attention ... he'd always run back and look for me when he realizes I'm hiding, which is kind of nice. His barking is not much of a problem anymore, and as for biting things around the house it's under control now.

We've spent LOTS of time and energy on him but it's glad to see they're paying off.

before I forget, here're some latest pic's of Matty ...

January 9th, 2006, 03:39 PM
And here's another pic

January 9th, 2006, 03:42 PM
Jumping or not,he certainly is 55lbs of cuteness:love:

January 9th, 2006, 03:58 PM
I'm sure someone will be along with some advice for your specific questions, I just wanted to say thanks for the update and Matty is quite a handsome fellow!

January 9th, 2006, 04:33 PM
What a beautiful lab.

Jumping on strangers
Always leash. Step on the leash so that no matter what your dog can't jump on them even if he tries. Set him up into a sit to greet and you can go a step further by teaching him "watch me" If he doesn't remail in a sit, he doesn't greet.
Watch me, Set him up into a sit, take a treat and hold it between your eyes and say watch me, hold position aprox 5 sec and then treat.

Place him on a long line and please don't repeat your cues. The word come to him may mean at this point stop at distractions along the way before coming to you. There is also a chance that you have repeated it enough that he just ignores the cue.
Anyway, place him on a long line when you are out and call him to you frequently, reward with something toy, treat, praise and then let him go and play again. If he doesn't come with your first call bring him in without pulling and praise. If you leash him up to go home every time you call him when you are out then he will stay away from you and not come. You want him to learn that every time he comes to you there are good things and it doesn't mean his play is going to end or he is going home. You can also play your hide and seek outdoors.
What I find helpful when teaching recalls when you are out at a park is to call them to you very frequently, treat and then send out to play.
You can be strict with this if you like or you can make it fun but either way he needs to learn it and be reliable for his safety.

January 9th, 2006, 07:17 PM
Matty rminds me of Winnie ....well Ok he reminds me of Winnie about 55lbs ago. My Winnie won't jump because her weight keeps her from Jumping and my Winnie got into too many expensive cheeses too:D . Nip it in the you know where or Matty may look like my Winnie in 8 years:p

January 9th, 2006, 07:19 PM
This is where all the cheese went:D ; She is on a diet as we speek and that is very hard to do :o trust me

January 9th, 2006, 11:03 PM
OMG....He is GORGEOUS............:thumbs up

Here is another suggestion to the re-call..And this is how I trained my dogs for it.

I had a 30' training lead.

What you do is give Matty the "sit-stay" command.Walk about 2' infront of him.Turn around to face him...Say Matty "come"...If he comes to you,PRAISE big time.If he breaks his "sit-stay" command,walk him in a circle and say it again.Then the Matty "come" again...If he does it,Praise again..Then go for a walk further up a bit.Then do the "sit-stay" command.Now try walking say 4'...And give him the Matty "come" command.Same thing,when he comes,praise big time.If he doesn't,then you may have to give a bit of a tug from the leash.The what you do is go a bit further.With me,I can walk 50' and my dog will not move untill I give him the Tron "come"

See with me,I always say the name before the command..Especially with the "come" command.Reason is,say Matty takes off,if you just say "come" he is not going to know that you are calling him...Where as when you say Matty "come,he knows you are talking to him.His name gets his attention....:)

January 10th, 2006, 01:51 PM
Matty's actually very good with the "sit,stay then come" commands ... when I ask him to sit and stay, I can go far way and even out of his sight and I'm confident he'd still come when I ask him to ... the difference is he stays focused when I ask him to "stay". He's waiting for the "Ok, Matty Come" command cos he knows he'll get praised and treats.

It's when he's allowed to run freely around the park that he gets distracted and doesn't always respond to the "come" command.

That said, a long (like 30') leash is a good idea.

I don't really repeat the "come" command ... if he doesn't come on the first "come" command within a few seconds I give the leash a tug and if he still doesn't get it, I pull him over.

Another problem is when I call his name I don't always get his attention ... I guess I need to practise the "watch me" command more as well.

Thanks for the nice ideas!