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My weekly Matty vent

sprayeddog
April 12th, 2006, 08:06 AM
Well, it's been ~ a week since I last posted and no, Matty hasn't turned around yet.

I really don't know what's got into him ... a lot of times i just sit down and look into his eyes trying to figure out what the hell he's thinking.

Yesterday for example, I came down in the morning and my wife was crying. She hasn't been feeling too well the last couple days, and when I went upstairs to take a shower she was handling Matty herself. Matty started jumping (as usual) at her and she stepped on the leash and told him "No jumping!" as usual. But Matty kept biting the leash, kept trying to jump and apparently because he's so strong he dragged her down. Eventually she got him to stop jumping but he began to bite the leash. My wife tried the 'push the leash into his mouth' trick to stop him, and he didn't like it and began to get mouthy, and actually tried to bite my wife's arm.

So I came down, got him to do a lot of 'sit' 'down' 'sit' 'down', then 'hand', 'stay' etc etc, just to tell him who the boss is, and I got my wife to do the same. When he's finally calmed down, we sat down for breakfast. As always he's asked to 'down' and 'stay' when we have breakfast, and he just refused to 'down-stay' yesterday. He kept getting up so eventually I had to step on the leash and hold on to it with 1 hand while we had breakfast.

We came back last night, and I wanted to play with him, so I asked him to grab me the kong first, and asked him to do a few down, sit, hand before I play with him as usual. He started jumping at me so I turned around and told him 'no jumping'. Eventually he calmed down and the first time he grabbed the cone he didn't come back to me. Instead he jumped on to the sofa and wouldn't respond to the "off" command. So I had to drag her down and all the games stopped.

I mean, in the past when he knows he'll get to play he becomes VERY obedient and focused. Apparently not the case yesterday.

This morning, I asked him to 'down' 'stay' before I fed him, which he's been doing since we got him. He got right back up as soon as I turned around to get food. So I got him back to where he was, and asked him to 'down' again, and he started jumping again. Took a while before I could finally got him to do a 'down-stay'....

So that's another typical day with Matty these days. I seriously don't enjoy spending time with him anymore as he continues to be a battle from the morning till he sleeps. My wife is having a serious breakdown these days the odd times she's forced to spend time with him she gets very frustrated.

Right now as I am typing away Matty's barking downstairs at my wife ...

I don't know what's got to Matty but he's begun to get very disobedient since ~ 8 months old, and he's getting worse and worse everyday. I haven't let him got away with any command even ONCE, and I've been as consistent, as patient but also as loving as I possibly could. In the past he gets into trouble when we were busy with something else and he's left to his own. These days even when we try to play with him or feed him he's constantly challenging us.

If this is a 'rebellious' stage behaviour I hope it ends soon. I don't know how much longer I can be patient with him. My wife's already lost all her patience and said the only reason Matty's still with us is I disagree to give him away.


So I appreciate if any lab owners can tell me when this 'bratty stage' usually last ... Matty started his when he was ~ 8 months and he's 3 weeks from turning 1 now.

Matty is not our first dog ... I've had 1 before and my wife's had 2 so it's not like we have no experience with dogs. I NEVER expected this much trouble with a lab though.

Sigh.




SD

jessi76
April 12th, 2006, 09:45 AM
here I go butting in again... I just wanted to share a little trick that my trainer taught me, to curb my own dog's erratic jumping behavior....

the "OOPS".

to curb jumping, I started using a negative word (my trainer says this technique is somewhat contraversial, and he does not use it often, just for those dogs who are particularly stubborn, and don't seem to "get it" - as my dog is... VERY STUBBORN.)

my negative word is OOPS. I started with a handfull of treats. If my dog jumped up to sniff my hand and try to get the treats, I said OOPS!, stepped back, and he got nothing. When he sat nicely, and looked at me, I said TAKE IT, and gave him one treat. I did this over, and over, and over. After a bit of practice, my dog learned:

jumping up = OOPS = no reward
sitting nicely, no jumping = reward.

I also designated a word that means it's okay to jump - my command for this is HUGS! When I say HUGS! my dog is allowed to put his paws up on me. I basically did this so my dog knows when jumping is appropriate and expected. If I don't say HUGS, I don't want jumping.

I'm not saying this WILL work with Matty. It happened to work great with my dog, but as you know, everyone trains differently, and each dog is different. If you feel it's worth a try, great, if not, I'm sure you can turn things around with your consistancy & dedication.

sprayeddog
April 12th, 2006, 12:32 PM
I've done something similar.

Matty used to be very jumpy, and I trained him not to jump by actually 'tricking' him into jumping. I'd wave things (hands, magazines, food) over his head, and throw the kong up and down ... everytime he jumps I'd say "No jumping." and gets nothing. If he passes the test I'd give him a praise and a treat.

After a while, Matty doesn't jump anymore, to a point sometimes I'm not actually testing him, but just accidentally waving something above his head he'd sit down to reinforce "Look! I'm not jumping! I'm sitting!" ...

And this worked beautifully ... until again, when he's 8,9 months.

Like I said, Matty is NOT an untrained dog though he's behaving like one now. He used to walk nicely when I took him out (everytime he's close to pulling on the leash I'd say "Close!" and he'd slow down, or turn back and wait for me), he used to not jump, he used to be able to stay for a long time especially if he knew food / game is coming.

And Matty was a VERY stubborn dog, so it took us A LOT of effort to get him trained ... but since 3-4 months ago he's regressing and he acts like he's totally untrained now.

:( :( :(

Lucky Rescue
April 12th, 2006, 01:03 PM
Labs, as a rule, don't grow up until they're about 5.

How much and what kind of exercise is this very high energy puppy getting?

sprayeddog
April 12th, 2006, 01:16 PM
Matty is getting as much exercise as a working couple can give.

I play with him for about an hr in the morning before I go to work, and about 1.5-2hrs after I get off work, then I walk him. After dinner I play with him, when he's not naughty, on and off for another 1-2hrs. After the game and walk he's literally catching his breath every day, but even then he still misbehaves he comes back.

If that's not enough exercise then we're probably better off giving him away ... it'd be better for him and for me. Cos that's as much exercise we can possibly give, and except for the 45 minutes after we put him to bed before we go to sleep, we have NO LIFE as is.

What I also don't get, is I am not giving him any less exercise than when he was 5-6 months old. If anything I'm giving him MORE exercise these few months to tire him down and hoping he'll be better behaved when tired. But his rebellious behaviour started at ~ 8-9 months.

rainbow
April 12th, 2006, 01:17 PM
Labs, as a rule, don't grow up until they're about 5.

OMG!!!:eek: I heard it was 2 to 2 1/2 years old. Chase is 9 months now and I figured I only had a couple more years to go!!!

We don`t have a problem with him jumping up though. But digging, chewing anything made of wood and barking....well that`s another story.:evil: :D

sprayeddog
April 12th, 2006, 01:41 PM
I think the age varies, and which is why I posted the question.

Rainbow - does you lab behave pretty much the same way as Matty?

Jumping is a problem, but I have a bigger problem with him being disobedient.

For example, he jumps up on to the sofa, which is a 'forbidden' area, and wouldn't get off even though I commanded him to. It's one thing to jump on the sofa, it's another to not come off when I tell him to.

Another example is sometimes even when I'm playing with him / exercising with him he'd bark at me for no reason all of a sudden. Last night I grabbed the kong after he retrieved it, and as usual I ask him to sit before I throw it out again, and he started barking and refused to sit. I made him sit, and he started running away while barking.

To me, Matty's never been a 'dominant' dog. I remove his bowl while he's eating everyday and and ask him to sit/ down /hand before I give it back to him and he doesn't complain, doesn't growl, doesn't get mouthy. I touches him and handles his ear / hands / legs while he's eating and again, no complaint at all. I grab whatever he's playing with and ask him to 'let-go' and he'd do it instantly, look at me like "You going to play that toy with me now?"

But the fact he'd jump up on to the sofa sometimes and wouldn't get off, he wouldn't sit / down when I give the command sometimes definitely seems to me he's testing me. I haven't let him get away with it ONCE but it's tiring to go through that everyday. Every morning I wake up it's like a battle till he goes to bed.

Matty doesn't dig, but he sure bites and chews everything and anything he can get his mouth on. He doesn't bark that often anymore, except when he's complaining about something.

Lucky Rescue
April 12th, 2006, 01:52 PM
These are dogs bred to plunge into freezing water and retrieve ducks. They can do this all day and that is their energy level.

Plus an 8 month old puppy is often in the "rebellious teenager" stage.

he sure bites and chews everything and anything he can get his mouth on.
Typical Lab.

I seriously don't enjoy spending time with him anymore as he continues to be a battle from the morning till he sleeps.

My wife is having a serious breakdown these days the odd times she's forced to spend time with him she gets very frustrated.


I don't know how much longer I can be patient with him. My wife's already lost all her patience and said the only reason Matty's still with us is I disagree to give him away.

Rehoming him might be better for everyone and it will be easier while he's young than when he's older, since Labs are a dime a dozen everywhere, mostly dumped for the things you're talking about.

If you still want a dog, I suggest you do some research and get a breed better suited to you both.

phoenix
April 12th, 2006, 02:01 PM
Hi,
I have a lab x who is 16 months old. He's my 3rd lab.
I don't think you can 'blame the breed'. You need to look at what you are doing and the kind of leadership that you are providing.
Sam has that lovely habit of barking at me when I have his toy. I am in the process of teaching him 'speak' (he now knows this)... we're working on speak ONCE (not more than once or he doesn't get the ball back).
When Sam was Matty's age (8 months), sometimes he would be completely demanding. When he couldn't control himself (jumpy or barky or was demanding attention), he was gated out of the room we are in. He could lie at the door and watch us (when we started this, he would bark for a little while). Once he calmed down, I invited him back in. The message is, if you behave a certain way, you can be with us. If not, you're excluded. I never left him out for more than 15 minutes at a time.
I also noticed from your posts that your wife is having problems. And everytime it seems that you step in. You need to let her establish leadership (you don't transfer it to her... the dog doesn't understand that).
Honestly, I have been reading your posts a while and really feel sorry for your dog. He's always being told no! no jumping no barking etc etc. You need to show him what is good... not just be reactive to what is bad. It's hard to be positive all the time, but in my experience with labs, that is what you have to do. When he does something inappropriate, you need to show him what is the appropriate action for him. They crave attention and even negative attention is cool with them.
One more thing... in all of your threads you often say you should get rid of him... you don't want to get rid of him BUT...life would be better for him and for you if you were rid of him etc etc. I know you're venting but I'm starting to think that you have a very throw away attitude and it really makes me upset. I think dogs know when your attitude is bad, and if he senses that, then I don't think you will be successful. You have to be completely committed when you choose a puppy.
Anyway, Sam has some regression here and there but we have noticed significant maturity in him since he turned 1 year. He's still a puppy in many ways though.
You may want to get a trainer. You say you're being consistent but obviously its not working for you. Maybe someone can watch what you're doing and help you to refine your methods.

Lucky Rescue
April 12th, 2006, 02:12 PM
That is a very good post, Phoenix!

sprayeddog
April 12th, 2006, 02:30 PM
If you still want a dog, I suggest you do some research and get a breed better suited to you both.In hindsight, that's what i should've done but realizing it's our fault that we picked a high energy dog, I don't want to rehome him unless it's absolutely necessary.

He could lie at the door and watch us (when we started this, he would bark for a little while). Once he calmed down, I invited him back in. The message is, if you behave a certain way, you can be with us. If not, you're excluded. I never left him out for more than 15 minutes at a time.I've tried isolation as well. Matty's "isolation room" was the bathroom, and we fenced him inside so he could see us but couldn't be with us. What he started doing, after barking for a couple minutes, was he started biting things inside the bathroom so we HAD TO pay attention to him. We removed things he could bite and he started biting toilet paper. We removed toilet paper and he started scartching the dry walls.

These days if he misbehaves we step on the leash so that he can't go anywhere.

You need to let her establish leadership (you don't transfer it to her... the dog doesn't understand that).I understand that, and I've encouraged her to establish leadership herself without me stepping in, but when she tries to step on the leash and Matty dragged her down, do you step in or let her continue with her struggle?

Honestly, I have been reading your posts a while and really feel sorry for your dog. He's always being told no! no jumping no barking etc etc. You need to show him what is good... not just be reactive to what is bad.If that's what you get from what I write, then let me clarify it's not the case at all.

Like I said, if he doesn't jump, I encourage him with priases "good boy! Good no jumping!" and treat.

If he comes back to me with the kong I again praises him and treats him ...

I only posted the 'problems', and what he 'didn't do', but that doesn't mean I don't praise / encourage him when he does something right.

It's hard to be positive all the time, but in my experience with labs, that is what you have to do. When he does something inappropriate, you need to show him what is the appropriate action for him. They crave attention and even negative attention is cool with them.I get what you mean, and point taken.

But while I think I can do MORE of encouraging him, it's not like I haven't done that. For example, when he's biting the remote, I remove it, tell him "no bite" meanwhile giving him the bone to bite. He'd bite it for a couple seconds, I'd praise him, and he'll go right back to the remote.

Jumping's another example. He'd keep jumping and when he finally calms down, I'd say "Good no jumping! Good Matty!" and treats him, pats him, then throws the cone and plays with him. A couple minutes later he'd be jumping again, and I'd do the same thing.

So it's not like I haven't praised him / encouraged him when he does something RIGHT. That isn't the case at all.

One more thing... in all of your threads you often say you should get rid of him... you don't want to get rid of him BUT...life would be better for him and for you if you were rid of him etc etc. I know you're venting but I'm starting to think that you have a very throw away attitude and it really makes me upset.If I have a very throw away attitude Matty wouldn't be home right now.

If you've indeed been reading my 'vents' then you'll realize because we literally have no life spending every minute at home dealing / correcting Matty, my wife's close to having a nervous breakdown and repeatedly asked me to give Matty away. I kept saying no, because he's our dog, and our responsibility.

Meanwhile I watch my wife getting worse and worse emotionally. Like I said in this post, I came downstairs the other morning and my wife was crying from the stress dealing with Matty.

I'm not exactly having the best time dealing with Matty neither and I try to encourage her that Matty would turn around.

That said, I think it's not fair to say I have a 'throw away attitude'. Does my wife has a throw away attitude? She's the one who came up with the suggestion but I can't blame her knowing how hard it's been, especially the last 2-3 months.

Anyway, Sam has some regression here and there but we have noticed significant maturity in him since he turned 1 year. He's still a puppy in many ways though.Thanks for the info. So I guess they start getting better anywhere from 1 to 2.5 yrs ... at least I know approximately how much longer of this I can expect.

You may want to get a trainer. You say you're being consistent but obviously its not working for you. Maybe someone can watch what you're doing and help you to refine your methods.Point taken. Matty did take obedience class and passed it, and we've been practising the things they taugh us to tackle the problems Matty's been having.



SD

TracyG
April 12th, 2006, 02:38 PM
HI sprayeddog!
I can somewhat relate to what you are going through!I don't have a lab but I have an almost 10month old retriever and she sure is testing us! She's started doing the jumping on the couch thing and refusing to get off. Now, i have been trying to make her sit and wait before being allowed to come up but I have, at times, just allowed her up without doing so. I know that doesn't help my situation but at 10pm, after 17 times of correcting her...I get tired too!
She's also started chewing more and digging. This seems to be her new favorite past-time! She's been given more freedom lately but I think I am going to go back to having her on a long-lead in the backyard and working with her that way.
I can relate to how tired and frustrated you are as I have been there too. Many times I think I am going out of my mind! I have jokingly said I'd give her to the next person who said she was cute...but when I actually try to picture myself giving her away and her not being around...it makes me sick to think of someone else loving her and that's when I realize it's just fatigue talking.

Anyway,just hang in there. Take comfort in that there are others who can relate!

amber416
April 12th, 2006, 03:05 PM
Sounds very familiar! I don't have a lab, but i do have an 8 month old golden retriever that is behaving in pretty much exactly the same way. She will literally drag me to the ground (she is STRONG!) and her "mouthing" feels a little more like biting everyday. She has been through an obedience course and is currently enrolled in another and she does extremely well there. We work with her on training every day, outside of class, and she gets two walks a day as well as frequent dog park trips and mulitple play sessions a day. We used to only take her on one walk a day, in the evening, and although it was a long walk, it wasn't cutting it. Once we started waking up early in the morning and walking her before work, that helped a little. It's no fun waking up almost an hour earlier, but that's what we signed up for when we adopted a dog, I guess. As the others have said, I keep telling myself she's just testing us and someday she will calm down a little...although the vet has warned me that someday probably won't come for a couple more years at least :) . So, i don't really have any advice, just wanted to tell you I can completely relate to what you are going through and i'm sure there are many, many other dog owners that can, as well. Please try to be patient with your dog and stick with it. One thing is for sure, I will never get a puppy again...or at least not for a very long time. Adopting older dogs is the way to go!

sprayeddog
April 12th, 2006, 03:07 PM
Thank for the support Tracy & Amber.

And you just answered another one of my wife's questions: - she kept saying "We should've got a golden retriever instead!" cos the breeder we had offered us a golden (they breed both labs and goldens) while we're waiting for the lab and We passed on it.

We have a friend whose golden is an absolute angel ... they spend very little time with their dog, hardly 'trained' their dog but the dog (which they got as a puppy!), don't exercise their dog on a daily basis, but their dog is a model citizen. I keep telling them consider yourself very lucky cos the chance of getting a dog like that is maybe 1 in a 1000.

I keep telling her "goldens' aren't necessarily better behaved ... after all puppies are puppies", and from my experience with my neighbour's golden they sure aren't ... and you just proved my point. ;)




thanks,
SD

phoenix
April 12th, 2006, 03:55 PM
Hey, I'm still on so I'll respond,

I've tried isolation as well. Matty's "isolation room" was the bathroom, and we fenced him inside so he could see us but couldn't be with us. What he started doing, after barking for a couple minutes, was he started biting things inside the bathroom so we HAD TO pay attention to him. We removed things he could bite and he started biting toilet paper. We removed toilet paper and he started scartching the dry walls.

OK, the difference between what you did and what I did: You caged the dog; I caged the people. If you put an upset and destructive dog in a room, yes, he'll likely chew and bite things, maybe dig at the drywall. Can you see how the stress is different?


I understand that, and I've encouraged her to establish leadership herself without me stepping in, but when she tries to step on the leash and Matty dragged her down, do you step in or let her continue with her struggle?

In my house, it's my husband that isn't great at establishing himself as the leader, so he is challenged sometimes by the dog. So I know how you feel... it is easier to step in... but then when you're not around, events happen like the one you're describing. If your wife is not stronger than the dog, what the heck is she doing trying to physically dominate him?? (actually even if you are stronger than the dog, you shouldn't do that...) Maybe she should go to the trainers instead of you... this way, she learns the proper methods. Getting the dog to respect you isn't about being strong. It's about being confident and showing leadership.

If that's what you get from what I write, then let me clarify it's not the case at all.
Like I said, if he doesn't jump, I encourage him with priases "good boy! Good no jumping!" and treat.
good no jumping.... isn't exactly praise. it's actually fairly confusing. As I said, if he jumps, you could say no. but then, distract him into a good behaviour... for example, sitting, heeling, playing with a ball, lying down, whatever you want him to do. then :party: party party party. You have to be SUPER enthusiastic. I'm sure you praise him, but you've got to turn it up! Of course, take this with a grain of salt because of course i've never seen you with your dog, and what do I know? So, the difference is, you are saying NO JUMPING... what I'm saying is give him a command (down, sit, whatever), he does it, and he is REWARDED.
With your remote situation... teach the dog the command 'leave it'. If you don't know this one, post and I'll write how I did it. Then, he should get his teeth off anything you tell him to leave alone. You're right to give him the bone, but not right after you say no bite. Say leave it, he drops the remote, you replace it with a flavorful treat or cuz toy or whatever, and say good Matty, way to go, etc... Then for heaven's sake put the remote somewhere else! See how this is different? In one, you are saying NO... in the other you are giving a command (leave it), he does it, and he is PRAISED> It seems like a very small difference but in fact it does matter.


If I have a very throw away attitude Matty wouldn't be home right now.

well, so you say. The thought of getting rid of one of my dogs has never entered my head. Not on the worst of teen puppy days. I hope that this is the case. It's fair to say that that is my impression of your attitude. As I said before, what do I know of you personally? But that's the impression you're giving to me. As LR said earlier, maybe giving Matty up would be best, especially if life is hell for your wife.
I guess my last piece of advice is NOT to get another pup. NOT another breed. NOT a golden, not a whatever breed is popular at the moment. It will never be easy. Without fixing what's wrong with you, it is a strange idea that your results would be different with another dog.
I do want to help (I wouldn't be wasting my time posting this if I didn't!)... it just frustrates me when people think they can toss off this dog and try again and that will fix anything.

sprayeddog
April 12th, 2006, 04:26 PM
OK, the difference between what you did and what I did: You caged the dog; I caged the people. If you put an upset and destructive dog in a room, yes, he'll likely chew and bite things, maybe dig at the drywall. Can you see how the stress is different?I see what you mean.

And the question I have is - if the dog misbehaves, and you leave the room, isn't that sending the wrong message?

Wouldn't Matty think "if I misbehave, dad and mom leave the room so I can continue to misbehave like biting the things around the room! "

I'm not challenging you, I'm seriously asking you this question.

Further, if the dog barks while my wife's cooking in the kitchen, are you saying we should stop cooking, leave the kitchen while he stays inside?

Isn't he going to get an impression he runs the house instead of us in that case?

If your wife is not stronger than the dog, what the heck is she doing trying to physically dominate him?? (actually even if you are stronger than the dog, you shouldn't do that...) Maybe she should go to the trainers instead of you... this way, she learns the proper methods.The "proper methods", as per the training instructor, is - when a dog is jumping, you step on the leash so he can't jump. Cross your arm, turn away and give him no eye contact until he calms down.

So, is that incorrect? Cos that's what my wife (and I) have been taught and have been doing.

As I said, if he jumps, you could say no. but then, distract him into a good behaviour... for example, sitting, heeling, playing with a ball, lying down, whatever you want him to do.Ok, I'm now confused.

Some other poster here sent me an article (Leading the dance) that says when the dog wants to play with you, ask him to do something before you award him with the game. Make him EARN it. Ask him to sit, down, stay, hand before you start playing with him.

So picture this, I ask him to sit before I play with him, he starts jumping, and I 'distract' him into - playing? Isn't that sending the message "If I want to play, just jump at daddy? Even if he's asked me to sit first!"

I can also distract him into sitting, lying down ... but that's not a 'distraction'! That's my initial command before I play with him.

Bottomline is, I am told if I give a command I can never let the dog get away with it once. So I ask the dog to sit, he jumps, shouldn't I make sure he does what I asked him to (sit) before he gets what he wants (game)?

So, the difference is, you are saying NO JUMPING... what I'm saying is give him a command (down, sit, whatever), he does it, and he is REWARDED.Yes, the Sit, Down, whatever is the INITIAL command I give before I play with him.

And he disobeys, and jumps at me. So I basically tell him "No Jumping" and also "Sit". I can just tell him to "sit", and not use the "no jumping" but then, if he had obeyed the sit initially, we wouldn't get to this situation at all right?

Are you saying I should just repeat the "Sit" command and not use the "No jumping!" command? But then, I was also told not to repeat the same command twice.

Also, if I ask him to "sit", and he jumps, by 'distracting' him into 'down' am I not basically letting him get away from the initial command? I mean, Matty's going to think "Dad tells me to do X, but I don't want to do X, so I'm going to Jump, and he's going to tell me do something else next!"

Like I said, I'm just confused ...

With your remote situation... teach the dog the command 'leave it'. If you don't know this one, post and I'll write how I did it. Then, he should get his teeth off anything you tell him to leave alone. You're right to give him the bone, but not right after you say no bite. Say leave it, he drops the remote, you replace it with a flavorful treat or cuz toy or whatever, and say good Matty, way to go, etc... Then for heaven's sake put the remote somewhere else! See how this is different? In one, you are saying NO... in the other you are giving a command (leave it), he does it, and he is PRAISED> It seems like a very small difference but in fact it does matter.I get what you mean, but I did give the "Leave it" command after the "No bite". When he finally did, I praised him and gave him the bone.

I can lose the "no bite" command and just say "leave it" ... if that's what you mean.

As for putting the remote away ... first of all, I already put it up on the counter top but he jumped up to the counter top and grabbed it. Now, I can put it on top of the cabinet or something so he can't get, but then if it's not the remote it's something else. There're magazines, cushions, slippers, shoes ... I can only put so many things away. My theory is, he will always have things that he can bite (his toys) and there will always be things he can't (remote, and if I put that away, cushions, and if I put that away, magazines) ... I can't possibly put everything away, but all these things serve as a tool and a test to teach him what he can bite and what he can't. When he bites a forbidden object, I teach him to drop it and encourage him to bite something appropriate.

Is that not correct?

I do want to help (I wouldn't be wasting my time posting this if I didn't!)... it just frustrates me when people think they can toss off this dog and try again and that will fix anything.I know what you mean and let me just say I'm NOT that kindda person.

If I do eventually give Matty away, it's because we've failed him, and we will NOT get another dog ever in our lifetime. Not a puppy, not an adult dog, not any breed. I feel bad enough I have to give a dog away in my life and I'll NEVER get another dog. A dog is not a toy. It's a living creature and he's attached to us through the past year. If I ever give the dog away it's not because I don't want to go through the hard work anymore, it's not because I have a 'easy throw-away' attitude, it's because that'd be the last resort.


SD

jessi76
April 12th, 2006, 04:53 PM
I'm not going to even begin to comment on all that....

but I did notice with my own dog... continued training classes help immensely!

My dog is a year old, completed levels 1, 2, 3 OB, agility-prep, and is now in CGC prep. It's not that I think he's "not trained" yet, it's that constant classes keep him challenged while using & reinforcing those commands, in a new environment and with distractions.

Perhaps you could enroll in some more training, maybe work up to agility - it could be a good outlet for Matty's energy while reinforcing all the basic commands (sit, down, stay, touch, wait, leave it, etc...). You could even re-take some basic courses for a refresher.

additionally, I use hand signals. This helps so I can give the same command without saying it more than once. I ask for a sit, my dog has selective-hearing ;) ... I then give the hand signal... he sits. Maybe incorporating some hand signals would help - I know my dog will occassionally ignore my voice, but as soon as my arm goes up over my head, he's lies down.

Lissa
April 12th, 2006, 05:16 PM
The more I read the more confused I get... I don't have time to respond now but I will say that if you are considering getting rid of him when you really feel awful about it, I am not sure why you wouldn't try clicker training instead of just saying "you don't believe in it"... It's almost exactly what you are doing now by praising and treating except it clearly marks the behaviour you want to reward...

From what I have had time to read so far, I do not believe that Matty knows as many commands as you think. It sounds to me like Matty is thinking/behaving/reacting like an 8 week old puppy in an adult body because he hasn't learned what is acceptable.
I refuse to believe that it is just down to Matty's breed. It is rarely a dog that's at fault, you can always uncover a handling error. If you honestly believe that you have done everything right, you should seek a trainer's help and consider taking Matty to the vet. As much as I dislike the use of conventional medicine, some people do find it useful in treating behaviour problems. My vet tried to convince me that my hound had a doggy version of ADHD and offered some pills that could help. I didn't take them and chose constant training instead - it has made a world of difference.

Soroush
April 12th, 2006, 05:42 PM
well, so you say. The thought of getting rid of one of my dogs has never entered my head. Not on the worst of teen puppy days. I hope that this is the case. It's fair to say that that is my impression of your attitude. As I said before, what do I know of you personally? But that's the impression you're giving to me. As LR said earlier, maybe giving Matty up would be best, especially if life is hell for your wife.
I guess my last piece of advice is NOT to get another pup. NOT another breed. NOT a golden, not a whatever breed is popular at the moment. It will never be easy. Without fixing what's wrong with you, it is a strange idea that your results would be different with another dog.
I do want to help (I wouldn't be wasting my time posting this if I didn't!)... it just frustrates me when people think they can toss off this dog and try again and that will fix anything.

I'm sorry but you're still being too harsh on the poor guy.

Adopting a dog is a 2 way street. Nobody adopts dogs to go through hell. It is not meant to be a torture and as we can clearly see, for sprayeddog it is.

Dogs are not supposed to make you have nervous breakdowns and they certainly shouldn't make you cry unless they get hurt or die.

sprayeddog would've given up this dog only days after adopting if this dog behaved like this from day one. From what I understand, before the dog turned 8 months old the experience was exactly what it was supposed to be: "challenging, fun and joyfull". Now it's not! WHY?

There's definitely a problem with THIS DOG and the wise way to tackle the problem is to focus on the dog rather than the owner's personality which I don't find "throw-away" at all.

The "idiot phase" arguement is valid only to a certain extent. Matty sounds way more disobeying than a dog going through the "idiot phase". There's definitly valid critisizm on the owner's approach towards the issues, but we need to keep in mind that each human has a limited amount of patience. Should their patience run out, there's absolutely no way for them to become interested in trying new things.

sprayeddog:

First thing is first: your wife and you can not continue this lifestyle even if there's hope in Matty's horizon. You need a time-out. A ONE-WEEK break is the least you need away from Matty in order to gain enough energy and patience for future challenges with him.

I don't know how you can arrange this or if it's even possible, but to me you're running in circles and it's only going to make you more frustrated and angry. Matty will not stop misbehaving overnight and you won't wake up to a better day by just hoping for it.

I do not see you as a "throw-away" owner at all. In fact I admire your patience, but I must warn you, it's running out and you don't have much to rely on at this moment. If you want to keep Matty, then you have to regain your patience and focus. you won't achieve this unless Matty is away.

Keep us updated, and GOOD LUCK(you need it bad!)

phoenix
April 12th, 2006, 07:06 PM
Hi, I appreciate that you are truly asking questions. I just can't seem to be clear... if I seem harsh, it's because i care about your dog.
And the question I have is - if the dog misbehaves, and you leave the room, isn't that sending the wrong message?

Wouldn't Matty think "if I misbehave, dad and mom leave the room so I can continue to misbehave like biting the things around the room! "

I'm not challenging you, I'm seriously asking you this question.

no,
YOU don't leave the room. HE leaves the room. Then he is shut out of the room until he can come in calmly. You are the leader, so you decide who is allowed in your area. He has to stay out until you let him in.



The "proper methods", as per the training instructor, is - when a dog is jumping, you step on the leash so he can't jump. Cross your arm, turn away and give him no eye contact until he calms down.

Proper methods are largely an item for debate. No one agrees!! Is it working for you??

This is as clear as I can describe positive methods. You give a command (lets say you have a ball, you want to play, and you say, Mattie, SIT). He jumps. You ignore him. He sits. You say "GOOD MATTIE" and you throw the ball.
Lets say, Mattie wants outside. He is jumping around. You say, Mattie, down. Mattie jumps around. You ignore him. Mattie lies down. "GOOD MATTIE!" and outside he goes.

Essentially, you distract him by giving him a command that he knows (hopefully) and can obey INSTEAD of doing the bad behaviour. You ignore all other behaviour except for the one you asked for. DOING WHAT YOU ASK is the only way that Mattie gets attention.

When you say NO JUMPING or BAD MATTIE or whatever, he's thrilled because you're paying attention to him.

You are right- you're not supposed to repeat the command or change the command. You wait for him (Patiently! Very hard) to obey the command. Then you immediately reward the good behaviour. Clicking method is one way to mark the behaviour that you're trying to reward.


A dog is not a toy. It's a living creature and he's attached to us through the past year. If I ever give the dog away it's not because I don't want to go through the hard work anymore, it's not because I have a 'easy throw-away' attitude, it's because that'd be the last resort.


I am so happy to hear that. I do hope that things work out for you but you MUST be open to hear the suggestions we're giving! That said, not everything works for every dog. Good luck...

Prin
April 13th, 2006, 12:37 AM
Thank for the support Tracy & Amber.

And you just answered another one of my wife's questions: - she kept saying "We should've got a golden retriever instead!" cos the breeder we had offered us a golden (they breed both labs and goldens) while we're waiting for the lab and We passed on it.

We have a friend whose golden is an absolute angel ... they spend very little time with their dog, hardly 'trained' their dog but the dog (which they got as a puppy!), don't exercise their dog on a daily basis, but their dog is a model citizen. I keep telling them consider yourself very lucky cos the chance of getting a dog like that is maybe 1 in a 1000.

I keep telling her "goldens' aren't necessarily better behaved ... after all puppies are puppies", and from my experience with my neighbour's golden they sure aren't ... and you just proved my point. ;)
I'm sorry but I HATE comments like the stuff I put in bold. People tell me ALLLLL the time that I "just got good ones". I'm sorry, but I didn't. Jemma attacked dogs, Boo didn't listen and chewed everything in sight, and so on. I worked for my dogs and I made them the "model citizens" they are today. Whether or not you see me exercise my dogs or train my dogs, they don't get this way because of some magic pill, and trading your dog for another one won't solve your problem. YOU are the common denominator. YOU have to learn about dogs and dog behavior. And your wife has to be actively involved in all of it too. Whether this dog was a lab or a golden, the situation would be IDENTICAL. I've seen so many rotten goldens because their owners stepped back and failed all their dogs' tests. The dog moves up to the alpha position and takes over. People think getting a stereotypical "family dog" is a free pass to a good dog. It isn't.

Jumping on people, IMO, is always dominance. Dogs can get excited all they want, but they don't have to jump. The fact that the dog is jumping on your wife, especially, means that she isn't a leader to your dog (which was mentioned above). She won't be a leader with any other dog until she learns how. No dog in the world is going to submit to a submissive person. Talking back and barking at her is also a sign of total disrespect for her.

IMO, you need to get your wife to go to training with the dog. She needs to learn how to step up and be confident around the dog.

The adolescence phase does end, but if you don't step up in the meantime, when that dog is done adolescence, he'll be dangerous. He will have placed himself at the top of the pack, and that is a very hard thing to fix (especially if your wife is already afraid of the testing he is doing now).

Lucky Rescue
April 13th, 2006, 09:30 AM
I'm sorry but I HATE comments like the stuff I put in bold. People tell me ALLLLL the time that I "just got good ones".

Isn't that the truth?

When I got my dog, she was a wild and crazy ex-stray who knew NO commands at all. Now people think she's such a good dog, that I was "lucky" and they want one like her. Yeah, I got lucky after I spent months and months training her.:rolleyes:

Now I have a dog who won't touch a hot dog if it's dropped between her front paws and anyone can do this!

I encourage him with priases "good boy! Good no jumping!" and treat.

You're using too many words, and are probably exciting him more with those phrases, that I assume are said in an enthusiastic voice? For wild and crazy dogs, you need to praise calmly. A brief "good boy" will suffice.

You need ONE command for each action you wish.

He's on the sofa, you say OFF (do not use his name when giving commands like these)
He doesn't get off, you snap his leash on and help him get off, but do not praise.

For chewing stuff, he needs to learn "LEAVE IT" and not "no bite...good no bite" which means little to him.

Each command must be reinforced immediately. Give him 3 seconds to comply - if you are SURE he understands the command and knows what it means - then help him do whatever you asked. This way he learns he may as well do it the first time he's told. But since he's a puppy, keep things like the remote out of his reach.

julesuoft
April 13th, 2006, 03:13 PM
Sprayeddog, I really feel bad for your situation! I have a black lab (she's 15 months now) and when she was Matty's age, she was definitely testing both my husband and I. We live in a condo... so if you can imagine, Chloe would run back and forth through the condo (with laminate flooring), she'd jump on me.. it was really frustrating.

My husband started telling me I really need to start putting Chloe in her place. It was hard for me because she was getting stronger but I never let up. If she did something bad, I would spend the 2 mins trying to catch her but then, i'd force her to lie down on the floor (stomach down) and hold her there for at least 5 mins saying "No, bad dog". It has definitely worked for me.. Chloe has stopped jumping on me.

I agree with Lucky Rescue that you need to shorten your words with her. When we had Chloe in training, the trainer said, dogs can really only recognize 1-3 word phrases. Another thing is, you're combining the words "good" and "bad" in the same sentence.. enough to confuse him.

Lastly, I would suggest spending some time giving him affection. With Chloe, she rarely hears the words "Bad dog" now and both my husband and I continually hug her, kiss her, pet her. We both work long hours and normally don't get a chance to really spend time with her until around 8pm. However, she gets tons of affection when we do! Oh.. you may also want to adjust your attitude towards her. I think it's been mentioned already but if you already feel like getting rid of him, it will show through your actions, tone and feelings.

Don't give up.. they all go through this age, some just a bit longer than others! Labs are wonderful! Chloe is now so calm that in the evenings when we're watching tv, we sit on the floor with her and she will cuddle and lean next to us just to be close to us. Remember, labs are just like kids! They need lots of loving attention! Good luck!

sprayeddog
April 13th, 2006, 03:43 PM
Thanks for all the advices and thanks for all the comments ... especially Soroush, thanks for the support.

Yes quite frankly the last few months Matty has been a torture for us. Some days he's better, some days he's worse, but overall it's been, well, frankly, hell for us over the last 3 months.

Did we know training a puppy is going to take time and patience? Obviously. We expected a training period before the dog knows how to behave. I just didn't expect the dog would still misbehave like that at 11 months old. If that's typical for a lab, then it's our mistake we didn't do our homework. Our previous puppy experience is while our dogs weren't exactly angels at 11months and still required correction from time to times, it was NO WHERE near what we're dealing with right now with Matty.

And for all the stress I've taken training Matty, I come here to look for some advices, but more importantly, to vent and look for some support. So you can imagine how I feel when I'm being questioned of my personality as an owner when I come here looking for support and solutions.

That said, I think some people mistake me for the kindda owners who give up on their puppy with the first challenge they face, and give the dog away as if it was a toy ... I can understand why ppl hate that kindda owners, cos I, too, despise those people.

To make a long story short, the reason I post is I wanted to know ....

1. The way Matty behaves - is it normal for an 11 months old dog? More precisely, is it normal for an 11 months old Lab?

And the answer varies (which is what I expected, cos every dog is different) but quite a lot of people seem to be experiencing this for 11 months old labs /goldens, which helps. I know I'm not the only one, and Matty's not 'abnormally disobedient'.

2. I know we're not perfecting every training method (if such thing even exists), but overall the problem with Matty - is it our (owners') problem? Matty's problem? Or it's not a problem at all, it's just the way labs behave at 11 mths old?

It seems that while some other labs / goldens also behave like that at 11 months old, myself and my wife have to improve at establishing ourselves as the leader of the pack.


And to get down to the specifics, here're my questions ...

a/ Does Matty have a 'dominance' issue? He jumps at us, he disobeys commands from time to times, all this started when he's ~ 8 months old, which seem to coincide with the 'rebellious stage' when dogs want to take over and challenge for the 'alpha' role. That said, Matty DOES NOT complain when we take his food away while he's eating. He DOES NOT complain when we pat him while he's eating. He DOES NOT complain when I take the toy away from him when he's playing with it. So does he have a dominance issue? Or he's just generally hyper and excited?

b/ If Matty is 'dominant', how can we show we're the leader, not him? I've watched shows and read books and magazines, and have done / are doing all the tricks to 'establish dominance' such as "pretend" to eat from his bowl before we give the food to him, take food away from him mid-way through eating and wouldn't give it back until he performs tricks, make him follow commands before we give him food, ask him to sit and stay for no reason, step right across him instead of around him if he's in the way, always enter / exit a door before him ... etc etc. We're doing ALL of those already. If that's not enough, what other specific exercises can we do?

c/ Jumping specific. In this post alone I see 2 schools of thoughts ... one is you wait patiently until he does what's told, and you praise him. The other is if you wait 3 seconds and he still doesn't do what you ask, you MAKE him do it (if he's on the sofa, you pull his leash to get him off the sofa). We can try both and see what works for Matty, but physically it's a challenge for my wife to MAKE Matty SIT when he's jumping.

What should my wife do when Matty's jumping at her? She's struggling with this every morning. When I go take a shower, Matty's barking and jumping at my wife. (Sigh of dominance? Yeah I'd think so) My wife tried stepping on the leash to keep him from jumping, but that knocks her down cos Matty's too strong.

If my wife just turns around and wait and pay no attention to Matty, he begins biting things and eventually you still have to give him (negative) attention.

She can 'drag' Matty around with the leash, but then he starts biting the leash, which is not acceptable. So she still have to deal with the biting part.

She can try to 'distract' Matty to do other things (down, hand ...etc etc) but since she's asked him to SIT initially, isn't it important the she gets him to SIT before she gives another command? Plus, if she has a hard time getting him to SIT, I don't see how he'd DOWN or HAND.

If Matty's barking, she can turn around and ignore him and pay him no attention until he calms down. But if he's biting the leash, biting other things, or if he's jumping at you, I don't see how you can simply "ignore" him.

So, bottomline, she asks Matty to SIT, he doesn't, and starts jumping at her. What should she do?


Overall, I do appreciate all the comments and opinions, supportive or not. I come here to look for advice and also to vent, so right after I finish typing I feel better already.

We DID take Matty to obedience school, and have been practising the things we learned in the obedience school on him. We did see results initially but like I said, he's regressed since he turned 8-9 months.

While I don't consider myself a professional trainer, I don't think (and I hope I'm not) I'm a bad trainer, but if Matty is a dog that requires extra measures, well I'm willing to go that extra mile to train him to be a good, obedient dog.

And that's why I'm asking for advices here.

Thanks in advance, and sorry for the long post.

sprayeddog
April 13th, 2006, 04:00 PM
Sprayeddog, I really feel bad for your situation! I have a black lab (she's 15 months now) and when she was Matty's age, she was definitely testing both my husband and I. We live in a condo... so if you can imagine, Chloe would run back and forth through the condo (with laminate flooring), she'd jump on me.. it was really frustrating.Thanks for the support ... it makes me feel better everytime I hear I'm not the only one, and while Matty's been naughty there's nothing 'abnormal' for him.

My husband started telling me I really need to start putting Chloe in her place. It was hard for me because she was getting stronger but I never let up. If she did something bad, I would spend the 2 mins trying to catch her but then, i'd force her to lie down on the floor (stomach down) and hold her there for at least 5 mins saying "No, bad dog". It has definitely worked for me.. Chloe has stopped jumping on me.Right off the bat, I'd say some discourage trying to out-physical your dog ...

But if that's worked for you, I can tell my wife to try it. She can chase down Matty when he's misbehaving (she's been doing that), but getting him to lie on the floor is going to be challenging. She can't step on the leash to force him down, cos he's too powerful for her. This morning she 'forced' him down by lying on top of him. Afterwards, like in your case, Matty behaved.

I just don't know if she should keep doing it. Matty doesn't bite (yet) but he does get nippy. And these days his nip can cause a serious bruise. The last thing I want is for her to get nipped or worse, bit, because she's trying to outhandle Matty.

I don't know if what she's doing is called the "alpha roll", which is controversial and many do not recommend it.

I agree with Lucky Rescue that you need to shorten your words with her. When we had Chloe in training, the trainer said, dogs can really only recognize 1-3 word phrases. Another thing is, you're combining the words "good" and "bad" in the same sentence.. enough to confuse him.Yes I will definitely try that.

Again, 2 schools of thoughs. In this post alone, some suggest I should priase Matty like he's just won the Olympics and be "throw a party" like enthusiastic, others suggest I should be business like and keep praises / scoulds short and brief.

I don't think Matty is confused, cos the tone is drastically different when I say "GOOD DOG!" and "BAD DOG!". Every dog is different, but Matty seems to respond better with exaggerated praise / scoulds.

Lastly, I would suggest spending some time giving him affection. With Chloe, she rarely hears the words "Bad dog" now and both my husband and I continually hug her, kiss her, pet her. We both work long hours and normally don't get a chance to really spend time with her until around 8pm. However, she gets tons of affection when we do! Oh.. you may also want to adjust your attitude towards her. I think it's been mentioned already but if you already feel like getting rid of him, it will show through your actions, tone and feelings.Yes, that's a good advice.

These days I try to emphasize on what he's done right and not what he hasn't done right ... this morning for example, he jumped on to the sofa after he retrieved the kong, and I kindda gave him a free pass when he eventually got off (took a while), instead I focused on the fact he's retrived the kong and brought it back to me.

I'm not sure it's better for him, but it's definitely better for me and easier for me.

julesuoft, so when did Chloe start behaving? I'm not talking about dog-show kindda obedience, but at least to a level where he doesn't drive you crazy and make U wanna yell at the top of your lung?


thanks,
SD

sprayeddog
April 13th, 2006, 04:12 PM
Isn't that the truth?

When I got my dog, she was a wild and crazy ex-stray who knew NO commands at all. Now people think she's such a good dog, that I was "lucky" and they want one like her. Yeah, I got lucky after I spent months and months training her.

Now I have a dog who won't touch a hot dog if it's dropped between her front paws and anyone can do this!Not to take anything away from your hard work and your training LuckyRescue, but this friend of mine REALLY didn't have to do much training with their dog and it's as if it came natural to him to be obedient.

Same thing with Toby, my parent's beagle. People ask me how I trained him to NOT get mouthy at all, and how I trained him where when strangers give him food he doesn't eat it. Fact is I NEVER trained him on those things. From his puppy days, if I'm feeding him a cookie, if I'm holding a cookie too close to one end where he has ANY chance of even touching my finger when he bites it, he wouldn't eat it. When strangers gave him food in the park, he wouldn't eat it. He'd eat it only if I take it from the stranger, and I give it to him. How did we train him? We never.

I believe most obedient dogs are obedient because their owners spend LOTS of time and effort to train him.

But I believe that only speaks for 95% of the dogs ... SOME dogs come naturally obedient.

I never expect to have that kindda luck, but I do believe such things are possible cos I've seen it.

Anyways, it's kindda off-topic ... but I just wanted to clarify.

BernerLver
April 13th, 2006, 05:09 PM
I'm sorry you are having such a difficult time with your puppy. I too can remember thinking I was going to lose my mind when Bailey was a puppy. He was a pet store puppy who we adopted at 4 months. He had missed out on all the early socializing and training opportunities etc. Needless to say he was a holy terror and I was just not prepared for how difficult it was to have him in our family.

However, not one to quit something I commit to I singned us up for obidience classes and it was the best thing I ever did. Your wife's dynamic with Matty sounds much like mine with Bailey as a puppy. Obidience classes allowed us to bond, he started listening to me and I started taking charge.

Also, perhaps sign Matty up for other classes like agility or rally obedience etc. I find doing commands etc. tires Bailey out more than a 1 hour walk. It's mentally stimulating and gives us more bonding time.

I hope you take some of the advice offer by other members and that your situation improves. I can't imagine anyone (including Matty) is enjoying the way things are currently.

coppperbelle
April 13th, 2006, 08:48 PM
I didn't read all the responses you are received so I hope I am not repeating what other advice others have offered. Matty is probably going through that rebelious teenager stage. It will pass.
I know you said you are giving him lots of exercise. Walks are excellent for the mind but labs like goldens need to run. Have you taken him to a dog park where he can run and play with other dogs?
When my dogs are young I take them to a nearby park on a long leash. I don;t actually attach the leash to anything as it is 40 ft long and if I want to catch them all I have to do is step on the leash. I throw balls and sticks and allow them to run around until they are tired.
Have you read Marley and Me? Sounds like what you are going through. Reading it may help your wife identify with someone else and realize that this stage will pass and it will. It will just take some time. It is true that labs like goldens don't grow up until they are much older but they do settle down a bit. Things will improve slowly.

rainbow
April 13th, 2006, 11:04 PM
Rainbow - does you lab behave pretty much the same way as Matty?


Sorry, I didn`t get a chance to answer sooner. No, Chase (9 months old) does not behave the same way as Matty. Like I said previously, it`s the digging, chewing anything made of wood, and barking (especially when he`s in the back of our pick-up) that I have problems with. He`s slowly getting better with the digging and chewing but the barking is still the bigggest problem.

sprayeddog
April 15th, 2006, 10:04 AM
Thanks again for all the responses.

Yes I've tried to let Matty run in the park .... there's a small park nearby that usually doesn't have too many ppl, and I used to let him run and fetch until he's exhausted (he'd still come home barking and jumping ... but I'd digress). Somehow he'd lose interest in the fetching game after a while though, and would wander around after fetching the kone instead of comign to me ... so when that's the case I play safe and keep him back on the leash.

Another problem these days, is sometimes the park has kids with weather getting warmed, and he gets easily distracted by other ppl so I can't let him go off leash. I let him run around in the backyard if there are ppl in the park, but then he'd lose interest in playing fetch after a while ... I'd run aroudn in the backyard and ask him to chase me, and he'd do so, but I get tired before he does from all the running .... at least I'm getting exercise.

He used to be very good when we play games, cos we have what he wants. These days that's not even necessarily the case. Just yesterday my wife and I were practising "come" with him, so each of us take turn asking him to "come" when we play hide + seek in the house.We'd give him treat when he comes and find us.

In the beginning he loved it, but after 4-5 runs back and forth all of a sudden when I asked him to COME he jumped up on to the sofa instead of coming to me. I asked him to get OFF and he jumped at me and barked at me. All games had to stop when he misbehaved, we got him down on his belly and kept him there for a while.

This morning again, playing fetch with him in the house instead of retrieving the kone to me he dropped it mid-way and ran upstairs to bite laundry....

I really don't know what's with him. These days it's difficult even when we are willing to play with him. Somedays I wish he could talk and tell me why he doesn't want to play with us and has to behave like that ...

We'll just hang in there and hopefully he gets better once he's past this stage.

Melei'sMom
April 16th, 2006, 11:49 AM
But I did find this free dog training book, and just started reading it myself.

I think you might find at least a little of it helpful and hey, it's free! can't hurt right?

http://www.dogtrainingmasters.com/Dog_training_manual_360.htm

The guy that wrote this has it up on the net for free and says to share, so I sent it to a few people I know and thought of you too spayeddog.

follow the links and directions and you get a mini-course and an ebook.

**my disclaimer** lol
not my book, don't know the guy. I don't recieve rewards or compensation of any kind. just want to share with anyone who may find it useful.

julesuoft
April 17th, 2006, 10:42 PM
Sprayeddog,

Sorry I didn't get a chance to reply sooner but to answer your question, Chloe was going through her terrible teenage years between 8-11 months. Here are some examples of what I'm talking about...

- Chloe would jump and nip at me when she went through her hyper phases. I have many pants with holes to prove it. :(
- We live in a condo and after a good hour walk/ play at the dog park, she would come back into the condo and run back and forth like a mad dog disturbing the residents below us.
- Chloe would go after our socks, hats and run under the table and chew them into shreds

As for the kids, we live in a condo with kids lining up for the school bus every morning at 8 am (exactly when we take Chloe out). The kids would run up to Chloe and that of course, would excite her and she would jump all over the kids. My only advice to you is, eventually, she got used to being around kids and she doesn't jump (as much anymore).

We started noticing a significant difference in her behaviour at about 12-13 months. Mind you, all dogs are different so it might take a bit longer with Matty. I've heard in the past that sometimes male dogs can be more hyper than females.. is Matty neutered? Sometimes that can play a part too.

Do you crate him? Chloe is crate trained - not sure if that makes a difference. Oh, and another thing, we never "yell" at Chloe (i.e. raise our voice). When we're upset with her, we use a stern, low voice. I can't say this is 100% full-proof but in almost 16 months, Chloe has barked 4 times!

Don't give up SD! I know it's really hard but I realized that labs are a lot of work too.. moreso than small dogs. It'll definitely get better and I think that with some minor adjustments, you guys will get through this very soon. Really, at 16 months, Chloe is a calm and happy dog and I'm sure Matty will be soon too!

As I'm sure I speak with others on the board, we are all rooting for you and your wife! Please dont think you're in the boat alone.. we've all been through this at one point or another.. some more/ less severe. Hang in there!:grouphug:

sprayeddog
April 20th, 2006, 05:00 PM
Thanks for all the support and advices.

We've been patiently putting up with Matty. Some days he's better than the others, but overall he's still a handful.

Yesterday for example, we came back after work, and just when I wanted to play with him outside he start jumping at me, nipping at me, and when I told him to "Sit" he started running around me like crazy ... good thing I had him on leash. Eventually I held him down for 15 minutes in the backyard and he calmed down a bit.

Later on at night he was acting like an angel, and I was playing hide and seek with him when all of a sudden out of the blue he started jumping at me and the kong I was holding. I told him to down, and he tried jumping at me and barking at me.

Matty is acting like a dog with split personality, and he can switch from one to the other all of a sudden. (well, swtiching from a little devil to an obedient doggie always requires us holding him down for 10 minutes or so until he gets the idea) I'm not going to pretend to be a dog psychologist / behaviourist, but some times Matty seems content with the idea of being the 'follower' in the 'pack', while other times he seems discontent with that and refuses to take commands from us, even if it's a simple sit or down or stay, even if he knows following command will actually get him treat /game play / patting.

Since both of us work, whenever we get to be at home we don't want to crate Matty. But it also makes it very difficult for us to get anything done around the house. Even getting dressed for work in the morning requires repeated discipline as he refuses to follow any of "Off", "Leave it", "Let go" or "stay" command without a fight. He'd constantly bite stuffs around our bedroom, bite the clothes in the closet, or climb up to the dresser to sniff / lick everything on it. We have to keep correcting him.

You know, in the past if I see dogs behaving like that I'd blame it on the owner for not training their dog, and allowing their dog to get to this state. Now I know better .... Matty has been trained, which shows the training techniques that I used did work ... it's just he's regressed and refused to follow command without giving it a fight all the times now.

So we'll just continue to be patient and hopefully he gets over this stage sooner than later. At least my wife's agreed to not bring up the 'give Matty away' topic until he's 1.5 yrs old. And she's getting pretty good at handling Matty when he's jumpy too. 9 times out of 10 she can hold him down when he's trying to jump at her. Rarely gets knocked down anymore now ... she used to get knocked down by Matty all the times.

btw, Matty is crated trained and is crated when we're not home. I tried letting him out while we're at work but he completely destroyed a carpet we had in the living room ... and he wouldn't even touch that carpet when we're home. And yes, Matty's been neutered.




SD

kaytris
April 20th, 2006, 10:10 PM
Do you have any friends with young dogs of a similar temperament? There is nothing, NOTHING better for a young labrador to rough house, romp and wrestle with another young strong lab/golden/pitbull/boxer whatever.

Is there a doggy daycare nearby, or a professional dogwalker? To me, all this sounds simply as if Matty has too much energy, spends his days in a crate (and I understand that you have no choice) and then his evenings running rough shod all over you. A visit or two to doggy daycare, regular play dates or romps with a dogwalker will all help get his ya-ya's out.

Lissa
April 20th, 2006, 10:10 PM
I know you've said that Matty has been to training but if I am remembering right, it was only 1 course? To me, both you, your wife and Matty need more obedience classes.

Now, I have a better idea of what you are dealing with. I looked after my friend's 14 month golden/lab mix. He is a power chewer, power puller, power jumper (on people), counter/table surfer, is destructive (needs to be crated), will not obey obedience commands unless there's food and constantly needs something to do. My friend told me that at home, all he does is sleep - at my place, I literally had no time to sit. I couldn't go on-line, read a book, watch TV or even sleep in the beginning! IMO, this dog had the mindset of a 2 month old puppy in an adult sized body - he had no idea how he was suppose to act so he did what comes naturally to dogs!

BUT having said that, after spending 1 day with me, this dog realized that he couldn't get away with his usual behaviour. Not only did he work for everything but by the time he left, he stopped pulling, counter surfing and jumping on me; he'd sit without food and learned that he didn't get to do what he wants when he wants in MY care (dogs thrive on this - they need to know what the limits are). To me, the dog I looked after acted out because:
#1 - negative reinforment is better then no reinforcement (so I ignored ALL misbehaviour, ex: he kept picking up pegs from the laungry room to chew on...Instead of chasing after him, I watched him - when he realized there was no reaction, he gave the peg one chomp and went into a down with a confused look. That is when I chose to call him over, toss a ball and remove the peg. He did that 3 times and that was it because I didn't react by chasing after shouting for him to drop it)
#2 - boredom and an excess of energy (so he got a lot of physical and mental stimulation. The first couple of days, we were outdoors constantly. IMO, dogs have a prey drive that needs to be filled each day. In the morning its empty and if they don't have the opportunity to fill their prey drive, chances are, you won't get much attention or respect from them. So, we played a lot of retrieving games, combined with training and interactive toys = calm/sleepy dog! )
#3 - no structure, made worse when the owners exercise him because he is let off-leash for convenience sake [to tire him out] without earning it (so he was allowed to play with my dog in the house and in the backyard but on a walk, he always had a long-line attached. If he didn't listen or started to wonder off, the long-line was in my reach and he went back on a regular 6ft leash. He didn't eat, play, get attention or rest without me reminding him that I was in charge. It was like boot camp but I can guarantee that he would rather live in a boot camp then with zero restrictions)
I love this dog and my friend but those 4 days proved that in a structured, no-nonsense environment he could easily be a good canine citizen.

sprayeddog
April 21st, 2006, 11:26 AM
Once again thanks for your suggestions Lissa. I really appreciate your advices, and the fact a lot of ppl here are trying to help us and Matty.

I know you've said that Matty has been to training but if I am remembering right, it was only 1 course? To me, both you, your wife and Matty need more obedience classes.I don't disagree with that, and we've been looking at signing up for "intermediate obedience class". Part of me is thinking I should get Matty to at least achieve the same level of obedience when he finished the beginner obedience class before I get him to start on the intermediate level ... cos the way he acts sometimes he won't really be learning anything from an intermediate class. Say, it he wouldn't even "down" on command then what can we possibly learn from the "down with distractions" exercise in an intermediate training class? While others are training their dogs to remain "down" position with distraction, I'll be stepping on his leash and trying to keep him calm and quiet and get him to do a "down".

But another part of me is saying let's give him a chance and see how he does.

Now, I have a better idea of what you are dealing with. I looked after my friend's 14 month golden/lab mix. He is a power chewer, power puller, power jumper (on people), counter/table surfer, is destructive (needs to be crated), will not obey obedience commands unless there's food and constantly needs something to do. My friend told me that at home, all he does is sleep - at my place, I literally had no time to sit. I couldn't go on-line, read a book, watch TV or even sleep in the beginning! IMO, this dog had the mindset of a 2 month old puppy in an adult sized body - he had no idea how he was suppose to act so he did what comes naturally to dogs!Sounds similar to Matty! :)

BUT having said that, after spending 1 day with me, this dog realized that he couldn't get away with his usual behaviour. Not only did he work for everything but by the time he left, he stopped pulling, counter surfing and jumping on me; he'd sit without foodSo Lissa how much will it cost me to have you spend 1 day with Matty? Because whatever that is, I'll pay you! :)

#1 - negative reinforment is better then no reinforcement (so I ignored ALL misbehaviour, ex: he kept picking up pegs from the laungry room to chew on...Instead of chasing after him, I watched him - when he realized there was no reaction, he gave the peg one chomp and went into a down with a confused look. That is when I chose to call him over, toss a ball and remove the peg. He did that 3 times and that was it because I didn't react by chasing after shouting for him to drop it)I guess you mean if the dog is not reacting to negative attention (correcting him) then just ignore him (no attention) and see if he would behave?

It's an interesting idea, but then it's not always applicable. It's one thing if he's chewing on the peg, but it's another if he's chewing on your laundry, or your plant or your furnitures right?

Plus, I am also afraid he might get the wrong idea that "Ok, so it is OK to chew on pegs because dad and mom doesn't stop me from doing it."?

I understand your point, and that's what I do sometimes. When he's jumping at me, most of the times I just turn around, cross my arms and say "No jumping". He's getting pretty good at it these days that when I turn around and cross my arms he'd 'sit' and 'down', knowing that's what he should do to get my attention, not jumping.

But of course, there are the other times when I turn around and cross my arms and give him no attention that he'd just wander off and start chewing on other things, forcing me to give him attention.

Or, in my wife's case, he'd nip on her pants, forcing her to give him (negative) attention.

So I'd say the "no attention instead of negative attention" approach is not bad, and I'm going to try it more often wherever applicable, but it is not always applicable. There are cases that you HAVE to correct him - do you agree?


#2 - boredom and an excess of energy (so he got a lot of physical and mental stimulation. The first couple of days, we were outdoors constantly. IMO, dogs have a prey drive that needs to be filled each day. In the morning its empty and if they don't have the opportunity to fill their prey drive, chances are, you won't get much attention or respect from them. So, we played a lot of retrieving games, combined with training and interactive toys = calm/sleepy dog! )Yes I wholeheartedly agree with that, and I've given him as much exercise as we possibly can. The thing is, we both work, so that becomes a limitation. I can't spend 2 hours with him in the morning, but I do wake up earlier to play fetch with him in the morning, as well as practise / train him on the usual commands to tire him down mentally and physically. When we get home, again we play with him before dinner, and train / teach him commands after dinner.

I know some posters have suggested hiring someone to walk him or using doggie-daycare. Let's say in my area, doggy daycare and hiring someone to walk him are both very expensive and not within our budget. We do try to give him as much exercise as we can.

I am not sure energy level is a problem, because each time after we play / train him, he's literally catching his breath, and he's literally dragging his feet as he walks. As I run, and I ask him to follow me, he'd sit half-way through not because he's disobedient but because he's too tired. So I take it he IS indeed tired at those moments, but yet he still misbehaves at the same time.


My neighbour's also adopted a dog recently and she's a 3 yr old who acts like a puppy. We'll talk to them and try to see if they'd let Matty play with their dog in the backyard from time to times. Cos sometime that's the best way to tire both dogs down, and also give them a chance to socialize with each other.

I do have a question - when the dogs are playing, what level of supervision / interaction should we (as owners) have? Should I just let them do whatever unless one dog is hurting the other? Or should I play WITH them? (let's say ask them both to fetch?)


#3 - no structure, made worse when the owners exercise him because he is let off-leash for convenience sake [to tire him out] without earning it (so he was allowed to play with my dog in the house and in the backyard but on a walk, he always had a long-line attached. If he didn't listen or started to wonder off, the long-line was in my reach and he went back on a regular 6ft leash. He didn't eat, play, get attention or rest without me reminding him that I was in charge. It was like boot camp but I can guarantee that he would rather live in a boot camp then with zero restrictions)Well as is, Matty *is* already in a boot-camp ... or so I think anyways. :)

This is our routine. When we wake up in the morning, we let him out to pee and poo, then we feed him, and then we play with him. Before ANY of these activities (go out to pee, feed, play) we always ask him to do a few commands first. Anytime he doesn't comply he's on a short leash and attached to one of us. As he gets better, the leash is removed. The minute he disobeys 1 command, or try to jump at us, or bark at us, he's back on a short leash. This applies outside as well as INSIDE the house.

When we have breakfast I ask him to down and stay on a mat beside us. He can scratch himself, roll around or do whatever as long as he stays down on that mat. If he gets out of the mat, I'll get him back and ask him to do a down-stay again. One more time he gets up he's on a leash again, and is restricted to a down position beside me for the rest of my breakfast (and I'll have to eat with 1 hand, but I'm used to it now). If he can stay down for the entire breakfast, I release and reward him.

Afterwork when we get home I let him out of the crate, and same thing as in the morning as we let him out to pee /poo, feed him and play with him. Then we have dinner and after dinner we play / train with him again,. He's always asked to do SOMETHING before we feed him / let him out / play with him. Evrytime before I throw the kong out he has to sit beside me, or down beside me, and sometimes he has to 'hand' or 'wave'. If he doesn't comply he's on a leash and all games end. Once he's on a leash I'll ask him to do a series of commands, lots of push up's (down / sit / down / sit ...), lots of down-stays'. Only if he completes all those I'd let him off-leash again.

So EVERYTHING in Matty's life (food, games, threats, rewards, pats) he has to EARN as is. And that's part of the reason why Matty's "mis-behaving" a lot, cos we demand A LOT from him, and we never let him off the hook if he doesn't follow a command.

I think this is what you mean by a boot-camp?

It's not easy, and it's mentally and physically exhausting on me as I'm sure it is on him. Somtimes I see ppl who just let their dog do whatever, and correct them only if they MUST, and it's much easier that way. But I think a very structured life is better for me and the dog in the long run. It's going to be tougher in the beginning, as it's more restrictive for the dog and it's against his natural life-style, but IMO that's the way to go in the long run.

You see, contrary to what some may think I *do* enjoy training dogs. And I DID enjoy training Matty a lot when he was a puppy, because he's by far the most intelligent dog I've worked with. But you'd enjoy it only if you work through it and you see results. It isn't so much fun when a dog who KNEW something has regressed and you have to re-train everything, and he's not respecting you. And now if this is a 7/24 job ... well you get the idea.

In the past my wife's always taken her dogs to be "anmial therapist" for volunteer work in the hospitals, and that's part of the reason we train Matty this way. Matty won't get the most resonable response from disabled kids in the hospital, and if he can't even be obedient when dealing with a rational individual never mind working with disabled kids. So needless to say, we've been very disappointed with Matty (and ourselves) thus far as he's FAR from that standard. All I'm hoping is if we keep up with the 'boot camp' training he'll eventually get over this phase and we'll have a canine citizen that can be a dog therapist.

Sorry for the long post and thanks for the advices and supports!

And I'm happy to say at least last night and this morning Matty's been a good boy. There's been several times he wanted to act up while we're playing with him / training him, but he hesitated in both cases and didn't head down that road. Matty's a very stubborn dog, but even then I got a feeling he's beginning to realize "Ok, jumping at Daddy ALWAYS get me into a bad situation in the end ... so let's follow him and get the reward instead."

Maybe it's nothing but it could also be the beginning of Matty finally turning around? A glimpse of hope is still better than nothing ... I sure hope it's the light at the end of the tunnel.



SD

phoenix
April 21st, 2006, 12:15 PM
Hey sd,
I'm glad that some things might be getting better for you!

I just want to give a bit of advice about 2 of the pieces of your last post (too long to quote!!)

First, about the negative reinforcement. I've tried to explain this before... it's not ignoring the dog, it's ignoring the behaviour. So, if you ignore his jumping by turning and crossing your arms, and he goes off and chews something, I would say that is because you did not show him the behaviour that you do want him to do. The idea is not to punish for what he did do that was 'wrong', but rather to direct him into the behaviour that is 'right'. Ignoring him and letting him go off to another bad behaviour isn't, as you said, appropriate at all.

For a dog, any attention is good attention. So, try to manipulate the situation so that you are responding to good things in a positive way. If he's chewing a sock, say drop it or leave it or whatever you've taught him, and exchange the sock for a bone or his toy. Then you can praise him for chewing the right thing.

Second, I do agree that playing with other dogs is valuable. It does really tire them out and also teaches them about respectful behaviour, if the dog they're playing with is dominant or older. For supervision and interaction, I like to let dogs play and work things out on their own. If one is becoming too much, the other dog will warn him with a growl or nip and then turn away. If the dog doesn't take that warning and keeps being too rough, that is when I step in and give a little 'time out'... once he relaxes a bit I let him go again. You could play fetch but I normally find this leads to jealousy or possessiveness about the toy. Depends on the dogs. I would suggest that these plays happen on neutral ground, so no dog thinks he owns the territory or feels defensive.

Third, I would support your idea about going to class (or even better I think, your wife taking him to class)> Most of class is teaching you how to communicate with your dog, not really teaching him how to behave. Don't worry about getting him 'up to snuff' as he was before. Certainly the trainer will help to sort out what's going on.

Good luck with everything.

TMac
August 1st, 2006, 05:43 PM
Hi Sprayeddog

I was reading about your adventures with your bratty teenager (I did a search in this forum for 'teenager' since my golden is going through this too right now).

Just wondering how Matty is now?

And I also wanted to tell you that even though this phase is more than you bargained for, you may have experienced the same thing with other breeds anyways. Exhibit A: my golden retriever. He is 2.5 and started his teenage phase at 2 years and is not done yet!

We had a lab before and I have to tell you that one day, when Matty settles down, you will be extremely happy that you chose a lab! They are wonderful dogs and so long as you keep trying through this TEMPORARY period and do the best that you can do - you will end up with a wonderful wonderful lab!!!

Good luck and keep up the amazing work you are doing!

:fingerscr

phoenix
August 1st, 2006, 06:44 PM
tmac, this is the middle of the story- in the end, we didn't hear what happened but last we knew, he was going to rehome matty.

White Wolf
August 1st, 2006, 06:55 PM
Here is the most recent thread: http://www.pets.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=27598

mastifflover
August 1st, 2006, 07:24 PM
And Lucky for Matty that she is being rehomed that poor dog had no leadership and that is all our dogs want is to please us. Hopefully they will never put another dog through living with them.

TMac
August 2nd, 2006, 05:32 PM
Oh that is so sad! I read the latest thread (thanks White Wolf - I'm still so new I didn't see that before :p ).

Sprayeddog, if you are still checking in on pets.ca, I am sure I'm not the only one who hopes you are not discouraged by the forum. After reading all the postings, it looks like - quite frankly - that you did do a lot more than most people would in the general dog-owning population (people on this forum probably go the extra 10 miles because they are so moved by helping animals and so standards are a lot higher than in the general population - and that is a good thing!).

Sprayeddog - you tried really hard. I hope you kept Matty, but if not - I hope he went to a good rescue. If you do want to try a lab again (and I think you should because they're awesome - we got one from Eastern Ontario Lab Rescue), I would recommend an older lab - probably over 3 years old. Then you can skip the nightmare part and enjoy the good part, including the fact that you gave an older dog a second chance!

Good luck!

phoenix
August 2nd, 2006, 08:34 PM
TMac you are a diplomat and an optomist.