April 27th, 2010, 12:31 AM
We are considering buying a 9 month old lab from a breeder. After asking all the necessary questions about the lab, the only thing we are concerned now is that the dog is not neutered yet. I always thought it's best to neuter a dog at 6 months old, before he develops any bad behaviour such as jumping at other dogs. But the breeder actually suggests neutering him at 1 year old as it will give him enough time to develop his secondary sex characteristics (broad head/shoulders etc). Anyway, because he is not neutered yet, the breeder said he tends to jump at other dogs cuz of the hormones. Will this behaviour be eliminated once he is neutered? Will it help if we train him more diligently? I am worried that it's too late to correct this problem once he gets a "taste" of what it's like. Any help is appreciated!
April 27th, 2010, 12:46 AM
Can you describe the jumping? Like play jumping? Humping? Lunging? What else does he do when he meets other dogs? It's really difficult to tell you what's going on without actually seeing him in action.
I'd be questioning why this breeder still has an untrained 9 month old with him :confused:? Was he never purchased? Returned? Has the breeder done any work with the pup at all?
April 27th, 2010, 01:15 AM
I agree with LP's comments, you really need more info as to his "jumping" behaviour. I am also concerned as to why he is untrained at nine months. Has he ever been a house dog, always a kennel?? All questions you need to answer and then evaluate honestly whether or not you will be the appropriate home to help him become an awesome dog.
Many people choose to wait a bit longer to neuter then six months especially with larger breed dogs so that is not really all that unusual. Neutering is also not the instant behaviour fix then many people believe although it can help.
April 27th, 2010, 05:05 AM
There are several studies that suggest that neutering large dogs later is better.
NO. There is no guarantee that neutering your dog will stop the humping. Humping is a dominance behaviour seen in both males and females of all ages both neutered and unneutered. My intact 8 month old male dog has never humped anything - my 5 year old neutered pom does.
I think that the more important questions to ask the breeder is why does he/she still have an 9 month old puppy? Was she going to show or work this dog? If yes, why did she change her mind? Has this dog been socialized both with other dogs (besides her own) and people? Lack of socialization is a much larger obstacle to overcome then humping.
April 27th, 2010, 09:19 AM
Will this behaviour be eliminated once he is neutered?:) Assuming you're just too shy to say "humping", maybe, maybe not. As others have said, neutering is not a magic fix-all. Some neutered dogs, boys and girls (the term "neuter" is gender neutral) hump no matter what age they are neutered at.
Will it help if we train him more diligently?If the pattern of humping is already established you might find it more difficult to change but diligent training of a 9 month old Lab is practically a must, in my opinion, as the owner of a Lab. 9 months seems to be the prime age for teenage antics to start up so I agree with all the posters above, what previous work has the breeder done with this boy?
the breeder actually suggests neutering him at 1 year old as it will give him enough time to develop his secondary sex characteristics (broad head/shoulders etc). I hope you have seriously scrutinized this breeder as these reasons seem to me to be of more cosmetic reason and ignore the health complications which some research suggests occurr from delayed growth plate closure that may happen with too early neutering. Some Lab breeders suggest to wait even later to neuter, age 18 or 24 months. Your breeder may indeed be right for her lines though.
Can you tell us more about the boy and the breeder and why he is still there? Did I guess right about the humping?
April 27th, 2010, 10:30 AM
Can't add much to the already excellent Q & A's above except to say that I would want my own Vet to look at the dog. Apparently there are 111 genetic defects known for Labs. http://labradornet.com/diseases.html Hip and elbow dysplasia are a concern so make sure you get a look at the xrays and get an exam cert. ~ 9 mths perks up my worry-ears a whole lot.
April 27th, 2010, 10:59 AM
I thought of something else thanks to 3M. When I got my boy Exercise Induced Collapse (EIC) and Central Neural Myopathy (CNM) were not well known and were early thought to be confined to field breeding. Both are now known to occurr in bench lines as well and there are genetic tests available for both. If I was getting a Lab now I would want to know the breeder had tested the bitch and dog before breeding them. Along with all the other health tests.
April 27th, 2010, 01:53 PM
Thanks so much for everybody's responses. Here is a bit more about the 9-month old lab:
The breeder intended to keep him as a stud, however his teeth are crooked and so not good enough for the breeding program (for show ring). That's why she is looking for a new home for the dog. She does provide a 26 month health guarantee.
The lab lives in the house with the breeder and her other dogs (not kenneled). He is socially well adjusted. The breeder said he knows some basic commands such as sit (but not stay), and leave it. He understands what no means but sometimes it takes a few nos before it sinks in. I believe his jumping is humping (I haven't met the dog yet; the breeder mentioned "jumping" not humping but she said his hormones are flowing and he is feeling them, so I assume it's humping). He also gets in trouble sometimes cuz he likes to chew, bug other dogs, and destuff his toys.
I appreciate her being honest about these behaviours of his. I am wondering if these are normal behaviours of a 9-month old lab. I've never had dogs in my life so I really don't know what to expect from a lab at this age. I don't want to have unreasonable expectations that cause me to shut my doors to this lab, at the same time I don't think I am capable of fixing problems not usually associated with a normal lab at this age.
Another problem I have is that the breeder uses treats a lot when training him. Although I don't have any experiences training dogs I've made up my mind not to use treats when I eventually get my dog. I know labs are especially food oriented and treats will probably work faster but I hope praising is good enough too. I am worried that because this lab is so used to having a treat waiting for him when he comes or does what he is asked, my training method will be even harder to work.
I plan to meet the breeder and the lab sometime this week. I am hoping that I will have a reasonable expectation when I see them. May these behaviours mentioned above are totally normal of a young lab at this age, or maybe these are hints that the lab will become a problematic dog in the future. I really need some guidance and advices. Being an inexperienced dog owner, is it advisable to get this young lab that has these behaviours as my first challenges? I've bought several books but most of them focus on puppy training. I don't know if it's more or less work training a 9-month old instead.
Thanks so much for everyone's help!
April 27th, 2010, 04:15 PM
There is considerably more then crooked teeth to be worried about in a stud dog!! While being conformationally sound (for the show ring) is important, being genetically sound is equally important. Please check the link that mum posted to see what your breeder should be testing parents for. Some of these genetic issues can be crippling or fatal and should be much more of a concern than humping!
Treat training - teaches your dog to respond to commands with great haste! Once the command is learned and reacted to eagerly, then you wean them off the treats and get them to respond for pats or a good scritch. Remember - bringing a 9 month old puppy into your home is like walking through the front door with a teenager. You are going to want this puppy to sit for you, but this puppy doesn't know you from Adam. You need to give the puppy a REASON to listen to you, and I can promise you - a pat on the head is not going to get it.
He also gets in trouble sometimes cuz he likes to chew, bug other dogs, and destuff his toys.
These are not behavior issues but puppy behaviors, plain and simple. Honestly - if a 9 month old puppy ISN'T doing those things - it needs to see a vet.
Labs are a highly intelligent, high energy breed. You are going to need to be on your toes and outside with this dog daily. While nothing you have described would be an issue if I was considering adding this dog to my household - lack of genetic testing would cause me to RUN not walk the other way.
I strongly suggest you look into find a good positive reinforcement trainer.
May 6th, 2010, 04:31 PM
Definitely make sure you're committed to providing the exercise, mental & physical, and training this lab will need. Labradors are extremely high energy and a walk around the block won't cut it - at least not until they're seniors!
Luckily, there are so many helpful products available these days to help out owners of high energy dogs and help keep them engaged. The BEST thing you can do for your lab is engage him mentally. The more a dog has to use his brain - the tireder they get. And as the saying goes: a tired dog is a good dog.
The problem is so many people think the only way to tire a dog is by physical exercise. So they take a dog out for a 3 mile run and the dog is tired for the rest of the day. 2 weeks later, the dog isn't tired after a 3 mile run so it gets bumped to 5 miles. Soon even a five mile run isn't tiring out the dog...in fact, the dog has becomed so well conditioned it now has MORE energy than when they started running in the first place.
For young dogs, getting their physical exercise in pieces throughout the day is generally better than just doing it once. Instead of one 60 minute walk, break it into three 20 min walks throughout the day - the most important walk being the the morning walk before walk. I love walking so my dog gets out 3-4 times a day for at least 40 min each time. He doesn't need all the walking but it's great for dogs to get out and not just use up some energy, but to see, sniff, and experience the world around them. Walking makes for a well-adjusted dog.
If you find your dog still has a ton of energy, there are little things you can do to use his head. I agree with finding a trainer and training the dog. Obedience sessions are great for using up energy AND for making a dog a well-behaved member of the family. Use what you learn for heeling exercises and use those on walks. My dog (2 yr old flat coat X with a ton of energy) is tired after a 30 min walk because he has to think the whole time. I do quick turns, sudden stops (at which point he's expected to sit automatically - i did teach him that) and usually 5 minutes into a walk, he's panting and yawning. Whereas if i let him go on a flexi-lead to run around and sniff and ignore me...he'll still be full of energy after the same amount of walk time.
I mentioned products available to help engage dogs; here are a few:
- backpack. My dog wears one hiking but also for walks around the block. Really gives him a sense of "purpose" and he is more tired after wearing one than not. Start off with it really light, especially for a young dog.
- kongs. These are the best thing ever. Stuff them with cookies, peanut butter, bananas, whatever and freeze. A well-stuffed kong will last over an hour and the dog has to THINK to get it out.
- kong wobbler. You fill your dog's dinner with it and they have to knock it over to spill out the kibble. Instead of scarfing down dinner under 2 mins, it'll take them up to 20 min. A busy dog = a happy dog and happy owner.
and so many more...tug a jug, buster cube, squirrel dude, etc. There's SO many of these toys now that giving up a dog to a shelter because it's "too high energy" makes me sick. Owning a high active breed has NEVER been easier in this day and age with all these products designed for them and the availability of dog walkers.
Sorry for the novel - I have a high energy dog that is people always comment on how calm he is around the house. It's true - he comes in at nights and goes to bed at 8pm and sleeps til 8am (or later) because I spend all day giving him the exercise and mental stimulation he needs.
I baby-sat a young lab who is NOT well looked after (tied up all day and put in a laundry room at night so he doesn't destroy the house) and after 4 days of being given what he needed (exercise and structure) he was as calm as my guy. Unfortunately his family went back to doing what they had done earlier and within 4 days he was back in the laundry room/tied up outside.
Hope this helps! Labs are a great breed and they are super dogs if given the training, exercise and time they need.
Also to add: I rescued my guy at 9 months and we didn't have any background training before he hit his teenage months - by doing what I outlined above and calling in a great behaviourist - I didn't have any more problems than people who get their dogs as pups. In fact, I'd say I had less than most!
May 6th, 2010, 09:20 PM
These are not behavior issues but puppy behaviors, plain and simple. Honestly - if a 9 month old puppy ISN'T doing those things - it needs to see a vet.
That's so true. I wonder what they mean by he gets in trouble for it? Destuffing toys, for one, isn't something I punish my dogs for because I'd MUCH rather they destuff their toys than my furniture! And I've never had an issue with a dog chewing up my furniture. Some dogs like to tear the stuffing out of toys and some are very gentle. Walnut never destroyed any of her toys, and then when the other dogs came along they got destroyed quickly :D.
I'm also confused about the jumping/humping. This isn't necessarily a hormone related behavior. Hormones can elevate the behavior, but the behavior itself needs to be dealt with. A lot of show breeders have intact animals that do NOT hump other dogs because they know it's a no no. Humping other males is rarely a hormonal/sexual thing, but a dominance thing, where the dog is testing the other dogs. It can also come from a high excitement situation. Either way, neutering won't necessarily solve behavioral problems like that.
Funnily enough, none of my male dogs have humped. Walnut, who was fixed, tried to hump other dogs during play though and my new female tries to hump other dogs during play. I saw Shasta try to do it a couple of times and she was 14 and fixed. It's really more of a status thing than hormonal.
With labs, as far as treat training goes, I understand not wanting to use treats all the time, but they're a great motivator when you're teaching a new command. After the command is learned you can use something else as a motivator. If you choose not to use treats at all you're going to have to find something the dog gets excited about to reward with, and that's going to be your issue. Some dogs are huge people pleasers and are fine with a pat on the head, some dogs couldn't really give a crap if they get petted. A 9 month old lab is probably not going to pay you any attention at all unless there's a really good motivator because they're SO high energy and excitable. Their attention span is also going to be pretty bad at that age, so you need to reward QUICKLY and without using treats you may have trouble there. If you don't reward soon enough the dog is already going to be looking the other direction and wondering about something else by the time you praise them.
May 7th, 2010, 11:38 AM
Forgot to add - if by jumping they mean lunging at other dogs - my guy did this too. He hadn't been socialized at all his first 9 months so whenever we saw another dog or passed one or met one...he'd lunge at them because he was trying to say "hello". It wasn't meanness or aggressiveness (at all) but just bad manners from an over excited dog who'd never learned any better.
I quickly realized it could turn into something worse though since most dogs hate being lunged at and were quick to snap at him. At which point he thought it was a game and his behaviour would escalate...sigh. Anyway, I had/have an amazing dog walker who takes him out twice a week in packs of 10 - 20 dogs and after a few months, he is a different dog. He meets and greets every dog calmly now and doesn't get excited since he knows not everytime is playtime.
So I "jumping" means lunging, that can be easily fixed by tons and tons of socialization. Ranger has had socialization out of his ears since September last year and he is a different dog for it.