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  #1  
Old March 6th, 2006, 03:43 PM
sprayeddog sprayeddog is offline
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Update on Matty .... sigh.

Matty is 9 months old now and he's still very much a handful ...

I talked about how Matty's a counter-surfer last time ... many posters have suggested the water bottle trick and we've done that, as well as isolate him (lock him up in the washroom) for a few minutes everytime we catch him doing it. Well, it hasn't really worked. Matty still jumps up to sniff / bite things from the counter top if there's food or anything that catches his attention on the counter top. The latest is he grabbed my wife's ipod from the counter top and left a few dents on it when I finally caught him chewing on it a few minutes later. At least the ipod still works ... .

Worse, we noticed he's been scratching the dry-walls as well. A few months back, when Matty was ~ 4 months old, we kept him in a fenced off area in the upstairs washroom during the daytime when we go to work. One day we came back we found that he's dug a hole on the washroom's drywall and that's when we got a crate for him. And it worked, for a while anyways. Over the past 2 weeks we notice a few scartch marks on the dry walls close to where his crate is. We crate him when we go to bed at night, and also when we go to work in the afternoon, and apparently when he's in the crate for long he keeps hitting the crate until he gets close to a dry wall, and starts scratching the wall with his paws through the crate.

I don't know how to tackle this one cos there isn't really an area in our house that is 1/ tiled (if we put the crate on hardwood floor or a carpeted area he'll destroy the carpet / hw floor underneath) and 2/ isn't reasonably close to a wall. Worse comes to worst I'll have to leave the crate in the unfinished basement which will be a last resort cos the basement is cold and dark.

We don't understand why he likes to scratch the wall. The wall is just a plain, flat wall - there's no smell or anything to it. And there are plenty of toys inside the crate as well.

And it's not like we don't exercise him ... we spend ~ 30 minutes to play with him inside the house in the morning, ~ 30 minutes after we get home from work at night, and walk him everyday.

My wife and I are getting pretty exhausted emotionally at this point ... Matty is a cute lab but he only behaves when we're A/ feeding him or B/ playing with him. We cannot possibly play with him 7/24. And when you're not playing with him, he can be very annoying, to downright destructive.

When we try to sit down and watch a TV show, we get interrupted every minute or so, because he'd be biting on the vaccum cleaner's hose, and when we correct him he'd go and bite the magazine, and when we tell him "No" he' go on to bark at us. We'd isolate him for a few minutes, let him back out, and he'll bite some DVD cases ... on and on and on. When we're upstairs he'd bite dirty laundry from the laundry basket and chew on it, you correct him, and the minute he gets back inside the room he goes right to the laundry basket again. After a few more times of correction, he'd bite my slippers for a change, or bite my wife's glasses. You correct him again, and he'd bark at us.

I don't believe we've done anything terribly wrong in the training process. Matty isn't our first dog but we haven't had so much trouble with any other dog (I've had a beagle, my wife's had a cocker spaniel and a german sheppard / collie mix). Never have we given in to his barking or his annoyance. We've never rewarded him for doing something wrong, and we've been as consistent and as assertive as we could be, while still being as kind and loving as possible after we've punished him.

Please tell me ...

1. Labs are energetic dogs but when they're fully grown they don't behave in this manner their entire life-span

2. Matty is potentially going through a 'rebellious' stage growing into an adult, which is only a temporary thing

3. We're not the only ones going through this, and as long as we're patient with him he'll eventually turn around.



Thanks,
SD
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Old March 6th, 2006, 03:55 PM
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chico2 chico2 is offline
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I have next to no experience with puppies,but it seems to me,Matty is bored,spends too much time either in a crate or closed in,in a bathroom.
Not good for a puppy,he needs attention,love and training,I would assume almost all the time.
I would also think having a puppy means not having too many quiet nights in front of the TV,but these are all things you should probably have taken in to account before you got a puppy.
My son had a JRT-puppy,who practically destroyed his condo,table-legs,shoes,walls etc..simply because she was bored.
Have you thought of trying to find someone to take him for a walk during the day? Just to free him from the crate for a while and maybe get tired and want to sleep.
I know I probably am oldfashioned,but I never believed in caging a puppy for the whole day and night,no wonder they go bananas:sad:
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Old March 6th, 2006, 04:00 PM
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I agree with Chico.
Dogs need something to do, a purpose, stimulation. if they don't have that, they make their own jobs/fun, and most of the time it's destructive!

Your dog definately needs more excercise/stimulation!

have you thought about doggie daycare?
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Old March 6th, 2006, 04:13 PM
Slams_58 Slams_58 is offline
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On the dry wall topic... My Samoyed used to shave the dry wall off with her teeth thru the grates on her crate. To this day... if we're drywalling anything... she'll eat the chunks of Gyproc that are on the ground. It's like chalk so it must be the salt or something.
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Old March 6th, 2006, 04:36 PM
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jessi76 jessi76 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sprayeddog
Matty is 9 months old now and he's still very much a handful ...
9 months is a tough time - he's definately in the idiot phase (forget training, act out, etc.. he WILL grow out of it)

Quote:
Originally Posted by sprayeddog
I talked about how Matty's a counter-surfer last time ... many posters have suggested the water bottle trick and we've done that, as well as isolate him (lock him up in the washroom) for a few minutes everytime we catch him doing it. Well, it hasn't really worked.
I don't see how isolating him would help this... does he know the command OFF? or LEAVE IT? if not, I'd work on teaching him those, he needs to learn the counter is off limits.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sprayeddog
And it's not like we don't exercise him ... we spend ~ 30 minutes to play with him inside the house in the morning, ~ 30 minutes after we get home from work at night, and walk him everyday.
you're doing a great job, but he may need more exercise. 30 min 2/day and one walk may not be enough for endless 9mth old lab energy! I agree that doggy daycare may be a good option for you (if available in your area).

Quote:
Originally Posted by sprayeddog
When we try to sit down and watch a TV show, we get interrupted every minute or so...
When I want to watch a show on TV I give my dog a real bone, a treat filled ball, a stuffed kong, or a nylabone, because I know if I don't, he'll get himself into trouble.

and no! you haven't done anything wrong! Labs can be handfulls... I think you're doing great! thanks for the update
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Old March 6th, 2006, 08:11 PM
Prin Prin is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sprayeddog
We don't understand why he likes to scratch the wall. The wall is just a plain, flat wall - there's no smell or anything to it. And there are plenty of toys inside the crate as well.

And it's not like we don't exercise him ... we spend ~ 30 minutes to play with him inside the house in the morning, ~ 30 minutes after we get home from work at night, and walk him everyday.
Sorry but that's not enough exercise for a lab. Labs are high energy dogs; they destroy when they're bored. If your lab is destructive, chances are he's bored. You need to at least, at the very least, double the playing time and the walking time. My lab/husky didn't do well in her last home (she ate the entire dining room set) because she needed a two hour chunk of playtime, along with regular walks and short play sessions on the walks. Every day!

Quote:
Please tell me ...

1. Labs are energetic dogs but when they're fully grown they don't behave in this manner their entire life-span

2. Matty is potentially going through a 'rebellious' stage growing into an adult, which is only a temporary thing

3. We're not the only ones going through this, and as long as we're patient with him he'll eventually turn around.
Well, I can tell you that with LOTS of regular exercise and fairly strict, very consistent training, labs become very lovely, devoted dogs. If you work hard now, by the time the lab is 4, it will quiet down noticably. But still not as much as other dogs.

The rebellious stage does end, if you don't reward the behaviors and you win all the tests. Dogs in adolescence have been in a certain place in the pack all along and just want to figure out if that is exactly where they should be. So they test you. And if they win, they move up.

You're definitely not the only one who has been through this. That's why I adopt older labs, preferably older than 1.5 years.
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Old March 7th, 2006, 06:54 AM
sprayeddog sprayeddog is offline
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Thanks for all the support and kind words.

Yesterday I went home and he's somehow moved the crate from the kitchen into the living room area, and badly scratched some of our hardwood floors ... sigh.

We'll try to give him more exercise ... it isn't easy as both of us work full-time. As for doggie daycare, we can think about it but it gets expensive.

As for the poster asking about isolation - I was told in training it's one of the more effective methods to punish him. If you catch the dog doing something inappropriate, you take away something they like, and for labs like Matty, it's to be able to socialize with us. It's worked on certain things (like barking, which was a serious problem for Matty but has come down substantially now) ...

Matty clearly knows what's right and what's wrong (or, he knows what pleases us and what makes us mad) but I got a feeling at this stage he's just constantly testing his boundary ... we'll just try to be consistent and assertive and patient with him.


SD
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Old March 7th, 2006, 08:58 AM
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jessi76 jessi76 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sprayeddog
As for the poster asking about isolation - I was told in training it's one of the more effective methods to punish him. If you catch the dog doing something inappropriate, you take away something they like, and for labs like Matty, it's to be able to socialize with us. It's worked on certain things (like barking, which was a serious problem for Matty but has come down substantially now) ...
I understand how isolation works, and why it works, but I don't think it's appropriate for the counter-surfing. Instead of focusing on "punishment" for this, I think you should focus on teaching Matty to respect limits.

I'd set him up for learning... put a tempting item on the edge of the counter, have matty on leash, and if he tries to grab the item, you'll have control to keep him from it, say OFF or LEAVE IT, when he looks at you and takes his attention away from the counter, praise him like crazy! even give a treat if you use treat-rewards. This way you set him up to learn, instead of relying on isolation (where he's not really LEARNING anything)
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Old March 7th, 2006, 10:02 AM
Prin Prin is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sprayeddog
We'll try to give him more exercise ... it isn't easy as both of us work full-time. As for doggie daycare, we can think about it but it gets expensive.
That's the thing about choosing a puppy. Some breeds require a lot more than others and puppies require a LOT more than most adults. The more time you put in now, the better your dog will be in the end. If your dog is a nuisance, you're not giving him enough of your time. That's part of what having a dog is all about.
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Old March 7th, 2006, 10:10 AM
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phoenix phoenix is offline
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Yes labs definitely need more exercise than this... mine (lab/boxer) needs at least a 1 h walk/ day PLUS a playtime with other dogs to be completely sane... Plus mine has another puppy to play with for most of the day. If we do this (he is 15 months now), we can relax on the couch with him in the evenings. If we don't, he lets us know. Mind you he has never been destructive, just pesky.
You can't tire him out like other dogs can. Does he know how to fetch? I taught Sam this early on, because a 30 min walk just wasn't good enough. There are tennis ball 'throwers' (mine is called a chuckit) that are awesome. Of course, you need to be sure he'll retrieve and come back 100% of the time. If there is a dog park or off leash area near by, maybe you can find a 'friend' for him to play with daily. This running will wear off some of the energy. A GOOD LAB IS A TIRED LAB hehe. Swimming (in the summer obviously) is another good tiring activity- again helped by a ball if taught how to fetch. Are there socialization classes around you where he could go play?
Don't give up on him... he will eventually lose the puppy energy but not for a while yet. As far as the chewing goes... could you chain the crate to something so he can't jump it across the room? and maybe use something against the wall as a bumper so he can't get right up to it? I have never crated my dogs for long periods of time. I let them have a whole room and gate them in with baby gates. This seems much less stressful to them.

Good luck with the training.
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Old March 7th, 2006, 11:14 AM
sprayeddog sprayeddog is offline
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Quote:
I'd set him up for learning... put a tempting item on the edge of the counter, have matty on leash, and if he tries to grab the item, you'll have control to keep him from it, say OFF or LEAVE IT, when he looks at you and takes his attention away from the counter, praise him like crazy!
Been there, done that.

Matty is very smart though. He always knows when you're 'training' or 'testing' him and he'll perform accordingly, but then at other times when you're trying to relax all of a sudden the 'OFF' or "LEAVE IT" commands don't work ...

Quote:
That's the thing about choosing a puppy. Some breeds require a lot more than others and puppies require a LOT more than most adults. The more time you put in now, the better your dog will be in the end.
Yes in hindsight we shouldn't have chosen a puppy ... but then with an adult dog you don't know what the dog's been through and that could be problems too.

Quote:
If there is a dog park or off leash area near by, maybe you can find a 'friend' for him to play with daily. This running will wear off some of the energy. A GOOD LAB IS A TIRED LAB hehe.
Yeah that is true ... no it isn't easy to find him a 'friend' cos he doesn't get along with other dogs unless they're also puppies.

Quote:
Swimming (in the summer obviously) is another good tiring activity- again helped by a ball if taught how to fetch.
We tried in the tail-end of last summer and Matty was afraid of water ... but we'll try again in the upcoming summer.

Quote:
I let them have a whole room and gate them in with baby gates. This seems much less stressful to them.
That's what we did initially, when we enclosed him in the washroom with a baby gate but he dug a hole in the wall. That's when we got the crate.



SD
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Old March 7th, 2006, 11:27 AM
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jessi76 jessi76 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sprayeddog
Been there, done that.

Matty is very smart though. He always knows when you're 'training' or 'testing' him and he'll perform accordingly, but then at other times when you're trying to relax all of a sudden the 'OFF' or "LEAVE IT" commands don't work ...
Then I don't think he's really learned the skill, I'd practice it everyday until he's reliable. Matty may be smart, but you're smarter. Keep him thinking, and mix it up - drop the tv remote - use this as an opportunity to reinforce LEAVE IT. Crumple up some paper towels and put on the floor - again, ask him to LEAVE IT. there are many instances to reinforce this behavior in every day life. by reinforcing it OFTEN he will learn it, and not just at "training time".

Your daily life should be "training".
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Old March 7th, 2006, 11:58 AM
Prin Prin is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sprayeddog
Been there, done that.
Matty is very smart though. He always knows when you're 'training' or 'testing' him and he'll perform accordingly, but then at other times when you're trying to relax all of a sudden the 'OFF' or "LEAVE IT" commands don't work ...
The way you're describing it, you're not being very consistent. With a puppy, you have to be ready to jump up and enforce the rules you set every time he tests them, whether you're training or relaxing. If you correct the dog 90% of the time, you won't get any results.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sprayeddog
Yes in hindsight we shouldn't have chosen a puppy ... but then with an adult dog you don't know what the dog's been through and that could be problems too.
With any dog, there can be trouble. I've had abused dogs, dominant dogs, almost everything, and I have never had a problem with them. The thing is, a lot of the time, older dogs are more relaxed and are more willing to learn (in my experience). Baggage or not, it's all about time and training.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sprayeddog
Yeah that is true ... no it isn't easy to find him a 'friend' cos he doesn't get along with other dogs unless they're also puppies.
That doesn't sound good. Under a year and already having social issues? You really have to tackle this one. A fully grown dog with aggression issues is not fun. When they're young, you can socialize them to death and get it out of them.
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Old March 7th, 2006, 12:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sprayeddog

That's what we did initially, when we enclosed him in the washroom with a baby gate but he dug a hole in the wall. That's when we got the crate.



SD
You know we are only trying to help, right?

Anyway, a bathroom is not a comfortable room- it is a scary room with walls closing in on you. I meant to gate him in a larger puppy proofed room where he can see what is going on. I don't know. It may not work.

If he can't get on with other dogs, will he play ball or fetch with you? Do you take him places so that he can meet other dogs?? As was said before, now is the time to socialize him... later will be much more difficult IMO.

well, I do wish you the best but honestly you must keep a very positive attitude when training puppies. Excuses and going in thinking it won't work will definitely lead to failure. If the puppy senses that YOU don't believe he'll do the right thing, I've found that it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. He won't.
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Old March 7th, 2006, 12:44 PM
sprayeddog sprayeddog is offline
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Quote:
The way you're describing it, you're not being very consistent. With a puppy, you have to be ready to jump up and enforce the rules you set every time he tests them, whether you're training or relaxing. If you correct the dog 90% of the time, you won't get any results.
Maybe it's the way I described it but that's not what I meant at all.

I correct him 100% of the times. If I say "OFF" and he ignores my command, he'll get penalized (and that's where the isolation comes in, in case you're wondering).

But when I set him up for a 'test' or 'training', he knows that's what it is and he responds A LOT better.

When I'm sitting down watching TV, and he tries to bite the magazine, I tell him "OFF". His response is A LOT less consistent in that case. I'd still follow through to make sure he follows my command, or else I'd isolate him for a few minutes.

So I do correct him 100% of the times and am as consistent as one can possibly be. The only thing is, if I have to get off my sofa, grab him and isolate him every 2 - 3 minutes when he fails to follow an "OFF" command, then I'm not really relazing at all am I?

(And by now I've gone full circle and gone back to my original point.)

Quote:
With any dog, there can be trouble. I've had abused dogs, dominant dogs, almost everything, and I have never had a problem with them. The thing is, a lot of the time, older dogs are more relaxed and are more willing to learn (in my experience). Baggage or not, it's all about time and training.
And that's my point.

I understand the reason getting a puppy can be exhausting because they are hyper and require a lot of time and energy and patience to train them. But if you're saying adult dogs could come with baggages and will require time and training as well - then is there really a big difference here?

I'd even argue it's difficult to make adult dogs 'un-learn' a bad habit they've already picked up from previous owner ... but it's a moot point for me now.

Quote:
That doesn't sound good. Under a year and already having social issues? You really have to tackle this one. A fully grown dog with aggression issues is not fun. When they're young, you can socialize them to death and get it out of them.
Maybe I wasn't clear but Matty doesn't have any agression issue.

Like most puppies, Matty's way of 'playing with other dogs' involves jumping at their face, nipping their ears and constantly bugging them ... and adult dogs don't like that.

When I brought Matty to puppy socializing class, and then later on obedience class, all the dogs (puppies!) behave the same way ... and Matty had no problem socializing with other dogs in that manner.

But when I bring him home to my parent's beagle, or when he meets other adult dogs, his obnoxious behaviour annoys them very quickly.

I know the "Sit and greet" routine, and Matty's just too hyper at this age he won't sit down properly to greet. In the meantime he has no problem socializing with other puppies cos they all play the same way. Which kindda begs the questiohn - what's the point of the socializing class / sessions if the puppies are not taught / forced to greet 'properly'?

Well according to the trainers, they said we can try the 'no sit, no greet' routine, which we tried, and 10 times out of 10 it ends up in a 'no greet' situation because Matty gets too hyper and just won't sit down to meet. The trainer told us puppies are obnoxoious to adult dogs and it's tough to get them to mix well ... but as the puppies turn into adult they calm down and it becomes less of an issue.

Last edited by sprayeddog; March 7th, 2006 at 01:00 PM.
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Old March 7th, 2006, 12:58 PM
sprayeddog sprayeddog is offline
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Quote:
You know we are only trying to help, right?
Yes and I appreciate the help... hence I was only responding to point out we've tried the suggested solution and it didn't work.

Quote:
Anyway, a bathroom is not a comfortable room- it is a scary room with walls closing in on you. I meant to gate him in a larger puppy proofed room where he can see what is going on. I don't know. It may not work.
Well, since all rooms have dry walls and he has a habit of digging holes on the dry walls when left alone, I don't know if it's such a good idea to put him in a room, large or small.

Quote:
If he can't get on with other dogs, will he play ball or fetch with you? Do you take him places so that he can meet other dogs?? As was said before, now is the time to socialize him... later will be much more difficult IMO.
Yes we do play ball and fetch with him, but mostly in our backyard ... he's not 100% reliable on recall yet and it's dangerous if we go off to places with busy traffic. I do go to the park with him and play fetch with a long-leash. And sometimes when there's nobody else around I do unleash him ... but only when nobody else is around.

As far as socializing goes, we've taken him to socializing class and also puppy-meets before winter. And he has no problem with other puppies ... they all greet and play the same way. It's just that when he tries to jump up at the adult dogs and bite their ears they don't appreciate that.
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Old March 7th, 2006, 01:09 PM
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obvisouly your isolation method isn't yielding any results, so why do you continue with it? I don't understand what the dog is supposed to learn by being isolated? other than the fact that he does [insert bad behavior here] and is forced to be by himself because of it. if you isolate for everything, how will he know what he did wrong? do you expect him to know? I guarentee you 3 seconds into "isolation" and he's forgotten what he did, and still doesn't KNOW what OFF or LEAVE IT means.

you need to TEACH through positive experiences, allowing the dog to make a choice for either a reward or a correction (not isolation).
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Old March 7th, 2006, 01:25 PM
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Hi again,
I thought of another thing I used to do with my lab during his teenage rebellion. I leashed him to me. So, watching TV, he was to lie down at my side (at this point if he is being a pain, I wouldn't let him on the couch). If he started to chew something, I'd give him a leash correction and say "NO". When he was calm, I'd drop a treat beside him and say 'good Sam'. I just tied the leash to my belt and he had to walk around with me all the time. This way, he did not get into trouble because if he tried I was right there to correct him.
Have you heard of NILF? (NOthing in life is free). The dog is to follow a command before everything he wants (Sit, then go out... Lie down, then get fed. etc). You might want to google this.
Taking him on a long line to the park and playing fetch is excellent.
Oh, and I'm surprised at your trainer. I've found that most adult dogs are remarkably forgiving and tolerant of puppy behaviour-- it's once they get older and haven't been socialized properly that the older dogs get annoyed. (mind you your dog is 7 months right? So maybe too late for that.)... It's ok if an adult dog growls or warns your dog not to jump at him (as long as he doesn't bite him). This is how puppies learn NOT to do that.

Last edited by phoenix; March 7th, 2006 at 01:28 PM.
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Old March 7th, 2006, 05:12 PM
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My puppy suzie was a complete demonchild too.... it's a far stretch to think you can sit down and relax when youv'e got a puppy.

She's broken Sliding patio doors, eaten my couch, chewed holes in my carpet, got on tables, destroyed cell phones, eaten about 10 shoes, countless underwear and pants. The tab runs at about 8 grand now for the damage she's done in her younger months.

The only thing that worked for me? Was instead of punishment i used correction, if she did something "bad" like start eating the floor. I would say "NO" and hand her a toy, then praised her like crazy when she chewed it. Everytime she picked up a toy i would give her TONNES of praise.

The only effective thing for both of my dogs was leaving punishment out of the whole picture. Rather, i showed them the RIGHT thing to do. They didn't understand yelling, isolation anything... until i just focused on the things i wanted them to do and making that their most desirable option.

Sure she still will grab a sock off the floor, but now instead of shredding it to bits, she'll bring it to me and i'll hand her a toy.

Maybe instead of isolating when he gets on the counter you could tell him no, then take him to the living room and place him in a sit beside you on the couch?

but i agree with the general consensus, he definitley seems bored and needs more excercise.

One of the best things i did for my Luna when i was working long days was wake up 30 mins early and take her to the field outside my house and tear her around for 15-20 mins before i left.
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