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Old May 17th, 2006, 12:46 PM
sprayeddog sprayeddog is offline
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What to expect for a 1 yr old lab? (another Matty vent thread)

Well, I thought Matty was finally turning the corner when he was a tad more obedient and less challenging as of my last post ... but turned out he was actually sick that week. He had an upset stomach and was a lot 'quieter' and less challenging than usual. Once he finally threw up and got it out of his system, he's still the same ol' Matty.

These days he'd go 'crazy' on us at least once in the morning, once in the afternoon when we play with him, once during his walk, and once at night.

By "going crazy" I mean he'd bite his leash (if he's on a leash), try to pull me / my wife back on the leash, and when you tell him to "Let go" he'd jump at you, and try to nip / bite your hand / arm. You try to handle him and he'll keep running circle around you, you try to step on the leash and he'll keep struggling, until you've finally got him down and literally sit on top of him. Then he'll finally give up and behave better for the next few hours - until his next incident.

Other disobedient behaviour throughout the day include not remaining down while you've asked him to down-stay, not following command when you tell him to get "OFF" the counter top, not returning the kong to you after fetch, not coming after the recall command, taking forever when you ask him to 'sit'.

In short, he's acting like an untrained dog, despite we've been training him since we brought him home at 8 weeks and has never stopped or relaxed his training.

Those who've been following the story knows Matty was just another active but overall 'trainable' lab until he hit 8-9 months, and that's when he got rebellious and constantly testing and challenging us.

Matty just turned 1 year old 2 weeks ago (we threw a big party for him, taking him out for extra games and extra exercise, and gave him more toys and food than usual but we ended up having to punish him again cos he was again, misbehaving and challenging us ... sigh) and we don't exactly have a life since ~ 4 months ago ... we don't really enjoy spending time with him when he's naughty neither, which is like most of the time.

I know labs take longer to mature, and Matty, from the day we got him home I knew he's a stubborn dog. We've been patiently dealing with his antics and teaching / guiding him to make the right decision. I don't think it's got any better though, and in fact I think it's got worse. His 'nips' got worse by the day and both my wife and I have some bruises when he goes crazy and tries to challenge us. We can't let strangers pat / play with him neither as his way of playing is just way too agressive.

I want to know if this type of behaviour is normal for a 1 yr old lab. I want to know if there's anything extra we can do, or if it's just primarily his age and there's little we can do other than continue to train / guide him and wait for him to finally 'mature' and 'get it'.

It's hard to be optimistic but I've gotta be optimistic at the same time.

I wonder if there's any professional dog trainer in the Toronto / GTA area that can give us some help 1 on 1. We've taken obedience class with Matty before (which he did very well in, before he hitted the rebellios stage), and I've read LOTS of books on dog training, but he simply doesn't seem to be responding to anything we tried after hitting 8 months. It's as if Matty's possessed since he turned 8 mths old.

These days it's really tough ... this morning for example, I used to ask Matty to 'down-stay' while we have breakfast, and he used to be very good at it, being able to down-stay throughout the entire breakfast for ~ 15-20 minutes, and worst he'd get up once, and I'll tell him to go down-stay again and he'd do it for the rest of the breakfast. These days, he'd down-stay for at most 3 minutes, then he'd just get up and walk around / bite the rug / jump up on the table. I have to keep him on a leash when we eat so we won't have to run after him mid-way through breakfast. Even then he'd keep getting up and wouldn't down-stay, and a lot of times would start barking at us too. So I'd have to step on the leash to keep him down, and pulling on the leash with 1 hand to keep him down while eating breakfast with the other hand. That's the kindda life we've been having for the last 4 months and we really can't keep up with this for much longer.

Last edited by sprayeddog; May 17th, 2006 at 01:05 PM.
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Old May 17th, 2006, 01:14 PM
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jessi76 jessi76 is offline
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as much as I love the updates on Matty, I worry of the constant struggle you have with him.

I think (and correct me if I'm wrong) I remember you saying that you weren't open to clicker-training. I'm not trying to force it on you, but it has worked wonders with my own dog (not a lab, but a very defiant basenji-x). Perhaps it's worth looking into, if other methods have let you down. True, it's gimmicky in the beginning... but if it works, it could be the gimmick that saves your sanity. For me, after a year of clicker-training... I have a remarkably good dog, and a clicker that collects dust. You don't use it forever.
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Old May 17th, 2006, 09:55 PM
kaytris kaytris is offline
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I sent you a PM
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Old May 18th, 2006, 08:01 AM
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Lissa Lissa is offline
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Like Jessi - I am worried at how long this power struggle has been going on for. And since I have already mentioned clicker training, I won't get into it again but if you choose to give it a try, I will send you a PM on how to use it properly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sprayeddog
By "going crazy" I mean he'd bite his leash (if he's on a leash), try to pull me / my wife back on the leash, and when you tell him to "Let go" he'd jump at you, and try to nip / bite your hand / arm. You try to handle him and he'll keep running circle around you, you try to step on the leash and he'll keep struggling, until you've finally got him down and literally sit on top of him. Then he'll finally give up and behave better for the next few hours - until his next incident.
Since we have discussed Matty so many times, some of what I say might be repetitive (I'm sorry if it is). Since he's leash biting is really bad and it inhibits your ability to get Matty listening, I would suggest you soak it in bitter apple or something strong that dogs do not like (like tea tree oil or lemon) - you might want to get a cheap leash for this. Or maybe you can try those leashes that have a nylon/leather handle but are chain linked.

With regards to jumping - if you let him fall (move out of the way) does he persist? If you hold onto his paws and move backwards and don't let him get down does he stop? Since it seems like you know exactly when he is going to jump, you need to offer him a better choice before he makes that decision to leap on you. So maybe have a toy ready to toss.

Pinning a dog down only encourages them to struggle and if he really hates it, it keeps him from trusting you IMO. If he is crate trained, I would put him in the crate as a time out or you can tie him somewhere to give you both a chance to calm down. Neither one of you are in the frame of mind to be working after all that chasing, stepping on the leash and pinning him down. Part of me thinks that Matty thinks its a game, another part of me thinks he just has no idea how to please you and your wife.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sprayeddog
Other disobedient behaviour throughout the day include not remaining down while you've asked him to down-stay, not following command when you tell him to get "OFF" the counter top, not returning the kong to you after fetch, not coming after the recall command, taking forever when you ask him to 'sit'.
It sounds to me like "off" is a lost cause...he either hears it so much that it means nothing because it isn't enforced. Personally, I don't think Matty should even have the opportunity to jump on the counter but if he does, I wouldn't even give him the opportunity to make the right decision (and get off) - I would just go over and gently but firmly pull him off (or I would try the can of pennies trick).

I don't think Matty should be off-leash at this point - I certainly wouldn't let him have that freedom (off-leash is a privilege that Matty needs to ears). You have to understand that even if you are doing NILIF at home but Matty can be just as disobedient outside, its sending him mixed signal and just confusing him. I won't even get into the possible safety risks of letting Matty off-leash he doesn't come back.

With regards to the down-stay, if you stodd right beside him and stepped on his leash so it was impossible for him to break, would that work? If not, then I would wait Matty out (still be stepping on his leash right beside him) and the instant he chooses to go back into a down, I would practically let him eat off my dinner plate (not really but make sure you have a high value reward for him!) - he obviously needs to have a CLEAR mark when he has done the right thing!

Quote:
Originally Posted by sprayeddog
I know labs take longer to mature, and Matty, from the day we got him home I knew he's a stubborn dog. We've been patiently dealing with his antics and teaching / guiding him to make the right decision. I don't think it's got any better though, and in fact I think it's got worse. His 'nips' got worse by the day and both my wife and I have some bruises when he goes crazy and tries to challenge us. We can't let strangers pat / play with him neither as his way of playing is just way too agressive.

I want to know if this type of behaviour is normal for a 1 yr old lab. I want to know if there's anything extra we can do, or if it's just primarily his age and there's little we can do other than continue to train / guide him and wait for him to finally 'mature' and 'get it'.

It's hard to be optimistic but I've gotta be optimistic at the same time.

I wonder if there's any professional dog trainer in the Toronto / GTA area that can give us some help 1 on 1.
I want to address the rest of this as well but I don't have time - when I get a few minutes, I will come back and edit/finish my response!
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Old May 18th, 2006, 09:44 AM
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OntarioGreys OntarioGreys is offline
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last couple listed on this page offer in home training
http://www.thepetprofessor.com/pet_p...s/Ontario.aspx
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Old May 18th, 2006, 10:55 AM
sprayeddog sprayeddog is offline
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First of all, thanks for all the responses and support, once again.

Clicker training - I'll be honest and say I am skeptical of it because I don't believe there's a 'magic wand' that could make all the difference, considering how bad Matty is these days. I also wandered what happened if he's misbehaving and I don't have a clicker with me .. BUT I am willing to give it a try since I really have nothing to lose. I'll pickup a couple of those clickers and give one to me, and one to my wife. I'm at a point where I don't mind implanting a clicker in my hand if it works So a clicker is used to mark a good behavior, basically to repeat "Good boy" that I use right now right? Yes I appreciate if you have something handy pls PM me on how to use the clicker properly.

Quote:
With regards to jumping - if you let him fall (move out of the way) does he persist? If you hold onto his paws and move backwards and don't let him get down does he stop?
I've been doing those, and it doesn't stop him. Like I said, Matty's by far the most stubborn dog I've ever trained (or try to train) ...

Example. He jumps up at me and I grab his hands and make him walk backward, until his legs are so tired he'd sit down. As soon as I release him he'd jump at me right away, and I repeat it, and over and over ... he'd finally not jump after like the 5th time. 2 minutes later, he's at it again.

Quote:
Since it seems like you know exactly when he is going to jump, you need to offer him a better choice before he makes that decision to leap on you. So maybe have a toy ready to toss.
We're already making the decision easy for him. A lot of times when I know he's almost ready to jump I'd say "No jumping". The odd time he follows the command I'd praise and treat him. Everytime he jumps he always gets penalized (I grab his hands and make him walk backward, or pin him down with a leash) He still ends up making the wrong choice.

From what I can observe, when Matty was smaller (before 8 months) he made the wrong choices a lot of times because he didn't know, or didn't remember. As soon as you remind him what's the RIGHT thing to do, he'd like to do it beacuse he'd like to get praised and he'd like to make us happy.

These days we got a feeling Matty is PURPOSELY doing the wrong thing a lot of times, because 1. he feels like it and 2. because he wants to challenge us and test our limit.

Our way of countering that, is to keep remindhimg him there's ALWAYS gonna be consequence for making the wrong choice. He'll ALWAYS get punished, without fail, if he chooses the wrong thing to do. That doesn't seem to bother him one bit though.

Quote:
If he is crate trained, I would put him in the crate as a time out or you can tie him somewhere to give you both a chance to calm down.
There are 2 problems. Yes he is crate trained, but unless it's time to sleep, when we crate him while we're at home he'd bark. Now, barking is still better than dealing with his antics, and I don't mind enduring the barking if he's learning something. But I also heard that crate that's his 'room' should never be used as a "punishment cell"?

Tieing him somewhere also doesn't work ... we used to tie him to the sink in the guest washroom and he ended up pulling the sink out (!!) so the sink is loose now, and he was also scratching the wall so there's a hole in the drywall in the guest washroom right now. (I'll get around to fix it when he's finally house trained ... no point in fixing that now only to see him opening up that hole again in a couple weeks)

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Neither one of you are in the frame of mind to be working after all that chasing, stepping on the leash and pinning him down. Part of me thinks that Matty thinks its a game, another part of me thinks he just has no idea how to please you and your wife.
Well I think he does know how to please us ... like I said, before 8 months old, Matty was trying to please us, and when he made the wrong choice it was mainly because he didn't know / didn't remember how to please us, or he couldn't fight the temptation from other ppl / food / etc etc.

I dunno if it's hormones or whatever it is, but since he's hit that young adult stage he's been trying to challenge us. These days, he could disobey a simple "SIT" command when there's no distraction, and would go wandering around ... he gets praised for "SIT" so I think he does know following the SIT command pleases us. I got a feeling he's challenging us and pushing the limit.

Quote:
It sounds to me like "off" is a lost cause...he either hears it so much that it means nothing because it isn't enforced. Personally, I don't think Matty should even have the opportunity to jump on the counter but if he does, I wouldn't even give him the opportunity to make the right decision (and get off) - I would just go over and gently but firmly pull him off (or I would try the can of pennies trick).
Well the "OFF" command is always followed by us puting him off. But I guess you're saying don't even use the OFF command. As soon as he jumps up to the counter top just say "No!" and put him off eh?

Yeah I guess the OFF command may be a lost cause by now. We always enforce it afterwards, but it is used so often he seems to ignore it most of the times.

Quote:
I don't think Matty should be off-leash at this point
I agree, and Matty is rarely off-leash.

We get home, and we let him out of the crate, and he's off-leash at this point. The first time he disobeys a command (usually within the first 5 min) he's on a leash inside the house (like an umbilical chord to either one of us). So most of the times Matty is already on a leash, indoor or outdoor.

That said, when we play games with him he is off-leash ... it's kindda tough to play fetch with him on a leash ...

But I agree, freedom is a priviledge which has to be earned, and he defn hasn't earned it.

One of the challenge I have, is I'd play with Matty ONLY WHEN he's earned it. So before playing fetch with him for example, I'd ask him to grab me the kong. I'd then ask him to do a few SIT, HAND, HIGH-FIVE, DOWN, DOWN-STAY before I play with him. So he knows he has to WORK for everything.

The problem is, some days (well, most days) he is so disobedient that he'll ALWAYS act up at some point during the game. Usually after the 2nd time I throw the kong out he'd go fetch it, but then wouldn't come back even when I ask him to. He'd usually jump up on to the sofa, which is a forbidden place.

So normally if he's being naughty, I should stop playing with him.

Same thing with taking him out for a walk. When he starts acting up (like going crazy, jumping at me or nipping me on a walk) I'll punsih him, then turn around and go home rightaway.

I thought that'd send the right message, but 1. he's not really responding and 2. he ended up getting little exercise because of it, which only makes matters worse cos now I have a disobedient dog at home full of energy.

So it's a catch-22 to me ... what I do these days is if he's being bad I'd stop the game rightaway, but if I ask him to do a few things and he does them I'll play with him again. Same thing with the walk. After punishing him (literally sitting on him for a few minutes) I'd ask him to do a few SIT, DOWN, HAND and if he obeys I'd finish the walk anyways.

I just don't know if that's the right thing to do...

Quote:
You have to understand that even if you are doing NILIF at home but Matty can be just as disobedient outside, its sending him mixed signal and just confusing him. I won't even get into the possible safety risks of letting Matty off-leash he doesn't come back.
I agree, and Matty is on a leash almost all the times except when I play fetch with him, and when he's been a very good boy (which only happened during the week he was sick ... sigh)

Quote:
With regards to the down-stay, if you stodd right beside him and stepped on his leash so it was impossible for him to break, would that work?
He'd downstay as long as you are stepping on the leash and firmly pulling on it so he can't move ... Now he's a 70 lbs dog so it does get pretty tiring. Plus it ties up one hand, which is why I only have 1 hand free for breakfast.

But at least I've been giving my arm plenty of workout in pulling on it and keeping him down ...

Quote:
If not, then I would wait Matty out (still be stepping on his leash right beside him) and the instant he chooses to go back into a down, I would practically let him eat off my dinner plate (not really but make sure you have a high value reward for him!) - he obviously needs to have a CLEAR mark when he has done the right thing!
Yes we do that. Whenever Matty's down he always gets the "matty now that's a GOOD BOY! That's a GOOD DOWN!" praises like he just won the Olympics.

At one point the praises excited him too much and he gets up and jump at you ... since then we've cut back a bit. but anyways we do praise him when he's doing the right thing.

Matty is always told when he's doing something right, even if it's a simple SIT or DOWN (Good boy Matty! That's a good sit!) and he's always told when he's doing something wrong (BAD BOY! No Bite!) The tones are DRASTICALLY different he can't miss it.


Anyways sorry for the long post, and thanks for all the support and advices. You guys are great and I couldn't do it without all the support and advices from you guys!

I'll also be looking into the professional trainer links you guys sent me. I know it may be expensive but at this point, anything that helps us will be worth it.

BTW We did sign up Matty for the intermediate obedience class but he was acting up so much, couldn't complete any of the exercise and ended up jumping and fighting with us right in front of the rest of the class ... never mind the embarrasement, but it ended up pretty unproductive for him. The trainer pulled us aside after the first class and said maybe Matty isn't ready for intermediate level ... she suggested us to take the beginner class again, which I think is stupid cos we just finished it a few months ago and it makes no sense to pay $200+ to take the same class twice. We ended up getting the full refund and withdrew from the class ... but it's very discouraging for us. That's why we're looking for some 1 on 1 professional help.

We thought we LOVE dogs and needless to say, Matty's been a real test on how much we REALLY love dogs. We do want to pass this test cos somehow part of me still believes one day Matty will finally get over all this and be a good companion and a good friend ... well better put, a good son for us.

Matty is a pretty cute and handsome dog though ... I should really post some of his recent pic's whenever I get a chance.



Thanks again,
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Old May 18th, 2006, 11:34 AM
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I think clicker training is worth a shot. I do hope you give it a try. I'm sure Lissa will provide you with some great material on it, but there also books available. The training I attend is "clicker training" so I got the hands-on techniques - I found this most helpful. are there any clicker-classes available in your area?

it's a fine line between using the crate as a safe time-out, and using it as "punishment". you must do it correctly. If Matty needs a time-out, direct him to the crate, but do NOT SAY A WORD. DO NOT ACT ANGRY. calmly and quietly, direct him to the crate, and leave the room for a few minutes. just until both of you are calmed down a bit. then return. if Matty is barking, don't let him out. wait for that split moment of silence, then let him out. again, stay calm.

Literally "sitting on your dog" isn't going to help matters. bring a motivational prop with you on walks. a toy or the best damn dog cookie in the world to keep him focused on you & not on mangling his leash. something high value. when you finish your walk, give him the reward.

You have to make matty WANT these rewards. This is why clicker training works. The click is associated w/ food (a teeny tiny treat) and the dog learns this quickly. Soon, the dog learns to THINK... on how to make you click, therefore getting the reward. over time, you phase out the click and the treat. it's not a forever thing. just to learn, shape, and reinforce the correct behaviors.
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Old May 18th, 2006, 01:12 PM
sprayeddog sprayeddog is offline
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Quote:
it's a fine line between using the crate as a safe time-out, and using it as "punishment". you must do it correctly. If Matty needs a time-out, direct him to the crate, but do NOT SAY A WORD. DO NOT ACT ANGRY. calmly and quietly, direct him to the crate, and leave the room for a few minutes.
The challenge with that is, when Matty needs a time-out, he's obviously not behaving. When he's misbehaving, there's pretty much no way to get him into the crate without saying a word ... the only way to get him to the crate when he's misbehaving, is to lure him with a treat. But that's the worst time to give him a treat, cos soon he'll think "Ok if I misbehave, Daddy will give me a treat ... hmmm ..."

When Matty is misbehaving, you pretty much have to drag him with the leash if you want him to go somewhere cos he's not going to respond to 'come' or 'crate' or any of those commands. I really don't want to drag him over to the crate and then shove him / lure him with treat into the crate ...

That's why I have been hesitant to use the crate as a 'time out' tool.

Quote:
Literally "sitting on your dog" isn't going to help matters. bring a motivational prop with you on walks. a toy or the best damn dog cookie in the world to keep him focused on you & not on mangling his leash. something high value. when you finish your walk, give him the reward.
And I have a similar question.

So I'm walking Matty, and he's going crazy on me. He's pulling me back with his leash, he's jumping at me, he's trying to nip me, he's not responding to any of "Let go" or "No bite" or "Sit" command. So I take out a toy or a treat at this time ... isn't it going to give him the idea "If I misbehave I get a great treat or a good toy" ??

I really don't know if that is "distracting him from his antics" with a toy, or "rewarding his bad behaviour" with a toy. I'm afraid Matty will associate "bad behaviour" with "reward".

Sitting on him OTOH seems to calm him down ... of all the things we've tried on Matty when he's misbehaving (distracing him with a "Sit" or "Down" command, ignoring him, stepping on his leash, scolding him, separating him) that seems to have the best response. After you finally pinned him down on the floor and got him under control for a few minutes by sitting on him, he behaves better immediately.

I'm not saying it works for all dogs, and trust me it'd be a lot easier for me to flash a treat when he acts up during a walk than to get him down and sit on top of him ... but I just don't want to associate a bad behaviour with a reward.

Quote:
You have to make matty WANT these rewards. This is why clicker training works. The click is associated w/ food (a teeny tiny treat) and the dog learns this quickly. Soon, the dog learns to THINK... on how to make you click, therefore getting the reward. over time, you phase out the click and the treat. it's not a forever thing. just to learn, shape, and reinforce the correct behaviors.
Yes I am going to give that a try.

Right now, I mark a good behaviour with "Good boy!" and often follow that with a small treat. And that's why I was skeptical ... cos to me, that's just replacing the "Good boy!" with a click ... and it's not like Matty has a hard time identifying the "good boy" right now neither.

But, maybe the click is more distinctive than "Good boy". Maybe that'll do all the magic. I am not confident about it, but I will give it a try regardless. There's nothing to lose really.


Thanks for the advice again jessi.
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Old May 18th, 2006, 01:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sprayeddog
... but I just don't want to associate a bad behaviour with a reward.
the point is to make him want what you have. he can't have that toy or treat until he's walking nicely. THEN he gets it. just because you show him you have it, doesn't mean he gets it.

I have walked w/ a fistfull of hot dog pieces. Tucker would act a bit nutty, I'd let him smell my fist, and suddenly he was very well behaved. "ohhh mom has hot dogs... " but not until we walked a good 10 steps w/ him next to me, watching me, did he get a CLICK and then one of those pieces.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sprayeddog
Right now, I mark a good behaviour with "Good boy!" and often follow that with a small treat. And that's why I was skeptical ... cos to me, that's just replacing the "Good boy!" with a click ... and it's not like Matty has a hard time identifying the "good boy" right now neither.
the click more accurately marks the desired behavior.

as for time outs... well, if you can't get him in the crate easily, then don't try. Forcing it will taint the crate, so to say. you want the crate to be a happy & stress free place.
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Old May 18th, 2006, 02:05 PM
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There is just too much to respond to - I am BEYOND overwhelmed. I know I am going to miss a lot.

How long is Matty in the crate for?

I have clearly given you the wrong impression about NILIF and the umbilical cord. I also think that part of the reason you are having so many issues is that Matty is at home in a crate all day and when he is out, he has so much pent-up energy that there is no way he can behave normally. If his day goes from crate, to umbilical cord leash and all he's expected to do a bunch of obedience commands then of course he is going to be frustrated. He doesn't understand that if he obey's then you will take him out.

I know I encouraged you to follow NILIF and I still think its the best idea but unless you can come up with outlets for Matty's energy you won't make any progress. Instead of making him do a whole repertoire of behaviours just ask for 1 - really 1 is all that it takes to remind Matty of his place if you are doing before everything (feeding, brushing, attention, playing etc...) A leader doesn't flaunt his control.

I want to address everything but I don't even know where to begin [again]!

I really think you will all benefit from 1 on 1 training but you have to be careful about who you choose.
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Old May 18th, 2006, 02:44 PM
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quick question.. when does Matty just get to be a dog? meaning.. nothing is expected of him. he doesn't have to fetch for you, return to you, down, etc..

Lissa is absolutely right, if Matty goes from crate to leash because he was "bad" in the first 5 min of you being home, well... I hate to say it, but Matty doesn't have much of a life either. all work, no play?

take some time to play - and just play. throw the ball once, and let matty do what matty does. no expectations.

I work on training daily (short intervals), but I also allow for FUN time, daily (longer intervals). time where he doesn't have to do anything except have a good time.
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Old May 19th, 2006, 08:50 AM
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Quote:
How long is Matty in the crate for?
Since both of us work, Matty's pretty much in the crate for ~ 8 hrs while we're at work. 2-3 days a week my wife can take a longer lunch break and she'd go home and let him out.

I know that's long hours, but then since both of us work there's really no way around it. YES, we thought about hiring someone to walk him during the day, but it's too expensive.

It'd be better if we can let him walk around the house instead of crating him the entire day, but he bites stuffs around the house last time we tried letting him out for just 2 hrs.

Quote:
I know I encouraged you to follow NILIF and I still think its the best idea but unless you can come up with outlets for Matty's energy you won't make any progress.
I take him out for a walk in the morning when I wake up, unless it's raining then I play with him inside the house. When we come home, we walk him, and then we play with him for another 30 minutes or so.

And that's as much exercise we can give him being a working couple.

There's not much we can do about the 8 hrs work day, but we try to tire him down and exercise with him as much as we can while we're at home.

Like I said before, Matty's literally catching his breath after the walk and exercise, but that doesn't make him any more obedient ... so I don't think it has to do with energy level.

Quote:
Lissa is absolutely right, if Matty goes from crate to leash because he was "bad" in the first 5 min of you being home, well... I hate to say it, but Matty doesn't have much of a life either. all work, no play?
That is true, but when he's misbehaving I have little choices.

Quote:
take some time to play - and just play. throw the ball once, and let matty do what matty does. no expectations.
If he's not TOO bad I do want to let him just play.

The problem is everytime I give Matty freedom he gets into trouble, and I'll end up having to correct him. For example, inside the house if I throw the ball, and don't give the 'fetch' command then I don't expect him to come back to me. But after retrieving the ball he'd drop it, then start going through my wife's bag, or jumping on to the countertop and grabbing stuffs from it, or jumping on to the sofa which is a forbidden place, or start biting the rug.

When he's out in the backyard then there aren't as many stuffs for him to get into trouble with, but then eventually we still gotta come back in, and when we do he'd still cause troubles and we'd still have to correct him.

Last edited by sprayeddog; May 19th, 2006 at 09:03 AM.
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Old May 19th, 2006, 09:37 AM
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I don't think energy level is your only problem, but it could definitely be contributing to your problem. My dog, Ebony, was a lab / border collie mix and she needed TONS of exercise. She didn't have challenging "puberty problems", but if you didn't take her out and run around with her, boy, could you tell the difference! She would have a harder time paying attention and listening and would bounce around the house like a big, black ping pong ball. It's too bad you can't trust Matty out of the crate while you're gone, because it can't be helping his energy level being pent up in a space where he can't walk or run around while you're gone.

Finding a reputable one-on-one trainer would definitely be worth it, IMO.

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Old May 19th, 2006, 09:53 AM
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We have similar problems with our Prince (german shepherd/husky mix)

He turned 1 last month and has been crazy for the past four months or so. Difference with Prince is that while we're at work, he can't be crated. We had him crated for 8 months until we moved into a new apartment. For the first few days in a new place, Prince went nuts in the crate. The neighbour met us the first night as we were coming back from work and he begged us to get rid of the dog. (This was the first time meeting our neighbour..wonderful eh?)

Our neighbour below is anything but friendly and basically had the landlord call us, the super intendant. We were told he was gonna call the SPCA and the cops on us because it was "inhumane" to leave a dog in a cage that long. Anyways...so we were told to get rid of the dog. We opted to let him have free roam of the house because there was no way I was getting rid of Prince and I wasn't quite ready to move again. Well it took a lot of methods and training and there was lots of crying and stress involved. We came home almost every night to find something destroyed.

Four months later, I think we finally have it down. And it really wasn't easy dealing with a dog with separation anxiety.

Prince runs by my boyfriends side while he bikes every day. We play with him, we prepare a stuffed kong for him every day as well as a bone. This seems to have kept him so busy that when we're at work that he doesn't destroy my furniture.

I can't even begin to list things that Prince has done to the place...but I think with patience and and continuous training, Matty will get to where Prince is.

Prince still has his days though. He'll run around like a psycho in the apartment even though he went on a 4km run just minutes before. We know what kind of day it's gonna be when we see him like that. Some days, he will listen like an angel and others, he wants it HIS way or no way.

Both you and your wife need to stay strong. Without eachother's support, it is very hard. My boyfriend and I would often get into huge arguments because of the dog situation. But we learned that sticking together no matter what is what realllllly helps.

Good luck and hang in there!
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Old May 19th, 2006, 10:08 AM
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When my lab was a youngster, he had a heck of a lot of energy to burn off, it required 4 to 6 hours every day, to keep him settled, that meant running alongside a bike, fetching in the yard, swimming at the lake and free runs, and as he got a little older 1 1/2 up he pulled me around on a toboggan in the winter to help wear him out. Remember these are dogs that were bred to retrieve fowl all day in coldwater lakes so as older pups it takes a lot to wear them out both mentally and physically, and walks are not enough exercise for most and at around 3 years old they start to mellow out
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Old May 19th, 2006, 10:17 AM
sprayeddog sprayeddog is offline
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Thanks for the replies and support ... I mean, I really appreciate it and it really helps.

Quote:
I don't think energy level is your only problem, but it could definitely be contributing to your problem.
Yes you're right. While it isn't the only problem it may be contributing to it.

I already wake up early to take him out for a walk ... I guess I could wake up even earlier and take him out for a longer walk, or a jog.

Quote:
It's too bad you can't trust Matty out of the crate while you're gone, because it can't be helping his energy level being pent up in a space where he can't walk or run around while you're gone.
Yes, and a lot of times I feel sorry for him. But the way he's behaving I have no other alternative. Sigh.

Quote:
Our neighbour below is anything but friendly and basically had the landlord call us, the super intendant. We were told he was gonna call the SPCA and the cops on us because it was "inhumane" to leave a dog in a cage that long.
Yeah right. The same person who complains it's 'inhumane' to leave a dog is a cage is asking you to give away the dog ... hmmm ...

Quote:
Well it took a lot of methods and training and there was lots of crying and stress involved. We came home almost every night to find something destroyed.
Yeah I hear ya ...

Quote:
Prince runs by my boyfriends side while he bikes every day. We play with him, we prepare a stuffed kong for him every day as well as a bone. This seems to have kept him so busy that when we're at work that he doesn't destroy my furniture.
Yeah I try to leave him with as much toys as we can when I leave for work in the morning ... I tried leaving him with bones, but then he gets an upset stomach ... Matty has a pretty sensitive stomach and if he gets more than half a bone within a day he'd get sick and throw up the following day.

I also tried leaving him with a few stuffed kongs and the kongs with peanut butter paste ... again, I have to be careful cos too much and he'll throw up.

The paste is a GREAT idea though ... I can stuff as much cookies as I can in a kong and he'd still get it out in ~ 2 minutes max. But the paste, there'll always be some leftover in there so it takes him longer to get it out ... plus, afterwards there's still little leftover in it so he'll keep licking and keep nipping to try to get the very last bit out of it.


But yes, I'm going to try the ideas you guys gave me ... more exercise and give him some time where he can't get into trouble and he can just play. I'll take him out to the backyard more and let him just play with no expectation and not ask him to do anything ... well, as long as he doesn't jump on me or something.



Thanks,
SD
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Old May 19th, 2006, 11:23 AM
kayla kayla is offline
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I'm sorry if you've answered this already I didn't have time to read all the threads, but have you tried getting someone to come walk your dog during the day? When I'm working a 9-5 job I do this and it helps LOADS. I also have a young hyper lab-mix. Oh and my girl is still pretty energetic but she IS mellowing out with age (almost 2 years old now), just to give you a bit of hope.
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Old May 20th, 2006, 08:03 AM
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Question

I have no idea if this is helpful or not but....

My brother had a lab- a big brute of a boy- when he hit the 8-9 month mark he to went bonkers- and there was a totoal dominence fight btx by bro and the dog. The dog decided that he was the alpha male and began acting- fighting against every kind of verbal or physical restrain- growling, misbehaving etc.

So my bro decided to become the alpha dog- he reseached alpha dog behavior in wolf packs and he began acting forcing the dog to take the submissive actions that he would in a pack- it was a fight and my bro said he felt like a idiot sometimes - doing alpha dog postures and facial expressions but it worked and this dog is the nicest calmest animal that you could ever encounter

weird i know
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Old May 20th, 2006, 08:27 AM
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PetFriendly PetFriendly is offline
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Hi There

Its my opinion that once you've stepped up the exercise everyone in the house will be much happier. My little 15 lbs mutt gets a 20 min walk in the morning, and another 20 minutes of playing, before I leave for work. He plays outside for a 1/2 hour or so when I get home and 5 nights out of 7 we go for an hour long walk. I also train him but he bores easily (so do I actually) so we do 5 minutes here and there throughout the day and while we're walking.
Some dogs live to make their humans happy... But if your dog isn't one of those I don't think there is any way to teach them to be that way... Charley bless him in quite trainable but if he's had enough or is tired he really doesn't care to listen same goes if you've been asking him to do that same thing more than 5 times...
Good luck, relax, enjoy life, the summer and your dog
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Old May 20th, 2006, 08:52 AM
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Not to sound like a broken record, but I have to agree with increasing exercise. Layla (lab/whippet mix) has so much energy it's hard to believe sometimes. This is what I found to be the perfect amount: 1 hr walk in morning, 1 hr walk 3-4 hours later, 10 km run 3-4 hours later (that was when i could run, now that I can't its been replaced by a 90 min walk) 1 hr walk before bed. (If I stay up really late, she gets another quick 20 min walk)
When I work during the day, this often involves a really good friend taking her for her second walk.
Yes, I have to get up very early some days (I start work at 5:30 am some days, and thus, have to get up around 3:30 to get her walk in) but it has to be a priority, or it won't work.
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Old May 20th, 2006, 12:11 PM
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I have a cocker, bred for endurance.. I never really understood why she was so hyper. I only have taken to understanding in the last few months how much I need to do to tire her out. There are daily jogs together, playing fetch in the tennis court so she can't touch anything bad, runs around the park with her sniffing as much as she wants. When the weather clears up we'll hike and swim. And we take an agility class every week and practice OB commands for mental stimulation.
All that and she may still do some zoomies when we come home, but if I don't take a couple of hours daily to do something with her, my life would suck. I'd have a dog that never listened and never calmed down. I know, because I wasn't excercising enough. Short walks just aren't tiring enough.
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Old May 23rd, 2006, 11:30 AM
sprayeddog sprayeddog is offline
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Thanks for all the advices ...

I am not convinced exercise is the reason he's misbehaving, but more exercise can't hurt so I've stepped it up since last weekend ... I'm waking up an extra 20 min every morning to take him out - and instead of a walk, I go for a 20 minutes RUN with Matty.

The first day we went out, he didn't understand why I was running so he kept jumping at me ... I just kept running and kept telling him "No Jumping matty ... let's go ... let's go" ... he stopped jumping after a while but kept going left and right in front of me, almost tripped me up a couple times as well.

Matty also has a habit of biting the leash when I run (even AFTER I've put bitter apple on it) ... but he doesn't do that once I've stopped running ... I figure he hates how the leash keep hitting him when he's running so he'd just 'grab' it when he runs.

A few times he tried to stop to smell the hydrants or something but I just tell him "no c'mon boy ... let's go let's go" and keep going ... after being dragged a few times I think he realizes there's no sniffing during running, and has stopped doing that.

Matty out runs me for most of the 20 minutes ... no shame in being beat by a 1 yr old lab but when we get home both Matty and myself are dead tired. We're both catching our breath, and Matty's got this "I'm exhausted" look with his tongue sticking out sideways.

Other than that, I've also let Matty be a dog ... for some time every day I won't ask him do anything, but just play with him. I've been playing soccer with him but instead of asking him to "fetch" the ball for me or "Let go" of the ball after he's fetched it, I just play along and let him do whatever. Unless he does something that's totally unacceptable (like jumping on me, going through my wife's bag and grabbing whatever from it, jumping on the sofa etc etc) I don't correct him, but just let him play.

I'm also spending more time exercising with Matty ... in the morning before I go to work and after I come back.

So now the big question - has Matty behaved any better since I stepped up the exercise?

The answer is no. After running outside and coming home dead tired, he still got up like 20 times during a 10 min down-stay while we have our meals. He still jumps up to the sofa, or goes upstairs even when we tell him "No" or "off", he still jumps up on to the counter top and grab stuffs from it ...

But I'll keep the added exercise and see if he improves after a few more weeks ... and, even if not, I figure more exercise can't hurt - for him NOR myself.

As for Matty's misbehaviours ... well I'll just keep dealing with him and try to be patient with him. Maybe it's his age ... and hopefully he'll just eventually grow out of it.

==================

Now, as for Matty's "dominant behaviour" or if he's trying to take over and be the "Alpha" ... I really don't know. I am very confused.

From what I read, you can try to see if the dog thinks he's the alpha but taking his food away while he's eating. If he gets agressive, or complains, then he's the alpha.

Well, I've been doing that since Matty came home at 8 wks, and Matty never complains, growls or get aggressive when I take his food away when he's eating. I can play with his food, pat him, handle his muzzle, and take the food away and wouldn't give it back to him until he does a "sit" or "hand". So Matty realizes I control the food and he has no problem with that.

That said, unless you have a treat in your hand or he knows you're about to start a game with him, whenever you give him a command, even if it's a simple "sit", he's basically got this "I'll do it if I feel like it" attitude.

And that's NOT for a lack of enforcement, cos we've NEVER ever let Matty get away with ANY command we give.

So is Matty not doing those commands because he thinks he's the alpha and he doesn't want to listen to you?

I'm not sure ... I think he's just being a naughty boy and wants to follow his own mind instead of what we ask him to do.

I have noticed 1 thing though - he used to complain very loud (BARK!) and even fight back when we gave a command and he didn't want to follow. These days he barks a lot less. He may not exactly follow what you ask him to do, but he rarely barks when you MAKE him do it, and he doesn't fight back.

Is he finally accepting the fact whatever we ask he will have to do and struggling only makes matters worse? I sure hope so.


But thanks for all the support + advices ... they definitely help.



SD
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Old May 23rd, 2006, 12:02 PM
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wow, you've really stepped up to the plate on the exercise issue, and as you said, even if it doesn't help completely w/ the misbehaving, it can't hurt. I'm glad to hear despite the challenges, you've managed to allow for fun time w/ Matty!

Quote:
Originally Posted by sprayeddog
Matty also has a habit of biting the leash when I run (even AFTER I've put bitter apple on it) ... but he doesn't do that once I've stopped running ... I figure he hates how the leash keep hitting him when he's running so he'd just 'grab' it when he runs.
as well trained as my dog is, he STILL does that. which in my book, is fine. I'll pick my battles... since I only really "run" to save my life, I let it go. (I don't jog) But if you are a jogger, keep at it, I'm sure with time & practice Matty will learn you're "jogging" not "playing".

I think with alot of these issues will resolve with time. Time for Matty to mature and time to get used to the new exercise regime. Just curious, have you decided to try the clicker-training or just wait and see if exercise & maturity do the trick?
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Old May 23rd, 2006, 03:06 PM
sprayeddog sprayeddog is offline
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Quote:
I'm glad to hear despite the challenges, you've managed to allow for fun time w/ Matty!
I'm surprised myself that I could have fun with Matty, but despite the fact Matty still drive me NUTS from time to times, I've been able to re-adjust my expectation and just accept Matty for what he is - at the very least at this stage. And that has made all the difference.

I don't expect Matty to be a model-citizen anymore, and in fact, I don't even expect him to be as obedient as he was at say, 6 or 7 months old. I just think of him as a 2 months old puppy, and start from scratch with my training again.

Quote:
as well trained as my dog is, he STILL does that. which in my book, is fine. I'll pick my battles... since I only really "run" to save my life, I let it go. (I don't jog) But if you are a jogger, keep at it, I'm sure with time & practice Matty will learn you're "jogging" not "playing".
Yes I noticed that Matty bites his leash when he's running even when he's a puppy, and I don't have much issue with it. Plus, when I stop, and I ask him to "let go" he'd listen to me, so it's not really an issue.

I have a bigger issue of how Matty keeps crossing Left to right to left in front of me while I'm running ... I almost tripped up on him several times and it's dangerous when you're running at full speed - for both ME and HIM. Is there any way to keep him to either side?

Quote:
I think with alot of these issues will resolve with time. Time for Matty to mature and time to get used to the new exercise regime. Just curious, have you decided to try the clicker-training or just wait and see if exercise & maturity do the trick?
Yes I agree. We can spend days talking about how to train Matty to not jump, stay down, come on command ... but it all goes back to having respect for dad + mom, and his willingness to follow orders.

He clearly knows what's expected of him, and how to perform. There's no need to get into details on how to tell him what's right and what's wrong. (while it IS important that we keep reminding him)

Now I sure hope with age he'll be more mature and be more willing to follow orders.

Yes I will pickup a clicker one of these days ... just hasn't done it yet. For now I'm marking good behaviours with a loud and clear "YES!" But yeah, I'll give clicker training a try.


thanks,

SD
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Old May 23rd, 2006, 03:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sprayeddog
I have a bigger issue of how Matty keeps crossing Left to right to left in front of me while I'm running ... I almost tripped up on him several times and it's dangerous when you're running at full speed - for both ME and HIM. Is there any way to keep him to either side?
duct tape? I'M JOKING!

how much leash does he have? obviously enough where he's able to get in front of you and zig-zag.. have you tried cutting down the amount of leash so he HAS to stay on one side of you?

can he follow a hand target? When I took pre-agility we learned to spin the dog. basically it's making an outward circle w/ your hand/arm (to the desired side) and having the dog follow your hand to that spot. It's used to get the dog to change sides, go from left to right and vice-versa. Lissa (who's replied to alot of your posts does agility w/ her dog. She can probably explain it better than me. (and she may have some better tips). you may want to PM her.

have you considered incorporating "matty-hurdles" into your daily run?
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Old May 23rd, 2006, 03:43 PM
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When I jog, Cider has 2 feet of leash so she can't trip me, the rest is folded up in my hand. Keeps her on the desired side I want, and gives me enough control that I'm pacing the jog, not her.
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Old May 23rd, 2006, 04:04 PM
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Hmmm I can try that ... I usually leave him a bit more leash when I walk him ... so that the walk is not as boring for him. Plus, I'm still practising the 'close' command so that everytime he runs out of slack in the leash I'll say "CLOSE" And if he continues to pull I'll walk in opposite direction ... I'll be litearlly going around in circle if the leash is too short in that case.

But yeah, shortening the leash for my jog (or RUN) is a good idea ... I'm afraid instead of crossing left and right in front of me the silly boy will just run RIGHT in front of me with a shortened leash ... but I'll give it a try.

Matty hurdles can be dangerous to him and me ... especially I know Matty has a 'no fear' attitude towards my legs. When we play soccer, I kicked him accidentally a few times because he'd go for the ball when I'm already kicking it ... it doesn't seem to bother him a bit though and he'll go right on with the games.

If Matty was a hockey player he'd be Don Cherry's type of hockey player ...
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Old May 23rd, 2006, 04:10 PM
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I just wanted to comment on all the hard work and effort you have been putting into Matty. I think it's wonderful that you are sticking with him and working through this. I know I haven't commented before, but I have been following and everyone has given you excellant advice. It's obviously been a tough road, but keep your chin up and don't give up, Matty will never give up on you either. Keep up the good work!
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Old May 23rd, 2006, 04:30 PM
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Maybe you could expect Matty to be a model citizen, but not take it personally when he doesn't comply?! It sounds liek you are where we were when Charley was 8 months old. Now keeping in mind that small dogs mature faster, and Charley is 15 lbs and now over a year old and much closer to being a model citizen, it sounds like you're on the right track.

I don't really think him not complying with a command is necessarily a dominance issue... If you give him a command and stare at him and he reacts by growling or something, then yes you have a problem. Right now I think he's just being stubborn (but that's my non-professional opinion). With Charley's training (he's also on the stuborn side ) I always start with easy stuff, sit, down, etc and show him how happy I am with him doing it right (your YES might not be happy enough... try smilling more ). Once I've tricked him into wanting to make me even happier, I'll either switch to something harder or someting new.

For the jogging and tripping issue, Charley has two cues, side and other side that we use when loose leash walking. (Side is the side on which he heels, other side is obviously the other side and is used depending on where the cars are). To teach him I used the leash to guide him out from in front of me, no tugs or pulling, just enough tension to pull him to the side, and once he was there he'd get a good boy, the fact the he was there because he had no choice is besides the point, its the end position that counts. It took me about 2 months to get him to be reliable with both commands and we never did any intensive training just worked it into our walks.

There are many dogs arond here who walk with something in their mouth, maybe Matty is one of those. How about offering a rope toy or something for him to carry? Then while you're walking you can practice TAKE IT and DROP IT cues, or catch, etc. Your training just might be too intensive for him right now. Try working into your daily routine and see if that helps. Or you might be on to something when you say he doesn't like it dangling, try shortening it and maybe use a cue like JOG so he understands that its more strict than regular walking but not quite as formal as heel.

Oh, and about the exercise, its going to take about two weeks to start seeing that make a difference.
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Old May 25th, 2006, 12:20 PM
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Thanks again ...

Well just a little update. I shortened the leash yesterday while we went for the run and as I expected, Matty the silly boy threw himself right in front of me while I was running full speed, tripping me and leaving a softball size bruise on my thigh and elbow ...

Since then, I've not shortened the leash anymore, and Matty also seems to be smarter and while he still crosses left and right .. his timing is better and hasn't tripped me again (yet).

While I won't blame Matty for tripping me, he's got into this habit of not only 'grabbing' the leash while we run, but he literally pulls the leash, as if he wants to pull me to the left or right.

I tell him "Let go" but he ignores me, and obviously when I'm running I can't correct him.

After a while I stop giving a command that I can't enforce ... but is there any way to stop him from pulling on the leash when we run?

At least whenever we stop for breaks I tell him to "Let go" and he'd drop the leash, it's just as soon as we start running again he'd start biting and pulling on the leash again.


Other than that, Matty's been pretty much the same.

Yesterday for example, I went out for the run with him in the morning, and he went crazy while I tried to get some garbage out of his mouth that he found in the park, he jumped up at me and tried to nip my hands.

And his antics doesn't change while we're at home ... the minute I let him on his own he ran upstairs, which is a forbidden area until I let him go up ... didn't respond to the "Come" command, and when I finally caught him upstairs he's already bit through my wife's cough syrup bottle (my wife's been sick) and spilled the cough syrup all over the carpet.

Later on at night, he jumped up and surfed the table in the living room, so I told him "Off!", held his hands and walked him backward until he got tired and sat down. Right after I let him go he ran into the kitchen and jumped up to the counter top ...

It's frustrating and disappointing ... i've stepped up to the plate but it's gotta be a 2-way street and Matty hasn't improved even with more exercise.

Maybe it's true I can't expect the added exercise to make a difference immediately ... maybe I'll give him some more time.


SD
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