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Help with lab pup(12 Posts)
Need some advice/friendly tips on my 8 month old female lab please.
She's a typical lab, absolutely obsessed with food. When we are at the table eating she will constantly jump up to try to steal food. A firm no and pulling her back down has yet to make any difference. I've tried keeping her in a separate room during mealtimes but she barks constantly and will do a protest wee on the floor. Same happens if we put her outside for just a few minutes and I have to let her back in to avoid annoying the neighbours.
She is also having relatively frequent accidents in the house, both poos and wees. She gets praise when she successfully goes outside so not sure what else to do. She will also eat her own poo.
I understand she is still young but is there anything else anyone can suggest? We are starting dog training this weekend, hoping that will make a difference.
I work part time so am with her a fare amount in the week. On the days I'm not home she is walked by a dog walker and my partner also has her at his work, so she's never left for more than 2-3 hours max. She's very needy, needs constant attention even after our long daily walks. Would getting a second dog to give her company be a bad idea?
Is she bored? For some dogs, exercise isn't enough: they need the mental stimulation of being trained. It makes them much, much more settled as well more obedient and well-mannered.
Personally, I'd start dealing with the mealtime thing by teaching her to settle in her bed and stay there until you tell her she can go. At first, reward a very short, quiet settle (literally a few seconds) and build it up. Then have her settle with a distraction - you, on your own, eating a biscuit at table. Again, reward her for complying. Build up through you eating a sandwich etc etc. She'll soon get the idea.
As well as this, get her to walk nicely on the lead, recall, sit, stay and so on. I find a long sit-stay wears my young dog out nearly as much as belting around, because she is so busy focusing on NOT running about. Scent work might also be helpful.
Praise AND reward for poo and wee outside (and make sure you give her plenty of opportunity). Nab the poo ASAP so she can't eat it.
Obviously training her to settle will take time and distractions will need to be introduced gradually so in the meantime you could try giving her something to distract her whilst you're eating. Something like a long lasting chew or her own meal frozen in a Kong (or similar toy) which will keep her occupied. I use these and one of those about three quarters full and frozen will last any of my dogs around 45 minutes to an hour depending on what's in it.
With the toilet training the best thing is just to go back to basics and essentially treat her as if she's a young puppy. Obviously you won't need to be taking her out quite so often but regular trips outside and praise when she does go out there. Teaching a cue word for toileting can be really useful to remind them why you've taken them out there, I (rather unimaginatively) just use "go wee" and "go poo". Just consistently use your chosen word or phrase when she does go outside and she'll make the association between the two.
I agree with teaching a stay command. It worked wonders with our (very) greedy dog. An alternative would be to crate her with something like a licki mat or Kong filled with frozen pâté/some of her kibble mixed with water and frozen. She’d be less likely to toilet in the crate, and the Kong would keep her quiet and occupied whilst you ate. I suppose you could also give the Kong or mat in her bed too.
With regards to toileting, take it back to basics - outside every hour to begin with and after every meal, play time, sleep etc. Teaching a command such as ‘wee wee’ or ‘be quick’ is, in my opinion, a sanity saver. A dog who will go on command is heaven! Don’t give her the chance to fail, she’ll get there.
We had a German shepherd who would eat his own poo (and then more often than not, vomit it up on my carpet 🤮), what worked for us was only toileting him on the lead in the garden, immediately walking him away and to his bed when he’d finished, saying ‘all done’ when he was there and giving him his favourite treats (small piece of warm chicken or similar and an antler) while we immediately cleaned it up. Before long we could just say ‘all done when he’d finished his business and he’d take himself off to his bed and await a treat without even looking at his poo. It’s about breaking the habit usually, but do look at her food as poor nutrition can also be a cause of coprophagia. Sympathies there though, it’s gross.
Definitely do more mental exercise with her, I’m certain that would help with many problems too.
Thanks for everyone's replies. I will try crating her with a treat. Her filled kong toy, which she loves, doesn't last 5 minutes though so will look to give her something longer lasting. I find I'm giving her so many chews/treats to occupy her in the day it's getting expensive and I worry she'll put on lots of weight.
As for toileting, going back to basics with rewards sounds sensible. I always say go for wee wees and she mostly does when she's outside. Generally she doesn't indicate she needs a wee by going to the door which makes things harder.
Any advice about getting another dog to keep her company? She's very sociable, will try to say hello to every dog we meet on our walks. She loves my in-laws lab and will play all day long with her. I just think she would benefit so much. I'm thinking of getting a cocker spaniel male pup but know she's still a pup herself and it's probably crazy but anyone else bought another pup whilst still training their current dog? Pup wouldn't be bought home until end of Jan.
Any advice about getting another dog to keep her company?
Or at least, do not even think about it until she is 95% perfect, behaviour wise. You will only make life harder for yourself, and in doing so make life worse for her.
Once you are happy she has matured into the dog you want then start to think about whether it's right to add another.
Yep. Don’t. You will have two untrained dogs and the behavioural issues could increase exponentially.
Teach a settle.
Back to basics. Make sure pup is out when they needs to wee or poo. On a lead. No treats but lots of praise. Attach a word to it so you can tell them to go when you want to.
Why is she getting so many treats? Does she have separation anxiety and you’re trying to occupy her?
Definitely teach a settle command. I have a food-obsessed beagle and I've taught him to sit on the sofa while we eat - I often don't even need to tell him anymore, he knows to just go. Otherwise, a finger and a "go to your bed" is all it takes. I never thought I'd achieve that six months ago!
I'm sure she does indicate she needs a wee - circling, sniffing and pacing are all signs the dog needs to go out. You need to be totally on the ball and be there to take her out as soon as she shows any sign of wanting to go. Like Wolfie said, add a command to it so she'll learn to go when you need her to go.
And don't get another dog until this one is trained. Two untrained dogs are going to be much, much harder for you to cope with than one!
What and how are you feeding her? Rather than giving her extras to keep her occupied there’s loads you can do with her normal food to make it last longer and giver her brain a work out. If you’re on FB the group Canine Enrichment is absolutely packed with ideas, many of which don’t require expensive toys or special chews.
I would agree with previous posters that adding another puppy at this point would be a bad idea. At that sort of age there’s a real risk they’d be more interested in each other than you, which could lead to a whole new set of problems. Two of mine are almost exactly a year apart and even that was far too small an age gap in hindsight. There was a very definite backslide in the behaviour of the older one and although I did separate them a lot of the time they still bonded extremely closely to the point where it was hard work making myself more interesting to them than each other. Even now, at the ages of six and seven, they can still wind each other up something chronic given the opportunity! I’d recommend an absolute minimum gap of eighteen months but really it depends on the dog. My youngest took a very long time to grow up and he was about four before I think it would have been sensible to add another.
I found the best thing with my lab for her "greed" when it came to food was a buster dog maze... It wasn't very expensive, and it not only slowed her guzzling down, but she had to work out how to obtain her treats... Worked wonders when we were eating, so long as it was high value treats, such as liver cake cut into very small pieces...
Getting another dog in the hope to 'solve' first dogs problems is a terrible idea. The chances are you end up with two dogs with different problems.
At 8 months of age for a lab going by what I have seen with other lab puppies you haven't even got to the hard teenage part. Throwing another dog into the mix is just gambling.
Far better to pay for a good trainer to guide you through the difficult times. Then when you have a lovely trained adult dog if you want to introduce another dog then you know you are doing so for the right reasons of wanting another dog.
Eating her own poo she will grow out of hopefully by the time she’s one.
Try crating her in the same room as you while you eat. It will take will power of steel not to give in to her complaints. But just ignore her.
Dogs usually won’t wee on their own bed.
Labs more then most dogs crave to be with there owners. Don’t fuss her when coming in or leaving the house helps with separation anxiety.
Having had lots of dogs and been a dog Walker I would say labradors often pictured as the perfect family pet is a bit romantic. They can be hard work to feckle when young. They also need good walks as they have lots of energy. Giggle treat balls are good (they sell them on eBay)
to keep them entertained or peanut butter inside Congs .