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Difficult 1 year old lab

(6 Posts)
Susue999 Mon 13-Apr-20 20:54:23

Really struggling with our 12 month old lab. Terrible recall from the garden, last wee at night I’d a nightmare as she just won’t come on. She pulls washing off line and runs off with any child’s toy that’s accidentally left out and just will not listen to us calling her. Terrible at jumping up in the kitchen. Really hard work. We have tried training but I was very ill so training wasn’t a priority for quite a while. I know it’s probably very much an inexperienced owner problem rather than her. At training kept being told she is a bold dog and would be a challenge. Won’t come to us at any point in the house if we call her probably because she associates coming to us with the fun ending and being put away into utility room. I thought by now she would be spending the majority of the time with us but she is so difficult no one other than me wants her out in the main areas of the house. So I’m aware she is probably lonely then when she does come out is so over excited. Today she jumped up to my 5 year old nipped at her fleece pulled her to the ground and dragged her along until I managed to get control off her with a stern voice. I’m probably going to get flamed as I’m aware we’ve let the dog down and I feel very sad about this. My kids obviously have to come first. She’s not the family pet I’d imagined I was getting for them and I’m not sure whether we can turn this around. Any thoughts?

OP’s posts: |
vanillandhoney Mon 13-Apr-20 21:10:49

Oh bless you, you sound so overwhelmed! I hope it's okay but I'm going to try and go through your post bit by bit and see if I can help a bit. But remember at 12 months she's a teenager so going through the worst bit. it will get better!

Terrible recall from the garden, last wee at night I’d a nightmare as she just won’t come on. She pulls washing off line and runs off with any child’s toy that’s accidentally left out and just will not listen to us calling her.

If she won't come in, you need to go out with her. Put her on her lead and take her to the toilet like you would a puppy. Ours used to do this and in the end we gave him no choice. You go out on a lead, toilet and back in again to bed. No chance to mess around or bark. He then got a treat once he'd come back in and had his lead taken off. Now he's two we call him in with a bedtime biscuit and he comes right away.

Terrible at jumping up in the kitchen.

Get a baby gate and just stop her going in there. Labs are food orientated and it can be really hard to train it out of them. Easiest thing to do here is set her up for success by not allowing her access in the first place. You can get extra tall ones if you think she might be able to jump a standard one.

Won’t come to us at any point in the house if we call her probably because she associates coming to us with the fun ending and being put away into utility room.

You need to change her association with her name. Pop her on her lead if necessary and practise. Call her name, when she looks at you, treat her. Then slowly move her further away, call her name, she comes, treat. Repeat it multiple times a day. When she does it one room, move rooms, then go upstairs, then eventually out in the garden. Ours will do anything for a cocktail sausage - find what she likes and use it to your advantage!

I thought by now she would be spending the majority of the time with us but she is so difficult no one other than me wants her out in the main areas of the house. So I’m aware she is probably lonely then when she does come out is so over excited.

Pop her on her lead or a house line and keep her with you. You can then control her if she jumps up or displays unwanted behaviour. Reward the good behaviour (sitting, lying calmly) and eventually she'll click that that's what she needs to do.

Today she jumped up to my 5 year old nipped at her fleece pulled her to the ground and dragged her along until I managed to get control off her with a stern voice.

Until you have the jumping and nipping under control please, please don't leave her alone with your DC. Labs are big, strong dogs and she could easily do damage just through sheer overexcitement. Take the dog with you when you leave the room and use a baby gate to keep them safely apart.

I hope none of that sounds too patronising! I went through a really hard time with our beagle when he was a similar age and I was in tears most days! He's now two and a fantastic family pet. I can walk him off-lead and his recall is pretty much flawless - it will get better but you need to be persistent and work at it a lot - good luck flowers

LochJessMonster Mon 13-Apr-20 21:13:03

if we call her probably because she associates coming to us with the fun ending and being put away into utility room. I thought by now she would be spending the majority of the time with us but she is so difficult no one other than me wants her out in the main areas of the house. So I’m aware she is probably lonely then when she does come out is so over excited.

You’ve identified 2 key issues. The other is that 1years is key adolescent stroppy teenage time.

- last wee, she needs to be on a lead then so you can bring her in, and then give her a treat in her bed. Make it a routine so she knows she getting a bed time treat.
- supervised in the garden when there’ is washing out, call her away with a treat and/or toy
- rather than chasing her for the toy, you need to ignore her so it’s not interesting and then always swap for a better toy or treat. But ideally keep anything you don’t want her to have out of reach.
- why are you calling her in the house, what do you want her for?

You need to make everything she does fun and rewarding. You are right she’s not going to come if she knows she just going to be shut in another room

- use baby gates to separate her rather than closing doors on her. That way she can see and hear what is going on but is out the way.

- buy some Kongs, stuff them with a mix of wet and dry dog food and freeze. When you need to close her in the utility, shut her in with a Kong to amuse her.

- invest in some puzzle feeders, slow feeder bowls to help tire her mentally and draw out mealtimes.

- teach her a ‘settle’ or ‘on your bed’ command.

-how much exercise is she getting?

Nothing is going to change magically, you will have to put in work and consistency but labs are very clever so she just needs direction.

Susue999 Mon 13-Apr-20 21:51:35

Thank you both. Really helpful replies. The suggestions are really useful. Especially taking her out on a lead last thing at night. So obvious but I hadnt thought of that. I call her in from the garden because unless I’m watching she can’t be trusted not to dig or chew the outside of our rendered house. Already lots of damage. She is walked twice a day for 30 mins or so and then 20 mins later on in the day. Maybe this isn’t enough?

OP’s posts: |
vanillandhoney Tue 14-Apr-20 06:13:41

That's really not enough exercise for a young Labrador - sorry. My dog would go bonkers if I only took him out for thirty minutes at a time. He needs to get out and run.

I would drop the walks to twice daily but increase the length - an hour twice a day is probably about right. Is she walked on or off the lead - and do you vary where you take her?

I find mine is exhausted if we go somewhere new or somewhere he's not been for a while - he's so busy sniffing everything that he comes home and snores all day grin

RedRed9 Tue 14-Apr-20 06:42:35

Won’t come to us at any point in the house if we call her probably because she associates coming to us with the fun ending and being put away into utility room.

This is probably the easiest to solve. Adding to what PP have said: we play a game called “where’s X”.
Basically one person (let’s call them Bob) hides and the other person (Fred) goes “Where’s Bob?” to the dog.
Dog runs off and finds Bob. Bob does an over the top celebration dance with dog at being found and often gives treats (to start you always give treats).
Then Bob says “where’s Fred?!” and repeats the game with the dog finding Fred.

As well as being a fun game it’s a really handy alternative to recall during the teenage phase. If you need the dog to come in from the garden you can just start the game and it will come running in to look for the person to do the dance and get the treats!

It’s also a good way to retrain the dog that the humans are worth going to and are more fun than being ‘naughty’.

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