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Old 07-26-2005, 12:18 PM   #1
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Dog Lovers Question.....

OK, I love dogs, especially larger ones, but I've never actually owned one. Right now I'm at the cottage with my family and some extended family. My uncle has a chocolate labrador retriever. She's just over a year old. She's extremely hyper and energetic. For example, this morning she ran 5 miles and still went nutso a few hours later when we let her off to do her business. She knows "sit", "stay", "fetch", and supposedly "heel", though I've given up on walking her b/c she pulls so hard she starts wheezing (she does always stay on the left though). To my uncle's delight, I've been spending a lot of time with her so I can get used to controlling a bigger, high strung dog. She retrieves flawlessly. I have her sit and stay at one end of the dock, toss the "duck" off the other end, and on my command she'll fly off into the water. She has no fear of the water and is an excellent swimmer. There's two things that all of us are having trouble with though: 1) once she retrieves the "duck", if you don't take it from her in the water before she can get her feet under her, she runs away. She'll bring it back, but then as you grab it, she pulls away like it's a game. This is very bad b/c she doesn't know the difference between the duck and a toy. 2) when she's supposed to be sitting and staying and we reach around to unhook her lead, she has a habit of tossing her head back and snapping and also she will jump up and bite your hands if she's not being distracted by the duck.

So, how can we get her to release the duck on our command quit with the nipping and biting?
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Old 07-26-2005, 01:03 PM   #2
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hmmm...I dont' know, I disipline my dogs with a spray bottle works everytime..its stopped jumping..barking..eathing dirt from my plants

except she likes water...so I don't know if that would be effective...hmm there must be info on this. I bet if you looked around you could find a sport dog forum thing on the internet...I bet people there would tell you.
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Old 07-26-2005, 01:23 PM   #3
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There was a book out a number of years ago called the Dog Listener by Jan Fennell which had loads of problems similar to this and ways to solve them. My mum had a copy but I don't know where it is now. It definitely came out in England and you might be able to find it on Amazon if you look. I am sure your uncle may invest in it if it is useful!
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Old 07-26-2005, 02:46 PM   #4
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Re: Dog Lovers Question.....

Quote:
Originally posted by LivLuvAndBootlegMusic
OK, I love dogs, especially larger ones, but I've never actually owned one. Right now I'm at the cottage with my family and some extended family. My uncle has a chocolate labrador retriever. She's just over a year old. She's extremely hyper and energetic. For example, this morning she ran 5 miles and still went nutso a few hours later when we let her off to do her business. She knows "sit", "stay", "fetch", and supposedly "heel", though I've given up on walking her b/c she pulls so hard she starts wheezing (she does always stay on the left though). To my uncle's delight, I've been spending a lot of time with her so I can get used to controlling a bigger, high strung dog. She retrieves flawlessly. I have her sit and stay at one end of the dock, toss the "duck" off the other end, and on my command she'll fly off into the water. She has no fear of the water and is an excellent swimmer. There's two things that all of us are having trouble with though: 1) once she retrieves the "duck", if you don't take it from her in the water before she can get her feet under her, she runs away. She'll bring it back, but then as you grab it, she pulls away like it's a game. This is very bad b/c she doesn't know the difference between the duck and a toy. 2) when she's supposed to be sitting and staying and we reach around to unhook her lead, she has a habit of tossing her head back and snapping and also she will jump up and bite your hands if she's not being distracted by the duck.

So, how can we get her to release the duck on our command quit with the nipping and biting?
Labs are very smart, but sometimes it takes a while to train them. It just takes time -- my uncle has a yellow lab that he trained to hunt with him and Woody has grown to be an excellent hunting dog. She's still young ... I am sure she will come around.
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Old 07-26-2005, 03:05 PM   #5
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I'm less concerned with the nipping and biting b/c I'm assuming that will lessen as she gets older, calmer, and more used to her tasks. What I really would love to know is the best way to the the duck from her after she's retrieved it. If I ignore her, she'll start to chew it like a chew toy and that is the worst possible habit for her to develop. If I try to get it from her, she thinks I'm playing her game and gets more excited running away from me (we've even noticed that the fur along her head and neck stands up when she's being bad like this and running off with the duck at the last second). Should I try rewarding her for bringing the duck to me? She doesn't know the word "treat" and as far as I can tell has never been trained using rewards.
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Old 07-27-2005, 12:54 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by LivLuvAndBootlegMusic
I'm less concerned with the nipping and biting b/c I'm assuming that will lessen as she gets older, calmer, and more used to her tasks. What I really would love to know is the best way to the the duck from her after she's retrieved it. If I ignore her, she'll start to chew it like a chew toy and that is the worst possible habit for her to develop. If I try to get it from her, she thinks I'm playing her game and gets more excited running away from me (we've even noticed that the fur along her head and neck stands up when she's being bad like this and running off with the duck at the last second). Should I try rewarding her for bringing the duck to me? She doesn't know the word "treat" and as far as I can tell has never been trained using rewards.
That's how I got my Doberman to give up things she had that I didn't want her to have without it turning into a big battle. I'd just give her a little treat and she'd give up whatever she had without any fuss at all. She turned into a very nice dog.
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Old 07-27-2005, 07:12 AM   #7
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The reward system works the best for me. As soon as she starts to come out of the water, show her the treat. Make her "drop" the duck, sit and then give her the reward and lots of praise. I don't think it will be too long before you have solved the problem.

Personally, I would be working on the nipping and biting as that is a dangerous habit, especially around kids. Again the reward thing will work wonders. Labs are really quick on the uptake.

With the pulling hard, have you tried one of those leads which go over the dog's nose? Apparently, this is excellent for improving this situation very quickly.

Be interested to know how you go.
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Old 07-27-2005, 07:48 AM   #8
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I'll try rewards. I only have three more days with her, but you never know. I think the pulling is b/c typically, she's only ever on a lead to run. My uncle takes her running every morning for about 5 miles, so I'm assuming when I put her on a lead, she's thinking we're going running.

The nipping really bothers me, I guess b/c I'm inexperience with big dogs and I think I still fear them a little (when I was 4 my uncle's rottie bit my face). She doesn't seem to do it as much with my uncle though. He is very stern with her, not mean, but stern and I try to be consistent but maybe she knows I'm not her real owner and won't let me handle her the way he does.
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Old 07-27-2005, 07:53 AM   #9
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Isn't she cute though?



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Old 07-27-2005, 08:37 AM   #10
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How adorable! I think she just likes to play. I never trained my dogs they just do what they want. They are house broken however.
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Old 07-27-2005, 08:08 PM   #11
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Lies, I think these links might be helpful for the duck issue:

http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Con...106&A=1675&S=1

http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Con...&S=0&C=0&A=978

Link about leash training an adult dog:

http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Con...S=0&C=0&A=1543


For her nipping when you go to unleash her collar, you might try squatting at her level, pet her head/neck, and slowly swivel the collar to the side of her neck so you don't have to go over her head. If she still tends to nip, wouldn't be a bad idea to have her ears checked out - this breed is prone to ear infections that can cause them to be head shy.
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Old 07-27-2005, 08:18 PM   #12
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She's beautiful! Wow.

The nipping and biting never persisted to this age with any of my dogs, but I've only owned Collies. They did it as puppies while teething, and stopped around 8-12 months of age I'd say.

We had a lot of trouble with our dogs retrieving things and giving them to us because Collies are herding dogs and have no retriever ability inborn whatsoever. They don't really understand the point of running after a ball and bringing it back as well as a Lab would.

The way my Mom trained them (shown to her by the breeder and the vet) was to gently press her fingers on their temporomandibular joint (where the upper and lower jaws meet), and out of reflex, they will open up their mouth and drop what they're holding. Then they got a treat and now there is no problem.

I can hold my hand out for Samson and he'll come by and drop his ball or rawhide bone right into it.
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Old 07-29-2005, 07:47 PM   #13
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Thanks for the links, Beth, I'll check them out.

Today was much better. Her first few retrieves weren't so great, but she'd been in her crate all morning since my uncle went fishing w/o her and she needed to go nutso for a few minutes, but after that she was very obedient and even sat still and let me scratch her.

Now I have another problem though. My prof for my summer class recently told me both of her malamutes (both over 100 lbs) are food aggressive and wondered if she should be worried. I said, yes definitely! since the dogs are so large and her kids a 4 years and 9 months (and her dogs will be walking all over her in no time!). I've seen what food aggressive dogs can do to people, but I'm not really sure what to suggest to her. My instinct would be to have her work w/ the dogs to reinforce that SHE not either of them, is the Alpha. I guess she could make them do something like sit and stay or lay down before getting their food and then command them to do it again if they growl once they eat (probably with them leashed), but I could be totally wrong.
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Old 07-29-2005, 09:04 PM   #14
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Old 07-30-2005, 10:06 AM   #15
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Quote:

For her nipping when you go to unleash her collar, you might try squatting at her level, pet her head/neck, and slowly swivel the collar to the side of her neck so you don't have to go over her head. If she still tends to nip, wouldn't be a bad idea to have her ears checked out - this breed is prone to ear infections that can cause them to be head shy.

water dogs (like our golden retriever) get yeast infections in their ears a lot. if her ears are reddish or she seems excessively ecstatic when you go to pet her ears she could have one. not hard to treat at all and it does solve the ear shy problems (if that was the cause...)
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