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Saturday, May 19, 2007

Training to correct bad behavior of Labrador Retriever

An untrained dog can be a source of embarrassment. His untrained mannerisms are actually just manifestations of his natural doggie instincts. Unfortunately, these mannerisms are classified as bad behavior in the human world.

So the chances of his misbehaving are rather high simply because he does not know how to behave himself in human society. And this behavior will cause you and whoever comes in contact with him a great deal of heartburn.

It will be a no win situation. You will suffer as an owner simply because you let him misbehave. Your neighbors will suffer, as they have to tolerate a dog that disturbs the neighborhood with his incessant barking and howling. His behavior like messing up the lawns and yards and thus spreading unpleasant odors will also be a source of irritation to your neighbors.

Are you aware that every dog lover in the vicinity will be against you? This is because the presence of a badly behaved dog spreads anti-dog feelings among people in general.

Do not follow this line of thinking that quite a few dog owners seem to subscribe to. Many people feel that once they bring a puppy home, he will gradually learn the order of things in the house from the family. This is far from true. Remember your dog is a canine, and so different from you who are human. He has to be taught what humans consider right and what they consider wrong.

The absence of such training will permit him to live by his own natural instincts.

Correct your Lab’s bad behavior

An untrained dog with bad behavior can threaten, offend, and even hurt others. You must take adequate steps to curb such bad behavior. You must teach your Lab what to do by communicating and correcting him.

Do not ever beat or punish him. Corporal punishment will not get your message across to him. It will only have negative repercussions and weaken your relationship with him. It will also take all the fun out of training and weaken your bonding with him.

In order to get your Lab to listen to you, fill a can with dry beans or pebbles and rattle it. The noise is bound to catch the attention of your wayward dog. You can call this can your “Shake Can.”

Begging

A lovely Lab begging is just not acceptable. It is rottenly bad behavior. So curb it by following a few of these remedies.
  • 1 Food at regular meal times only.
  • 2 No snacks between meals.
  • 3 No scraps from the dinner table.
  • 4 A test of your will power – give him nothing when he begs.

Say a firm “No” and look away and ignore him. He will soon get the message that you mean business when you say “No.”

Biting

If you find your dog getting nippy, first check the state of his health and make sure he is not hurt or in pain. Ill dogs tend to bite. Your dog could bite if forced into a threatening position. A puppy that is teething normally bites. A dog that feels threatened can also resort to biting. An injured, abused, or dog in heat can also bite.

Remedies
  • If your puppy bites or nips say, "no" firmly and use shake can.
  • Provide your pup with enough toys to chew.
  • Do not allow a child to tease a dog.
  • Teach the child to treat the dog with kindness and care.
  • Do not leave a child unattended with your dog as this breed is not particularly fond of children.
  • You can place a muzzle on a dog that is injured or in pain to prevent him from biting.

If your dog is over 10 months old, have a dog trainer or vet evaluate him to determine whether it's safe to keep her.

My Labrador Retriever is behaving so very badly! He is aggressive towards other dogs and people. What can I do? Help!

1 Your Lab loves companionship. Do not leave him alone for too long. Lack of companionship drives him to do things that he oughtn’t. And this includes aggression.
2 Provide him with plenty of exercise. A big dog, such as a Lab, must be given sufficient opportunity to exercise those powerful muscles. A tired dog will not be aggressive.
3 If his bad behavior verges on picking up fights, then use water to squirt him on him and cool him off.
4 You must not allow him to win any game of aggression. This can encourage his aggressive behavior by sending the wrong signals to him.
5 Again, do not underestimate the importance of exercise. A tired dog will not get aggressive.
6 A warning for you, never use your hands to try and separate fighting dogs. Use a generous squirt from a water hose!
7 You have to be firm and consistent in your quest for disciplining your dog. Labs are very intelligent dogs and will continue to test your patience for as long as possible.
8 A Lab can become possessive about his favorite person to the point of being aggressive. So this kind of aggressive behavior must be nipped in the bud.

My doggie is great! The only problem with him is that he cannot resist an open door. He simply streaks out of the house like a flash of lightening every time someone opens the door. Help me with my predicament

This kind of behavior might culminate with very disastrous consequences and you have to teach him to be obedient. Be very firm when you are imparting obedience lessons to him. We do not recommend physical punishment of any sort, but you could try alternate forms of punishment such as withholding his meal for some time when he does not obey.

Hold practice lessons inside the house. Before you open a door and find he is waiting to bolt through it, you must very firmly say, "stay." Then open the door. When you find that he obeys, praise and reward him. Repeat this exercise over and over again through each day and for many days, until your dog obeys without succumbing to temptation. Obeying this command can be a matter of life or death for him!

My Lab loves to lick anything and everything he comes across in the house. How do I prevent this wayward behavior?

I am sure you are tired of cleaning up the rather wet slobbery mess that your Lab makes after he has bestowed his affection on various objects that he comes across in your house. So here is a simple remedy. Coat the objects that you want to save from his slobbering tongue with a bitter substance that he will find distasteful. You could also think of spraying objects with something that your dog finds rather foul. This too will keep his investigative tongue away.

Encourage him to play, chew, or lick his toys instead. A distraction such as toys will keep him away from other household objects.

My Labrador Retriever has been house trained. He is now 4 years old. But quite often I find that he has started to have accidents around the house. I am rather concerned. How do I tackle such a problem with an adult dog?

This really is a cause for concern. If he is 4 years old and has suddenly started having accidents then the reason for this could be illness of some sort. It is advisable for you to take him to the vet for an examination. Do not delay the visit.

My Lab is great in every way except one. He just cannot resist digging when he goes out into the yard.

Your concern is palpable. The sight of your otherwise well kept yard being pock marked with unsightly holes must be very disturbing indeed. So here is what you can do.

First get rid of any other form of life that may exist in your yard. This can include rats, rodents, chipmunks, rabbits, or any other life form. Digging is a natural activity for a Lab who is a retriever by birth. So segregate an area that can be cordoned off as digging ground only.

To distinguish the area where your dog can dig mark off the area. That could be, say 3’ x 3’ in size, dig it out and fill it with sand and mud. Lead him to this spot. Let your Lab dig all that he wants only in this part of the yard. You can surprise him now and then by burying bones, toys, and rawhide in this pit for him to find. This will encourage him to dig there only.

I have a Lab who is quite well behaved. The only problem I have with him is that he loves to jump and paw at people. Do tell me how to discourage this rather irritating habit.

Jumping and pawing are two very doggie ways of seeking attention. So do not react when your doggie jumps at you or paws you for attention. Just ignore him and walk away. He will get the message that you are not happy with what he is doing. If he still persists, then order him to sit. When he does obey you must praise and reward him. This will reinforce the kind of behavior you expect from him.

The Lab that I have loves to bite or mouth my hands and fingers whenever he can. His sharp little teeth can hurt quite a bit. How do I prevent such behavior?

On no account should you condone such behavior. Whenever you feel the bite, yell loudly. Let him know that his biting hurts you. Say "no" in an extremely firm manner and walk away from him. When you repeatedly do this, he will understand that biting or mouthing your hands and fingers will just not be tolerated by you. A Lab is a dog that thrives on your love and he will do anything to ensure that you do not ignore him.

I want to teach my Lab to give me some sort of signal when he wants to go out. How do I do it?

Getting your dog to give you a signal when he wants to go out is a great idea. You can do this by hanging a bell somewhere that he can access easily. Teach him how to tug on this bell. Each time you take him out, you pull on the bell and then teach him also to tug on the bell. This way he will associate tugging on the bell with going out. Soon he will tug on the bell whenever he wants to go out.

My Lab seems to be a slow learner. He is taking a very long time to get house trained. What should I do?

House training is a very slow process. It will really test your patience. But there is just no other way. Keep a close eye on your puppy. As soon as he shows any signs of wanting to relieve himself, like putting his nose close to the ground and sniffing busily around, pick him up and rush outside. Establish a regular feeding schedule too. And take him out after every single meal. Take him out every hour too even if he has not been fed. The entire process will try your patience but the results will definitely be worth the effort.

If my Lab behaves badly can I punish him occasionally?

Experts and people who have done research on doggie behavior simply do NOT recommend punishment. They say that it will be a setback on all that you have done for your dog. Punishment will also make him fearful and scared about you. So be very careful about punishing him. Being kind, understanding, and loving go a long way in correcting your dog’s bad behavior. Praise and reward are the best tools to arm yourself with in the training process. No punishments please!

How do I correct my Lab’s bad behavior?

The only way to correct your Lab’s bad behavior is to catch him red handed (pawed). Nab him in action and then very firmly say "No." You can prevent him from indulging in that particular act by using your hands to push him away. You can startle him into stopping by rattling a can filled with pebbles or a hand held horn. But no physical punishment should be used.

Tell me about the normal behavioral problems that I can expect to find in a new puppy that I bring home.

If you have had the opportunity of dealing with little children, you will find that puppies have a lot in common with tiny tots. Puppies will stick their noses into any new object that they encounter. They will also pick up anything that they come across with their mouths. So you have to watch out for the objects that are lying around the house. Potentially harmful material should be carefully stowed away, well out of reach from prying noses and clattering paws.

Besides this, puppies will climb on anything they find worth exploring. They will chew and bite and even exhibit aggressive behavior. The world is a brand new place for them and they want to know about everything that is new and interesting to see. It is your responsibility to keep them safe from harm!

My Lab chooses to chew everything lying around except his toys. What do I do to divert his attention towards the toys that he must actually be chewing?

An excellent way of doing this is to remove whatever your Lab is chewing and replace it with one of his toys. He might be a little reluctant to let go of the object of his choice, but this is where you will have to really exercise your authority as the leader. You will have to use all your leadership skills to coax him away from the object and immediately shove his toy in front of him. Distraction will work as a dog has a rather short span of attention.

My Lab loves to howl at the moon. This sounds really morose and dreary. How do I stop him?

Dogs do not howl at the moon. If your Lab is howling, it is just a natural way for him to communicate with another of his own kind. You know dogs are descendants of wolves. And wolves
communicate with other members of their pack by howling before they set out on a hunt. Dogs like the huskies of Siberia even get together for a group sing!

So if you find that your Lab is howling, check out whether he is ill or is feeling uncomfortable about anything. Once the cause of discomfort is removed a normal, healthy, domesticated dog will not howl.

I have a really queer problem. My dog does not respond when I call him. What should I do?

Patience is the name of the game when you are teaching or training your dog. This includes a simple command such as "come." Your dog must associate the word "come" with something pleasant or he will not respond. Here are some methods to ensure that your dog will respond when you beckon him to you.
  • Make it a pleasant association.
  • Never scold him or grab him when he comes.
  • Praise and reward him as soon as he responds.
  • Reward him with surprises. Then he will look forward to what you are going to do. Surprises can include giving him a treat, toy, praise, or just playing with him.
  • Use positive body language. You can crouch down to his level and hug him. You can clap your hands and smile at him. He will love it.
  • Show him that calling does not put an end to his exercise or play time. So sometimes you must allow him to return to what he was doing.
  • You must also be aware that these are some methods that will ensure that your dog does not come to you when called.
  • If you call your dog and then do something he dislikes. This could be giving him a bath or cutting his nails.
  • Calling him when he is in the middle of playing a game.
  • If you call him and then ignore him.
  • If you call him in an angry tone of voice.
  • If you call him and immediately put him in the crate and then leave the house.
  • If you call “come” and then lunge towards him to catch him.

Help! My Lab has suddenly started going crazily round and round in circles. Has he gone absolutely bonkers?

You need not get worried. This is normal doggie behavior and he is just playing crazy dog like lots of dogs do. He will keep low to the ground and run flat out. He might run round first in one direction and then in the reverse at a terrific hurricane like speed too. He will tire himself out in short while and flop down in tired stupor. Relax and let him have his fun and frolic. Allow him to just let his hair down and freak out!

I am really worried about my Lab. I think he is really bored. How do I tackle this problem?

Boredom can be easily tackled. Teach your doggie new tricks. A dog that is bored will rapidly learn new tricks. Keep his mind occupied with all sorts of tricks. They can include tricks that are useful, fun, tricks that are stimulating to the mind, or tricks that require the use of agility. Once he is occupied with learning and practicing new tricks his ennui of boredom will fast vanish. Not only will he be rid of boredom, he will become a source of fun and entertainment for you, your family, and friends too.

My pup is proving to be rather expensive. He loves to chew on his expensive leather leash rather than walk on it. What can I do?

Your puppy is just a baby. So anything that moves is like an invitation for him to sink his teeth into and chew to his hearts content. He will outgrow it soon. But until then you can try coating it with something bitter that he does not like.

Alternately you could switch over to a metal chain leash. The feel of cold metal against his teeth will be positively discouraging. Once the pup grows up you could replace the metal leash with a stylish expensive leather leash that you will be proud to lead your lovely Lab on.

My young Lab seems to have become an absolute brat all of a sudden. What could be the reason? And how do I handle such behavior?

Suddenly turning into brat is an almost certain sign of your Lab having entered that awkward stage of adolescence. Brat-like behavior is a dog's way of saying, "Look I have grown up now. And I am now independent. Leave me alone and do not fuss with me."

Just like a human teenager, isn’t it? To keep him under control you will have to re-assert your position as the undisputed leader to whom he just has to listen and unquestioningly obey.

So step up his obedience-training schedule and spice it up with plenty of fun tricks. Keep him busy. This is the only way to keep him out of mischief.
How can I make absolutely certain that my dog does not bite anyone?

To ensure a bite free life, you must begin your puppy’s training early. He must be allowed to socialize to different kinds of people. When your dog does not feel threatened by people whom he considers strangers, he will not feel threatened and bear his fangs! He should also be taken to new places and exposed to new environments too. Meeting other animals will broaden his outlook and expand his horizons.

My Labrador Retriever puppy is teething. Save me from the onslaught of those sharp little puppy teeth that love to chew up just anything that they find.

Here is a great solution for your teething pup. Take a stout and sturdy rope and knot it both ends. Soak it in water and freeze it and then give it to your pup. Biting on this frozen rope will provide relief to his gums that are causing him irritation.

Of course, make sure the rope is not too long. Otherwise your little fellow might just get it around his neck instead. You can also give him ice floating in water to relieve his itchy gums.


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