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Thread: Help w/ new dog

  1. #1
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    Default Help w/ new dog

    So I got "Roscoe" (Forum member Roscoe's dog), a 6 yr old Yellow Lab, two days ago, and I am seeking some advice.

    I've noticed that the only way to get him to calm down and just sit/lay is to let him chew on one of his training dummies. I haven't let him do this yet because I'm concerned that he will transfer that behavior to chewing on retrieved birds. What do you guys let your dogs use as chew toys, if anything?

    Leash walking is an issue with a normal collar. He doesn't like the leash, and pulls like a sled dog when we walk him; it really wears us out. He has his nose to the ground all the time, always pulling hard; I don't know if he is sniffing for birds or what, but he stops often to eat grass, which I pull him away from. We found a choke-type collar (In a tub of other equipment-his original owners were very generous with everything) that, so far, has eliminated much of that, but I don't much like choke collars.

    Lastly, he was/is an outside dog (which I prefer), but my girlfriend wants to be able to bring him inside the house; he is like a a bull in a china closet indoors (tipped over the trash can, climbing on the counters, etc). How can we get him to calm down inside?

    To his credit, he loves to work. Anytime he is around us, he wants to do retrieves with the the dummy birds. (He literally went into the garage on his own, ripped open the gear box, and brought me a dummy bird.) I think overall we're quite pleased with him, but we're going through a learning curve.

  2. #2

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    He is wound up, channel his drive and the rest is just fine tuning. I take working dogs bird hunting, if you would like I would be happy to bring him along. Feel free to PM any questions. Good luck!

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    On the run today, but the short answer is this: You have 6 years of trained misbehavior to work through and it will not be easy, but it is very worthy of the effort. I'll bet he's a real nice dog that will come around...eventually. And no chewing on bumpers! I would get him a large cow femur bone from the feed store and let him work that over. Both you and the gal friend must be consistent in your training, day in and day out. Same commands (write 'em down and tape it to the fridge if you must) every time from both of you. State your command only once and get the dog to respond. Dogs are quite place oriented and he must learn what good inside behavior is and comply or it's outside again.Got to run. Get some rest when you can. You're going to need it for awhile. It will work out fine though and probably in short order.

    Best of luck!

    Jim

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    One more quick thing...Good for you for taking that dog in! Attaboy!

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    In spring, about Feb the local dog clubs will begin with training groups, free or you may have to join, (cheap), but you want him to behave now. You need to enforce what ever you order him to do, every time. Baron will be on here soon, talk with him, perhaps ask him to help you. I would use a e-collar and condition him to obey with it. (enforcement collar). They are not cruel, they are simply a riminder to the dog that he has to obey if 2 ft from you or 200 yds. The long arm of the master. However, the dog must have simple obediance down before you start with the e-collar. It is for enforcing known commands, not for teaching new commands. If you are in the valley, i'd be happy to help or show you a few things. Another tool you should have is a healing stick, a swat with it when needed will go a long ways to controlling a dog. Bud
    Wasilla

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    I also own a yellow lab. He's a great dog with loads of 'energy' just like yours. I read books by Cesar Milan and adjusted his techniques somewhat to fit into my way of thinking.

    Chewing...he's bored. Wear him out a couple times a day by playing fetch or taking him swimming. Make him pant and pant hard. Then end the play when YOU choose using the same verbal command each time (I use 'all done' in happy pleasant voice)and he'll naturally rest. This normally takes 15-20 minutes of constant running/swimming for him. I also give him large thick rawhides at times when I can't play with him.

    Leash training.... Remember you are the boss. If you allow him just one step with a tight leash he's learning that you'll move where he wants. When he pulls, you stop! The very second the leash loosens begin walking again. If he tries walking in a direction you don't want him to go you just maintain the direction you were headed. The leash will tighten at this point and it will redirect him to your plan. Be consistent as this can be very frustrating for the trainer. When he's walking and leash is loose reward him with a simple 'good boy' in your pleasant voice. Even after several years I still need to stop occasionally....consistency cannot be stressed enough. If he's very resistant to this method you can also make him submit to you by simply placing him on his side and holding his body and head down to the ground for several seconds. Again, teaching him you are the alpha male.

    Good luck on your training and future hunting.

    -akiceman25

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    Member Hoyt's Avatar
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    Good info to go from. I can't add much more than anybody else did. He has bad manners at this point, and needs to be taught what good manners are! Glad you took him in. He sounds like he is going to make a great hunting partner once he learns how to behave!
    "If I could shoot a game bird and still not hurt it, the way I can take a trout on a fly and release it, I doubt if I would kill another one." George Bird Evans

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    Thanks for your advice one and all. We found one of those metal pinch collars with the short spikes on it in a case of accessories that the original owners gave us. (They were quite generous with that sort of stuff-nice folks.) That has worked very well thus far. He will pull hard the first 5 minutes of a walk, and will still pull hard up to a place to relieve himself, but otherwise we've had great results with that collar. We went on a 90 min walk yesterday w/ no problems.

    As for the indoors issues, we've decided to use the garage as a sort of half-way house to transition him from being an outside dog to being allowed inside. We'll see how it goes.

    I didn't get a rawhide chew, but I did get one of those large Kong bone things; he seems to like it.

    I wonder just how much activity time (minutes per day/events per day) he needs.

    PS: All of this talk about pulling has gotten me to thinking about skijoring. I wonder if skijoring (or even sled/weight pulling) would be a productive way to exercise him in the winter months. I'm a little concerned that teaching those types of activities might be detrimental to his bird training, which isn't an option.

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    Nothing wrong with skijoring. Your dog needs a job, or some form of regular exercise. I road my pack once or twice a day and they stay fit and happy, but roaring isn't an option for everyone. Swimming is great, too! the Kong chew is good, and putting some peanut butter or some other treat inside is a good idea.

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    Don't know if it is the "right" way to go about it but I use trekking plows when hiking the mountains and a leashed pup + poles was a challenge. I found that a bump on the side with the pole basket and a heel command got him to back out of their way but admittedly he got a couple unintentional "thumps" in the process of me catching myself when he knocked me off balance on steeper terrain early on. The effect was well received and he quickly learned that I liked him on my right side and just behind me as he got lots of praise when he held that position. The lesson has carried over well into normal hiking and walks without poles. Since the first real hike I rarely need to do more than apply a pull on the leash and give a heel command when he gets excited.

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    Quit going for walks with him until he is trained and ready to do so at heel. You keep excacerbating the issue. Go back to the yard, put him on lead, and do some heeling training. We've got numerous threads with the info on this site. Jim said it. You have a lot of bad habits to break. This is one that should only take a few minutes for him to figure out. Once he gets it, and is successful, you both will make headway. And by a few minutes, I mean a few minutes a day, for maybe a couple of weeks. You'll need to be firm, consistent and fair.
    I would not use a healing stick in my first attempts to re-teach him what is expected. I might use that later as a tool to enforce what I taught him after he knew what the new rules were. Whacking on a dog right out of the box, expecially an older one who is only doing what he understands, is not fair to him.
    You are going to have to build a brand new set of instructions and expectations for him. That is not impossible, or the end of the world. I would restrict the amount of trouble he can get into to keep him, and yourself, in a positive frame of mind.
    Lots of good folks in ANC to pick and choose for help. Get it if you need it. Good luck,
    ARR

  12. #12

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    If it's my dog, I'm taking him for about 20+ hard miles on foot before I even think about training. Walk the hell out of him, he will be receptive to correction when he is exhausted. BODY, MIND, HEART..in that order.

    provide body(ATLEAST 2 hours of execise a day)

    provide mind(a job, obedience training, heel, sit, stay etc.)

    Provide heart(give the dog some loving, this part is as much about you as the dog and the wife can help here)

    Keep it simple and FUN! lujon nailed leash training, and jim knows more than all of us combined(excluding baron)

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    (this got long :-?
    Iíve spent the last 5 years retraining problem dogs, 2 are lab or lab mix, the others were other mixes.
    Itís only been 2 days for you. He is 6 .He lived solely outside. He was barely trained.
    In my opinion no sporting dog should live 100% of the time outside unless youíre living out there with him. They all depend on human interaction and companionship and most sporting breed experts will tell you this. If thatís what you plan, I canít help you since there is no consistency. The dog needs to live with you. But this is what I do.

    I brought all mine inside to sleep in a crate next to my bed.
    I did no structured training until they were acclimated to me, the family and the house. Itís not like youíre not training. Every contact is training.
    With the Doodle, since he pulled I took advantage of that, put him in harness and he will bikejor pulling hard for about a mile or more. Then he kind of trots with me for another 3-5 miles. If I ever get my skiing going I'll do skijoring but so far no luck, I need training wheels.

    At the same time I was letting him pull in harness I started doing leash work. Use a buckle/flat collar first and just walk, change direction if he pulls and make coming with you fun. You have to balance the correction with praise and if he is treat motivated plenty of those. All good things must come from you. Pinch collar is fine as long as it fits correctly.. The pinch collar should fit so it hangs loose and a short quick jerk closes it. If you never used one before you should have someone show you how it operates. Most people use it wrong. Youíre correct to not use a choke collar on a strong pulling dog. They can be either ineffective or hurt the dog and even break Ė watch the pinch collar too. They can fail, some people have another hook to a buckle collar.

    Calming down inside. Ė I had to learn how to manage this when we got to 4 dogs in 900 sq ft and the Doodle arrived. He was manic and still is but he knows ďplaceĒ, His bed. Donít yell ( I had to train myself out of yelling, it did not work)
    One way to start is to leash him to bring him in, take him to his spot, lay down and treat. Make him stay there. You may have to do this when other people come into the house too. The sooner he learns that he is rewarded by getting in his ďplaceĒ the faster he will get there. Donít give him any attention until he is calm. I even used to stand on his leash, ignoring him, until he calmed down, Then praise the heck out of him, calmly . By doing that approach Iíve been able to get all the dogs to calm down before coming in the door, or being let out of their kennels. No more door rushing or jumping at the door.

    Family co-operation- Last week I walked in on the better half wrestling with Jack in the 20 x 15 ft living room. Donít do that. You have to be consistent with indoor demeanor. Inside voices and inside manners only. Our other dogs are sight hound mixes and they taught me the power of being calm otherwise theyíd fly up and over the couch at 20mph. You donít want that.

    If youíre going to do any retrieving start out on a long line for recall. If like my Doodle he comes to you with no reservation for a few weeks you can probably start on more serious training. Youíll know when he is living FOR you. It can take a few weeks to almost a year to see that but I find the Labs turn around really fast. I loved my other 15 labs that I raised from puppies but I donít think another dog has ever pleased me more than the Doodle, a dog I really did not want Ė and that took a lot of work and consistent love, on HIS part. He taught and is still teaching me a lot.
    If you want some more advice or help working with your dog let me know. AlaskaDogNews@mtaonline.net

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    From the Waterfowl Hunting forum it sounds like the dog has had training:

    "A little more info on the dog- he has good basic obedience. Continued work on obedience will help keep him sharp and bond with a new home. He marks well and has no problem picking up doubles. He is whistle trained and trained to handle. This training, like obedience, should be continued. It gives him a job and exercise and helps with the bonding thing. "

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    Quote Originally Posted by 3CBRS View Post
    From the Waterfowl Hunting forum it sounds like the dog has had training:

    "A little more info on the dog- he has good basic obedience. Continued work on obedience will help keep him sharp and bond with a new home. He marks well and has no problem picking up doubles. He is whistle trained and trained to handle. This training, like obedience, should be continued. It gives him a job and exercise and helps with the bonding thing. "
    Your right Karen, I should have specified, indoor training. With the rehomed dogs that was always the first big hurdle. Personally I don't know how to train a dog who is to be kept only outside. It seems to me training outside work and inside living is the entire package of learning how to be a partner and not just a tool.

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    If dogs live outside, then I want to live outside too!

    Jim

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    WOW, so much information and ideas to try, thanks so much. My girlfriend would actually like to try and find a professional trainer and go that route.

    3CBRS is correct to focus the discussion. The original owner was very up front about the need of additional obedience training. I allowed myself to be a little surprised by the dog when I should I have been more prepared.

    Interesting comment, Linda, about dogs being tools; that's essentially how I grew up-dogs were tools, never part of the family. All of our dogs were outside only dogs, so this new arrangement is new to both me and the dog.

    On a bright note, we took him to vet today, and he behaved brilliantly. He heeled, sat, didn't jump on the counters (well once he tried) and no trouble with other doges in the waiting area.

    I've also been to Loussac and gotten some gun dog training books.

    I get the impression, from posts here, that it might not be wise to take the dog hunting yet. What say you? The original owner hunted him the last 4 seasons, so I'm hoping to take him out this year, although I'm not fully equipped (camo, etc). My girlfriend agreed to a 90 day veto period, during I which I can decide not to keep him (not that I'm planning on not keeping him), but I'd like to see him hunt before that time is up (After 90 days, we -SHE- is keeping him. She REALLY likes him.)

    PS: Blackdawg, those e collarrs aren't exactly cheap! lol

  18. #18

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    Yep. Sounds like a dog that needs a job. Hope you can provide that for him or he may just entertain himself. I get a
    handful of these type of retrievers in every year. Most labs are able to turn on when needed and turn off when not.
    Another words focused in the field and ready to go but able to mentally relax when at home or away from a working
    situation. For me here at the kennel if you give this type of dog a day or two away from the field they will drive me nuts. Acting out in the kennel yard or batting water pails with their feet or even tossing them in the air. But when I load them up and run a training setup. They are so focused and have the drive to run straight through factors that other labs have trouble with. These high drive labs can be difficult to live with if not kept busy and socialized. Owners that can't handle this type of dog are over dogged. Meaning they don't have the training knowledge or no how to work with a retriever with this much drive. In some cases the dog is away from the family crated or chained. Which makes for a high energy high anxiety dog. Unchecked these dogs become red zone cases. Not all labs are the same. Most folks don't know the difference from one pedigree to the next.
    As mentioned earlier obedience is certainly the key. Get with some knowledgeable folks in your area and practice
    obedience. For retrievers obedience goes beyond just walking on a leash.
    I don't allow retrievers to chew on my training dummies. These are mine. When the training dummies come out they need to follow my rules. I have different yard toys for them to chew and play with in the yards that they can do what ever with. The yard toys are practically indestructible so I don't care. Training items I keep separate.
    Sorry for being so choppy with my points. Grammar was never my calling.
    Have fun with your new friend. We are all here to root you on and help.

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    Give us some more background. Tell us what this guy does know and has experience at. Once you get OB done then we can start heading in another training direction. His background can help us do so.

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    Wetland Ret., thanks for your input. I'm trying to get a phone call out to the original owner, who is down in Hoona. I need to find out exactly what commands this dogs expects from me, and how I should expect him to respond.

    I spoke with the owner before I saw the dog, and he told me that the dog was whistle trained, was a good pointer on upland games (grouse primarily, which is what I hunt) but that he was primarily a waterfowl dog. He did tell me to expect to continue doing some obedience training. When we discussed the idea of leash walking, the original owner felt that, because he trained the dog to work upland game close to the hunter, walking on a leash shouldn't be too much of an issue.

    When I got the dog, I spoke with the wife who said they had duck hunted w/ the dog the last 4 seasons and had been pretty successful. However, it was an outside dog, refused to sleep in its dog house, and had a pretty long run to be tethered to. The original owners have a cabin and she told me that the dog never had an "accident" in the cabin. Still, he's way too wound up for being inside.

    From what I can tell, he knows heel and sit, but only complies immediately when we're throwing the dummy birds for him. The pinch collar has helped us get his attention at other times. He's just about learned "lay down." We use "no" a lot, but we don't get much compliance from him without a rap across the nose. We usually use no when trying to get him to calm down when he's just jumping all over the place. The original owner didn't teach him stay because he felt that "sit" was enough-a dog shouldn't move if told to sit.

    Currently, our exercise schedule includes an hour walk at 6 am (increased from a 20 min walk), 30-45 mins of retriever training (we use those nobbied training "birds") about noon (on the days that I home), another 30-45 mins of retriever training about 5 pm and then another hour long walk about 8:30 pm followed by feeding and then out into the yard for the night.

    We've jst started doing the out in the yard overnight last night, which went well, and we're going to try it in the day time too. We think he was in his kennel too much because he yesterday, he started chewing his tail.

    I saw your website, checked with the gf, and I'm going to call your kennel next week sometime and see if we can afford your help. I think we need some more experienced outside help.

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