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:confused: We are first time dog owner and do not really have a lot of knowledge in training a pup. We did our research and read books but it seems that we are still doing something wrong. We tried following everything we read about pups but our dog still misbehaves.

Zeus, our Lab, is very active and hyper. Energetic. He is almost 1 now. He has a lot of toys (most of them he destroys) and he makes so much mess in our fenced backyard (where we let him play and run around). I'm not talking about small little messes here and there. He dug out the wires of our sprinkler system, he destroyed the screen door (chewed it right out of the sliding doors!), and broke all of the bowls/bed we gave him. He even tried chewing off the sidings of the house!

Indoors, he chewed most of our furnitures, books, and the kids' toys. He's not interested with his own toys. I cannot watch him 24/7 since I also have 3 smaller kids to take care of. He barks non-stop and I'm afraid the neighbors will soon call the police to report him. We got him the bark collar but as soon as he figured out the "buzz" does not really hurt him he just ignored it.

He jumps on the kids when they're playing and I am actually worried he might accidentally hurt them.

Forget about walking him, he drags me like I weight 5 lbs and growls at every kid, dog, adult, or any moving object we see. He crouches and bears his teeth like he's always going to attack everyone and every step outside the house gets more and more frustrating and worrisome every single day. If there are visitors or a repairman coming inside the house, we have to hold him down or at least kennel him until everyone leaves.

The kids are not too fond of him anymore and we are afraid the only other option is to give him up. We promised to always take care of him and I would really appreciate any help/advice/scolding you guys can give.

Zeus reminds me of "Marley and Me" so much.

Please guys, HELP!!!! :(
 

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Well, let's start at the very, very beginning. What kind of training did you take the dog to? Not books read, but actual training with a trainer?

If you didn't do that, then do it now. There are training courses for older dogs who have had no formal training. It will be worth every dime.

You will have to learn to walk the dog. Dogs don't just need free space to run, they need structured walks, brain stimulation, human interaction and obedience training.

Seriously, just about all your problems will be solved with obedience training and exercise.

Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks, Trixie. I have thought about taking him to a training class at Petco. I will definitely look into it this weekend.

How about neutering? Some people have suggested that it might help his behavior. What's your thoughts on this?

Thanks!
 

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Well you should get him neutered regardless (that's my opinion, anyway) but I don't think it has a significant impact on behavior.

Honestly, it sounds like your dog is bored silly. Neutering him will not solve boredom.
 

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He is not acting this way because he is intact... he is acting this way because he is extremely bored and because he lacks structure and guidelines in his life. Neuter him if you wish, but not because you think it will solve his behaviour problems, because I can guarantee you that it won't.

I would definitely enroll in an obedience class. I would consider this a necessity at this point, not just something to look into. Read the NILIF sticky in the training forum and start applying it ALL the time.

This dog also needs to be exercised a LOT more. A 1 year-old Lab is the epitome of high-energy. The digging, chewing and barking are all his expressions of boredom. Imagine if you were stuck in a house all day, same people, same sights, same toys, never got to go to any new and interesting places. Soon enough you'd be beating your head against the wall too. This is his version of beating his head against the wall. Your dog has an enormous capacity to learn. This means that he has the potential to be a very good, well-behaved dog, but it also means that he gets bored more easily. He needs to run off his energy and start using his brain. This means training sessions at home, and it also means more exercise. Do short, 10-minute training sessions with him throughout the day. Get a Gentle Leader Easy Walk harness -- you should be able to find one at Petco -- and take him out on a walk, twice a day at the minimum. Try to avoid walking in areas and at times when he will be set off by strangers or other dogs; that is a separate issue that you need to address after you have dealt with the fundamental problems. Fetch and swimming are two other activities that he will love.

Buy a crate and acclimatise him to it; crate him whenever you cannot watch him. It's essential that he isn't able to get into trouble while you can't supervise. Every time he is able to get away with chewing something up, he learns that chewing furniture is okay. You need to remove his opportunity to do these things. You should also crate him when strangers or visitors come over; eventually you might not have to, but you should do this for now.

The dog should not be left unsupervised with the kids, EVER, until he learns that jumping is not okay.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
thanks, Melissa. I have a question about the obedience training. Sorry if this might sound stupid but when we go to a class, would it be better for me to do it alone with Zeus OR do I take my husband or eldest daughter with me? IS training better when its being done by one person or should the whole family be in this?

Thanks in advance!
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
everyone that I have talked to that has a male say that fixing them does settle them down some
Yeah, a lot of people has said that it will "calm" them down a bit...although I am not sure how true that is.

He is not acting this way because he is intact... he is acting this way because he is extremely bored and because he lacks structure and guidelines in his life. Neuter him if you wish, but not because you think it will solve his behaviour problems, because I can guarantee you that it won't.

I would definitely enroll in an obedience class. I would consider this a necessity at this point, not just something to look into. Read the NILIF sticky in the training forum and start applying it ALL the time.

This dog also needs to be exercised a LOT more. A 1 year-old Lab is the epitome of high-energy. The digging, chewing and barking are all his expressions of boredom. Imagine if you were stuck in a house all day, same people, same sights, same toys, never got to go to any new and interesting places. Soon enough you'd be beating your head against the wall too. This is his version of beating his head against the wall. Your dog has an enormous capacity to learn. This means that he has the potential to be a very good, well-behaved dog, but it also means that he gets bored more easily. He needs to run off his energy and start using his brain. This means training sessions at home, and it also means more exercise. Do short, 10-minute training sessions with him throughout the day. Get a Gentle Leader Easy Walk harness -- you should be able to find one at Petco -- and take him out on a walk, twice a day at the minimum. Try to avoid walking in areas and at times when he will be set off by strangers or other dogs; that is a separate issue that you need to address after you have dealt with the fundamental problems. Fetch and swimming are two other activities that he will love.

Buy a crate and acclimatise him to it; crate him whenever you cannot watch him. It's essential that he isn't able to get into trouble while you can't supervise. Every time he is able to get away with chewing something up, he learns that chewing furniture is okay. You need to remove his opportunity to do these things. You should also crate him when strangers or visitors come over; eventually you might not have to, but you should do this for now.

The dog should not be left unsupervised with the kids, EVER, until he learns that jumping is not okay.
He does love fetching! :) He never gets tired of that game.
 

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thanks, Melissa. I have a question about the obedience training. Sorry if this might sound stupid but when we go to a class, would it be better for me to do it alone with Zeus OR do I take my husband or eldest daughter with me? IS training better when its being done by one person or should the whole family be in this?

Thanks in advance!
I would bring your husband or daughter with you. ALL members of the family should learn how to treat Zeus -- consistency is key in training. If Zeus doesn't get away with it when he jumps on you, but gets away with it when he jumps on your daughter, the training will be much less effective.
 

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that's what they say but I've only had females and it definately doesn't do nothing for the females. If he loves fetching that's great and the kids can play fetch with him too:)
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
I would bring your husband or daughter with you. ALL members of the family should learn how to treat Zeus -- consistency is key in training. If Zeus doesn't get away with it when he jumps on you, but gets away with it when he jumps on your daughter, the training will be much less effective.
That's true. Thanks, again! I will keep you guys updated with our progress with Zeus.

that's what they say but I've only had females and it definately doesn't do nothing for the females. If he loves fetching that's great and the kids can play fetch with him too:)
Yeah he does love fetch. My two smallest kids is just interested in Zeus as a "horsey" though! hahahahaha

Good night guys and I will sign in here again and keep everyone updated with our progress :)

THANKS!
 

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One more thing -- your young kids have to be taught how to treat Zeus. PLEASE don't encourage them to ride on his back, pull at his ears or tail or generally treat him like a stuffed animal. He is not a stuffed animal... He is a dog and every dog has a limit. You don't know when riding on his back will be one step too far, and no one wants to see anyone get hurt. It's also highly possible that they might be riling him up and causing his jumping behaviour. Do they scream, run around or make loud noises when playing with him? Do they ever play rough? I'm not blaming your kids here... I'm just saying that when your kids act excited, Zeus gets excited, and when Zeus gets excited he jumps and barks. I'm not saying that getting him enthusiastic is a bad thing, but first he needs to learn that jumping up is not a good way to express this enthusiasm.
 

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Ok I agree that your dog needs some training, however I don't think that Petco or Petsmart is the place to go since he's starting to show dog aggression. Try here instead so you get a trainer that works well with problem dogs in a positive manner.

www.iaabc.org or www.apdt.com

for training at home (which you can start right away) try these

Self control
Doggy Zen

Concentration
Targeting AKA "Touch"

For walking, get an Easy walk harness Easy Walk Harness or a Sensi harness http://www.softouchconcepts.com/products/sense_ible_harness.html which controll the dog by taking the reward out of pulling. then start Loose Leash Walking Using Positive Reinforcers


Training will help to tire hime some, but as others have said he NEEDS the excercise to finish the job. For a dog with a working mind, look into something such as agility that will tire him physically as well as mentally or train him to do a 'job' such as carrying a pack for you when out on walks.
 

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Ok I agree that your dog needs some training, however I don't think that Petco or Petsmart is the place to go since he's starting to show dog aggression. Try here instead so you get a trainer that works well with problem dogs in a positive manner.
Good point that I didn't think of. He may not be able to focus on training with other dogs present.
 

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I have mentioned this on other threads, out of every 10 dogs I train 3 to 5 will be Labs. They are popular and generally high energy dogs (I hate the hyper label)bred to do some heavy retrieving that most people don't use them for.

Now I prefer one member of family start the dog in obedience, 30 days later 2nd member of family and each member at a 30 day start program. It definitely does not hurt to have the whole family watching if you go to class so they can also soak up instructions. Once new family members kick in the already started family can continue to work the dog. My personal opinion is that it is less confusing to the dog to phase the family members in with 30 day program. This is my program, what I tell my clients. Other trainers have their programs and successes with whatever method they advise. (or they would soon be out of business)

The neuter program is one of those if it doesn't help it won't hurt things and at the very least stops unnecessary breeding.

You actually did not mention a crate but did mention kenneling him so you must have something there to help you with that program. When not there to supervise pup he should be kenneled/crated.

One piece of advice to take or throw away all pups should be crate broke at young age before they are strong enough to break out of crate. If done properly when they are older they do not want to break out.

The Marley dog I think has done more to harm the Lab's reputation than help it. The average owner is not going to keep a Marley type and the truth of the matter is that proper training would have eliminated all or most of the problems.

People you are going to have an animal in your house that could possibly reach 75 lbs or over living with you 24/7, training is the answer.
 

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The Marley dog I think has done more to harm the Lab's reputation than help it. The average owner is not going to keep a Marley type and the truth of the matter is that proper training would have eliminated all or most of the problems.
I agree completely....Marley was a perfectly average Lab, unfortunately with perfectly average owners who didn't know a thing about dogs or Labs. Labs are active, they're designed to be active, and if you don't give them the proper exercise and mental stimulation they WILL be destructive. It's just the way they are. That's why so many Labs end up in shelters, dead before they're 18 months old.

With my Lab Willow, we had to throw her toy (across a large field....probably 100 feet or so) at least 10 times every session, take her on a walk, then play hide-the-Kong in the house for a while. This had to be done EVERY SINGLE DAY, usually twice a day, or she would have become unmanagable.
 

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I don't think you should go to petsmart or petco training. If you can't control him at home, controlling with other people and dogs will be a lot harder. I believe you should get a 1 on 1 training. Mostly it seems he lacks training, but some food could make dogs hyper.
 

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Carla gave you some good to-do-right-now until you line up training. I also agree that Petco or Petsmart is not the way to go. Check to see if you have a local dog training club. They usually have excellent trainers, and the cost is lower than most private facilities/individual trainers. I'm with Wvasko on having just one person do the obedience training. The rest of the family can learn, but one person during training, especially since the human will also be learning how to train.

You have children, and dogs, just like children, thrive on structure and routine. Mealtime, nap time, play time, quiet time, etc. I have 3 Standard Poodles, and a Shih Tzu (+ 2 cats), and often foster as many as 3 dogs at a time. I live alone, own my home, work full-time, and I like to have some time to myself, too! In order to get done what needs doing, yet have time for myself, as well, I have a loosely structured daily routine - meaning that the routine is the same, with the time things are done being the variable.

A typical day begins with run-off-the-zoomies and potty outside. Then:

Breakfast.

4-5-min. of doggie push ups (aka training sessions, or: sit, stand, down, sit, stand, down!).

Walk/Exercise, combined with interactive games to teach self-control, and to learn to think and problem-solve. Mental stimulation (it tires them, too).

Quiet time: in crate w/Kong or raw bone.

4-5-min training session.

Nap time.

Dinner.

4-5-min. training session.

30-min Down/Stay on mat/rug/bed next to me (while I read, watch TV, or whatever).

Walk/Exercise.

4-5-min. training session.

Bedtime.

Once you've gotten a good handle on obedience training, you can also explore things you can train in order to give your dog a job. Mine help me bring in groceries from the car, put some of them away, put junk mail in the trash, take the garbage down to the alley for me, find, and bring me the remote, the phone, my purse, my keys, their leashes, and so much more. When I have my 5-yr. old grandson, they pick up after him! LOL (I taught them to put their toys away in the toybox). Makes my life easier, and they LOVE doing things for me, soooooo proud of themselves! LOL

Hang in there!


everyone that I have talked to that has a male say that fixing them does settle them down some
Yeah, right - during the time they're recovering from the anesthesia! LOL
 

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I agree that Marley was a perfectly average lab, but if his owners were perfectly average, we need to start beating kids more in school or something. ;P

(I am KIDDING. Quit glaring!)

Marley's problems were sad because his owners seemed so perversely proud of how 'bad' he was, which in reality ALL of his behavior was pretty much attributable to their lack of supervision, inability to actually follow a house rule or enforce ANY kind of good behavior, and their apparent emotional investment in having him be so naughty so they could be saintly in putting up with him. I think the only book that's made me angrier than M&M is that Jon Katz book about poor Devon!
 
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