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Discussion Starter #1
Our newest rescue Abbey is a lab/husky mix. She was surrendered to the shelter because she was "too much" for her elderly parents. She is the sweetest, most loving dog I know but she is so boisterous! She is 3 and has never had any formal training except for the 3 months she spent in foster care. She knows "sit", "drop it" and the occasional "Lie down". Often she just loves to cuddle with her people - she lays close, puts her head on your knee, stomach, whatever she can reach and she just lays there. The problem comes in when she is NOT just "laying there". She is like a bull in a china shop! If she wants to get on the couch - it doesn't matter who she has to step on to do it. I have bruises and scratches all over because of her jumping on me (not to get to me but because I'm in her path!) When she sees something she wants to chase outside she moans and growls and yelps - even long after the thing is gone. and runs from one window to the next knocking over or into anything in her path - me, my daughter, our other dog - whatever. When you ask her if she needs to go potty - she twirls around in circles, runs around the table then tramples the other dog to get to the door. They spend several hours per day outside running after one another, playing ball etc and at the end of the day she is tired and sleeps mostly all night (that's for another post!) but the craziness when she gets excited is too much. She like a kid with ADHD hyped up on pixie-sticks! We love her so much but need to know where to begin to get her to be calmer. Thanks!
 

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I would sign her up for a basic obedience class. I think having some more cues you can use with her will help teach her what you want. Most classes also do work on impulse control which is what she really needs.

Do a search for It's Yer Choice games and Doggy Zen. Make her life about Doggy Zen. If she wants that food or wants to get out the door, she has to be patient. Leave the treat to get the treat. Show her that good choices get rewarded.

Does she get any structured exercise? Running and playing fetch is good, but it can be really overstimulating for lots of dogs and spin their arousal up and up. I would work on some more mental exercise, like eating her meals out of puzzle toys, plus training. And I would add in a nice long walk. Walks don't tire all dogs out, but for many I think a calm controlled walk is a nice way to get the sniffies out and take the edge off.
 

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elrohwen has great advice and I think it's absolutely perfect for your situation. A few other pieces of advice:

About getting on the couch (and trampling you to do it) - I would recommend not allowing her on the couch for a period of time, until you can get some basic obedience training done with her. Then, after she calms slightly, the couch can be used as a reward for the type of mellow behavior you're looking for. Right now, if you allow her up there when she's behaving, she will continuously attempt to jump up there when she's misbehaving. Making it an "off limits" zone would help eliminate that problem.

About barking at things outside - I hate to say it, but you have a Husky/Lab. Both are very vocal breeds, and her loudness about exciting things outside is probably not going to go away. You can work on a "focus" command to help redirect her attention to you when exciting things are happening around her, but don't expect her to ever be a quiet dog.

About running in circles when asked if she wants to go outside - a few things would potentially help here. Firstly, why do you ask her "do you want to go outside?" if it clearly riles her up and causes her to be frantic indoors? She's going to behave that way whether she actually needs to go outside or not, because "outside" means excitement and fun. I'd recommend that you stop asking her that question. Secondly, you can work on teaching her that in order for that door to open to the great and wonderful outdoors, she needs to be calmly sitting and waiting for you to open it, not running in desperate circles.

In general, Labs are notorious for having a bit of an extended adolescent phase during which they act much younger than they actually are. While most larger breeds (and most breeds in general) calm down around 2.5-3 years old, Labs I have known tend to remain boisterous and energetic until a little bit later in life. There are exceptions to this rule, of course, but it sounds like you have a dog with the typical Lab's youthful energy and a Husky's physical endurance. Training will help, but training won't be a cure-all for things like energy level and her vocal nature - her energy can be worked off in calmer, more regimented ways and her barking/moaning/whining is most likely something you're just going to have to accept.
 

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Agreed! Training is important for managing the behaviors, but you also need a way to drain off all that energy .... running a few miles, 30 min. of training, Tug, Fetch...

When you get training a bit more under control, come back and we can suggest methods to help with vocalization.

[Having said that, my 15 yo Lab mix just spent 5 min. barking at the Vet b/c he stopped petting him :) ]
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you all for the great advice. We are actually signed up for basic obedience training. I am trying to decide between a couple of days at doggie daycare or getting a dog walker for 30 minutes a day M-F to walk her and play with her. She is VERY difficult on the leash however. I'm leaning toward daycare. I would send her 2 days and send my other dog just one day (she is VERY mellow and calm). I think the other one would enjoy a break from the maniac one day a week LOL!
 

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Agreed with everyone else but RE: getting calm behaviour while going outside etc I think you'll have to use "shaping", or atleast I do with my high energy dog. He's just far to over threshold when near the door to take treats or listen quickly so I've used shaping.

First I wait until the sit, then he gets let out. After that was reliable I demanded the sit and then watch me before letting him out and now we're at the stage or watching me while the door cracks open slowly and slightly and then he can go out. Eventually I want the door open while he's watching me and then we walk out calmly but I understand he's associated this with super excitement in the past so expecting the behaviour right off just isn't going to happen. We're getting there slowly but surely though!
 
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