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1022 Views 10 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  MeanGreenZen
In November of last year, we adopted a lab mix (everyone has an opinion what the mix is-maybe sheppard or pit?) He was a year old and about to be put to sleep, and we wanted a large family dog. He had been left by a family whose home had been foreclosed on, and didn't show any signs of problems. Our vet checked him out and said he was excellent in both behavior and health.

After a few months of not knowing how to handle a big dog (he is our first), his behavior began changing. He started jumping, chewing, becoming very hyper and hard to control. We tried Petco training, which did nothing. We began to devote at least 2-4 hours a day with him, thinking maybe he just wasn't getting enough attention. We have a very large yard with plenty of room to roam, so we'd throw the ball outside (and get jumped on), we'd go for walks (and get dragged all over the place), petting, positive reinforcement, etc. We knew from our children that consistency was key, but it didn't seem to matter here--his behavior was just getting worse and we knew we were to blame. We tried kennel training him, but getting him into the kennel was impossible unless my husband was home-the dog is stronger than I am. Just about the only thing that DID work was that at night, we were adamant about him sleeping on his bed, and he would do so easily and throughout the night.

He gained thirty pounds, growing to be a 90lb. dog. At this time, I got pregnant and the jumping got dangerous. We tried a prong collar, which helped some, but still he was so big it was hard to even wrangle him with the collar. He chewed through the wiring to our AC unit in the backyard. We had to do something.

We were at our wits end,when a friend told us about a positive reinforcement "puppy school" that lasted for six weeks. I was leery, but it was held in very high regard, and I could not allow him to jump on me while pregnant. We took him, paid the VERY expensive fee, visited, attended classes with him, and he looked to be much better. When we got him home, we worked very hard to reinforce what we all had learned and for a little while everything was great, then problems started again. He can sit, walk on a leash, and until last week, was not jumping, but he was barking at everything, and began getting up and wondering around the house at night. The "stay" command works for about five minutes, then we fall asleep and get back up.

We were afraid he would chew something up or get into something he shouldn't so we were up all night, correcting him and putting him back on his bed. We've been doing this for two months and we are exhausted. We thought we still weren't spending enough time with him, so now we spend about five hours a day working with him. I don't mind the work, though it's exhausting, but it doesn't appear to be making a difference. What am I doing wrong??
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Whenever a dog fails a command, the owner/handler has asked for too much too soon.

IOW's if you ask for a stay and the dog breaks it in 5 minutes, then he is only capable of a three minute stay. If the breaks his sit command in 2 minutes, then you need to move back to 1 minute.

A dog in a cue should not decide when to stop doing that cue until the handler gives him a release word.

I agree with PP's, what ARE you doing for 5 hours a day with this dog? Formal Training sessions are 15 minutes TOPS and 2x a day is usually enough. The rest of time use NILIF (nothing in life is Free.. see stickie at top of dog training forum).

I would get a Crate. Yes. It has to be large but so it goes. Big enough for the dog to stand in, turn around in and lie down in. Get this book "Crate Games" from www.dogwise.com and crate train him. At night, he is in the crate and you are sleeping.

For jumping up, when he goes to jump (and you can usually tell when a dog is about to get light on the front and jump up) lean toward him and do a little cha cha into his space. Most dogs find this intimidating and back off. If you do it EVERY time, he will likely back off.. all 90 pounds of him. You could also add the word "YES!" emphatically and give him a food reward for keeping all 4 on the floor.

If you want your dog to go in the crate, start by leaving the door open and feeding him in there. Leave the door open and toss a treat in the crate and let him go in and come out. Get the book I suggested. The object is to make the crate a safe haven and also a fun place to go.

If you crate your dog and he screams and you let him out of the crate.. guess what you just taught him? Yup.. Screaming gets the crate open.

I don't like a dog in the bedroom so my dogs have always had to sleep elsewhere and separate from me.

Sometimes attention is the wrong thing to do. If the dog demands attention and you give it, he will want more. If he asks for attention and is doing something you don't like to get it, then the attention you give him will reinforce the behavior you want to extinguish.

We all love our dogs, but if we want our dogs to live with us, they need to do things we want them to do. If your dog loves attention, make him do something to get it (like sit, lie down, come here, stay etc.).

A toy you can try is a Buster Cube. Feed him half his food in that instead of in a dish. No law says a dog has to eat a meal out of a dish at one sitting like people do. He has to figure out how to flip the buster cube around to get the food out.
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IOW's is In Other Words.

Please drop the Dog Whisperer as your info source. You need to have parameters as a trainer..

While you are playing with your dog, also use cues for things. for instance, when the dog returns with the ball, have him sit b4 you throw it again etc.

Jumping up is to get attention. Problem is, you give attention when the dog jumps up and you have taught him he can get attention for jumping up!

The point is to give attention for sitting down and keeping 4 on the floor. Attention needs to be earned, not given for no reason at all.

PP's has given some great links.
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