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Hello. :wave:

I want to know if and when you know if a dog isn't right for your family?

We have three dogs; two of them are Lab mixes, one is a Shih Tzu, all three are females. The Shih Tzu (she's 5 yrs. old), though, wants nothing to do with the pups (they are 6-8 months old), so I'm leaving her out of this post. :)

Both of the Labs are energetic pups. However, the one is quite a handful. She's smart -- we've trained her to sit and stay, respond to a clicker (to come in from outside), housebroke, and crate trained her. She's also figured out how to open the gate we used to gate off the kitchen and then she learned just to jump over it in one leap.

However, she refuses to walk on a leash, even on a prong collar. She will choke herself and I have a hard time holding on to the leash. She digs in the yard. She bucks like a wild animal when we hold her collar (trying to put her leash on, taking her out of the cage briefly, etc.). She's really strong. She jumps on us, and when she does that with our children, she scares them (the other dog does this too, but she seems to have a different connection with the kids). She does NOT listen to our commands to get down. Today, she went to jump on me while I was sitting on the couch, and cold-cocked me in the head with hers. WOW, did that hurt.

When the two pups play, they can go for hours -- forget about spending any time with us. So we bring them in one at a time sometimes, but she's so wound up, no matter if she's been walked or has run outside, she doesn't want to spend time with us. We wanted dogs that were playful, but also would lay quietly with us at times. Her "sister" does that. She will steal your shoes, the baby's bottle, or anything else to get you to chase her.

Just for the record, she is NO way aggressive, even though sometimes the girls seem to play a little rougher than I'd like. She always licks us for the two seconds she gives us attention, and likes to be near us if we're in the car. She hugs my leg while I try to walk her. She whines if she's in her crate and we are nearby. However, we can't let her out to be with us as much as we'd like because of her energy level.

Every time, though, I think about rehoming her, I get ill because I'm afraid that no one will care for her like we have.

I've chipped her, had her spayed, got her rabies shot and license, so it's not like I'm not committed to her care. However, it's not fair to her to be in a crate most of the day. That's not why I wanted to have dogs.

Any thoughts? Thanks.


100_3029.jpg {The girls -- the one the post is about is one the right.}

 

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i too have a dog like this. branston has spent more time in his crate than i'd like at times and we are having a behaviourist come in next week. i play games with him loads during the day, hide and seek, fetch etc and he gets 2 really good walks a day. we have always said that he doesnt have an 'off' switch though. he can go from 0 - 90 in 2 seconds! and thats when hes just come back from a walk/run and is really tired!
i cant give you any advice but i do sympathise! hopefully someone will come along soon who can help. good luck.
 

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Each dog is different. Some have higher energy than others, and require more work and exercise. I firmly believe that almost all misbehaving is due to lack of working in drive, and lack of proper training. I do the same job/training with each dog, and everyone requires a different approach with certain things. If the puppies are more content playing with each other, well the other dog is more fun than you! Make yourself be the fun one. Dogs need time to be dogs. Some need lots of time running playing jumping biting wrestling chasing. Labs are hunting dogs, they need a way to expend the energy. You will see a difference in litter mates, each puppy has different drive levels.
 

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She sound like a good pup, she just need maybe more training. Have you watched some of
Dr. Ian Dunbar videos? He has a few that may would interest you. one that shows how to get a excited dog to relax and a few other. you can find him in the sticky post on here.
 

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She definitely doesn't sound like a "bad" dog from your description, but just like the others have said she probably needs some different/additional ways to use up some of that energy. Same breed, even same litter, is far from a guarantee that what works for one will work for another. They're still young and though they may or may not look it so much at this point, they're right in the middle of the puppy stage, and most everything you described are simply puppy behaviors.

She definitely sounds like a smart one, having already been able to teach her some basic behaviors. As for the walking on a leash, it may only need a little more training. Jax was supposedly 6 months when I got him, and would now be about 8 if that's correct. It's taken a little work to get him walking on a leash as he should, as at first he'd try to drag me around. Take a look on the training forum and see what you may find on there that could help you out. For us, it's just been a lot of repetitiveness. I often take treats when we go walk at the park, so he gets a treat at random times for random things throughout the walk. When he's pulling hard, I'll give a little tug back, or stop completely and make him sit before proceeding. He's getting better at it. When I first started using a harness on him, he was an absolute nut and made it extremely difficult to put it on. He's since associated the harness with going for a walk or a run, and now usually I will slip the harness over his head and he's immediately lifting a paw at a time for me to slip his legs in. A lot of it is simply about the dog being able to associate good, fun activities or rewards with putting on a harness and being walked. Currently, she may (depending on how much you've used the choke/prong collars, how they've been used, how much she's pulled, etc etc) only associate these things with pain and fear, hence wanting to fight it every time.

As for the puppy play...they're puppies. And energetic, obviously. Some of that you're not going to work out, though it may be helped as well by finding somewhere else to focus her energy. Leash/collar problems aside, how much time do they spend being walked/exercised daily? What do they do, or what do you do with them, aside from playing with one another? Does she end up spending a majority of her time in the kitchen, or in a crate?

There's a LOT of good stickies on the training forum to scour through if you haven't already, and they may lead to some good ideas.
 

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For the past few weeks I fostered an amazing, genius little pit bull named Sugar. Man, that dog has heart. The previous foster-parent, however, faced all kinds of difficulty dealing with Sugar's rambunctiousness. Sugar would get all excited when the owner came in, jumping on her, and basically mauling her in a friendly-dog way. It was not acceptable behavior. A local dog expert (and Sugar's caretaker at the shelter) believes that since Sugar is so smart she was inadvertently trained to behave this way.

Now, when Sugar was handed off to me, I was given a warning about her tendencies to be overly energetic. So I introduced Sugar to my house by walking her on a leash through each of the rooms, always going through doors ahead of her, letting her sniff around. Then I put her in the backyard. That is her domain to be crazy or do whatever she likes. When she wanted to come inside, I made her sit before I opened the screen door. Coming home at the end of the day, I did not act excited to see Sugar. This can make a dog think excitement is what you are looking for. Instead I would ignore her for a few minutes before calmly greeting her, "Hi, Sugar," and letting her come inside. I never saw any of the behaviors the previous owner had suffered.

I believe your pup can learn to behave more politely around people, especially as smart as she is. She may not realize that the hyper behavior is unwanted. Be confident, calm, and stand your ground. Plenty of exercise is good. But while exercise will help wear her out and make her more balanced, don't exhaust yourself or you won't be able to be the firm, relaxed leader that you are.

Here is an interesting video on rewarding calm behavior: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wesm2OpE_2c&feature=g-hist&context=G27b7e07AHT346GQAOAA
 
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