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Okay, so I am new to this forum so I hope I'm posting this in the correct place. This post may be a bit long but when answering questions in other forums I've always felt like the more information the better....

I have a 10 week old Lab puppy named Ranger. I have had him since he was 8 weeks so still a very new relationship between us but he has been great so far! Nearly housetrained, doesn't whine in his crate after the first few minutes, has learned to basically control his bite inhibition. He's even learned a few "manners" such as sit, come, watch me, etc.

The big issue that I'm having with Ranger is that he gets distracted and ignores me. For example, after going potty in the correct place I take him walking around in the yard for a few minutes so that he doesn't associate a good potty performance with something negative like having to come inside. After we walk around for a few minutes and it's time to go inside he will refuse to come when called. I know everyone says that a dog, particularly a lab, is rarely misbehaving on purpose and very willing to please, and I know that this is mostly true. But I feel like he knows his name and knows what "come" and "let's go" mean because he executes them correctly when training and in other situations. It's just that he doesn't want to go inside yet and unless I make him he just won't come. Even using a lure and trying a command I know he knows he still refuses to come out of the yard on his own. Typically he will sit in the grass and attempt to eat grass, leaves, pinecones, etc. He is not short on food or water (believe me, he's 10 weeks old and eats over 2 cups a day plus training treats and drinks nearly a quart of water a day!). And I know I'm not supposed to use his "come" command with something he doesn't want to do and the better solution is to just go get him. But then what the heck is the point of the come command if I can only use it when he wants to "come" anyways? Also, when everyone says "just go get him", what does that mean? Go pick him up? Go drag him by his collar? He's going to be 90 pounds soon and picking him up won't be an option and I don't want to have to drag my buddy by his collar! This occurs often on walks as well when he gets distracted by something and just refuses to pay attention to his command or walk with me. And it's not like he's pulling on the leash in front of me, he just plops into the grass and starts chewing grass, leaves, whatever he can. And I do know he's of course teething so he has plenty of stuffed toys, Kong toys, bully bones, raw-hide, etc. Plenty of appropriate teething toys.

I've started working on focus exercises more like "Watch Me" but it doesn't seem to do much good. So I just have to go pick him up and carry him inside because I don't want to pull on his leash and drag him with me. But I can't do that forever of course, at some point, and sooner than I realize probably, he's going to be a big boy and I won't be able to viably go pick him up or even drag him if I had to.

And to add on, I don't think it's a lack of respect for me being the "pack leader". He knows "leave it" and mostly executes it when chewing on something he should not. He cuddles next to me every chance he can. He is almost always very eager to please and a joy to be around. It's just when we go outside he becomes so obstinate that it's almost impossible NOT to get frustrated because he does so well at all other times!

And finally a little about me to provide all info that could be necessary. It's just the pup and I living in my house and I do work during the day (Mon-Fri 9-5). I am lucky enough to have a job where I can come home during the day to feed him a small snack for lunch, let him out for potty and a quick 5-10 minute play time. He is crate training so at night and while I'm at work he stays in his "den" and the only times I've seen him get upset in his crate are times when I realized I dropped the ball and he needed some more water or needed to go potty again. We have a great start to our relationship, I spend almost all my time with him when I'm not at work or sleeping because I know he's a little deprived of interaction during the day. We do training exercises, go for walks, constantly talking to him, reinforcing ALL his good behavior (even if it's just following me around the house) and letting him sleep out of his crate until it's time for me to go to bed.

So, to end my very long post, and I appreciate your time if you're still reading, I'm looking for answers to a couple of questions...

How do I get my puppy to do what he is supposed to even if it's something he doesn't want to do without punishing him? I know that positive reinforcement is the new thing and I like the idea of it but doesn't even a dog need to know that certain behaviors are simply not acceptable and that he can't just sit down when he's supposed to obey and come? Picking him up and bringing him inside doesn't correct a behavior, that just gives me the desired end result but does nothing to shape a correct behavior.

Thank you to all who may be able to advise and help!
 

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Someone much more experienced and knowledgeable will be along to give you good advice. I'm a dog newbie, so my experience is limited.

One thing to keep in mind is that your puppy is very, very young and he's just been uprooted - he's left his siblings, mom, humans who cared for him and is in a strange place with unfamiliar people, sights, and smells. He's not obstinate or disrespectful, he's a baby who's just starting to explore the amazing world around him.

Training behaviors in your living room is one thing - he's probably pretty familiar with the "stuff" in it. Outside is a whole new world that changes frequently - every time he goes out, it's a different environment - super exciting to a puppy. When working with him outside, imagine trying to teach a fourth grader arithmetic at a circus. There's so much interesting stuff going on that it's nearly impossible to think about 2 +2 = 4. Same with Ranger. He's far too distracted to be in a learning mindset.

Just like a fourth grader can't be expected to solve math problems with 100% accuracy after two weeks of lessons, your dog can't be expected to have anything close to 100% accuracy after two weeks of training. He will need many training sessions in a variety of environments with various distractions before he's really learned. (And honestly, I'm not sure 100% accuracy is possible with humans or dogs.)

Take a look at the material on Ian Dunbar's site, Dog Star Daily. There are free training books available with excellent advice. Also, take a look at Kikopup's youtube channel for great training videos.

Good luck and keep us posted on Ranger's progress. And I'll make the obligatory request for pictures!
 

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Your pup has not even entered kindergarten yet, in real life expect nothing. Pup is a baby.
 

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He's a little baby so I think you are really expecting too much too soon. You wouldn't expect perfect obedience from a five year old, especially one who speeks a different language and just moved into your home two weeks ago.

Training a cue in one situation doesn't mean the dog will understand it in a different situation. Dogs don't generalize well. You often have to reteach from the beginning each new cue in each different environment, slowly increasing distractions before a command is fully "learned."

Keep building your relationship with your new puppy and keep training. You will get there eventually.

For now I would keep the pup on a long line so he doesn't have the choice to come in or not. Have you tried walking away and going towards the door without him? A lot of pups wont want to be left alone and walking away is actually a cue to follow where as facing and approaching a dog is often seen as an invitation to play keep away.
 

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Heck, my adult rescue took a couple of months to get sit all the way down in my living room! Just relax and enjoy the bumbly fat bellied little baby you have. Perfection can wait.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you to everyone for your advice and assistance!

I understand what Gally is saying about dog's not generalizing well and needing time to relearn what something means in a different environment. That makes sense and he seems to be picking up on it.

I fully understand he's a puppy and by no means do I expect perfection from him or expect him to act like a fully trained adult dog. I love him being a puppy and l'm not trying to punish him for being a puppy. My question isn't WHY he's not paying attention but what do I do so that I'm shaping the correct behavior as he grows up. If I muddied up what I was trying to ask with all the info then I apologize. But yes, I understand that he's a puppy.

I will work on helping him learn the same cues in multiple situations until he seems to pick them up. But when he doesn't come when called, for example when we're outside playing and it's time to go inside. How do I handle this? Do I go pick him up for now since he's small enough? I did try going inside without him and that worked once and once it did not. I plan on going to get a very long 30' or 50' training lead for now but when he doesn't come what is the method I use to start shaping the correct response from him? And again, I KNOW he's a puppy and I'm not expecting him to do it all the time, just wanting to know what I need to know to train him correctly.

Thank you everyone!
 

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One thing that I think it's important to make focus better, is to let your pup absorb as much different experiences by taking him to many place, meeting many people and dogs as possible. A dog that has seen a lot won't react as much when going out and experience new things. Take dogs of the retired people for example. In my country, they take their dogs out for walks, coffee times in the neighborhood, and so on. Their dogs are off leash, but they are calm and willing to follow. This is coz their dogs are often experiencing the outside world, that things are barely new to them (and you don't need much training at all, it all happens so naturally). On the other hand, you have dogs that barely goes for walk, so that no matter what age they are, they get all excited and barely listens, and would run away if they can.

But well, there's one thing that can help the recall. Think about how dogs follow each other. Why do they follow each other? Coz if they don't, they might get lost. So aside of training them to know that "come" is a good thing, you can also train their following instincts.
If I've read correctly, you have a space where you can free him without leash but it's a safe area right? If so, try the following - let him play outside, let him get used to it so that it won't be too exciting first. Then after some time, you call him. If he doesn't come, disappear. Close the door and leave him behind (just make sure he doesn't have more fun that he won't care). 1 min later come back an call him again.
You can also do this inside home (maybe it's even better to start inside, where it's more boring and less distracting). Try to call him to come with you, and if he doesn't, simply leave and close the door behind.
This is to tell him that if he doesn't listen, he will lose sight of you.

Another thing that you can do for the following instinct outside home is by walking with a flexi lead. I used to walk my dog with one (5m), and he rarely pulls all the leash length. He could walk in front of me, behind, and so on, sniffing around or just looking. Whenever I call him and walk to another direction, he would follow, unless there is some really interesting scent in some grass (then I had to pull him slowly out of it). Make the walk as natural and calm as it can be, and this is a way to train him naturally. :) But of course, after this, some formal training is still needed to improve more.
 

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Not gonna get into the training of pup just the flexi-lead part. Just buy or make a standard long lead to hook your pup up with.
 

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First, a lab puppy is not a valid breed.... it is an entirely different species from a Lab adult, perhaps 50% vampire, 50% goat, 50% Tasmanian devil :) You go through the next two years of pain and suffering, so that you'll have an adult Lab like everyone talks about :)

1. Every 2 weeks he's going to change personality until he's about 6 mos. My dog decided that everything else was more interesting than me, for about 3 mos, and that I was only a kibble slot machine. Wag tail, get fed...
2. It only takes about 2 weeks to train your pup to do almost everything you want him to do... it will take another two years to get him to do these things in the face of distractions :) At that point you can ask him to Come!
3. On the other hand, I seldom ask my 11 yo Lab mix to come. If he stops to sniff, I stop, too. When I'm ready to go, I'll look at him and then go... and he'll catch up. Or I'll beckon with a finger, or my arm if he's far away. ... But when he was 6 mos... everything in the world, and everybody, was a distraction and more interesting than me.
4. Labs gotta chew. But I suggest only 2 -3 toys per week, then rotate some out, and others in for him to chew. If he has a favorite, leave the favorite.
5. When (not if) he runs away from you, rather than chasing him, call his name as you run the opposite direction... and he should come back to chase you. You can also modify that to help teach him "Come!"
6. For the next month or so, try to let him out of the crate at least every 4 hours when he's awake.
7. Socialize him with many people, with many dogs (when he has had all 3 sets of shots), with many locations, and new experiences. When he can socialize with dogs, find him a playmate with the same energy to tussle with. And teach him Bite Inhibition.
8. The way to use positive methods is to use the correct method and expectation for the behavior you want. KBLover has taught Wally to do many amazing things using a clicker. I taught my Lab-mix by capturing and rewarding (similar to luring and treating), which is a slow method but results in a very independent dog...who knows more than 200 verbal and hand cues.
9. Check out the free downloads: http://www.dogstardaily.com/free-downloads
10. One method to teach Come is teach him to Come perfectly when you are 10 feet away, in the house. Then, add all kinds of distractions, people, balls, food, animals... Then, repeat the process outside :) It'll take two weeks.... then two years with distractions :) Seriously, you can get a good Come! in a couple of months, but distractions are very important.
 

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I would not worry so much about "shaping the correct behavior as he grows up" yet. That's not to say that I don't think dogs need to learn manners. BUT, at his age, he's really not capable of paying attention for more than, oh, I don't know, a second! :)
Think of it as an infant....now, definitely, you want a well behaved child eventually. But, you wouldn't start worrying about behavior in an infant. As they reach toddler stages, that's when they have the ability to really start absorbing and learning some behavior training.

So, bond with your puppy. Distract him if he does something you don't want instead of worrying about teaching him it's wrong. The other stuff will come later.
 

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I just wanted to address the reason you only use the cue "come" when you know he will. If you use the command and he doesn't come, but finds something self rewarding to do (sniffing, picking up a leaf, licking an ant etc LOL) you will have taught him not to come when called. You are much better off keeping him on a long line (preferrably not a flexi, but a true long line or a long piece of rope) then if you accidentally call him when he's too distracted to come, you can gently pull him towards you, (reward heavily, and party hard when he gets to you!) So you wont teach him inadvertantly not to come, or to only come after you've said it 4 times, or something like that :)
 

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First, a lab puppy is not a valid breed.... it is an entirely different species from a Lab adult, perhaps 50% vampire, 50% goat, 50% Tasmanian devil :) You go through the next two years of pain and suffering, so that you'll have an adult Lab like everyone talks about :)

1. Every 2 weeks he's going to change personality until he's about 6 mos. My dog decided that everything else was more interesting than me, for about 3 mos, and that I was only a kibble slot machine. Wag tail, get fed...
2. It only takes about 2 weeks to train your pup to do almost everything you want him to do... it will take another two years to get him to do these things in the face of distractions :) At that point you can ask him to Come!
3. On the other hand, I seldom ask my 11 yo Lab mix to come. If he stops to sniff, I stop, too. When I'm ready to go, I'll look at him and then go... and he'll catch up. Or I'll beckon with a finger, or my arm if he's far away. ... But when he was 6 mos... everything in the world, and everybody, was a distraction and more interesting than me.
4. Labs gotta chew. But I suggest only 2 -3 toys per week, then rotate some out, and others in for him to chew. If he has a favorite, leave the favorite.
5. When (not if) he runs away from you, rather than chasing him, call his name as you run the opposite direction... and he should come back to chase you. You can also modify that to help teach him "Come!"
6. For the next month or so, try to let him out of the crate at least every 4 hours when he's awake.
7. Socialize him with many people, with many dogs (when he has had all 3 sets of shots), with many locations, and new experiences. When he can socialize with dogs, find him a playmate with the same energy to tussle with. And teach him Bite Inhibition.
8. The way to use positive methods is to use the correct method and expectation for the behavior you want. KBLover has taught Wally to do many amazing things using a clicker. I taught my Lab-mix by capturing and rewarding (similar to luring and treating), which is a slow method but results in a very independent dog...who knows more than 200 verbal and hand cues.
9. Check out the free downloads: http://www.dogstardaily.com/free-downloads
10. One method to teach Come is teach him to Come perfectly when you are 10 feet away, in the house. Then, add all kinds of distractions, people, balls, food, animals... Then, repeat the process outside :) It'll take two weeks.... then two years with distractions :) Seriously, you can get a good Come! in a couple of months, but distractions are very important.
I nearly died reading your post!!! So very true!!!:pound::pound::pound::yo:
 
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