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Hi everyone! I just registered on this forum and am hoping for some help.

I just took in a 14-month-old Yellow Lab named Tucker from a family I know who couldn't care for him any longer. He is not neutered and won't be until he is two. The troubles I'm having with him seem never-ending.

Ever since he was probably 5 or 6 months old, his former owners kept him in his crate because he became too excited at times and would knock their one-year-old daughter over and would jump up on the other children. Because of this treatment, he sees being out of his crate as a "play-time only" thing now. What I mean by this is that he won't relax when outside of the crate. He jumps on the couches, grabs anything he can in his mouth and either eats it or tears it up, and finds things to get into where ever he is. If I can get him to lay down and relax for a second, he gets up not a minute later to just do the same things over and over again. I don't think this is an energy-based issue because he gets taken on a one- mile walk daily and plays in our 1/4 acre yard for probably an hour a day, if not more.

He is also VERY strong on the leash. I have bought multiple harnesses and leashes, and a Halti seems to be working nicely right now, but I would love to teach him to walk with just his collar at a nice heel. He loves meeting people and other dogs but no one approaches him when he has his Halti on because everybody sees it as a muzzle. Poor guy just wants friends!

He gets distracted very easily. I have tried training him and he just distracts too easily. I am working on a good recall with him but it isn't working. His 'not listening' is getting dangerous for him, because like I stated before he finds anything and everything to eat and he won't give it to me. I chased him around the yard for 15 minutes this morning trying to get an under-the-ground ant trap that our neighbor had planted on his side of the fence.

He is such a sweet dog and would be a great family dog, but he needs a lot of work. I don't have money to send him to professional training because I've already paid the family back the $2,200 they paid for him from the breeders. I am at a loss. Please help!
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A 1-mile walk for a healthy lab is a warm-up. Mine needed six miles per day, even when he was 13 years old.

Good-looking lab, by the way.
 

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Really? I was only doing one mile because that is what my vet said would be adequate. I will definitely walk him for longer, then! Thank you!
 

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I've never had a Lab, but I know in Rottweilers, many consider a 14-month old intact male an overgrown puppy with little ability to focus. Their brains catch up with their bodies somewhere between 2 and 3. About all you can do is give him lots of exercise and continue training away until he starts to get it. It's pretty understandable if he's spent too much time shut in a crate that he goes crazy when out. Maybe if his time out is in limited areas where he can't be as wild?
 

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If he's a typical Lab, he's going to be food motivated, so make him work for his food. Feed his meals in food toys like puzzle balls and Kong Wobblers. Toss a handful of kibble into the grass for him to hunt for. Get some cardboard boxes, crumple up some newspaper, and put the paper and some treats in the box, close it up, and let him have at it. Get a muffin tin and some tennis balls, then put some kibble in the cups, put tennis balls on top, and let him move the balls to get to the food.

The following are paid resources, but will probably be extremely helpful:

First up, there will be a webinar on April 23 on teaching your dog to relax. Fenzi Dog Sports Academy - Webinars I've know people who swear by her methods.

The second resource is also from FDSA, and is a self study class of three webinars on a method for teaching loose leash walking and dealing with reactivity. Fenzi Dog Sports Academy - EW100: Reducing Overarousal and Reactivity via the Circle Method of Leash Walking
 
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