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Serious "training" issue

845 Views 5 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  3doglady
Hello all,

Unfortunately I have a very somber topic to this thread. My fiance and I got our chocolate lab mix puppy at 7 weeks old. At the time I was working a lot, often gone first thing in the morning and home around 8PM and my fiance was out of work. During the day he was caring for the pup. He started out as a very friendly energetic little guy and I've watched him progress into a snappy and skittish dog. He is now 6 months old and stays across the room from me, doesn't often come when I call him and is very flinchy, often fear biting when I try to pet him. Last month I found out that my fiance has been taking his aggression of being out of work out on the pup, hitting him (not punching, but still just as bad in my eyes), yelling at him, or just leaving him in his crate, which I had reserved for when we are out or night time until his habits are fully under control. I was absolutely shocked and furious. He has been attending anger management for a month now and has changed completely in my eyes, and has been nothing but kind to our pup since. I have always shown the pup love and have never hit him and have very rarely even raised my voice to him.

I know he may harbor resentment toward my fiance for a very long time for this, possibly forever, but will he always be this way toward me as long as my fiance is still around? Any steps I can take toward rehabilitating this poor little guy would be completely embraced. I absolutely love my dog and will do anything to be able to keep him, and my fiance is completely ashamed and remorseful of how he has been. The anger management classes are really helping him and he is continuing to take them until we both truly feel he is in control of himself.

Thank you so much everyone

EDIT: To be clear, according to him he was not just hitting the dog for no reason, but as "punishment" when he did something wrong rather than using positive reinforcement. No better in my eyes, just a clarification.
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Yeah, I agree with GottaLuvMutts. IMO, I think it would be best for the three of you to enroll in positive reward training classes at a good facility in your area ASAP.

For recall, you can start with a long lead and some treats. Say "come" with the happiest voice you can muster, get excited and happy, if he doesn't make a move towards you, gently pull the lead towards you and show him the treat. Praise like crazy when he gets to you and give him the treat. It won't take long for him to come on his own. Then start over with the lead and "come" in your yard (or outdoor setting). NEVER call the dog when he's done something wrong and NEVER yell at him or get angry after he comes to you. You want this to be the most rewarding command he learns. (don't care if he chewed your $600 shoes, or your $ 5,000 sofa). Never call and punish.

You will need the guidance of a professional trainer to get you through the most trying times, (which have yet to come), as you have a fiance who doesn't know how to communicate well with your dog. Labs have a notorious teenage phase which lasts from about 9 months to as long as 2 years. The more you learn about positive training techniques as well as how to read your pup, the easier it will be to get through this phase without creating a negative environment. Communication is key. You will both need to learn to communicate on his level. You will both need to be patient as he grows and matures.

Also, keep in mind that Labs are generally eager to please, and need lots of physical and mental exercise. They also should be crated when they cannot be supervised. If you want, you can tether his leash to your waste as you move about the house, but don't leave him unsupervised. He is coming into an age where his teeth go exploring, and you don't want to set him up for failure or put him in a position where he can ingest something dangerous.

You might also ask one of the forum mods to move this tot he training thread. You may get more responses.
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That's great news. May I suggest that you continue with training classes after this one is finished? The more opportunities you have to learn from a professional, the better your bond and overall relationship will be. I find the more classes we join (some are just for fun, like agility, treibball, nosework, etc), the more fun we have together. It's so rewarding to see a dog enjoying learning and doing activities together.
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