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    1. #1
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      mjaynes288's Avatar
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      Help, I am at the end of my rope

      Help, I am at the end of my rope. Fenway is 9 months and 66 pounds. I take him to obedience classes twice a week. He is good at loose leash walking until he gets the zoomies. He acts like a tether ball once or twice a week. I am disabled and when he does this I have to sit down on the sidewalk and wait him out. Sometimes he hits the end of the leash so hard he knocks me over so I am laying on the sidewalk. My dog is hurting me and doesn't seem to care. My last dog would bolt around this age but after he hit the end of the leash once he would come back to me very sorry for hurting me. Fenway bounces from one end of the leash to the other for several minutes.

      Fenway wears a no pull harness. A prong had no effect. I will not use a head halter for this (see Suzanne Clothier's article "The Problem with Head Halters"). My trainers only suggestions are more exercise and a head halter. I live in an apartment. I walk him 3-6 miles a day. He has been on NILIF since I brought him home. We have at least 5 training sessions a day. I am taking him to the dog park everyday at dawn but he chases the ball 5 times and then goes to lay in the muddy hole or wanders around looking for tasty leaves and sticks to eat. He will not exercise unless another dog is around. I do not get along with the morning regulars who come later and I do not have the energy to go in the afternoon. I do not know anyone near me with a yard and a compatible dog for play dates.

      I still do not feel a bond with this dog after over 6 months. He is definitely bonded to me but I am unable to reciprocate. If my trainer told me he was not service dog material he would go right back to his breeder. I would be disappointed about the money and time I lost and I would miss having a dog but I would not miss Fenway.

      Does anyone have any suggestions? He is a great dog and I have been trying everything to make this work. He only chews his toys. He sits and waves a paw for attention. He is house trained.

    2. #2
      Senior Dog
      Abulafia's Avatar
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      So, he is not a pet, but your service dog?

      I am not sure what you are using him for, but right now it sounds as though he is not working out as a service dog. It seems at any rate that you are not fond of the dob, and so that's a problem. I'm not sure what to suggest... can you confer w/ your trainer and the breeder?

      I hope this works out for you both.
      Hidden Content Hokule'a ("Hoku") / b. 06.08.15

    3. #3
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      ZoeysMommy's Avatar
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      Personally I think you should contact his breeder asap and give him back so he can find a home with someone who will bond with him. You said it yourself, you will be disappointed about the loss of money but you wouldnt miss him. He deserves much better than that.

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    5. #4
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      mjaynes288's Avatar
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      He is a service dog candidate, not even a service dog in training yet. It takes around 2 years to train a service dog. He will hopefully do mobility work (opening doors, retrieving, light counterbalance) and autism/sensory integration tasks (sound signaling, deep pressure).

      My trainer and breeder don't have any more suggestions. I am doing everything they can think of other than using a head halter.

    6. #5
      Senior Dog
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      Then it may be time to take him back to the breeder so he can go to someone that loves him as he deserves. A dog knows how we feel, maybe his behavior is related to your lack of bond, he may be frustrated. It is not fair to either one of you to continue dragging this out.
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      Ozzy - 10/2002 - 06/2011 - Rest well my sweet boy. You are forever remembered, forever missed, forever in my heart.

    7. #6
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      First of all, welcome! Fenway is a cutie, but perhaps too much for you at this stage? He's 9 months old, which can be 'teenage time' for labs. It's a tough stage, and I'm not sure how long you've had Fenway. Not all dogs are the right match for their humans, and it's particularly important to have a good match with a person with disabilities. Maybe you should talk to the trainer and ask what they see as problem areas. It would be a hard decision to give up time and money spent, but both you and Fenway need to have a trust and bond together. Best of luck to the two of you!

    8. #7
      Senior Dog
      Labradorks's Avatar
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      Where in Oregon are you? If you are in the general Portland Metro area, please feel free to send me a private message (you can't until you have ten posts though). I am happy to talk to you about trainers locally and resources to help you, and if you are having issues with your breeder, I can possibly help you out there as well.

      To get back to your issue, the most mellow, smart, trainable, trained, sweet nine month old Lab is still going to be something of a handful, even for someone who is not disabled. They are big, strong and hormonal. Not to mention playful and energetic. It sounds like your circumstances would have been better met with a trained adult service dog. That said, Fenway sounds like a typical nine month old Lab pup. No amount of training is going to keep him from being active and a bit scatterbrained from time to time. Maturity and time is what he needs. But, if you don't have a connection by this time, that is quite worrisome.

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    10. #8
      Senior Dog
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      That is sad and I feel the frustration in your words. It almost seems like you are describing two problems. First it's a dog with little impulse control and not a lot of respect for the person on the other end of the leash. (Not terribly uncommon especially at this age.) But second, you seem to be saying the dog is too placid and lacks working motivation except when he's around the preferred distrators (other dogs.) That is, he's motivated to play and otherwise likes to loaf.

      Perhaps it would help to clarify things for you and for us, if you could close your eyes... not see Fenway... but just visualize the hypothetical dog that would perfectly meet your needs. Because sometimes you need to be clear about the finished product, before you can assess the materials you need to create it.

      Secondly, after you can identify what you want in your ideal working dog, let me ask you if your breeder has ever produced dogs that can do these things, and if the trainer with whom you're working has ever been successful in training one. I don't mean one that's close. I mean one that genuinely fits the bill. Preferably, your trainer and breeder will have been able to produce more than one... many, in fact.

      Thirdly, I'm wondering what is your time frame. Hey, we all want the perfect dog NOW. I'm sure you are reasonable and understand that Rome wasn't built in a day. But, is your disability one that is stable? Or are you anticipating that you are going to need more dog, a more capable dog as time goes by? Because that could influence how you proceed from here.

      It is frightening to be yanked to the ground. It's also a nightmare to think the dog might jerk the lead out of your hand and run off, possibly to be injured or lost. I'm sorry you're going through this.

      Finally, it's a good thing that you're honest about your feelings or lack of affection for your dog. It's OK. Dogs at this age are sometimes tough to love. (Sort of like prepubescent daughters... but I digress.) This age is kind of the nadir for most dogs. I'm not saying it's necessarily going to spontaneously get better. But it probably isn't going to get a lot worse, either. It sounds like you're not getting the help you need and I hope we can give you some ideas.
      Last edited by TuMicks; 12-21-2015 at 12:25 AM.

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    12. #9
      Senior Dog
      Snowshoe's Avatar
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      I'm afraid I think as Labradorks does. 9 months seems to be THE age for threads like yours on how to handle a young dog, and most are questions from people who are not disabled. I have to wonder if you should not have been assigned an adult dog, already trained to some extent. A lady in one of our classes was training a service dog for her little boy who has autism, she was working closely with the breeder/trainer and had a lovely, mellow two year old female dog.

      I'm sorry, I know I'm not being any help but you've already tried a lot of things and they haven't worked. Most of the training aids you mention work best if you can anticipate when the dog is going to act up and apply your control, force, distraction ahead of time. If that is something you can work on, or have been working on, and he's still too strong for you then I can only think you need to hire a trainer to walk with you and observe where you're going wrong or trade him in for a more mellow dog. As some others have said Fenway probably won't get worse but he won't get better without a lot of input from you. What about a trainer from the class you are already going to, could one of them walk with you a bit (paid) and help with observing? OUtside is a big jump from inside a class with four walls. I assume the classes are inside.

    13. #10
      Senior Dog
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      sorry things are not going well. agree with the above, he's at a difficult age. and it sounds like he isn't getting much physical exercise if he won't fetch? Though I know many service dogs are not allowed at dog parks anyway.

      Is your trainer experienced in training service dogs? properly educated in training? (sorry to ask these questions but I see so many people who call themselves qualified trainers who are not).

      Did the breeder know your intent to train the pup to be a service dog? Is that the type of dog they generally breed for? ( have they bred prior service dogs or therapy dogs?)

      If your trainer is out of ideas and is a qualified experienced in training service dogs trainer and you feel no bond to this dog I'd also recommend maybe rehoming the pup. Being a service dog is a VERY difficult job that requires a very particular type of puppy and temperament. it's not something for most dogs.

      Other ideas would be finding an appropriate exercise outlet and reducing your walks for now. Doggy daycare, playdates with friends in yards (whatever is appropriate). maybe a friend that can take him for offleash walks if his recall is good. Reduce the walks so they can be successful and do them after exercise for now. Mental exercise can also go a long way so you can look into that but he'll need some physical outlet as well. Then maybe he'll be able to focus more.

      And there are tons of attention exercises and arousal issue training that you can do - has the trainer recommended any of these?

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