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  • Results 1 to 6 of 6
    1. #1
      ngoegan's Avatar
      Join Date
      Oct 2017
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      Question 1yr 4mo old black lab doesn't come and is still mouthy when meeting people

      Hi, I have an amazing black lab who I haven't been able to train properly. I know it's not him because he is very obedient on the commands he knows, like "leave it" or "stay" he listens very well. The main issue I'm having with him is that he won't come when he's off leash outside the home. If I say come, he just looks at me. Part of the problem is that he's not allowed outside whenever he wants because we have a shared lawn area out back with our neighbors, not a private yard, and they have an aggressive dog. So when he does get to go outside and I throw the ball, he just goes and grabs it and then sits in the grass with his nose to the air enjoying his time outdoors. He gets a lot of time outdoors, we take him to the beach, to the dog park, for 2 walks a day, etc. so he's not exactly deprived. He also has a baby pool out back that he lays in every day before we start to throw the ball. He also does this thing where we throw the ball, he goes and picks it up and lays down in that spot, then when we walk towards him, he readies to pounce, and when we get close, he grabs the ball and runs away back to his pool and lays in it. It's like a hunting posture or something - he does it to other dogs at the beach who go and retrieve a bumper, he waits for them in the same posture on shore until they get close and then he pounces at them to steal the bumper from them. It's cute, but he's not retrieving or coming when we call him.

      He's also still mouthing people's hands when he meets them and they go to pet his head. He doesn't bite down, his mouth just has to be involved, he doesn't know what else to do. He knows he's not supposed to mouth people so he'll pick up anything he can find in the vicinity - a sock, a shoe, his leash, a leaf, a rock, and then with that in his mouth he wags his tail vigorously and walks back and forth in front of the person. When I pet his tummy he has to nibble on something with his front teeth. I've tried telling him "no" and holding his snout tightly as I say "no" but he's still having a problem with it. It's definitely improved some in the past few months, but I'd like to stop saying "Sorry! He's mouthy, but he won't bite!" every time he meets people. It can be scary to people who don't know labs because he's a big black dog.

      Any help/advice would be greatly appreciated!

    2. #2
      Senior Dog
      Snowshoe's Avatar
      Join Date
      May 2014
      Thanked: 3820
      Did you go to training classes with him? EVen if you did, go again. A Recallers course might be just the ticket, friends are enjoying the one they are taking their one year old to. 16 months is a hard time. It's like some kids in their early 20's, they know best and they pay no attention to you. You often hear/see/read that 9 months is the worst age (for dogs) but we skipped that and it didn't happen till about 18 months. What I did at the link helped tremendously with our recall.

      Snowshoe's Album: North/South Fetch

    3. #3
      barry581's Avatar
      Join Date
      May 2014
      Thanked: 5611
      Welcome to the board!

      You are experiencing pretty normal issues with your pup (you didn't mention his name!). Snowshoe's north/south drill is a very good way to teach/reinforce recall.
      One of the best suggestions I've been given, and it was someone on this board whom I can't seem to remember gave it to me, is you have to be able to immediately enforce your recall. If you can't enforce your command, don't call him until you can. Put a 25' check cord on the dog, if he doesn't immediately respond when you call him, give him a tug on the cord and praise the heck out of him, When he gets to you have a party with him, give him a little treat, play tug with his favorite toy, pet him. Coming to you has to be the best thing that ever happens to him! Never scold him for not coming to you, it will only teach him that coming to you means he's done something wrong.

      I would use the same technique to teach him to retrieve, toss the ball/bumper/toy just as he picks it up call him is a very happy voice, and give a little tug on the check cord. Have a party when he gets back with the item. He'll catch on pretty quick that bringing the ball back is the best part of the game as he'll get to chase it again and again!

      The worst thing you can do is chase him when he doesn't bring the item back. It's exactly what he wants, and it's a fun game for him! He's basically asking you to play his game, and if you do, he wins.

      I'm not sure what word you are using to call him, but you may want to change it. If you're using "come" change it to "here" or vice versa.

      Labs can definitely be mouthy with people. I'd start with having someone stand within a couple of feet from him while you have him sit. Reward him with a small treat for sitting quietly, correcting him as needed. Once he's pretty steady with the person at that distance, have them move closer to the dog. Reward for sitting quietly, correct as needed. Once steady with the person standing next to him, have the person gently pet his head, treat and correct as needed. He will soon learn being quite and calm will be rewarded. A couple of keys to this. Have the person remain very calm and relaxed, ask them to not make eye contact with the dog. Eye contact is like an invitation for the dog to jump! Do this with different people in a variety of locations. I've found that people will usually be very helpful if you explain that you are training you dog and need some help.

      A couple other things I would recommend. Find an obedience class, petsmart/Petco classes can be Ok, but can vary based on the experience level of the trainer. If you can find someone who teaches competitive obedience type classes, go visit during a class and watch. Talk to the instructor and explain the issues you're having. If you feel comfortable with them sign up for a class. This is a good way to get direct feedback in helping you correct your issues. There is no one way to train a dog or fix a problem you are having. If they are experienced instructors, they have dealt with a wide variety of problems and can help you formulate a plan to correct the issues you are having.

      Good luck, and post some pics of your pup!

    4. The Following User Says Thank You to barry581 For This Useful Post:

      Beth C (07-22-2018)

    5. #4
      Chief Pooper Scooper
      JenC's Avatar
      Join Date
      May 2014
      Thanked: 2482
      The dog isn't trained and doesn't seem to care what you have to say. I do obedience classes with my dogs for LIFE. I still take my 10 year olds in for refreshers.

      Folks will offer alot of advice, I say go to a class and have someone help you figure out how to handle the dog. Where in CA are you? There are plenty of obedience clubs and trainers that will work with you that are very good. I am sure someone can recommend something for you.

    6. #5
      Best Friend Retriever
      silverfz's Avatar
      Join Date
      Jun 2016
      Thanked: 167
      Some dogs are mouthy . Mine got so excited she grabbed a neighbors arm once freaking me out. Also he is a still young. gigi at 2 is like a different dog then before. Listening is the last thing she got even in the presence of distractions like bunnies, balls and even other dogs running and playing. My trainer taught us to use a leash that is attached to something she cannot drag. Every time we have people over or she gets a bit mouthy. She will be put on it and she has to lay there till she is released. She picked up that mouthy , jumping means she get to watch all the fun and not be part of it . This one little thing changed both mouthy and jumping. When i am belly rubbing or petting she grabs i stop the behavior instantly for 15 seconds. It did not work with her as a puppy but did as a young adult.

      Dogs do not see time as we do and always can be trained .You are trying to create a bond. Once bonded dogs understand alot about us. Me and Gigi are similar she knows what is expected and i am telling her stuff not asking her. Plus she understand my hand signals better than even my kids or wife . Come is not a word any more . Its a wave of hand or incase of Come NOW. i go on my knee and she come full speed. Even sit , stay and down are all signals now. yes i am lazy.

      We started gigi training at 12 weeks but we always always make her do something for a treat. even my 7yr old then 5yr old knows . She has to sit , down or do something to get a treat. If always reinforces the behavior to a point that she does not need a treat. the best thing i thought her as we live in a main road is stop with my hands up. she will do a down stay at the spot already saved her life from traffic once. Start some training. Even petco ones. petco usually runs 50% cash back deal on training. so you pay 100$ or so for it and they give you 50$ cash back. so you can buy dog food etc. so for 50-60 bucks you get 8 weeks of training. We went to so often that the trainer just marked the session that was on sale but did the advanced classes.

      Retrieving is a later skill that gigi picked up after 1yr i think. Now she gets me all sort of stuff. I will ask her pickup plastic bottle, containers so we can recycle during our walks. she will get me my sock if it falls when trying to put them on after my back injury.
      i could ask her to get anything now. I even send her in the back yard to get kong toys to stuff them with peanut butter . She will find balls if it rolls under my camper or places i am lazy to bend down. I am thinking of the beer from fridge fetching trick but i think that will take some work. The cat does open doors so she has to learn that first.

    7. #6
      Senior Dog
      TuMicks's Avatar
      Join Date
      Mar 2015
      United States
      Thanked: 1026
      I can't improve on what's been said here. Understand that RECALL is a pretty sophisticated behavior and takes a bunch of deliberate training. Absolutely never happens by chance. Take classes. Be committed. Work on it constantly.

      Also, RECALL is a life-saving command. Dogs who run off may never be seen again, or may be hit by cars or (as you mentioned) get bitten by bigger more aggressive dogs. So, if you love your dog... you'll make this a serious goal, no matter how long it might take. It's not a one-and-done. It's constant and consistent training.

      Regarding the mouthing... I was told by a pro trainer that some dogs are just more that way than others. Like toddlers/children who just HAVE to touch whatever interests them. Kids have hands. Labs have their mouths. It's just another issue that will take consistent work.

      But he sounds like a nice dog. Keep posting and tell us how you're doing.

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