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    1. #1
      Deacondog's Avatar
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      May 2016
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      Hi-New Breed for me in Boston- 11wks & can ALL this be Normal? I'm used to GSD's...

      Hi Folks,
      Need some HELP with my little bundle of 11wk old black Labby fur! I've had her 3wks after trying to adopt 2 grown Labs (I was lied to and it was just very upsetting all around) so decided to get a Pup! I'm used to GSD's (well trained!) so did some reading on Labs (apparently NOT enough) and now I think I'm in over my head! Who thought this small innocent girl could be such a manipulative MANIAC? She is a Non Stop Chew Machine!! Inside/Outside- she'll eat anything. I have to constantly open her mouth to remove acorns, moss, plastic, rocks, you name it- so my hands look like I work with Lawnmowers! She's gotten better with letting me take things but has growled twice a/w Kleenex! I've had to pin her down to submission when she growls not in play. I had no idea I'd see this in a Lab. But overall she's very friendly. The other huge challenge has been her Housebreaking! She doesn't seem to care where she pees! I'm crate training and beyond sleep deprived x3wks of getting up every 2-3hours (had a few 4hours stints recently in the AM only- but YAY) since I've been holding some fluids but she still eats 3x/day and I soak her food per the Breeder (she's not much of a drinker) We walk, we play in the yard with the ball and her toys- but she lacks interaction with other puppies/dogs. I plan to get her into a class but that'll only be once a week? I can only provide so much entertainment and she hates to be alone- I put her crate near me so she can "see me"- I work from home. But she doesn't like nyla bones or kongs!! She likes cardboard or soft toys or plastic water bottles and you have to supervise those closely. I'm not a fan of rawhide and can only give so many of those "fake" ones made of ?chicken? She isn't fond of the antlers either! I don't know what else to give? Poor baby's likely teething- I'm open to ANY ideas to keep her occupied and help her chew impulse but she also won't stick with much very long unless it IS a rawhide! (I give her one here & there for 5" then remove it). Behavior wise, she's AWFUL- she's literally done the Charmin commercial with the bathroom tp! It was funny- but not really after the 2nd time! She won't learn "off" at all. I think she knows what it means- not sure... but cont's to jump up on counter/side of couch/tables, etc. I cont to say OFF and push her down. Give her a toy and ignore her or put in crate (not as punishment- with a treat). She'll eventually bark at me and does Zoomies. She searches out my shoes/socks/kitchen towel, etc but gives up asap. Like a game. But it's getting Old Fast.
      I've therefore had to limit her space back to the kitchen and a little time with me in the living room at night. I even have a wire pen I put her inside just to keep her from chewing my counters and computer wires, etc so I can shower or clean up, etc! She's a GOAT. She is not learning OFF. She's smart. She learned "cookie" day #2. She knows Sit/Stand and Down (lay down) including hand signals! But mostly hears "off" "leave it" "drop it" all day/night long. "NO" if she is pulling down the drapes or "OUCH" if she's really hurting me- and she has (not her fault).
      Maybe I have puppy amnesia- I know I had some rough times w/my Shep with the jumping up part- I was taught to step on his back feet- he learned how to lift the opposite foot! But he was housebroken in like a week! This one will even pee in her crate! (not often- but every 5-6d or so) Med sz plastic crate. She gives no notice inside either- just stands there and let's it GO... no sniffing. (no poo in 2wks- so that's good!) I praise her outside and even give treats sometimes but I don't think she's making the connection. I bought some jingle bells for the door handles- but I think she'll just chew them! But $10 I figure worth a shot. I'd love to see if anyone is willing to help Mentor me a little bit?? Maybe someone who's also switched breeds so I don't try to compare too much~ She must have "some" redeeming qualities- I just don't see them yet. I hear they're very slow to mature. (GSD's can be as well) This particular pup is very strong willed (the type who wants to control the leash & will outwait you) but she isn't an "alpha"- whew! It's hard as it's just the two of us- I can only provide so much stimulation. But that's all my GSD had (but they are more "aloof") Anyways- glad to be here and hope to find the answers I need to help her grow up to be healthy and happy and keep me from jumping out a window or start screaming at her- she has a very gentle/balanced temperament when she's not trying to outwit ya (she is super sneaky & tenacious) Thanks!!! deb

    2. #2
      Senior Dog
      kimbersmom's Avatar
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      May 2014
      Williamsburg, Virginia
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      Welcome, deb! Labradors are AWFUL puppies, so what you're describing sounds very familiar. I didn't know if we would survive Kimber's puppyhood but now she's the love of our lives. It does get better.

      1. Labs are very, very mouthy. Get used to fishing things out of her mouth. The growling is most likely just play sounds; labrador puppies are very, very rarely aggressive.
      2. While pinning for submission was a big thing years ago, more recent training methods have moved away from this. Focus on positive reinforcement- good things happen when the puppy behaves. As your pup gets older, you may also find Nothing in Life is Free (google it) very helpful.
      3. The housebreaking difficulty is unusual from what I know and have read about female labs. The occasional accident is to be expected, but what you're describing sounds more problematic. You may want to have her checked for a UTI. Oh, and how often are you taking her outside during the day to pee? Oh- and I see the crate size is fairly big. It should only be large enough for her to lay down and turn around so it' s more den like and she won't pee in her den.
      4. Lab puppies are very busy. Hopefully you'll meet other puppy owners at puppy kindergarten that you can set up play dates with. That was very useful for us.

      Overall, I'd recommend looking at the big picture. She's 11 weeks. She's still very much a baby. These days (and nights) are really difficult- especially if you're a single pup parent!- but it DOES get better.

      And- what's your puppy's name???
      Miss Kimber, CGC, 6/15/2005-1/26/18

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      Abulafia (05-07-2016)

    4. #3
      Senior Dog
      Abulafia's Avatar
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      Sep 2015
      Pacific Northwest
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      I'll duplicate what kimbersmom wrote—Labs are *super* mouthy. Handle her a lot now—touching her ears, opening her mouth *not* to fish something out, touching her all over—so she is fine later one w/ you opening her mouth to swipe something out. I wouldn't worry about moss or acorns, but I would worry about rocks or plastic. You have to get her used to you gently opening her mouth until you can teach her to spit it out (which Hoku will do).

      I wouldn't pin her—very scary and confusing for dogs, and can lead to bad things. Trade something for a treat, then praise. She'll learn that something bad doesn't get her a treat, but dropping it gets a treat and praise. She's very little yet.

      The housebreaking does seem unusual, but I also think we lucked out hugely w/ Hoku. She peed in the kitchen perhaps four times, and started pooping once, before she was trained. She's never eliminated in her crate—but a crate should not be large enough for a dog to eliminate in. It needs to be a private safe retreat they want to keep clean.

      But Labs are handfuls as pups. We constantly get comments about Hoku because she's so amazingly behaved and tempered for a young Lab. *Some* of it may be training, but a lot (most) of it is breeding and her temperament. Labs are "big" puppies—active, mouthy, mischievous, and slow to mature. And also, of course, *big*.

      Hang in there!
      Hidden Content Hokule'a ("Hoku") / b. 06.08.15

    5. #4
      Chief Pooper Scooper
      JenC's Avatar
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      May 2014
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      WHERE you got the puppy will make a huge difference. Like Abulafia mentioned, hers was very well behaved, so was mine. ALOT of it is the work the breeder does before you get the pup. I got Tickle at 10 weeks due to where the breeder lived and the logistics. Her house breaking seemed to take forever, but we also had a 10 week old WPG puppy at the same time and THEY are miserable to house train. She still uses a potty pad by the back door at times.

      Puppy jaws are not that strong. I would look at some USA made rawhides, she's not really going to get much off to eat if it worries you too much. Or take those antlers and soak them in broth, might make them more attractive. Mine loved white knuckle bones and they last a long time (Go to White Dog Bone.com).

      Unfortunately, all of it is pretty normal to some degree or another. We didn't have it with our lab pup but the WPG made up for two-fold. It also could be that since you were wanting an adult dog and settled for a puppy, you may not be in a puppy frame of mind. Getting a lab puppy is about setting yourself up for chaos for a few months. They don't all pop out being little Norman Rockwell labs. You could essentially have all this until about a year, and that's ONLY if you get the dog enrolled in obedience class as soon as you can.

      If you've had another breed, you may also just not be a lab person. No shame in that.

    6. #5
      Senior Dog
      Meeps83's Avatar
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      May 2014
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      Yes lab puppies can be trying. A few other points to mention for you. Labs can be very vocal. They grunt and snort and growl. It's not a real growl as far as aggression goes. These sounds normally start when puppy is really amped up and especially because she is so young, I would DEFINITELY not be worried about aggression and DEFINITELY not do a submission roll. I'd also like to bring up forced breaks. It kind of sounds like she is overstimulated. When she starts getting extremely nippy and naughty and Barry sometimes they just need a nap. Quietly have her enter her kennel and let her sit and rest. Sometimes they'll just sit and look at you, but more often than not they'll go right to sleep. Puppies require a lot of sleep and are just like kids if they don't get it.

    7. #6
      Senior Dog
      POPTOP's Avatar
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      May 2014
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      Hello and Welcome!

      I'm not much help with puppies, we home older dogs. I've learned a lot about puppies on this board so others will be of much more help. What I can say, nothing is better than a lab once they get through puppyhood antics.

      So glad you joined as we "rescued" a GSD from a questionable breeder. He is 8 now and I have struggled to understand him. Will be looking to you for advice.

      Looking forward to plenty of pictures.
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      Kissing Bandit

    8. #7
      Senior Dog
      TuMicks's Avatar
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      Mar 2015
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      Relax... take a DEEeeeeep, cleansing breath.

      Remember... it is a dog. It is not a child. You don't have to carry around the weight of guilt if you do something wrong. You're heart is in the right place. Think of all the unfortunate dogs who get a horrible start in life and then find a forever home and turn around and do very well. And, it's hard to screw up an 11 week old puppy. (Unless you REALLY are evil and committed to messing with the dog in horrible ways.)

      When I have a new puppy, I pretty much attach the little bugger to myself (long leash) and keep him/her in my sight at all times. (Do you work at a desk/computer or on the phone? Set down a blanket or mat, surround the pup with toys, tie fun things to the rung of a chair so they can pull on them... use your imagination.) Amazingly, they can't get the wrong things in their mouths, or slink off to a quiet place to pee or poo but that I am not immediately intervening. As has been said, you replace the thing-not-to-be-chewed with one he/she CAN chew (and thank her for DROP or GIVE or whatever word you are going to use and praise her for being so wonderful. Do NOT pull it away from her, this is a puppy game and is self-rewarding. You're reprogramming a pup from IT's MINE CHASE ME... to HEY!!! LOOK WHAT I BROUGHT YOU! Naturally, you are taking it from her mouth, but you tell her how wonderful she is anyway.)

      And think of the possibilities this creates. When pup is next to you all the time, you can play these fabulous 5 second puppy games called HERE and SIT and DOWN. Wow! Let pup know how bright she is. (At this stage, Obedience is just teaching vocabulary.) Reshape her behavior by putting her in a winning position. Not always NO!!!! And, additionally, when pup goes to jump up on the counter or couch... a little pop on the string with the word DOWN... followed immediately a pat on the head with an atta-girl.) Then a toy to play with and before long, gnawing on something at your feet is a better experience than getting jumping up is.

      Put a bunch of various non-toxic, non-breakable things down around pup (who is attached to you) and let her find her favorite. It's not your job to figure out what she likes. It's just to give her a bunch of new things to try because it's the variety of smells, textures, tastes and so on that she experiences that makes her puppy brain-box grow more complex. (BTW: Try getting puppy sized Kong-type products, fill them with peanut butter, freeze them... believe me, she will work on that for quite a while. It is your ace-in-the-hole.)

      Sleeping at night. At this young age, their kidneys are not able to concentrate urine. AND their bladders hold maybe a tablespoon of urine before giving them signals to pee. So, right... she'll probably be getting you up. Don't give her water after (I dunno... say...) 7 pm. Make sure you take her out to pee a couple of times before bed. This takes care of itself with time. During the day, take her out every 90 minutes to 2 hours. (You have to stretch your legs anyway.) She's attached to you... so you are not having to track her down. Just walk out the door, tell her to "go pee" or "be a big girl" or whatever. Then go crazy praising her.

      Take charge by controlling the puppy. Freedom is not her friend. You are.

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    10. #8
      Senior Dog
      Doreen Davis's Avatar
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      May 2014
      New York
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      Labs are well.....labs. You are describing a lab puppy. The only other thing I can add to what has already been shared is that a routine is also your friend. My guys are on this routine even to this day (they're both 2 ish now) when they're home (we are retired but in and out a lot). They are up at 6:30 or so, go out to potty, come in for breakfast and snooze on our bed for another hour or so. They then are up and about with play, some with us, some between each other in the yard. By about 10-10:30, they're ready for a nap and we crate them with a frozen kong (usually peanut butter, yogurt and some kibble subtracted from their daily intake. Back out after napping and then rinse and repeat. We are now just barely able to leave them unsupervised. Stella is fine but Anthony still requires supervision, he's improving but he's a boy and it seems he isn't as mature.

      The one thing I will say is that we had 3 dogs who lived between 14-15 and when they all left at about the same time in 2013-2014, we got Anthony and Stella as pups and I didn't think we were going to make it through. It was amazing how much I'd forgotten about puppies and my husband the same. The thing to be careful us is the 'everything in the mouth behavior', it's never to early to teach 'leave it' and we had a stay in an ER to enforce it. And Nothing in Life is Free saved us too. At 11 weeks, TuMick's stuff is great, tether and surround with distraction.

      good luck. hope we've helped

    11. #9
      Senior Dog
      TuMicks's Avatar
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      Mar 2015
      United States
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      Pet insurance. Seems I can never make it through a dog's life without one emergency laparotomy for bowel obstruction from on swallowed thing or another. Maybe it just seems that way. But still...

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      barry581 (05-10-2016)

    13. #10
      Senior Dog
      Labradorks's Avatar
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      Jun 2014
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      First, I would take a deep breath and read this: It's a Puppy, Not a Problem. Also, Puppies for Dummies is a great book.

      Labs are mouthy! If you did not read that (at least fifty million times) then I'm not sure what you read or how accurate it is.

      As far as putting stuff in their mouths, grabbing a pup and ripping it out of mouths teaches them two things: 1. when you touch them you are going to do something unpleasant and 2. whatever they have they better protect, run off and chew, or swallow really fast! You're the adult. You're the human. It's your job to keep the puppy safe, so you need to control the environment. Puppy-proof your home and your yard as best as you can and when you cannot control the environment, the puppy goes on a leash. If your pup loves Kleenex, but it up. Put up the garbage can or get one with a lid. Put throw pillows in a closet. Close the bathroom door if she is taking the toilet paper. Use baby gates. Tether her to you. Put your shoes and socks in a closet. Put towels where she can't get to them. I mean, if you want to fight it, go for it but your life is going to be hell. Why not make life easier and keep these things out of her reach until she is mature and trained to understand what you want of her?

      Also, teach leave-it. Do not wait for your puppy to do something "bad" then correct. When puppy is going to grab something, say leave it, wiggle a treat on her nose, lure her away and then give her the treat and praise. Do this 100 times and you'll have a young dog who, when they hear leave it, turns and comes to you, happily. You want the dog to come TO you when he has something he should not have (preferably you catch him BEFORE he grabs it) not run away from you or growl. By being grabby, you teach the dog to be defensive. People get bit this way.

      Puppies pee all over when they are 11 weeks old. It is what it is. Just be consistent. Of course she will make the connection. It takes so many repetitions for a dog to learn anything at all and be consistent. But, even more, her bladder is very small and physically, she can only do so much. Their bladders mature around six months. Give her a chance to mature physically and mentally, and just because something doesn't work within a day or two, it doesn't mean she won't learn it.

      You do NOT pin puppies down into submission. The dominance theory is old school, outdated and WRONG. Beyond that, 11 week old puppies are NOT dominant unless you got a puppy with a major screw loose and if that is the case, you should return her to the breeder ASAP or enlist help from a behaviorist. Where did you get this puppy? Did you get her from a reputable breeder? Perhaps you should call the breeder about this puppy's behavior and get some help. Between the puppy's temperament and your training techniques, all of this sound disconcerting to me. You should, at the very least, enroll yourselves in Puppy-K immediately so you can get some assistance. Once a week is fine. During class you can also make friends and do puppy play dates with puppies of similar temperaments and size. You might also look into puppy socials or puppy romps in your area (google it). There is only so much a bunch of people on the internet can help you with, not seeing the dog or your interaction with her. And, you're going to get about 20 difference pieces of advice, too, which creates even more confusion and lack of consistency.

      As far as "off" goes. How in the heck do you think she is trained to "off" when she has been alive for 11 weeks? Think about it...that is less than three months on this earth. Even if she kinda knows what it means, there is no way she could be consistent. She is an infant. Labs like to play rough and pushing is a reward. Take a treat, lure her off, give her the treat, then praise. Sit on the floor when you interact with her, not on the sofa. Train her. Play with her. Don't ignore her when she is being good then get after her when she is doing something you don't want. Negative attention is better than no attention at all to these puppies.

      She is a puppy. An infant. Give her time. She is also not a shepherd; she is not even the same type of dog. Dogs vary from individual to individual, breed to breed, and type to type. Labs are slow to mature, but again, she is 11 weeks. Your expectations of her should be about zero at this point.

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