Help with my 10.5 month Chocolate Female (whining, dominance?)
I have a couple of issues I'm trying to work through and could use some advice. I have a 10.5 month old Chocolate Lab Female, "Riley". All in all, her training has been very good. She is my first dog, and she constantly surprises me on how quickly she learns. She has been FF'ed (following Smart Fetch), her OB is solid, and I consistently (daily) do some OB with her to keep it in check. I'm following Smartworks books / Duck Dog Basics videos (I know I know, don't mix and match, but it's working for me, and I'm just stating this to give a baseline as to where she's at b/c I know I'll be asked). We have started 3 handed casting, and she's picking it up quite well. The main problem I have with her is whining. In the house, she is great, doing casting work, OB, taking her on walks, taking her in the truck everywhere I go, except work, she does great, but as soon as I throw a mark for her, she tenses up, and whines. I've researched and researched on here, and read thread after thread about whining / barking, and have been using some of the methods to work on this (picking up the marks myself, only single marks, water in a spray bottle, water/vinegar in a spray bottle, holding her muzzle and telling her "hush", praising her like crazy when she is quiet for a mark and let her retrieve, etc.). It IS getting better, but slowly. I've found that when I throw a mark, if I take a few steps away from her, she does not get as tense and the whining is definitely not as bad, but if I stand right next to her with her at heel and throw the bumper, she is visibly more tense (hind legs quivering while sitting), and the whining is much worse. I don't know if it has to do with the fact that the bumper is being thrown right by her head or what, but training alone without a helper or launcher limits my options. I did join the Ohio River HRC at their hunt test a couple weekends ago, and will attend the training days and hopefully train with some of the folks I've met, but that leads to my other issue(s).
This pup goes INSANE if she sees another dog retrieving and I don't allow her to, she goes from whining to this crazy banshee yelp (she will stay mostly sat though, minor creeping, but mostly just whining), the methods used to quiet her when throwing a mark helps a little, but it's almost embarrassing how loud she gets. I guess my concern with training with other folks is her being a distraction.
The other issue I'm having is very discouraging to me, and ultimately what led me to post asking for advice. As a young pup, I thought I socialized her very well, around other dogs, people, etc. I still take her with me just about everywhere I go. She does great with dogs that she knows, but a few times she has encountered a dog/pup she doesn't know, she gets dominant, or mildly aggressive, or something. The first time I noticed this was when we introduced her to my buddies 8-10 week old Chocolate female pup, her "Mohawk" went up and she stiffened up, and snapped at her. I corrected her, and did so a couple of times (no e-collar correction, just choker chain and a firm "No"). I took her to the dog park yesterday to try and work on her whining while watching other dogs play and she did this similar behavior there as well. I never let it go long enough to see if it was more than a "get out of my space", or "I'm the boss" type of behavior, but I am completely perplexed as to what to do regarding it. I don't know if it's just a dominance thing or if she would actually flip out and attack another dog. Hence my concern for working with other folks in the club. Once she sees a bumper or a ball, though, she could care less about ANYTHING else around her, be it a dog, a treat, or anything, all she wants is to retrieve whatever I throw.
I don’t know if taking her through an obedience class with other dogs would help, although she’d probably sail through it pretty well and maybe get bored. Or if trying a “doggy daycare” a couple of times a week to get her around other dogs would be a good idea, I don’t know, I’m really grasping at straws here, and it’s got me anxious and discouraged.
Any advice from any of you who may have encountered some of this before?
Thanks in advance.