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Thread: First time Lab Owner - Looking for help and a local club

  1. #1
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    Default First time Lab Owner - Looking for help and a local club

    Hi,

    I am a first time Lab owner that recently took home an 8 week old red female lab. She is very energetic and very driven. She's pretty smart too as she has already picked up here, sit, and down. There are a couple of things I'd like to have some help on and I want to be sure I'm doing it the right way to maximize my bond with her and to show her love and appreciation. I've done lots of research, watched lots of videos, but the training videos don't necessarily cover the things I have questions on. So here they are.

    1. Puppy likes to play-bite. I've read various methods to control the biting but her biting becomes painful and gashes our arms. What's the best way to teach her not to bite skin? Methods I've found have been redirection (giving her something that is ok to chew on) while saying yours. Is it also ok to tell her no bite? Other methods are a loud yelp when she bites too hard, grabbing her muzzle and telling her no bite, or grabbing the skin on the back of her neck and telling her no. I've read from multiple places, especially here, that positive reinforcement is what the puppy should be getting this young.

    2. How to properly house-train the puppy. We have a Boston Terrier that's 7 years old and we think the puppy is marking territory. She'll pee for about a second but it's not a complete relief. She does have accidents where she will soil and urinate. The muzzle in her accident method was something we used with our Boston but that is a negative type of reinforcement. We've also picked her up immediately as she starts going and then proceeded to bring her outside and tell her potty. At this point though it seems she's completely done as she doesn't go potty.

    3. Crate training. She's a loud cryer at night and I've understood that we are not to let her outside of the crate when she cries. I schedule nightly potty times about 3 hours apart. When I take her out she doesn't go. She has not had an accident in her crate yet, as we have the divider put up to limit her space and we also feed her there. She does go potty the 2nd time, so I'm thinking she can hold it longer than is expected for a pup this age. Please correct me if I'm making a wrong assumption.

    Lastly, I live in Oakdale, CA, and would love to become a part of a local gun dog club. I'm going to be training her myself and have bought the Jackie Merten's Smart Beginnings video and the Basic Smartworks system. When is the ideal time to introduce a bumper?

    Thank you for your help and taking the time to read my post.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Wayne Nutt's Avatar
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    to the OP ; if you live in Oakdale Ca. look up Cal or Robin Cadmus DVM...you are in a real nice area with some long time knowledgeable field trial people in the neighborhood....I think there are a couple of pros that make that area their winter home, maybe even year round
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    The closest club to you is Hills Ferry Hunting Retriever Club. HFHRC holds regular meetings and training days on private grounds in Hilmar, CA. Contact Wendy: swampcli@msn.com and attend an upcoming training day.
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    Senior Member Ron in Portland's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlessedFowlHunter View Post


    1. Puppy likes to play-bite. I've read various methods to control the biting but her biting becomes painful and gashes our arms. What's the best way to teach her not to bite skin? Methods I've found have been redirection (giving her something that is ok to chew on) while saying yours. Is it also ok to tell her no bite? Other methods are a loud yelp when she bites too hard, grabbing her muzzle and telling her no bite, or grabbing the skin on the back of her neck and telling her no. I've read from multiple places, especially here, that positive reinforcement is what the puppy should be getting this young.

    2. How to properly house-train the puppy. We have a Boston Terrier that's 7 years old and we think the puppy is marking territory. She'll pee for about a second but it's not a complete relief. She does have accidents where she will soil and urinate. The muzzle in her accident method was something we used with our Boston but that is a negative type of reinforcement. We've also picked her up immediately as she starts going and then proceeded to bring her outside and tell her potty. At this point though it seems she's completely done as she doesn't go potty.

    3. Crate training. She's a loud cryer at night and I've understood that we are not to let her outside of the crate when she cries. I schedule nightly potty times about 3 hours apart. When I take her out she doesn't go. She has not had an accident in her crate yet, as we have the divider put up to limit her space and we also feed her there. She does go potty the 2nd time, so I'm thinking she can hold it longer than is expected for a pup this age. Please correct me if I'm making a wrong assumption.

    Lastly, I live in Oakdale, CA, and would love to become a part of a local gun dog club. I'm going to be training her myself and have bought the Jackie Merten's Smart Beginnings video and the Basic Smartworks system. When is the ideal time to introduce a bumper?

    Thank you for your help and taking the time to read my post.
    Welcome to the RTF!

    Lots of good questions. Here's my two cents on some of them.

    Puppy biting, the two things I did with mine (now a year and a half old), was to grab the muzzle, with a firm (but remember, it's an eight week old puppy, so a gentle firm), "no bite", or roll thier upper lip over his teeth, so that when he bites down, he's biting his own lip. Redirecting is also a good thing.

    House training. I think it's important to pay attention to WHEN the dog needs to go out. Immediately after being in the crate, go outside. If it drinks a bunch of water, be aware that 15-20 minutes later they need to go out. Been roughhousing or playing? Then outside after that. Have you been using a command when she pees? What I did was, when he started peeing, told him, "hurry up", do this every time they start to pee. Then, when you take them out after being in the crate awhile, tell them "hurry up" (or whatever command you want) and praise them when they pee.
    The other thing I would point out, which I didn't do at first. When mine was due to go out, I would carry him outside. That was a mistake. It was better (and I learned from the Bill Hillman puppy video) to steer the dog to walk outside on his own. That way, he learned that when he needed to pee he would move toward the back door. It's also important to pay attention to the dog going to the back door.

    Crate training. Is the night time the only time you crate her? Or do you put her in there throughout the day? How does she do during the day? One great tip that I received years back was, after about 6 or 7 pm, pick up the water dish. That way, when you air her at bedtime, and she pees, she's more likely to be good for the night.

    As for introducing a bumper, at this age, you can get the mini 6" paint rollers and throw them in the hallway. Get her excited about it, throw it down the hallway. When she chases it, praise her as she plays with it. When she picks it up, call her back to you. Don't take it from her right away, just grab her and praise her (in the hallway, she has to come by you and can't play keep away). Then take it and throw it again. At this age, leave her wanting more, two or three throws a few times a day.

    Hope these help. Have fun with her, they sure grow fast.
    Ron Rhodes
    www.portlandlabrador.com
    A Lab has no appreciation for the artistic value of a bonsai tree, but does appreciate their potential as chew toys.

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    If I were you look at Marin Retriever Club they train in Fairfield on some of the CRTA property you can look them up on line. In my book one of the bust run clubs around.


    Quote Originally Posted by BlessedFowlHunter View Post
    Hi,

    I am a first time Lab owner that recently took home an 8 week old red female lab. She is very energetic and very driven. She's pretty smart too as she has already picked up here, sit, and down. There are a couple of things I'd like to have some help on and I want to be sure I'm doing it the right way to maximize my bond with her and to show her love and appreciation. I've done lots of research, watched lots of videos, but the training videos don't necessarily cover the things I have questions on. So here they are.

    1. Puppy likes to play-bite. I've read various methods to control the biting but her biting becomes painful and gashes our arms. What's the best way to teach her not to bite skin? Methods I've found have been redirection (giving her something that is ok to chew on) while saying yours. Is it also ok to tell her no bite? Other methods are a loud yelp when she bites too hard, grabbing her muzzle and telling her no bite, or grabbing the skin on the back of her neck and telling her no. I've read from multiple places, especially here, that positive reinforcement is what the puppy should be getting this young.

    2. How to properly house-train the puppy. We have a Boston Terrier that's 7 years old and we think the puppy is marking territory. She'll pee for about a second but it's not a complete relief. She does have accidents where she will soil and urinate. The muzzle in her accident method was something we used with our Boston but that is a negative type of reinforcement. We've also picked her up immediately as she starts going and then proceeded to bring her outside and tell her potty. At this point though it seems she's completely done as she doesn't go potty.

    3. Crate training. She's a loud cryer at night and I've understood that we are not to let her outside of the crate when she cries. I schedule nightly potty times about 3 hours apart. When I take her out she doesn't go. She has not had an accident in her crate yet, as we have the divider put up to limit her space and we also feed her there. She does go potty the 2nd time, so I'm thinking she can hold it longer than is expected for a pup this age. Please correct me if I'm making a wrong assumption.

    Lastly, I live in Oakdale, CA, and would love to become a part of a local gun dog club. I'm going to be training her myself and have bought the Jackie Merten's Smart Beginnings video and the Basic Smartworks system. When is the ideal time to introduce a bumper?

    Thank you for your help and taking the time to read my post.

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    Thank you all for the responses. I'll call around my area and thank you for letting me know about HFHRC.

    @Ron: I'll keep trying the lip roll. I think she thinks its a game so she gets a little rougher.

    With house training, we'll see she's squatting down or sniffing around and then we'll get her to run outside. Most of the times it's too late and she's already gone. We're going to try yelling potty then running with her outside.

    She's in her crate only at night. I also feed her in her crate. She doesn't sleep in her crate during the day. Last night was much better, she wasn't as vocal. I did notice this morning that the pillow we gave her to cuddle with smelled of urine but it wasn't wet. This might have been an accident on the first night. Last night I took her out once every 3 hours and she went both times.

    I'd also like to ask, what is the best way to wear her out without roughhousing? Wife and I think that roughhousing promotes the biting behavior and we're trying to avoid that. We're expecting with the baby girl due in November.

    Thank you again for all of your help.
    Last edited by BlessedFowlHunter; 06-25-2016 at 11:53 AM.

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    Puppies for Dummies is a great book! Also, management. Just like when you have your baby, you'll manage him or her until they are old enough to be safe and to make the right choices. It's a Puppy not a Problem is my favorite post for new puppy owners.

    Play-biting: My method is mostly management. I don't play with my hands with the pup (toys only) and I don't get on the floor and rough-house with the pup. I find they become pretty overstimulated if you sit on the floor with them when they are in play mode. Being on the floor with them when they are quiet or sleeping is fine. If they do bite, I ignore and quickly grab a toy to play with. Redirection. I don't entertain the biting. I am completely indifferent. Puppies learn that biting means nothing. If biting is not encouraged (rough-housing, playing with hands or feet for that matter) then it will go away on it's own when the pup nears the four-month mark. Using a lip roll or similar can work, but it has to be the right pup (too soft and it can really deflate them and a really hard pup might bite back), timing has to be perfect and you have to be consistent. So, if you do it one way and it works but your wife does it another way because she is tentative or has bad timing and it does not work, the puppy might stop biting you, but will continue to bite your wife and probably others as biting can be rewarding. Redirection is pretty easy, close to fool-proof, and if done wrong, no hard no foul, try again. If the pup gets a little crazy (a biting frenzy), she might be over-tired and need a nap. Just get up, throw treats into the crate and shut the door. Not in anger just recognizing that the pup is tired and unable to make good decisions. She might cry it out, but will go to sleep. Obviously make sure she has pottied before a forced nap.

    Potty training: Eight week old puppies DO NOT mark territory. She is an infant, she does not have the mental or physical capacity to hold her bladder for long at this age and she certainly does not have the mental capacity to mark her territory! If it feels like she is marking, you might take her to your vet to check for a UTI which is not at all uncommon in puppies, especially girls. Have the vet check for an inverted vulva, which again, is not that uncommon and can cause UTIs and irritation. Again, management. Do not let puppy out of your sight. If you cannot watch the puppy, then the puppy is crated. Take her out after meals, napping and playing. Really, about every 15 minutes when she is awake and active. If you get to the point that she is looking for a spot, you are already too late and if she has already gone you are really too late. Be proactive. If you yell and grab or punish when she starts, she may just start hiding from you and going behind a sofa or in a quiet room. When you take her out, put her on a leash so that she isn't running all over doing everything EXCEPT going potty. Be still, do not play or speak or anything. Just wait. Give her five minutes or so. When she goes, have a little party and play for a bit. If she doesn't go or if she starts to play or is just too distracted, calmly pick her up and put her in her crate. She is not in trouble so go ahead and throw a little treat in there so she learns to like the crate, you are just containing her so she doesn't have an accident. Give her ten minutes, take her out again. If you do see her sniffing and going, go pick her up and take her out. You can say "outside" or something, but I'm not sure it's important. I pick my puppies up at this age because it will typically cause them to stop going and it's way faster. Plus, some puppies can run and pee at the same time or they might not be able to move at all. You can only do it for so long, of course, but it should not hamper your progress. But try not to let it get to that point.

    Crate training: Where is she sleeping? What you are doing sounds fine.

    Having a baby: So, basically you'll be going through adolescence when the baby is born. Fun! It would be good to teach your pup baby-gate manners, leave it and drop it in addition to the other basics training.

    Wearing her out: Training sessions for two minutes several times per day, running around inside or out, chasing stuff, flirt poles (you can make one out of a lunge whip for horses with a toy tied to the end -- just remember to keep it on the ground and try to avoid tight turns), play dates with other puppies or trusted adult dogs all works too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Labradorks View Post
    Puppies for Dummies is a great book! Also, management. Just like when you have your baby, you'll manage him or her until they are old enough to be safe and to make the right choices. is my favorite post for new puppy owners.

    Play-biting: My method is mostly management. I don't play with my hands with the pup (toys only) and I don't get on the floor and rough-house with the pup. I find they become pretty overstimulated if you sit on the floor with them when they are in play mode. Being on the floor with them when they are quiet or sleeping is fine. If they do bite, I ignore and quickly grab a toy to play with. Redirection. I don't entertain the biting. I am completely indifferent. Puppies learn that biting means nothing. If biting is not encouraged (rough-housing, playing with hands or feet for that matter) then it will go away on it's own when the pup nears the four-month mark. Using a lip roll or similar can work, but it has to be the right pup (too soft and it can really deflate them and a really hard pup might bite back), timing has to be perfect and you have to be consistent. So, if you do it one way and it works but your wife does it another way because she is tentative or has bad timing and it does not work, the puppy might stop biting you, but will continue to bite your wife and probably others as biting can be rewarding. Redirection is pretty easy, close to fool-proof, and if done wrong, no hard no foul, try again. If the pup gets a little crazy (a biting frenzy), she might be over-tired and need a nap. Just get up, throw treats into the crate and shut the door. Not in anger just recognizing that the pup is tired and unable to make good decisions. She might cry it out, but will go to sleep. Obviously make sure she has pottied before a forced nap.

    Potty training: Eight week old puppies DO NOT mark territory. She is an infant, she does not have the mental or physical capacity to hold her bladder for long at this age and she certainly does not have the mental capacity to mark her territory! If it feels like she is marking, you might take her to your vet to check for a UTI which is not at all uncommon in puppies, especially girls. Have the vet check for an inverted vulva, which again, is not that uncommon and can cause UTIs and irritation. Again, management. Do not let puppy out of your sight. If you cannot watch the puppy, then the puppy is crated. Take her out after meals, napping and playing. Really, about every 15 minutes when she is awake and active. If you get to the point that she is looking for a spot, you are already too late and if she has already gone you are really too late. Be proactive. If you yell and grab or punish when she starts, she may just start hiding from you and going behind a sofa or in a quiet room. When you take her out, put her on a leash so that she isn't running all over doing everything EXCEPT going potty. Be still, do not play or speak or anything. Just wait. Give her five minutes or so. When she goes, have a little party and play for a bit. If she doesn't go or if she starts to play or is just too distracted, calmly pick her up and put her in her crate. She is not in trouble so go ahead and throw a little treat in there so she learns to like the crate, you are just containing her so she doesn't have an accident. Give her ten minutes, take her out again. If you do see her sniffing and going, go pick her up and take her out. You can say "outside" or something, but I'm not sure it's important. I pick my puppies up at this age because it will typically cause them to stop going and it's way faster. Plus, some puppies can run and pee at the same time or they might not be able to move at all. You can only do it for so long, of course, but it should not hamper your progress. But try not to let it get to that point.

    Crate training: Where is she sleeping? What you are doing sounds fine.

    Having a baby: So, basically you'll be going through adolescence when the baby is born. Fun! It would be good to teach your pup baby-gate manners, leave it and drop it in addition to the other basics training.

    Wearing her out: Training sessions for two minutes several times per day, running around inside or out, chasing stuff, flirt poles (you can make one out of a lunge whip for horses with a toy tied to the end -- just remember to keep it on the ground and try to avoid tight turns), play dates with other puppies or trusted adult dogs all works too.
    Thank you for the help. She's a fireball for sure. When she gets fired up, she's a monster. I want to keep that drive within her but when she gets fired up like that, that's when the biting becomes real extreme. Even a redirection only gets her attention for about 15 seconds before she wants to bite the arms, shorts, whatever is on us. We yelp loud and it doesn't deter her.

    She's a much better pup in the crate. Today we put her in for about an hour and a half with no peep. She has a little whimper when she's first in but nothing major after that.

    House training is getting better also. I don't think she understands that she needs to go outside but we're just much more proactive in taking her out. There has been some instances where she sniffs and I can tell. There were also a few times where she'd look at us and we took it as I need to go outside.

    Something else that we're trying to figure out is how to let her know that when it's feeding time, she has to leave our other dog alone to eat. We have a 7 year old female Boston Terrier. She's sort of imposing herself on the pup but she is timid of her. She'll hold her ground when they play but the pup will devour her food and then go to our Boston's dish and try eating her food too.

    I'm a fond believer in positive reinforcement and wanting to get the best bond with my pup as possible. I'm trying not to be too harsh with corrections or discipline as I don't want that to be an imprint on her at such a young age. So thank you to all of you for helping.

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    Feed pup in her crate and feed other dog somewhere pup can't get to it. It's not a good thing to let your puppy think she can do what she wants to who she wants, especially with food or some other highly desirable object. Especially with a baby on the way. Start now teaching boundaries. You aren't going to hurt this puppy's drive or bond with you by acting like the adult in charge.

    Carry pup out the door until she's old enough to get there fast enough. YOU make the decisions when she has to go, don't wait around for her to give you some sign yet. Get on a regular schedule of taking her out, after she eats, drinks, wakes up, every 10 minutes while she's awake and playing. You have to teach her and at this age, she should not be out of your sight loose in the house for even 2 seconds to keep having accidents in the house. You can still use a command when you're going out the door, like "outside" or whatever, and when she actually goes, praise. She should be running to the door soon when she does have to go. It should not take more than a week or two if you're being consistent.

    She may be smelling old urine if your other dog has gone in the house, not actually marking territory but they will certainly go where it smells like another dog has gone. If there are old stains, you really need to get rid of them thoroughly. Be aware as well that puppies, especially females, can get bladder infections/UTI that can make housetraining nearly impossible. Forget rubbing nose in it or doing anything else except pick her up and take her outside, even if she's already gone. Don't yell anything, don't get excited or mad, just pick her up and take her outside. Frequently. Use things like baby gates and exercise pens to block off rooms and keep pup in smaller area with you if necessary vs roaming the entire house while you are trying to keep an eye on her for housetraining.


    Puppy biting is No. 1 question/problem of all puppy buyers and the hardest to inveigh to them how to deal with it. People are so afraid of hurting little precious. There are many varying opinions and methods and some of it will depend on pup. Yelping is meaningless to her at this point so do something else.

    Labs are mouthy in the first place, they want something in their mouths, all the time. If she's coming back for more after you've tried stopping her, then playtime is over. Put her in her crate or expen if you have one (and every puppy owner should, they have a variety of uses). Ignore her. Use it as a timeout. You can try keeping a light line on her and going into some little obedience lesson like sit, redirecting with a toy or chew or whatever, but young as she is, she does not have an attention span for very long yet. When a pup goes into biting mode, something has to happen to make that behavior so undesirable that they stop, whether they go for a timeout, get their little lip pinched into their razor teeth, etc. Some pups are more determined than others, you just have to figure out what works with her and be consistent in the application. Gashing you is ridiculous. I just will not let that sort of behavior continue. Mine get away with a lot but not biting and scratching me up. I repeat, you will not ruin your bond or crush her desire, by teaching her some mouth manners. Assuming you are a sane person and not being outright abusive of course.

    Play fetch with her. Go for walks. Also teach her it's OK to be alone for a while. People tend to want to spend tons and tons of time with new puppy bonding, don't leave them alone, make them center of attention, which is great, but then bam, puppy isn't sweet little precious anymore, family life resumes and young dog is now anxious at being left alone because it never was before, when it was of an age to learn to be OK alone. Especially with a new baby coming, you need to teach this pup to be a good citizen with good obedience and a clear understanding of her place in the household. She's going to be what, 7-8 months when your new baby arrives in Nov, that's prime "teenage" behavior in a youngster, 9 months being the average age for dogs to be given up. They aren't cute puppies anymore, they have teenage brains, hormones and energy in bodies that need more exercise than puppy ever did.
    Kim Pfister, Rainmaker Labs

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