How To Handle The Ultra-Exuberant Labrador

Peter | January 4th, 2009
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For those ultra-exuberant Labs who have trouble controlling themselves from jumping on people, even after being taught the sit and off commands, a harness and leash in the house can help immensely.

Put the harness and leash on, then sit in a chair and put your foot on the leash so there’s only enough slack for the dog to stand up or sit, but not to jump up. This way you aren’t jerking the dog around or punishing it, and if the dog starts to jump up, it can’t. Just make sure the leash is firmly under your feet with a wide enough base so you don’t get pulled off the chair!

Although the harness is a way to manage jumping behavior it must be coupled with teaching the sit command with lots of positive reinforcement. This will keep your Lab from performing the behavior you don’t want, while teaching it the behavior you do want. You want to physically prevent them from jumping up, then immediately train them to sit with a big reward.

A headcollar, which fits over the muzzle (similar to a horse halter), is another option for over-exuberant Labs, especially those that pull on a leash. Many dog trainers are great fans of the headcollar for over-excited dogs. It’s a fabulous management tool.

Use it in the house or on walks while your dog is learning how to walk on leash, so you aren’t getting your arm yanked out of its socket. Also, headcollars can help potential adopters to recognize that they can handle that 75-pound, full-grown Labrador Retriever.

Don’t Give Up!

Most importantly, all new owners of adopted Labs are urged not to give up on their rambunctious buddies. There is a light at the end of the tunnel for these dogs. Work with them every day that you can. Provide as much time needed to get them domesticated to your needs and the needs of the family.

Seek out a qualified, positive trainer, and get the help you need. Particularly good would be a trainer that has experience with training adolescent and adult dogs.

Be patient, consistent and understanding, and one day the Labrador fairy will raise her magic wand and sprinkle her magic dust over your Lab. Suddenly, you’ll realize that your hyperactive shelter Lab has become a really great, respectable, and well-trained family pet, one that your neighbors will be envious of.

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