Posts Tagged ‘Golden Retriever’

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.

Your Adopted Labrador Retriever Can Learn To Behave

Gemma | December 24th, 2008
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If you adopt an adult Lab from a shelter or rescue group, you certainly can’t go back in time to puppyhood to avoid behavior problems. But don’t despair! Your Lab can still learn how to behave.

Habits that have taken a year to develop won’t disappear overnight. Consistency and patience are required to train a Lab of any age. You can’t let your Lab get away with something once just because you are tired. You can’t pat it on the head for jumping on you one day because it’s cute, then yell at it for jumping on you the next day when you are in your work clothes.

The trick is to see the pearl in the oyster, so to speak. You can have a wonderful family dog hidden inside that rambunctious adolescent. All you need to do is channel that energy with patience and nurture those natural Lab tendencies into behaviors that are appropriate for life with the typical loving family.

Back To The Basics

They key to training a shelter Lab, a Lab from a rescue group, or any adolescent or adult Lab is simple. The golden rule in training is to forget that they are adolescents or adult dogs and treat them just how you would treat an 8-week old puppy – using positive training methods.

In many cases, people who adopt adult Labs from the shelter believe an older dog should know better, and this can set both dog and human up for failure and disappointment. If your adopted Lab is acting up, it isn’t because it is being spiteful. Just because a dog is older doesn’t mean it should know better.

A lot of people get really resentful about the behavior of their shelter Labs. They think their dog is abnormal because it isn’t acting like that calm, sweet, mellow Lab down the street. But this is normal behavior for Lab puppies and also for adolescent Labs that haven’t had any training or that don’t understand what is expected of them.

This kind of behavior is frustrating, but you have to understand the Lab’s natural tendencies and you have to be patient. Rambunctious behavior from a shelter dog is actually a good thing. A dog that has been moved around a lot tends to be insecure and overwhelmed, leaving it subdued for a few weeks when placed in a new home.

The dog isn’t sure whether it is going to stay with you but when he starts jumping up and running around like a toddler, that’s really good news! It means that your Lab is finally feeling comfortable and starts acting more normal. At this point, you can manage training problems and start back at square one, as if it were a puppy.

Why Were These Wonderful Family Dogs Given Up?

Gemma | December 21st, 2008
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An adolescent dog is a hard sell for adoption, even if they are the types of pets considered to be ideal for family living, such as the Labrador Retriever. And when people do make the commitment to bring home a large, enthusiastic canine that hasn’t learned any manners yet, regret may set in quickly.

You see these types of dogs in shelters all of the time because, in the outside world, people see other family-oriented dogs that are calm and sweet and think they naturally come that way. They don’t realize how much time it takes to get these dogs to that point, and they give up because the drive and the high energy level is more than they are willing or able to deal with.

Many otherwise well-behaved dogs act wildly in shelters, not because they are always that way, but because of their situation. When you adopt a dog from a shelter, what you see isn’t always what you get. If the dog is wild and jumping up, it could be crying out saying, Hey, look at me! I’m a friendly dog! Pick me, Pick me!

On the reverse behavior, if you see a dog that is really quiet, it could just be overcome by the noise and all the changes it has just experienced.

Why Are These Popular Dogs There In The First Place?

Popular family dogs you can find in the shelter may have been dropped off because many families found that they could not tolerate the typical behaviors that came up, such as the incessant need to chew and an energy level that sometimes seems unquenchable.

Dogs bred for fieldwork (hunting) can have even more energy and drive than other breeds. Their exercise needs may seem impossible to meet, so many of these guys and gals end up in animal shelters or in rescue groups without ever having had any training.

Constantly shifting from one home to another and having to endure long periods of confinement in small spaces can make inappropriate behavior even worse, simple because the dog isn’t getting the exercise or attention it craves.

When an adolescent or adult dog has never received any formal obedience training, he may seem incorrigible, and that’s not what people expect from an adult family-type dog. Take the Labrador Retriever as the perfect example one major reason why people adopt adult Labs is to avoid a lot of the work that comes with a puppy.

These people have heard that adult Labs are calm and they think this adult dog will be no problem at all. But if the Lab was never trained, you can have real problems, such as a Lab that has never learned to stop the habit of puppy mouthing or jumping on people. It’s one thing for a puppy to do those things but when a large adult dog does them, somebody could get hurt.

Golden Retriever Dog Breed

Gemma | July 25th, 2007
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The Golden Retriever is extremely popular among dog owners, especially in the United States. This dog breed is currently listed as the number two most popular registered dog with the AKC. This is not surprising, however, due to the fact that the Golden Retriever maintains the following qualities: high affection levels, friendliness towards strange people and other foreign animals, very easy to train, and always playful.

Golden Retrievers were officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in the year 1927. Initially valued for its hunting abilities, it soon became an extremely popular household pet, obedience competitor, and show dog winner.

This dog is known as everyone’s friend and is widely appreciated for its companionship towards family. Golden Retrievers are highly physical animals and have been known to lead towards behavior problems when there is a lack of activity. In fact, poor breeding practices have produced Golden Retrievers who are overly boisterous and excitable when left in house. However, a properly bred Retriever is one that will remain calm when trained, yet energetic when given the opportunity to play outside.

Upkeep And Maintenance

Upkeep of the Golden Retriever must include daily physical exercise. Runs through the sand, long walks on the leash, and of course retrieving games are all highly recommended to keep this animal happy. Human interaction and social events are also desired by the Golden Retriever.

This dog can live both indoors and outdoors. However, indoor living is what best suits the Golden Retriever. Because of its need for human interaction and companionship, it is best to make room for your Retriever inside the house so that he can love and be loved by the rest of family as much as possible.

Health Information

If you own a Golden Retriever or plan on raising one from puppyhood, major health concerns that you should know about are various skin problems (such as hot spots, ear infections, and allergies), CHD, lymphoma, and hemangiosarcoma. Minor issues include hypothyroidism, elbow dysplasia, potential eye disorders, mast cell tumors, and seizures.

Golden Retrievers have a lifespan of up to 13 years when living a life of good health. Veterinarians suggest that these dogs be specifically tested for thyroid, hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, cardiac issues, and potential eye problems.

How To Keep Your Shelter Labrador Retriever Happy

Gemma | December 27th, 2005
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The old saying that a tired dog is a good dog never applied to any breed more than the adolescent Labrador Retriever. Labs need so much exercise! This is especially true when they are young adults.

They are not a couch potato breed, but they will calm down after a good 40 minutes or so of vigorous aerobic exercise. This is why dog parks were invented!

All young Labrador Retrievers have energy to spare, but Labs confined to shelters for long periods may be in dire need of some serious cardiovascular activity to burn off excessive energy. Most Labs at these shelters aren’t getting enough exercise at all.

Labs are bred to go through the woods and marshes and get that duck again and again and again all day long. This is an extremely active, high-energy dog and if you bring it into a sedentary lifestyle, it’s not a good fit.

Putting a Labrador Retriever in a fenced yard or taking the dog for a walk around the block isn’t enough. This dog’s exercise has to be heavy cardiovascular and it has to wear them out to the point of fatigue.

Finding sufficient outlets for your shelter Lab’s energy can make a huge difference in behavior around the house. Dog-daycare programs and professional pet sitters can offer exercise opportunities during the work day, but even without paying a penny to a professional, you can exercise your Lab by organizing play dates.

Nothing tires out an adolescent dog like another adolescent dog. Meet up with other dog people friends, neighbors or people you meet in obedience class and get your dogs together to channel that energy.

Invite them over for pizza or a backyard grill and turn the dogs loose. A lot of people become very good friends who get together for such dog-related activities. It’s an economical and fun alternative to an organized dog-daycare program.

After about 12 to 14 months, when a Labrador Retriever has finished growing strong bones, it can also begin more organized athletic activities, such as agility (a competitive obstacle course), or other higher-impact activities, such as jogging for long distances.

But never wait too long for obedience classes. This is a common mistake all too many dog owners make, and this goes especially for your newly adopted shelter Lab. Start bonding with it right away under the guidance of a professional, who can help you with strategies for introducing family members, other pets and dog-proofing your home. You’ll set a precedent for good behavior, and you’ll immediately begin building a relationship with your Lab.

Adopting A Labrador Retriever – The One Magic Word

Gemma | March 31st, 2005
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One reason many Labrador Retrievers are abandoned to animal shelters is because they jumped on small children, knocking them over or scaring them. A lot of people don’t understand how to manage jumping and when their Lab gets big, jumping isn’t so cute anymore.

People don’t know how to deal with it so they give up on the dog. Once a Lab has reached its full adult size, jumping can become a real problem, but that’s also an easy problem to fix. All it takes is one little word: Sit.

Sit is the solution to over 90% of behavior problems. The sit command is the answer, and it’s the easiest thing in the world to train a dog to do. When a dog is sitting, it can’t be jumping up. Train your newly adopted shelter Lab to sit with big rewards and you’ll see a huge difference in behavior.

Many adult Labs already know the sit command so using it frequently can nip jumping quickly. Even Labs that don’t know the command to sit know how to sit. If you teach the dog to sit on command, you’ve solved all kinds of problems before you ever get to a training class. Labs are so trainable because they want to please you and they want rewards. They really do want to sit for you!

Out Of Control Jumpers

Teaching your dog the off command is necessary for those out-of-control jumpers. Jumping up is the way the Lab expresses how desperate it is for attention. The more hyper you get in response to this behavior, the more excited your Lab becomes. Even yelling is attention to your Lab. Teach him that the only time it will get love and attention is when it is sitting. Ignore it when it jumps on you become a statue, literally.

To teach off you will actually want to invite this excitement from your Lab by acting excited yourself. Then, when it jumps up, cross your arms, turn away and quietly say off. Then wait don’t move, talk or make eye contact.

When the dog realizes it’s not getting any sort of attention, positive or negative, it will get back on the floor. Immediately praise him. Your Lab will get bored fast and try something else, like sitting. That’s when you pour on the praise.

After only a few times, if you are quick and consistent, your Lab will learn that it gets what it craves attention when all four paws are on the floor instead of jumping all over you.