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Old 30-09-2019, 04:50 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Someone please help. I’m starting to lose the will to live.
I have a beautiful 13 nearly 14 week black lab called Lexi. I’m having major issues with two things. First off is her biting she is an absolute crocodile. She bites and nips whenever possibly, I’ve tried telling her no but that makes her worse, stood up and been a tree,walked away and tried the toy in mouth all to no avail, they just all provoke her to do it more. If I put her in her crate for chill time she is jumping at the door like some mad woman!!!! Second thing is sleeping. I go to bed at 9pm so I expect her to get up but is 2am acceptable. She refuses to go back in crate after wee and poo and if I bribe her into the crate she goes ballistic within 5 mins. So I’m basically awake at 2am till 9pm I’m finding it hard at the moment as I’m a nurse and I have to be on the ball at work and at the moment I can’t even think straight !!!
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Old 30-09-2019, 11:49 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Seen. I'll be back later when I have more time.
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Old 30-09-2019, 02:46 PM   #3 (permalink)
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OK, I'm back.

Firstly I have to say this. There cant be many people who, after getting a puppy, don't at some time think that they have made the biggest mistake of their lives! We all do, believe me! But they don't stay a puppy for ever, and they grow up into the most wonderful creatures.

Crates.
I'm old, and was brought up into dogs years before crates were invented, and fought against them for years. Then with two successive pups I lost my kitchen floor. So for domestic harmony I brought a crate. Now I would never ever have a pup again without using a crate. When my Chloe was a baby I spent a year going backwards and forwards into hospital, several days in hospital and nearly 8 weeks of having to go to hospital every day. And the fact that I knew Chloe could not get up to mischief was a godsend. But they need to be approached correctly. It should NEVER be used as punishment. That would put all the wrong connotations in the pup's mind. It is her den, her refuge from a busy world. I feed my pups in the crate so to start it becoming a nice place. I give treats in there, and even a certain amount of "Baby talk" can help, such as, when I want my pup to go in the command I give is "Go by by's time sweetheart!" (And I'm one of those hard hearted working gundog people, so if I can use that language so can anybody!!! ) Don't just put puppy in at night, do it at intervals during the day when you are around. If you see her getting tired, pop her into the crate, close the door and continue what you are doing. I find it important that they see you doing things, because it takes their mind off being shut in and gives them something to watch. This is where I AM a little hard hearted. I ignore all protests. When I say bed time then it's not a debating point. I don't tell pup off, I simply ignore it. My routine at night is always the same. I go to bed at 11pm and I get up at 6am. I start with getting up for toilet breaks at 1am, 2am and 4am for the first night or two, but if I find it's not needed then I reduce to 1am and 3am, then reduce even further to just 2am. Since using a crate I've never needed more than a week before my pups can go through the night. It's all about gradually stretching the time out. And any crying after I leave them is ignored. I think Chloe cried all night the first night, the second night she cried for about an hour and the third night it was down to 10 minutes. She did tend to call me in the morning, but she was a spring puppy so the mornings were getting lighter. But Lexi is an autumn puppy to the mornings are drawing in, so that will make it easier.

Now biting.
I think it’s important that you understand whats happening. What you describe is so normal for Labrador puppies! Part of the problem is that they are so much a social breed, they love everybody and want to be with them. They want to play, and they want to involve their “human” in their game. And of course dogs cant play cards or computer games. Puppies are pre-programmed at birth to play “War Games.” This is equipping them for their future in the wild, catching their food and defending themselves and their pack. Puppies, and many other creatures in the wild will practise and hone their skills on each other. I’m so lucky in that I have a private wood that I can walk in and often in spring I’ve stood and watched Fox cubs playing these war games. They have no intention of hurting each other, just have a lovely game.

But then onto domestic dogs, and thats where things all go wrong. We take our puppy out of the nest and away from his siblings at around 8 weeks old, just about the time when the pups are beginning to get active, starting to think about things other than eating and sleeping. So his natural actions now would be to play his war games, but he has no siblings to play those games with! So effectively you are the surrogate sibling! In the wild this is where he would start to learn bite inhibition. As a baby he would have no idea that biting hurts! How could he? So he nips his sibling a bit hard, brother says, “Oye! Pack it in! If you are going to play rough I’m off!” In other words he walks off and leaves his brother. Brother soon works out that biting too hard hurts and finishes the game. Particularly if it’s him that gets bitten too hard! So the pups start to learn to control their biting.

Why do they single out one particular person? Because they think that person is nice, so they want to play, and play in the only way they know. So really, much as you dont want it, it's really a compliment! Your puppy feels happy and confident with you.

This is where the theory of “Time out” came from. It’s us trying to replicate what would happen with puppies naturally in the wild. “That hurt! I’m not playing anymore!” So you stand up, turn your back on the pup, get your hands up high so there is nothing for the pup to take hold of. But you have probably noticed that things are worse in the evening. Just like children, they can lose a certain amount of self control when they get tired. All day you are busy so they spend a large part of the time sleeping, but in the evening, when you want to sit quiet, resting from the day they want to play. And as they get tired so the play gets rougher. I have always made a point of popping my pups into their crate at about 7pm for an hour, so they get use to having an hours sleep in the evening, and I get a chance to recharge my batteries. Interestingly this has built a habit which has continued for all of my dogs lives. Every evening they put themselves to bed and we all have a rest.

I know puppies are hard work, and the alligators can make your hands really sore, but believe me, it does get better. Yes my dogs still love to involve me in their games, but it’s now lovely. Amy takes hold of my wrist so gently and leads me to where she wants to go, or Chloe will take hold of one finger to involve me in her war games, but oh so gently. Somehow you never notice things getting better because it is a slow change in pressure. But one day you realise your hands are no longer sore and you cant remember the last time you told him to pack it in. Given time they become the most wonderful of creatures.

John
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Old 30-09-2019, 03:06 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Thank you John for you reply.
I am really trying my best with Lexi, she just is so energetic and when your sleep deprived it makes things even harder. I’m going to try the 7pm nap in her crate and see if that calms her. As she tends to go berserk in the evenings and when she wakes up. Today is going to be her first walk so here’s hoping that a short walk will tore her out.
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Old 30-09-2019, 03:41 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I always look at the break in the evening as my chance to recharge my batteries. Don't worry, we all know how hard it is. You are not alone. But it shows how wonderful they become by the way we keep coming back for more! I had my first pup in 1955 and have been coming back for more ever since. There is an old saying, the cleaned up version goes, "When you are up to your backside in alligators it's difficult to remember that the object of the exercise was to drain the swamp!" And that really does apply to Labrador puppies. For the first few weeks you are so busy firefighting that you have no time for anything else.

You cant take her out yet, but you can start training in the garden. Heelwork, sit stays, recalls, it all occupies her brain, and will all help when the day comes to take her out for her first walk. Much below you may not be interested in, but really, what you train does not matter. It all helps to give a pup something to think about.



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Old 30-09-2019, 04:13 PM   #6 (permalink)
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She’s allowed to go out from today so could help hopefully. What annoys me the most is that I’m the one that does everything for her, and my husband does nothing and she is an angel for him.
She knows sit,paw,stay and down so I know she’s clever.
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Old 30-09-2019, 04:19 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Don't try to tire her out when she goes out. Remember the 5 minute rule. Five minutes of exercise for every month of age. The bones are still soft at this stage so over exercising can lead to hip problems later.
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Old 30-09-2019, 04:21 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Yes I understand might just sit on a bench after walk for a bit so she gets some fresh air and also gets used to being outside.
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Old 30-09-2019, 04:34 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Some great advice from John. I currently have 5 labradors, 2 are under 15 months. I’d probably consider myself an experienced owner but, boy, with these last two I’ve struggled. The boy, now coming up to 15 months was a nightmare on the hyperactivity front, destroying and eating everything he could get hold of. The crate was a total godsend. Even now he has an enforced nap in his crate for about 2 hours in the middle of the afternoon. That’s paid dividends because he’s learnt to relax and knows when he’s instructed into a crate or kennel, it’s time to chill whether at home or while in boarding kennels. Yes, once every three months he spends a week in kennels to give us all a break!

The girl, now just over 6 months, is more calm but soiled in her crate all the time. We’ve just about cracked that.

The one thing that has helped is taking out for a ride in the car! That knackers them both out more than anything! Brain games and training indoors or in the garden works wonders too.
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Old 30-09-2019, 04:40 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Thanks massive how did you train yours to go into crate. I have to throw a treat into lexi’s and even then after that’s gone she creates mary ****!!
She hates the car at the moment whines as soon as she gets in !!!!
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