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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone. My first post, I have so many questions I don't know where to start. i have owned dogs before but this is my first lab. I am totally smitten. He is 18 weeks and a black lab pup (have no idea how to attach a picture!!) my problem is he will obey my every command if he sees the treat!!

What do I do next... He will not drop anything or leave anything until he sees me go towards the treat box or put my hand in my pocket. Which means most children's toys, including my sons glasses, get a little chew and bite marks on them before I can get to the treat! I have heard that you should say the command only once but if they don't do it what do you do ............. physically remove the toy by prising his jaws? He resonds to "no no" without a treat, but if I give him a firm command he ignores me until he hears the fridge door open or the treat box open, or he sees me put my hand in my pocket and take out the treat.
 

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Hi there,

I would do a few training sessions per day where you can work on the leave or drop command.

You could use some treats or kibble from a meal and spend some time rewarding for leaving and/or dropping, or even better, holding. Reward frequently and then start to not reward with a treat at random moments so the dog is never sure when you will give the reward. i.e. reward 3 times on the trot, not the fourth and then reward another 5 times and then miss one out etc.

Hope that helps!
 

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Hi there

Exactly as Treecity says, gradually, he will start to associate "good boy" as being enough, but honestly - at 16 weeks, it sounds as though you are doing fabulously! - I still have to treat more than 50% to get the best result and Beetle is 9.5 months!

Some owners will older (and lots of) labs will be along soon to give a more longer term picture...

talking of pictures!! - instructions can be found in the help section - as you can see, we are a pic mad bunch!

Welcome to LF - hope you enjoy

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He has started to relate the sound of the treat box as the command rather than your voice. Answer, stop the treats! They are unnecessary anyway. I never use treats in that way. My reward is my hands and voice, treats are just that. Something I give during the day because I feel like it. A stroke, and ear fondle and a "good boy" are the very best rewards.

Regards, John
 
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Like John, I'd stop the treats and then if he doesn't respond to the command, physically remove the item from him.

I do use treats to train in new positions (Heel position, Down, etc) but don't use them for "unwanted" behaviours, such as running off with a pebble in their mouth, as they all to quickly manipulate you by doing the unwanted things to get a treat. :wink:
 

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I only used treats til Alfie learned what i was looking for the they stopped.. Have been using them again over his traffic aggresion an the treats are getting less as Now its good boy in a very silly high vouice that gets the best results...lol and he loves nothing more than a fuss...So commands first an great big fuss after.
 
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Im glad you posted this, Marley had caught on to the fact that every time he brought a stone in from the garden I exchanged it for a treat. I now have more stones in the house than the garden!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thank you all for the replies, little confused, but very interesting to hear your very different views. To treat or not to treat to obey a command? My OH keeps telling me that he will continue to "pinch" stuff if I keep rewarding him when he drops it. Is this true? Is he doing it on purpose or is he not really that clever? Do dogs think like that? If I do not provide the treat, he continues to bite down on what he has in his mouth and if that is my five year olds' glasses that is quite a lot of damage. Plus he runs away! If I go towards to where the treat is kept he drops immediately. I do feel this is a dilemma that would be easily solved if you were all in the room with him but unfotunately my inexperience prevails. Unfortunately, he has never been big on excited greetings and lots of praise - he is sooo laid back its as if he sits and waits for it to be over so I get on with the task of feeding or walking him. His tail only really wags when greeting another canine.
 
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My OH keeps telling me that he will continue to "pinch" stuff if I keep rewarding him when he drops it. Is this true? Is he doing it on purpose or is he not really that clever? Do dogs think like that?
In my experience, dogs are a darn sight more clever and manipulative than most of us give them credit for. Everything in their life is "What's in it for me?". Now there are varying degrees of this manipulation and some derive pleasure just from praise and knowing they have pleased their person....but others are much more hard headed, independent thinking and "selfish" (for want of a better word). These ones I find need a consequence to their actions......So for example they constantly nick stuff off the side, then they need something nasty to happen while they are doing this (stacking a load of tin trays, etc on the side with a bit of bait, so that when they go for the bait the whole lot comes clattering down, usually does the trick).

It sounds like your pup is leading you a bit of a merry dance at the moment. If he nicks stuff you give him a treat, he likes treats so he nicks more stuff. If he nicks stuff and you don't give him a treat, then he gets you to chase him, which is a great game for him and most dogs love this one. So can you see, he is in a Win Win situation.....Whatever you are doing, he is getting pleasure from taking stuff which isn't his.

The only logical way to deal with this is to ignore him when he has got something and of course this mean not allowing him access to anything which is of value to you (especially your sons glasses), as the moment you start playing his games again, you are reinforcing the behaviour.

For now, leave stuff around that he CAN take....old shoes, old gloves, old teatowel, etc and if he takes them, then completely ignore him, let him rip them up, run off with them, etc, etc.......You must not be part of his game. If he does come over to you with his prize in his mouth to "Show" you, then tell him he's a Good Boy, give him a little tickle but don't take it off him. The idea being you WANT him to come and show you what he's got to start with.

Does he Retrieve? As it might now be a nice idea to get him fetching stuff you have thrown and changing the game that way......So he still gets his kicks but he is doing so with an appropriate item. I gather he isn't going to be a working dog, so there is no harm in having a little game of tuggies with him, then throwing the item and when he brings it back having another little game of tuggies as a reward. This way he is using his instincts to hold things in his mouth (which is probably partly why he is constantly nicking stuff) and his brain, especially if you then up the anti a bit and hide the toy for him to find...but he is actually doing your bidding, rather than the other way round.

I hope this all makes sense and I know some of what I've written you'll probably think is impossible to achieve, but yes really he could be that clever and he is pulling your strings, so now is the time to think ahead of him and get him wanting to please you and not him wanting you to please him. :wink:
 
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Unfortunately, he has never been big on excited greetings and lots of praise - he is sooo laid back its as if he sits and waits for it to be over so I get on with the task of feeding or walking him. His tail only really wags when greeting another canine.
Coming back to this......I actually find this rather sad. Does he not get all waggy and excited when you come home after being out for a while....or even just when you pop to the loo? How well do you think he is bonded to you and you to him? Do you get down on the floor and play with him, like a besty buddy would do? Do you lay on the floor and let him climb all over you, snuffling your hair, pulling your clothes, etc....Play tuggy, rough and tumble, anything at all? I'm just curious why he would be so indifferent to you....I mean even my most independent of dogs has been happy to see me and be with me. I would be most upset if they didn't even wag their tail when they greeted me. He is only 18 weeks old.....you should be the centre of his world, not just his "slave".
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Hi Jules. That is really interesting and I will try that, unfortunately the "prizes" i.e. sons glasses are usually because of the children forgetting to pick things up etc. But i will monitor them more closely and leave stuff he can have to try to ignore. With regard to bonding - we play all the time I walk him twice a day and he is off lead on the beach at least once a day. He follows me and comes when called, sometimes even when there is an interesting dog nearby! We play fetch, little bit of tug of war and have belly rubs. He follows me round the house, even if he is sleeping, he'll get up and lie down on my feet (if i am stood still long enough) but no excessive tail wagging when I return home or first thing in the morning. I thought this was a lab thing, some mornings he doesn't even get out of bed and come to me. You've got me worried now. What should I do? More excitable voices, more hands on play with just me rather than a toy? I have bigger issues than I thought!
 
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Ok Let's not panic here. Maybe he is just a really lazy pup (can't believe he doesn't get out of his pit in the mornings 8O ... he sounds like my teenage boys :wink: ).

It might be an idea to start a new thread asking if others have such laid back/lazy pups, as maybe I've just always had the bonkers, enthusiastic, waggly, can get enough of me types. I can't even go to put the kettle on without my pup greeting me as if I've been gone for years :lol: ....Maybe it's ME that has the problem 8O .

When you play with him, I would try getting down to his level and using a high pitched happy voice, just to make yourself more FUN FUN FUN. I just think if he doesn't have a lot of interest in you, it'll make any training very difficult without constantly resorting to treats.

It's good that he follows you around and chooses to sleep on your feet though, as at least that means he feels you are worth keeping in sight.
 
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