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Two Labs & Mia

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  1. Hi Lady, puppies can be a real handful/lot of work, we forget when it's been a long time since raising the last one! 11 weeks is awfully young. They sort of seem to go through phases of absorbing like a sponge, following commands perfectly, then not. Then all of a sudden they are "good" again, learn some new things, back to bratty. Seems like all 6 of the ones I raised from pup, (a lab/golden mix, 3 field Labs, a Brittany Spaniel, and now Mia), went through phases like that. Yep, you're right, raising the volume of your voice doesn't make it in the long run, they learn to tune you out. I picked one or two "lessons" at a time, (what ever I thought was the most important), focused on getting that one or two things across before moving on. They seem to click through them faster that way than if they're bombed with lots of things at once. While he's young some things that will start to show him you are alpha is more body language than verbal language since dogs key off of body language the most. Dominants give direct eye contact and are never the 1st to break it. You can try adding that technique after saying his name to get his attention and giving a command, or when saying "no". Try not to repeat a command you know he's familiar with you, stay silent and stare until he goes ahead and does what you had asked. You can toss some pennies in a metal can to sit on a counter top, if it's hard to get his attention, shaking it will probably make him look at you so you can say his name followed by the command after you've got his attention. If he's nipping you too hard during play he's programmed to understand what Mamma dog does for this, a light pinch to scruff of neck with one hand, hand over nose to push in a downward motion with other at the same time. That's the natural correction he's already been taught by him Mom, and it also starts to subconsciously tell him your are senior. Never do it harshly, a true pack leader is even handed and calm, (good genetics), and they seem to know this. Might want to email some hospitals in your area and ask who brings service dogs in, or ask them to pass your info on to persons who come in with service dogs. Bet they are a wealth of info on how to get started in your area. Hang in there, you can do it. It's just tougher than we remember for a while, first 10-11 months really. But you'll have 14 fantastic years after that, a great return on your investment!
  2. Boy does that sound familiar. Going through the same thing with 5 month old Mia right now. We set up a small "little kid" yard with square wire fence and metal posts off one side of the deck and bought a light line. Started taking her down the stairs to that side of the deck with a lead on her collar, trade the lead connection to the line connection, let her have her time to sniff/potty, call her back, tell her good, lead back on, back up stairs. She doesn't like it much compared to being allowed to go down the other side of the deck into the large privacy fenced yard with the big dogs. She will come in with them when I give the everyone come signal, 8 times a day, for days in a row. Then all of a sudden, one day, 2 out of the 8 trips, she'll fail. Following day, if she's been getting by with it, no come at all. Times she's broken a string of consistency and I've switched her right back to the line the very next trip for an entire day, she gets the idea much faster. Got lax over the week end with DH just opening door for all three to run out, he let her fail twice, this a.m. I've had trouble 2 of 2 trips. (Heehee, looks like I need to work on both of them.) I know she needs to run and play, but she does need to know the string attached to that is that you come back when called, and on the spot, end of it, or there goes the privilege. She'll pretend she has to go out more when I'm doing this, and do little "courtesy pees", just to see if I will continue to hold. Yep. She's back to the line for a few days. Gotta sink in permanent sooner or later. :-)
  3. Oh that's funny. My Mom just told me that my little cousin's cat used to sit on the counter and reach around to the "water through door compartment on their fridge" just to watch the water go. :-) Trying to think of some, (less messy), things to teach Mia that are uniquely hers.
  4. Ok, I've taught my dogs to do handy little stuff around the house over the years. It's been fun for them, fun for me. My old Cho Lab liked to turn on/off light switches. She was great at closing lower cabinet doors and the fridge when I asked, as is her still surviving younger cousin, yellow Lab Madison. Used to "run down the hall and turn on the coffee pot" for me when asked, when we had an older one with a big switch on front. (Used to put coffee and water in the night before.) Youngest Lab Sera, now 5, is in love with those "tap lights", battery operated ones, we have some inside low cabinets and a closet. Mia just turned 5 months. The last couple of days she had been whining at the refrigerator, staring at it some. (?) It has one of those square cut out areas with two paddles set in it, one for putting out ice, one puts out water. We don't use them though, quicker and easier to open the door and grab some ice, and we have an R/O water filter at the sink that makes better water. So it's not like she's been watching, or anyone has shown her. This morning, she stands up there, puts her paw on the paddle that delivers water, and gets a shower and runs away! A few seconds later, back she comes, she "sneaks up" on it, puts her paw on the paddle, and helps herself to a nice refrigerated drink! I about fell over laughing. She's got 2 bowls full of clean R/O water on the floor a few feet away, ...(?) Luckily there is a button that says "Lock" on it, which I pushed right away, really don't want ice all over the floor next. My laugh for the day. OMG, wondering what it next!
  5. Awe! Both such beautiful girls. Old Vet used to say "Puppyhood is like having a cold, you forget how bad it really is until you have one again". :-) Mia just turned 5 months, so I got a refresher recently. The pee issue, might be worth collecting a quick sample of urine in small boiled jar, 1st thing one a.m., and dropping at Vet's just to see if she has a UTI going or not. Usually not much charge for that, and they don't need to see them just to test it. They are pretty common with the little female pups. Mia had one when she came home from shelter. I started to suspect as she was just peeing way to often, about every 20 minutes, and small multiple times when taken outdoors, but was perfect on getting her poop where it belonged. So just a thought there. A quick shot of a spray called Nature's Miracle after cleaning up the urine really seems to help too. I noticed even though she still had the infection for a while if she had an accident it wasn't anywhere near where I'd sprayed that stuff. Your girl is awfully young though, bet you'll see big improvement a month from now unless it is a UTI working against her. The ruff biting, not fun, but perfect opportunity to teach the concept of "easy". Lots of ways to go about it, depends on the dog. One Mia understood best: Set on floor, pick up pup, cover your teeth with your lips so you can't hurt her, put her ear or paw in your mouth, bite to apply gentle pressure to give the example of easy, then softly say "easy". If she does it back, say yes good girl "easy" every time. If she's going too ruff with your adult girl, same thing, grab her up on the spot, put her on your lap, repeat, set her down to try it again. I stick my hand in the middle of play sessions when she's playing with my older girls to check how hard she's actually biting. Sometimes it looks worse than it is, but if it's over the top she gets told again. I think really it bores her to death so she plays easier to keep from being side lined and getting the routine she already knows. :-)
  6. Great that you are getting things settled down. I got some plain old fashioned bubbles and a bubble wand in the toy section at Walmart for playing with my pup when she needs to play and I am tired. I had spinal surgery a year ago, sometimes the leg nerves that were compressed too long don't cooperate and I can't run and play as she needs. Someone here suggested bubbles for play time, she goes nuts for them. Easy to sit on lawn chair outside, blow them, watch her chase. I think they even have them for dogs specifically in liver flavor, etc. Might be an easy/fun event for just Mac and Mamma. Been a while since we've had a longer haired foster, but they used to make pet razor combs for matts in tight places. Easy to use, just like combing, might look at Pet's Mart, Foster's Smith, see if they still have them. They were pretty inexpensive if I remember right. Take Care!
  7. Hi Eibbed, I have worked at home before too. My "kids" came to recognize that after their basic needs were met 1st thing in the morning MY attention and attitude shifted. I wonder if your boy sees the last treat indoors, (right before you become "Serious Inattentive Dad"), as the catalyst to this mysterious change in you, (and therefore, his world). In other words, it could be the thing that happens right before, (or in his mind causes), a bad thing to happen to you. When we work outside of the home they don't see us all stressed, hurrying, inattentive to them, we're simply gone. When we reappear, we are all theirs again, we take them out, play, get whatever they need. Just a thought. When his ears are down when this happens, are they also "stiff" and slightly rear of usually position, tight against the head? Ever seen any "tongue flicking" going on at the same time? Like just the tip of the tongue out of mouth, licking his nose? Both are usually a cue that he's in conflict as doesn't know what to think or how to behave. IE "I'm getting a treat, BUT, you are going to change on me in a minute". Could be that simple. Might try saving the last treat for a different time later in the morning after you have started to work. Just an impromptu break at random times, "hey, want a treat?", then go back to your work, and see what happens. Sorry about situation with change towards wife. That's hard, mine always gravitate to me and I know it hurts DH's feelings. Have you tried thinking of a few special things that can be given to him by just her? Walk, short ride to pick something up, game? Mine pick right up when "Daddy" does special things with/for them one on one without me, but we have to remember to have him do it a time or two a week or they fall right back to being "mine".
  8. Hi Cass C, you have probably thought of this, but will mention it just in case. Sounds like a friend's Shepherd last year. He became afraid of the back yard, started going in the house, wouldn't go out with the other dog for nothing, not even to play with toys and accompanied by his owner. Would bolt out front as usual for walks, just wouldn't go outside in his back yard anymore. Fully trained 7 year old dog. Then one day when she was out there with him she started to hear a faint "pop" in the distance. Fireworks. He shot straight for the door and almost clawed it up trying to get in the house. He'd never been afraid of them before, but the problem did start exactly at the time the big profession celebrations happened, then neighborhood kids had the small ones they were setting of daily for weeks after that. I don't know why he'd suddenly become afraid of them, but he sure did. This year was a repeat, she goes out for a quick listen and only takes him when clear. Kept him in an interior room with her during the professional ones with several fans going for white noise and turned up the TV, had a shorter less severe phase this year.
  9. That's exactly the type of vocalization I was talking about Maxi and CMP. Labs just don't "say" much, the alert bark for someone in the driveway or near the yard is distinct. The I want to pee/play/go for a swim is pretty much the same bark, hard to decipher. Then the Yipe Yipe once the towels come out of the linen cabinet and they know they are going for a swim, or if we say, "yeah you can go" after picking up the car keys. They just don't vocalize a bunch. None of the 3 full Labs, or the 1 half Lab I had ever did, anyway. Mia doesn't do hound like vocalization, the yodel type I've heard 2 rescues we passed on make. She does almost "talk". Started to say "Mamma" when she's playing with me. I'll ask, "Mamma?", and she'll repeat. DH refers to me as Mamma. When she's playing with Lab Sera, she growls lots, and growls Mamma. So she has her "voice Mamma", and her "growly Mamma" that she says to each of us. She does an odd high pitched cry mixed with a whine, one note, and holds it, if I pick up my purse for something and she thinks I'm getting ready to leave. The roo roo is a main stay of her "phone conversations" with her GMA. :-) Too funny!
  10. Hi Gideon's girl, you know, I think you are spot on. I thought that Mia's DNA test would help clarify some dominant genes, help guide me as to training, games, health, but I am more confused than before the tests. I came to the same understanding that you did, many breeds make up each breed, so, how would that really narrow things down. :-) She's quite a little mystery, and is still unfolding. Her tail, previously carried in the "C" shape, is now a full out cursive "O", most of the time when she is happy and relaxed. I remember a neighborhood Basenji with a tail like that. Her body is looking more Whippet type all the time, and the head is really small and wedge shaped, as she grows the head hasn't been keeping up. I'm just not seeing the physical coonhound traits, and I know my Labbies pretty well, not seeing much of that either, other than ears and webbed feet. DNA marked predominantly Lab/Bluetick Coonhound, with other minors, who knows how many "breeds" may be in her make up. She's definitely a "different" little creature than we are used too, but really sweet, smart, a fast learner, she will keep us on our toes as we learn to understand her, that's for sure.
  11. All of mine have grown out of it, I'll let each new pup mouth my hand-only-, and during play only, early on. That way I can "explain" the difference in "easy" pressure vs too much pressure. When they are annoying another dog/playing too rough I can just say "easy", and they realize they have to use restraint during play biting with other dogs. No biting on a human anyplace else for any reason though, no touching of my hand if we aren't in a play session. When they get around 6 months and completely have "easy" down for life I don't let them touch my hand any more, I just don't offer it during play anymore, and they don't seem to want it anymore. That's what's always worked for me. Mia is just now 5 months, has had several milk teeth go this week. She has "easy" down very well already. Thankfully she seems to work most of it out on her Nylabones unlike the last 2 Labs. We went the "no bite" ever for any reason method with DH's Brittany pup about 20 years ago. It took her to age two to fully comprehend, where as all the others had a concept of "easy" in a matter of months. Am expecting another round of brattiness in a couple of months, about where you are now. The joys of puppyhood. :-)
  12. That one might require a behaviorist. Have seen something similar going on at my Mom's, wish I could get her to go that route. My Sister had 3 dogs together. An older terrier/G shepherd mix, female-absolute boss of the group, a goofy light hearted male black Lab, a skitish female chow named Sadie, timid, formerly physically abused seriously by her owner. Older terrier died, no change in Lab or Chow's behavior. Lab died, no change in Chow's behavior. Sis adopted another unwanted 100lb! male black Lab mix. All went fine for a couple months, ...and then Sadie, the always timid Chow started to boss the new kid. She bit him bad enough to require stitches, just out of nowhere, for nothing Sis could see he'd done wrong. It would happen suddenly every few months. Sadie had always been happiest being low dog on on the totem pole, she liked to stay off in the shadows, never was into food, toys, attention, nothing, just a docile little shadow, and happy being there, she seemed to enjoy "observing" things the most. Sis died suddenly, my Mom built a huge indoor outdoor run at her place and took in my Sis's Chow and the Lab mix. Her focus/bossiness of him is worse. She wants to control his door access. She wants to control his use of the toys, even though she doesn't want to play with them. She wants to control where he sits indoors, (they have a room sized carpet and sofa/chairs in the heated garage inside their kennel). She even controls what part of the large outdoor kennel he's "allow in", she follows him closely, really checks him out when he pees. Lunges for his mouth if he carries a toy as you described, he often retreats to the top of the picnic table in the outdoor area. She's fine with other dogs belonging to friends and neighbors. (?) But if he steps out of line as to her new rules, she corrects him right away. If he doesn't "listen" to her warning, she bites, usually his ear, sometimes his throat. The second he gives, she lets go and walks off, head held high, like she thinks it's an accomplishment. She's 60#, he's 100#. Other than the trading of owners, (maybe she saw Sis as higher status than Mom?), I honestly wonder if he has a health issue she is detecting, and considering him to be weak, (like diabetes since she's so fascinated with the smell of his urine). (?) Hope your situation doesn't get worse and you're able to figure it out. Will watch for your future posts hoping to learn something!
  13. Oh my Gosh, not the dog marked Shophie in your photo? Pretty big Chihuahua, heehee! Yeah, taken with a grain of salt, but it could be. She's vocal at times, kinda sings and talks when she's playing. She likes to "talk" to her Grandma on the phone, gives several roo roo's when Grandma says her name. The white "ticking" that started coming in on her black saddle area is unusual, even according to the Vet. But ears are pretty short for hound. Seems to have an idea about "herding", nips heals of larger dogs in the yard. Sure swims good, has webbed feet. Does have an unusual shape, the up tuck. Sweet, smart little thing anyway. Am glad she's staying on the smaller side. A friend's Dad used to tell people his dog was a "Spotted Canardly" dog. Some just accepted it, some questioned. When questioned he'd say "he's so many kinds you can `ardly tell what he is". :-) Think that will be my answer when asked about Mia!
  14. Hi All, We got Mia's DNA test results back. She's predominately Labrador and, (get this), Bluetick Coonhound! Despite friends, relatives, neighbor's, Vet staff and clients all saying I had a Border Collie, while I told them shelter said Beagle/Lab mix! Little old shelter manager originally told me Lab/Beagle, well Beagles are hounds, so great guess on her part, considering she was dumped and there was nothing to go on, not even the usual guesses at the Mom. :-) Minor mixes include Belgian Shepherd, Shiba Inu. Too funny, well, guess I did end up getting the smaller mixed breed shelter pup I was hoping for. She's right at the 5 month mark and pretty small compared to the Labs at that age. Yay! Ha-guess that explains the odd white ticking that started to come in on her back.
  15. That to be truly loved, missed, and thought of every day for 15 years by someone you left behind, you don't have to be a human. Also that Policemen do not think it's funny when you let your dog drive your sports car, even if it is midnight, and you're in an empty parking lot, and you've got one leg over the console and one hand on the steering wheel. Mittens Champion Golden Retriever Mother/Sneaky neighbor's black Lab Father 1984-1999
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