Sunday, March 04, 2007

Chocolate Labrador Retriever Nips Ocassionally - part II

This is part II of a readers e-mail question regarding her chocolate Labrador Retriever that nips occasionally. To read part one click: Labrador Retriever Nips Occasionally - part I

Josephine Responds:

Hi Fay,

Thanks for writing back to me so quickly. My Labs name is Jake. He was not trained and not aggressive at all. We got him when he was 3-1/2 months old from a pet store. The nipping is usually when playing and he does it to both of us. My husband walks him, we both feed him and playtime is usually done by my husband mostly. But, there are times when I play with him as well. He has a groomer ... my neighbor and he loves her. He loves people and other dogs. He just loves to be outside and hates to come in.

I will try and download a picture of him, but I never have any luck with yahoo. But, to be sure that you receive it, I will send it through my company email. Just let me know if you receive it.

Thanks for your input, I really appreciate it.


Hi Josephine,

Thanks for the quick response, and yes I received the beautiful photo of Jake. Thank you.

For your problem with nipping / mouthing:

Yes, Jake's nipping / mouthing will stop, but your going to have to train him that this nipping / mouthing is wrong. By ignoring this problem and believing your Labrador will grow out of it, you are risking the chance that a serious injury could occur as your Lab puppy reaches adulthood.
Continue Reading...

I have written an article on this subject that you can find on the All About Labradors blog. Labrador Retriever – Training your puppy to stop biting and nipping.

Follow some of the procedures in this article, making sure you're CONSISTENT with the training (this goes for everyone in your household).

For chew toys for Jake, I recommend the Kong toys, as they provide plenty of physical as well as mental exercise for him.

Alpha Dog:

Your right with your assessment of Jake seeing your husband as the "Alpha Dog". A dog's social system is a "pack" and with it a well-defined pecking order. The leader of this pack is the alpha, the boss, the "Top Dog". Your husband is with Jake all the time, feeds him, walks him and spends most of the time playing with him, so Jake looks at him as the number one, sort of favoring him. He may see you as his equal or below him.

You stated Jake listens to your husband more than you, which should not be. Remember Jake is a subordinate, not an equal. What you need to do is to show Jake his place is the lower level of the pack. Remember there is a leadership here; you and everyone else in your home are above Jake, not the reverse.

Here's what you may try with Jake (this goes for everyone in your household that Jake considers his equal or lower).

First off, whenever you want Jake to do something TELL him, don't ask him. You are the boss; you make the rules and give the orders. Stand straight up and in a firm voice TELL him what to do. Always remember this!

I want you to teach Jake the sit command (if you need help with this, let me know). Reward him with praise and a treat when he does. You don't have to get crazy with this, just a Good boy, or Good dog in a happy tone and a treat. Now when it comes time to feed him, walk him, play with him, your going to TELL him to sit. When he does, praise him with the Good boy, or Good dog, give him permission with an Okay and then give him his reward (his food, playtime, etc..).

What if Jake won't sit?

If Jake doesn't sit, you have to walk away from him and ignore him. Yes, I know this is difficult or you may even think it is cruel, but believe me Josephine, it isn't. Remember No Sit, No Reward. State your sit command in a good firm voice and if he doesn't obey, walk away and ignore, trying again a little later.

You want Jake to learn that he has to respect and obey you. His place is at the bottom of the pack, nowhere else.

He wants you to feed him... SIT, OKAY then feed him. He wants to go out...SIT, OKAY and out you go (you go out door first, not other way around). You’re the boss!

You should also be training Jake his other basic commands (I'm assuming he is housebroken). I'm a firm believer in crate training, as they have 100's of uses. A great place for him to sleep at night, and better place for him when he needs a little time out or cooling period.

Try the above for a while and see how it goes. You'll establish a better relationship (you don't have to feel jealous) and Jake will seek you out more and treat you with the respect and attention you want.

Here is another website with some good tips on getting you dog to see you as the Alpha. It's for the Husky but applies to all dogs, and have some good tips.

I hope I have been of some help to you Josephine. If you don't understand anything, if you have more questions or new questions, don't hesitate to send me an e-mail, even if you have to send hundreds of them. Please keep me updated on how it's going.

Joesphine Responds:

Thanks you so much for your advice....I will certainly give it a try. He really is a good boy, but frisky and loves to play all the time. I am also glad that you received his photo and I will look forward to seeing on your website.

I love your website and visit it frequently and I look forward to all of your wonderful tips and ideas.

To see a photo of beautiful Jake visit: Jake 3/04/07

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