Originally Posted by lionessrampant
Thank you guys so much for your help...I really appreciate it.
Now comes teh hard part...trying to convince these ....people....that I'm right!
That is the hard part! You're a really great person to be doing all this research considering it's not even your dog!
You have been given some really really great advice. 2DogMom - GREAT post.
My only addition to that is that puppies are HARD WORK. And it only gets harder. These people will find that their things are chewed, there are pees and poops in the house, the puppy (as it grows) will be boisterous and destructive and crazy - it's a hard time, tough, trying and for people who are barely ever home, almost impossible. They are SO lucky they have you.
It's also the most fun, best time - puppies are sooo fantastic and gorgeous. They are a light in your life. These people have managed to go and get themselves one of the most high energy, silly, high maintenance crazy breeds. Labs are notorious for eating anything
, having loooooong puppyhoods that last until they are about 18 months to 2 years old, HIGH energy and high commitment levels. They need a lot of work.
Training and consistency are the keys, here, and positive gentle training. They are sweet dogs who love you wholeheartedly, and you need to be firm and kind and patient with them - same as kids. There's a ton of great books and literature out there that you can read.
Most importantly, remember that dogs are, first and foremost, opportunists. They will repeat behaviours that have a pay-off. They don't necessarily want to please you - that's a little too complex a reasoning process for a doggy mind - it's more that when they do things that inadvertently please you, they get a positive response, so they keep doing it. So when they chew up the lounge or they steal food off the bench - it's not naughtiness. They don't actually know how to be naughty, they know how to be dogs. Chewing up the lounge is fun, stealing food off the bench, well, that one's self-explanatory. Digging is fun, barking is fun - the best way to train a dog is to see things from it's perspective and then use that in your process! Make it MORE fun NOT to chew the lounge - by redirecting their chewing pleasure to a special toy just for them. Make it MORE rewarding to dig in a designated spot in the garden. Make it MORE fun to come to you rather than run away from you. See it from their eyes - it's got to be worth it or they won't do it. And your praise, your attention, your time - that's what they want. If they get positive attention from a certain behaviour, they'll repeat that behaviour.
The biggest mistake dog owners make is to assume their dog knows what they are thinking. So, you call your dog, it doesn't come back to you straight away, and then when it does, you scold it. You know you're scolding it for not coming straight away, but the dog thinks `I came over, and you yelled at me. Woopsie! Won't be doing that one again'. They cannot possibly work out the reasoning behind you calling, them not coming, you calling again, them coming, you scolding - when the scolding was for something they didn't do five minutes ago! It works that way with everything - you've got to shape the immediate
behaviour that you catch, or provoke, cos otherwise they won't get it.
I like to do sort of `hands-on' activities with dog owners, to make them get a perspective of their dog's world. We were at the dog beach last weekend and some woman out of nowhere just scolded her dog in a really harsh way - grabbed his ruff, was saying, `Honestly, what's the matter with you sometimes? I can't believe your behaviour! BAD boy!!' and shaking her finger in his face. Now this dog had stopped to sniff at another dog. Perfectly reasonable, natural and instinctive doggy behaviour - and she screamed at him for not being right by her side where she wanted him. Now that dog would not have had the first clue what she was on about, but he cringed and had his tail between his legs, to which her response was `you know you've done wrong, don't you?'.
Well, at that point, I'd seen enough so I went over and said, `Your dog doesn't know what he did wrong, he's cringing because you're screaming at him. What did he actually do wrong, by the way?' She said, `He wasn't following me'. Well, that was it for me, `You are at a DOG beach - what do you expect him to do?'. She had no answer. I said, `How would you feel, if you were at the beach, walking along in the sand, and you bent down to pick up a seashell and look at it, you turned and looked out at the ocean, you stopped to scratch your leg, you said hello to someone walking by, and the person you were with all of a sudden turned to you, screamed your name in your face, and then went nuts at you for five minutes about how you never listen and you never do as your told and you're a BAD person?? All in French? So the only thing you understood was your name? Would you have a CLUE what they were on about? No - I just asked you what you expected of your dog, and you couldn't tell me. If you don't even know, how the hell is your dog supposed to know? You haven't told him in any meaningful way what you want of him, and you've just spent five minutes screaming at him for not being a mind reader". And then I walked off, leaving a very red-faced woman standing there with her dog.
My point of that rather long story was that dogs will not know anything at all that we expect of them unless we teach them in a way that is meaningful and that they can understand, and that we teach them with consistency, patience and with a gentle manner. They are sensitive, intelligent and responsive - we just have to know how to speak to them.
Phew! Sorry! Long post!!