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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I love my dog, I really do... but.... I have a lot of issues. He's a full bred lab, just over two years old and we've had him since he was a puppy. He is a good dog, very energetic. He is inside/outside and sleeps in a crate in the house at night. I have FOUR kids, they are my first priority so I don't spend much time with the dog. My dh loves him and plays with him every day. I have so much to do during the day that I don't have much time to play with him. The kids go out and play with him but they are still small and he is so big and doesn't know his own strength so I have to be right there just in case (he's not aggressive at all just very energetic, just his wagging tail can really hurt). He is not trained well enough for me to walk him on my own or with the kids, dh walks him but only about once a week if that. The dog hair in my house drives me insane, it's EVERYWHERE no matter how much I clean up. He doesn't chew as much anymore but I cannot leave any of the kids toys outside or they will be history. I want to get a trampoline but he will think that's a chew toy also and that frustrates me. His pee leaves dead spots all over the lawn, he poops all over the lawn and in my vegetable garden. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/irked.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="irked">: And even though we pick up the poop regularly I worry about the germs left behind and feel like I can't let the baby crawl on the lawn. I feel guilty that we don't have the time to give him all the attention he needs. Both dh and I know we got a dog way to early and should have waited until the kids were older but dh says there is nothing we can do about it now, he is our dog. Dh gets mad at me and feels like all I ever do is complain about the dog. I want to keep him, I do love him.... I know the issues I have are just my own issues, not the dogs fault. Anyone have any suggestions to help me deal better????
 

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So, just to clarify - the dog spends the day outside (I'm assuming in a fenced yard) and mostly just comes in at night to sleep? That is how I am reading it, but I know I may be wrong. That is an important point that may influence some of the answers you will get.<br><br>
In any case, you have a lot of questions in this one post, and there are people around the board bettter suited than me to answer them. But, the first thing I will say that is obvious is that the dog needs more exercise. More stimulation. Runnning around the yard and romping with kids is just not enough for a young lab. Definitely more walks are needed. Many many more walks.<br><br>
Your husband is upset that you are complaining about the dog. Does that mean he is willing to do a good part of the work to fix the situation? Is your husband willing to do obedience training with the dog? Having an untrained young lab around a young, large family has got to be driving you nuts!<br><br>
It will take work, but putting some obedience training and a lot more exercise on the dog should make most of your dog problems go away. And, obedience training can be fun. Okay, so, to a mom that is trying to take care of 4 young kids, maybe not so much fun at first. But, it WILL help your dog to be much more fun for you and your family.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>gealach</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7311219"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">So, just to clarify - the dog spends the day outside (I'm assuming in a fenced yard) and only comes in at night to sleep? That is an important point that may influence some of the answers.</div>
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He is outside most of the day but he does come inside once my dh gets home from work, afternoon/early evening. There are times, like when it's raining, really cold or if he is at the door and wants in that I bring him in when dh isn't home but he goes in his crate which is in our living room where we all are.
 

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well, do you like to read? you might be interested in a book, "Marley and Me, life and love with the world's worst dog" by John Grogan. it's just a memoir, but funny and touching and he talks his crazy dog and his kids (they got the dog first and then the kids).<br><br>
i'd take him to an obedience class so you can walk him. he probably needs more exercise than he's getting. i have two smaller dogs and two kids so i can imagine how difficult it would be, but that's probably what he needs most of all. i'm not very good about walking my pups (just don't want to in the cold weather). is there a dog park near you? if you can get him out to run or wear him out throwing a tennis ball or something that would probably help. i've got no great advice on the dog hair -- all over my house, too, but maybe somebody else has a tip.<br><br>
check out that book, though. it might change your perspective a little bit. i know i felt a little more loving towards my dog boys after reading it.
 

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I agree with taking him to a class. Even if you and the kids only take a short walk with the dog, let him sniff around and it will interest his mind as well as exercise his body. Staying all day in the same yard is very boring for a dog. My dog gets jazzed just going to the bus stop morning and afternoon. You might need to use a prong collar or something to keep him from pulling (I dont think prong collars are as bad as they look) but he needs to get out and about more.
 

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I'd start from the beginning. I don't know how much time you have (probably not much with 4 kids), but maybe your DH has more. Up the training. Does he know all the basic commands? More importantly, though, he should be taught leash manners. NO pulling. EVER. If he pulls, he gets corrected. When he stays in some form of loose heel (where you are leading the walk) he gets treated/praised. If you do this consistently each time you go for a walk, he will get it. And then anyone will be able to walk him on a leash. Practice in the backyard, first, if you don't have the time to do one walk everyday. And make sure your DH corrects for pulling as well. In fact, if at all possible, your DH should walk him daily, making the dog learn good leash manners.<br><br>
Hair ... well, there's not much you can do about that. Dogs shed. I have a GSD, and he sheds everywhere. I just learned to live with it. Actually, I grew up around dogs - we always had at least 5 - so hair doesn't bother me. If you keep up with the grooming in terms of brushing there should be less hair. But, all of it won't ever go away.<br><br>
More exercise is always a great idea. If you can't walk him, a game of fetch is great for labs. They love it, and it will tire them out ... say, after 45 to 60 minutes of vigorous fetch.<br><br>
Bathroom: if the brown spots bother you, re-train him to go in ONE spot in the yard. Pick up after him from that one spot. It is so much easier to train a puppy to go in one spot from the beginning then it is to re-train an older dog. But, it can be done. Although, in your situation, since the dog is outside almost all day, it might not be feasible. But, it's something to look into if you're really adamant about getting rid of the spots, bothered by the germs, etc.<br><br>
Basically, all the problems you mentioned can be worked out (except the hair, lol). It's just going to require some change and work in the form of consistent, daily training from both you and your dh. I know you probably don't have a lot of time, but if it makes the difference between having good, relaxed days and annoyed days with the dog then it's worth it.
 

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More exercise.<br><br>
Obiendance classes, IMO lots of them, dh and I alternate who takes classes.<br><br>
Dogs can be trained to use one spot in the yard.<br><br>
Get a high quality vacuum cleaner. We have 2 dogs and 2 cats who all live indoors and the hair isn't too bad. I vacuum daily. Also regular baths with a good scrubbing/brushing helps with the shedding.
 

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The pronged collar for walking would be my first recommendation. They really do look worse than they are and they do not cause esophagal damage like a choker can. There is also a halti leader that sort of goes on like a bridle on a horse but if the dog is already unruly they can be harder to train to wear it than if you put a pronged collar on. You can do some simple training with the dog around the house that wouldn't require much of your "spare time". What is "spare time" when you have 4 kids anyway, right? I have three that I homeschool so I can relate. You can put the pronged collar and leash on doggie and hook the leash to your jeans. Make the Lab walk with you around the house as you do your normal routine. He/she will be right there close to you and make corrections easy if the dog tries to jump or walk off. I would keep these sessions to only about 10 or 15 minutes at a time and have some treats available when the dog behaves and responds correctly. That will not only make it fun and rewarding for your fido but can also help to create a better bond between the two of you because he will start looking to you for your approval. Training of the basic commands (sit, down, heel and stay) are really not very difficult, even for older dogs (I am NOT a licensed trainer but I do have 77 foster Danes under my belt and have sent all of them to new homes with atleast a little basic training. It's much easier to home a Dane that has had a little training) and there are some great books out there that can help walk you through training at home if you don't have the funds or time for a formal class. DH should definitely be involved also. One book that I am reading right at this moment is called "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Dog Tricks" by Liz Palika. It teaches some funny tricks (saying your prayers, sitting pretty, etc.) but it walks you through training the basics first and they recommend keeping the sessions extremely short which is excellent for those of us who don't have hours at a time to spend on training. Not to mention that your active doggie's attention span couldn't last that long anyway. Just five to ten minutes a few times per day and as you learn, you can teach your kiddos how to work with the doggie too. Everyone comes out ahead!<br><br>
As far as your yard is concerned, would you be able to section off an area of your yard where the dog can potty and your kiddos won't be playing in it? We are in the process of doing this ourselves and I think it is going to be the best thing we have ever done!! I don't care much about my grass (I live in Texas and our lawns are usually parched anyhow) but if I can keep the two-legged tornadoes from tracking poo into the house - SCORE!!! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"><br><br>
Labs seem to keep the puppy stage a little longer than a lot of breeds because of their energy levels but IME they can also be one of the best family breeds and are very smart which makes training easier.<br><br>
I'd bet you that if the kids would throw, throw, throw a ball that your pup will get more exercise and be a little less destructive from boredom. Although you will probably never be able to leave toys outside if they are valuable to you or the kids. Stuffed animals are never safe in my house, regardless of the ages of the Danes.<br><br>
Obedience and exercise are the answers to what appear to be your most pressing issues and, in time, the lab will settle down. As far as the hair??? I would love some suggestions for my indoor babies too! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink"><br><br>
Sorry this was so long-winded!!!<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/blahblah.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="blah blah">
 

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Wow, this is all alot of great dog advice. The only thing I can add is, can you hire a high school dog lover to take your dog for a good walk twice a day. This will help with the poop and pee in the backyard problem, the dog's boredom and need for excersise and stimulation.<br>
I raised 2 german shepherds while raising my 3 children and I know how difficult it could be but the rewards were many. Give the dog a thorough brushing at least once a week-it will help.
 

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Back again. The dog hair is never going to go away. You know that. And, I believe I have heard that the shedding problem is even worse for dogs that are inside/outside dogs. I can't remember the reason behind that, but I know I have heard it. Perhaps it would make you feel a little better to know that studies have shown that children raised around dog (and cat) hair are healthier? (Hey, we'll take any advantage we can get in exchange for having to deal with dog hair tumbleweeds). <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"><br><br>
Grooming more will help with the problem. Do you have a shedding rake? One like this:<br><a href="http://www.target.com/gp/detail.html?ie=UTF8&asin=B0006GD9FQ&frombrowse=1" target="_blank">http://www.target.com/gp/detail.html...Q&frombrowse=1</a><br><br>
I introduced my sort-of SIL to this type of blade and she found it was the best thing ever for her young lab's coat. It really gets alot of those loose short hairs out. Also, do you have a good vacuum and a swiffer (the dry type)? I know, I know, swiffers are not that environmentally friendly. But, if it helps to save your sanity, I'm all for it.
 

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Personally I don't agree with choke or prong collars. In my experience at best they teach the dog to do what you want when they are wearing the collar and only then. What I want is a dog who listens because they want to listen. Two authors I would recommend are Patricia McConnell and Suzanne Clothier. I found that the best piece of equipment is the Easy Walk by Gentle Leader. It pinches just a bit in the "armpit" if they pull and the dog automatically stops and if they don't you give a quick tug and release and they do stop. My dog actually backs up! She now walks well with a collar on her neck, with a lead attached to her seatbelt or the harness.<br><br>
Second, switch to a raw diet. All those empty carbs will key up any dog. It has been my experience that dogs and puppies that are fed raw have appropriate energy. I usually make the comparison of feeding your child McCrappy all day, with high fructose corn syrup laden drinks and artificially colored candy and wondering why they can't calm down?! The only thing you need to add to a raw meaty bones diet is Omega-3 (to balance out the overload of Omega-6 in our meats as a result of factory farming). This will help with the shedding issue tremendously. However, dogs do shed.<br><br>
Dogs who eat raw also poop WAY less then kibble fed dogs - what they are eating is what they need and they utilize it rather than pooping it out. The poops are smaller and very very easy to pick up and they hardly smell. In my experience they don't chew - even puppies!<br><br>
Your dog needs exercise and mental stimulation. It sounds like you are busy but that you have a nice yard. Look on e-bay for agility equipment - perhaps your husband and kids can make some (most is made of PVC pipe) and your husband (and maybe some of the kids) can help train him on some easy equipment. My dog LOVES agility - it really wipes her out. She is not a superstar and she doesn't compete she just has fun!<br><br>
Quit vaccinating your dog. The rabies vaccine in particular attacks the myelin sheath (just as the disease does) and it causes all kinds of crazy behavior in dogs.<br><br>
Ask your husband to walk the dog before he leaves in the morning. Make sure during this walk the dog is walking beside your husband without much slack and walk with purpose - not smelling and such. Walk briskly and give commands througout (practice sit, down, stay) - this will mentally stimulate your dog and make him tired!<br><br>
To help you deal better - really read Suzanne Clothier "Bones Would Rain From The Sky". Try to see the world from your dog's point of view. Understand that dogs are very sensitive and respond to your energy - if you are frantic about the dog he is going to frantic around you. Try to remain calm and in a loving state (just like you would with a crying baby) and that energy will be given back. Remember it is easier to give the dog something to do rather than not to do (just like with kids!) - if you don't want the dog to jump, instead of telling him "no" when he does jump, tell him to sit and praise him for sitting when you anticipate that he will jump.<br><br>
Good Luck and Good For You For Asking For Help!!<br>
Christy
 

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Ok, well they've basically already said it all!<br>
First things first, go get a size medium prong collar and come back and I'll go over how to fit it properly and use it properly--basically this will take you from unruly nutbar on a rope to a managable beast on a leash, it's like power steering and works quickly...like once it's fitted right and you're taught the basics, you're good to go.<br>
My only other suggestion that hasn't been mentioned is to see if there are any doggie daycares in your area, we have a number of labs in our program (ok 17...they outnumber all the other breeds) and basically, they play, non stop from the time they arrive until the time we drop their tired little bodies off late afternoon. Even 2 days a week will probably go toward meeting around 1/2 of an average labs excercise needs.
 

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I'm not sure if you are aware of this but Susan is actually a huge proponent of prong collars and is currently involved in the movement AGAINST gentle leaders--it was a client of hers who's lab was killed within 30 seconds of having a gentle leader placed on, he hit the end of the lead and snapped his neck at C1.<br>
The only time gentle leaders do not present risk of whiplash injury in dogs is when they are used on dogs that come up as high as the handlers arm would generally hang. Dogs were not meant to have their heads yanked around by the nose.<br>
Susan actually wrote one of the best articles on prong collar use I've read so far. In study after study, prong collars are the only form of animal restraint that does NOT cause neck or larynx problems if they are used properly, with martingale collars coming in a close second.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
WOW, you guys are AWESOME!!! Thank you so, so much!!!! I am going to check out that book from the library and definitely try these suggestions. I like the idea of keeping him leashed with me inside during the day. He knows all the commands and walks well on a leash with dh but he isn't consistent. If I was walking him and another dog came by or some other distraction he wouldn't stay with me and I don't know if I'd have the strength to keep him with me. I was also thinking maybe dh could bring him to work sometimes too, he's in construction and self employed so it is actually do-able! Thank you again so much for the helpful advice!!!! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/yeahthat.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="yeah that">: Things changed for me and my dog when I finally got over the nasty look of a prong collar and started using one. And, as I've stated before, I tried it on myself before I placed it on my beloved pooch's neck. Didn't hurt me, so it is not going to hurt my thick-skinned, thick-furred mutt. Just please please please stay away from choke or slip collars which are usually the first thing people reach for when their dog won't walk properly on a leash. And, Shannon has convinced me that "gentle" leaders aren't so gentle either. A prong, in my limited experience (but extensive research), is the way to go.
 

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Thanks for that info on the pronged collars vs. Gentle Leaders, Shannon. I had no idea that the halti style leads were causing problems. I am just an advocate of the pronged collar because that is what we use for our Danes and they make a HUGE difference in walking as soon as you put one on.<br><br>
Also, the pronged collars can be used as a training device and use of them can be stopped when you have a well behaved dog. You don't have to use the pronged collars for the life of the dog if you choose not to. Once they walk well with the collar then start working with them withOUT it. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink">
 

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I am not talking about the Gentle Leader that goes around the nose, I am talking about the Easy Walk, here's a link (it's on the bottom left):<br><br><a href="http://kateesdiscountpetsupplykloset.com/collars_n_leads.html" target="_blank">http://kateesdiscountpetsupplykloset...s_n_leads.html</a><br><br>
Suzanne might like them but I still don't! Pat McConnell doesn't agree with prongs/chokers either. I am not one to agree with everyone one person says just because they say it - so I really do recommend her book for understanding your dog but I disagree about prongs/chokes.<br><br>
Again, the reason I am against the prong/choke collars is not the "look", it is the training. I have found that dogs behave with the collar on but not off. They are responding to the collar and not to you. I prefer having a dog respond to me out of respect not from the use of a gadget. I have found in my own experience that the Easy Walk (NOT the one around the snout but the one pictured above) teaches the dog so that they respond however you have them leashed.
 

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Its all in how the collar is used. I use prong collars with probably 70% of my training clients and I don't know of one single owner still routinely using the prong. Havoc and Bedlam were both trained on the prong and neither of them used it for anything other than a tune up beyond about 4 mos in. The thing is the collar is not obvious to the dog unless the dog is behaving in such a way that causes it to tighten--once the dog is behaving, there is no reason for the collar to tighten, therefore the dog no longer feels it. Generally with clients I have them turn the collar around first so the collar is still there but not as sharp a correction, then I have them move to a martingale collar that provides the same correction action as a prong but without the severity of correction, then they move to no collar at all or a regular flat collar.<br>
Believe me, my dogs do it because I said so and they want to please, I do not use treats and I do not use gadgets. True basic obedience is the same as it's been for centuries and honestly, these little gadgets come and they go, at a rate of generally a new one every 2-5 yrs--prong collars however have been around for forever and they're still fashionable because they ACTUALLY work.
 

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Huh, I have never seen one of those before, Christyb. You're right, it looks much better than a halti style lead. Question: How do you teach a "heel" command when the leash attachment is at the front of the dog? Seems like it would be difficult to get them to walk next to you in a heel when that lead appears to make them walk behind you? Is there an attachment between the shoulder blades where you could attach a leash as well?<br><br>
Please educate me on this type of leader! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/confused.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Confused">:
 

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Ok, I got to look at it..I have never seen one up close so I'm giving my perception from a look at a website, but I would NOT use that and here are my reasons.<br>
First off, it's a harness, there are few things we put on dogs that are more noticeable to a dog than a harness--so I find it hard to believe that after using it a few weeks you'd be able to remove it and have a magically behaved dog. (My most humongous pet peeve with these gadgets is the whole magic wand theory, dog training is HARD WORK and time)<br>
Next, it's restricting natural movement and follow through from the front legs and chest, I would be very suprised to find out it didn't cause elbows to start throwing sideways by the restriction through the front of the chest.<br>
Lastly and in my opinion most important, it's simply NOT a natural correction for a dog, it's more unnatural than the gentle leaders and such. The prong works so well because it simulates having a more dominant dog bite down on the back of the neck. The correction is instant and only lasts a second, the collar does not continue to restrict once the dog falls in line, when the dog falls out again, he is recorrected, once again in a mannor that dogs inately understand.
 
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