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Thread: Help! I Have a Wild Labrador!

  1. #1

    Default Help! I Have a Wild Labrador!

    My Lab is almost 5 months old and she has learned how to 'sit', 'stay' and 'shake' but training her not to jump on me and other people is becoming very difficult. Also when I take her for walks she walks me instead, she becomes extremely excited and doesn't listen to my commands. When she goes near other dogs she barks and appears intimidating to other owners.

    I'm aware that biting and chewing on things is what Labs tend to do but how can I stop her from biting me and others?
    What can I do to stop her from jumping onto people?
    Is her wild behaviour normal for the Labrador breed or are Lab puppies wild in general?

    I would really appreciate anyone's advice!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    SE QLD


    My pooch Harley has the same issues but is a little more aggressive in nature to other dogs. So I am taking him to training which will hopefully help, if not resolve all of the issues I am having. I tried myself and failed, so I find it better to leave it to the professionals!

    There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2011


    There are lots of good resources out there to help you with the lead walking. One method is to just stop ("be the tree") whenever she pulls and only walk forward when she relaxes and the lead goes slack. Very frustrating for the owner and the dog but guaranteed to work as you will not give the dog any opportunity at all to self-reward through pulling.

    The other method is to immediately change direction (like a 90 or 180 degree turn) when the dog pulls. That way they get to know that they don't get to go where they want to go by pulling.

    If you do a google on loose leash walking, you'll find lots of articles. Just don't try any that use corrections.

    And then of course there are the different leads. From reading here and on other websites, the only one that really seems to work is the front attach harness. If they pull, the lead will pull them sideways and turn them away from where they want to go.

    Personally, I'd prefer the method that doesn't rely on a specific lead, but I know there are others who swear by them.

    My dog was a real jumper when I got her. And still is! But we're slowly, slowly making some progress. She has almost completely stopped jumping on me now. That is the easiest one to fix. What worked best for us was to start with the going through the front door (or could be back door, or garden gate). We open the door a tiny bit and ask her to sit. Or just wait until she sits. My dog will often lie down now instead, but that's fine too of course. Then we take one step inside but as soon as she starts moving her bum off the floor, we go out again and close the door and start again. It took us 3 days to make her stop jumping on us when we get home. She still repapses sometimes though, but then we just walk out and she always gets it right on the second try. You could practice this with other people coming to your house too if you can find people willing to participate. Consistency is the key here. Jumping up is highly self-rewarding for a dog and you don't want to give them a chance.

    That last bit is where we have failed with the jumping up on other people. I walk my dog off leash twice a day so she gets too many opportunities to jump up on other dog owners. I'm yet to really crack that one, because she also does not hear my commands in those situations.

    I do clicker training with my dog and I do find it very useful to calm her down. When we go somewhere where there are lots of people and she gets over-excited, I can calm her down in a few minutes with a clicker training session. It mainly revolves around rewarding her for focussing on me and acting calm. I am still amazed at how well it works. It works too with the jumping if I start soon enough, so really before she gets it in her head that she wants to jump up.

    I think this method may work very well for your dog who needs to be taught what kind of behaviour will get him approval, which is staying calm and quiet when there are exciting distractions.

    For more info on clicker training, search this site or do a google. Doing a search on youtube for 'clicker training jumping' might also get some useful results. I found one the other day that made me cry! But cannot find it right now...

    Training classes are always a good idea, but it does not necessarily solve all behavioural problems. Great for socialising though.

  4. #4


    Thank you so much for your help! I will try out your method on Eevee and see how she goes. She's incredibly smart and she learned how to sit when she was 6 weeks old so hopefully she will learn quickly.

    Taking her to puppy school would be my last resort.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    melbourne australia


    Whilst i can imagine being flamed for this, but here is what i do...
    I knee my dog in the chest as he jumps and wind him. He learns that jumping hurts him. (sorry, but this has been very effective a behaviour of mine, so i keep using it successfully.)
    Coupled with, i only pay attn to a dog that is sat at my feet when i get home from work.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2011


    Any corrective measure relies too much on perfect timing to be useful for a beginner. That is what I believe anyway.

    When I first met my dog, it took me 10 minutes to be able to touch her briefly, she was that wild and out of control.

    I just met the tradie out the front that came to my house a couple of days ago and got jumped on by my dog then as if he was her long lost brother. I was prepared this time and has the treat bag and clicker ready. My dog didn't even go close to him, without restraining her or yelling. She has now been lying quietly in the backyard while he is fixing a window only metres away.

    Just saying, I know how daunting it is to have an excitable dog, but I would not have believed how relatively easy it is to fix this if I wouldn't have tried it myself. You do need to be on the ball and try to prevent the unwanted behaviour while you teach the dog the behaviour you do expect from then. But once you get your head around it, it's not that hard. Or, if I can do it, anyone can, believe me.

    If your dog is smart, you may enjoy progressing to teaching her tricks too. Great way of keeping her mind busy and good for bonding and making her more focused on you. And being a lab I assume she would be very food motivated too!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2010


    I stopped my lab mix umping up this way.

    Watch the dog carefully until you can recognise the signs right before they ump, i.e. back legs bend slightly or something

    Then once you know the sign, when you see it, hold your hands out with palms outwards and say no. Obviously hands out has to be low while they are little lol. I would also walk towards them while doing it...hard to ump up and keep balance when someone is coming at ya.

    Thats what I did and it only took about 3 or 4 goes before he realised if he umped up he would just hit my hands and not get any closer. Eventually I could just say no or hold my hands out when I thought he would jump. I didnt do any positive reinforcement with it because that basically would ust get him umping again.

    I havent taught my little one not to jump at all. She only comes up to ya knees and I prefer her to ump up so I dont have to bend as far LOL

    Neighter of them up on ppl outside the immediate family though and this isnt something I taught, they ust dont. Stoked as

    Cant help with the lead pulling, my boy is shocking on a lead despite trying every method I can think of. Front pull harness was good for a while until he worked out how to use it to still pull. Halti is good and stops him immediately but he hates it so spends most of the time trying to pull it off.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Rural NSW


    I too do the knee in the chest but now jess responds to the hands out meaning no jumping.
    I use the same signal when in my chair and they know they will get cuddles when they are down. I bend to them to cuddle or we sit on the floor or on the sofa.

    Any posts made under the name of Di_dee1 one can be used by anyone as I do not give a rats.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2009


    I tried the knee in the chest with Frosty but it didn't have the effect I wanted. She just turned into a quivering grovelling pile of custard at my feet... and still tried jumping the next time I spoke to her. And tried to jump on my squeally neighbour for ages. And I couldn't get her to knee the dog in the chest or even stop waving and squealing and calling the dog's name... urk.

    So what I do now is I put her on lead for all new greetings and I make her sit or drop. If she can't, we don't get to do the greeting. Ie she has to show some self control before she gets to say hello to new dogs and people. I have to be able to approach on a loose lead (although I also allow a commando crawl because people and dogs are not intimidated by that and it is hard to do that and jump on them) - or no greeting.

    So you might find that doing "triangle of temptation" with your dog helps it learn some self control. For the biting - I make sure I don't rip my hand away because that can trigger prey hunt reflex biting much worse than if I hold still. If she's not letting go immediately I sometimes push my hand further into her mouth until she tries to spit me out and I hold there for a second and then let her spit me out - I'm trying to take the fun out of biting me. Now she knows she's not supposed to I usually say something in a mock outraged tone "What do you think you're doing?"...

    Teaching Bite Inhibition | Dog Star Daily

    Note - I'm not sure I'd leave a lab alone in a room with anything chewable for two whole minutes. My dog did spend a bit of time in a crate, which I had previously trained her to enjoy being in, when she got too much for me to deal with and I needed to do something else like cook dinner.

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