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Friday, February 15, 2008

Lab Advice: Annoying Behavior



I have a 9 mo. old chocolate lab male. He has always been a barker! Every morning when he's ready for us to get out of bed, he barks non-stop. Then he follows me to the bathroom and barks at me while I go potty! When he wants to play or attention, he will bark at you and sometimes act like he's gonna bite us! How do we get him to stop this annoying behavior?

Signed: Steph



Chocolate Puppy with Tug ToyIsn't that annoying or what? Believe it or not, the Lab Brats went through the same thing and there is a way to curb this behavior. First though, you must realize that your pup is in the middle of Stage 3: Adolescent in the Lab Stages meaning welcome to what humans call the "terrible twos"! So, your pup is going to be a pain in the rear and try to test your patience in every way. However, now is the time to reinforce your alpha role in the house.

Remember that you should NEVER take a barking pup out of a crate when they are in the middle of barking nor should you ever give them any type of attention when they get mouthy or verbal. In the morning, you need to set up a schedule as to what time you get out of bed and let your pup out: this includes the weekends. Wait until he is done barking before you let him outside - he should sit for you and wait before you open the door. Only when he is calm and submissive do you even give him attention or let him out. The same thing goes for when you are in the bathroom and whenever he wants to play. If he looks like he is going to snap, turn your body away from him. Do not show him aggression back as he will think you are up for a play fight.

I know how difficult it can be to ignore the barking. Our Dakota caught on quickly that barking got her nowhere but Cheyenne was another story. And, of course, she has such a high-pitch bark when she wants your attention that it goes right through your bones. Crate training was so difficult and teaching her that only calm and submissive behavior gets her things took a long time but we stuck to our guns. Now she is much better and hardly has any problems with barking. When she does, we go back to square one and it takes only a couple of days to remind her who is boss.

Two last bits of advice on the subject of being maintaining your alpha role and nipping such things in the bud. 1) When playing tug or anything else like that, never let your pup win and get the toy away from you. 2) Make sure all members of your family are on the same page as far as training. It only takes one member in the house to spoil the pup and everything you have worked so hard to train.

Good luck and don't give up hope! With persistent and consistent training, your house will be quiet one day! *smile*

Lab smiles,



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