Breed: Labrador Retriever
Behavior Challenge: Nipping, Inability to be Crated, Not Listening, General Unruliness
Typical of lots of retrievers is an “in your face” attitude, happy-go-lucky but demanding. Shadow was a perfect example of this. Shadow had plenty of love, but very little in the way of limitations and clear expectations placed on him. He was mostly just a rude “teenager” seeing what all he could get away with!
Create communication, be consistent, create accountability. We focused on working with the wife because she was the primary caretaker in the house and spent the most time with Shadow. She was also the one most negatively impacted by his misbehavior. We planned to use an e-collar as that would prove to be one of the easiest ways to reinforce and correct unwanted behavior in real life. After some basic obedience, we focused on greeting guests politely (not knocking them down), holding a place mat command, feeling comfortable in the crate, and walking politely next to a stroller.
Shadow’s relationship with each member of the family was drastically improved because of the training we did. And it cannot be over-emphasized how important that is in determining a successful outcome. When people stop being frustrated with the dog but feel empowered to help the dog change because they’ve been given the knowledge and tools they need, success is unavoidable. Especially gratifying was that this was just another example of a family that had recently tried other training and were frustrated by their lack of success. Shadow became much less anxious (early in training he would foam at the mouth if he was left alone or got anxious). He was very responsive when told what to do and overall much more polite and pleasant to be around. He was no longer a liability and no longer in danger of losing his new home. And the energy that remained could be channeled to positive endeavors, like fetching bumpers.
The Client’s Experience – In Their Own Words
Shadow came into our lives as a 6 month old rescue dog in October of 2010. He was a bundle of energy and joy, but his behavior resembled a bull in a china shop.
A few weeks after joining the family, it became apparent that Shadow behaved differently when I [Erik] was at home than when I was at work. My wife’s day was a constant disaster at home with a barking, jumping, toy destroying, counter surfing and nipping dog.
Although I was happy having a dog in our family, my wife thought differently. I finally realized that we needed help when a sobbing wife and a barking dog called me to describe how the apple-pie from the kitchen counter was now spread across our entire house in dog shaped foot prints.
We decided it was time to call Paws n Motion for a consult. Our initial phone call with Sarah turned out to be difficult to impossible because of the constant barking from our misbehaving dog. Sarah came by and explained the e-collar training process to us and developed enough confidence from us to enlist her services.
In the initial training session, we saw an immediate response from Shadow, he was a different dog working with Sarah. The impressive part in the follow-up sessions was that Sarah was then able to “train” us to work with our young lab as well. Shadow is now an amazing young lab. Sarah worked with us on loose leash walking, heel, jumping, kitchen counter surfing, doorbell issues, nipping, basic commands (sit, stay, wait, down, place, etc.), distractions, annoyance barking, and separation anxiety.
Shadow has become a beloved member of our family and we can’t thank Sarah enough for the work she did to train us as well as our young lab. We are happy to give her this testimonial.
Erik and Kelli, Prior Lake