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Thread: Need help with a damn dog

  1. #1
    Elite Member Bellatheball's Avatar
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    Default Need help with a damn dog

    We have been talking about getting a dog for well over a year. After a lot of research and talking to people, we thought a lab would be the way to go. Our neighborhood is full of dogs everywhere and most of the lab owners suggested getting a dog who is 3-4 years old so we could skip the chewing stage.

    I found a beautiful chocolate lab about an hour from us. He's 3 1/2 years old. His family (mom, two teenage daughters) were relocated here for the military and don't have time for him. She said he's well trained (10 or so commands), runs 5-7 miles a few times per week, LOVES kids, and is very sweet and gentle. We went to visit him two nights ago. My youngest son was sick so he stayed home with his grandma while my husband and older two went to meet him. The owner said we could take him for a few days to see if he was a good fit.

    The ride was ok. When we got home, he lunged at the door and flung it open. Then he galloped (because I'm convinced he's the size of a small horse) up the stairs and terrified my 3 year old who was sleeping at the time. Since then, the 3 year old has been alternating between trying to be very brave and being terrified. My middle son is indifferent to him because, despite being a retriever, he doesn't want to play catch with him. Plus, the dog chewed up his favorite ball (he has 19 other favorite balls so he'll get over it) and his favorite Darth Vader slippers.

    My daughter, the dog whisperer, loves him. The damn dog seems to love her too. He even lets her sleep on him.

    He may know 10 commands but he sure as hell doesn't listen to them unless you have food in your hands. There is no way this dog has run 5 miles recently. He's 10 lbs overweight and tires out after a few blocks. He's 100 lbs and I can barely control him during walks. I sure as hell couldn't control him if he saw another animal. Somehow the damn dog does ok when my daughter is walking him (with help). He loves my husband. He's been a bit aggressive when he sees other dogs, which is a huge problem because we love all of the ones around us.

    Tonight I took my pillow from him. In fairness, he was having sex with it at the time. He sort of lunged at me but stopped. It was enough that I was startled and my husband jumped between us. After that he bowled over my 5 year old.

    Everyone in our neighborhood knows how much my daughter loves dogs so we had about 7-8 of them stop by tonight to ask how things were going. THey were all kind enough to tell her not every dog is a good fit and it might take some looking to find one we can all love. She has been sobbing for hours but understands and doesn't want her brothers to be scared.

    So now we are back at square one. It was too big of a jump to go from no dog to a 100 lb Marmaduke. While I'm not anxious to go through puppy stages, I think my kids would do better with a smaller dog who would grow with them a bit. Maybe 100 lbs is too much and a medium sized dog would be better. I'd worry about a small dog getting hurt. So we're looking for a breed that would be gentle but playful, not become a behemoth, and would be great with kids. From a purely selfish standpoint. the less slobber and shedding, the better (but I'll manage no matter what). Plus, if we found one who could run with me, that would be even better.

    Any suggestions? Ideas? Advice? I don't really drink but this dog had me reaching for the whisky. I'm ready to give him some too!

  2. #2
    Elite Member msdeb's Avatar
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    maybe I missed it, but is he fixed? My friends lab used to do a lot of the things you described. Then he was neutered. Made ALL the difference in the world.
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    Elite Member choozen1ne's Avatar
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    Is he part Chesapeake bay retriever or mixed with something else -like part hell hound ? One of my mothers friends had a giant ass Chesapeake Bay Retriever and it behaved quite a bit like the one you have -and 100 pounds seems big for a retriever or is it all fat
    Is their a reliable obedience school around where you live , it seems the previous owner mislead you about the overall training of the dog . If they where not truthful about how much exercise the dog received it could be his bored or has too much pent up energy
    Is the dog fixed by any chance , that can sometimes calm the dog down
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    Elite Member Just Kill Me's Avatar
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    A book called Dog Rules is great reading for any breed/size. Didn't someone here have a Chesapeake that would get on the damn roof?
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    Elite Member faithanne's Avatar
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    ITA with the de-sexing and obedience training. And treats are the best training method ever - the dog will learn to obey to get a reward.
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    A*O
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    I don't know why labs have such a devoted fan club. Yes, they are cute as puppies but every one I've known has been a destructive, high maintenance, shedding menace. They might make great working dogs (customs, seeing eye, etc) but as family pets I'm not so sure.

    You're going to get plenty of advice from the various dog factions here so I'll pitch in with my totally biased opinion. You don't need a pure breed but anything with poodle in the mix is good. No shedding, super smart and quick to learn, not eating/chewing machines, moderate exercise requirements, medium size, good watchdogs and will let you know someone's around but won't try to rip their throat out! I have mini schnauzers and they meet all the above criteria.
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    Elite Member Bellatheball's Avatar
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    He is neutered. I had to check tonight and felt a bit pervy about it. He's also 100% lab. She has his papers from the original breeder.

    I cannot keep this dog. After two days, I honestly feel like a ball of nerves. I'm sure his owner meant well but this is not a dog for young kids...at all. My kids know all the dogs in our neighborhood. Even the youngest has his favorites. They all seem to realize when/if he's frightened or sad and show him some sort of affection. Just today, one of the labs next store saw him coming and laid down so he wouldn't be frightened. The tiny dog next door saw him crying on our porch and came over to lick his tears. This damn dog doesn't give a single shit about the kids being upset.

    AO, everyone we've talked to (including vets) have said labs are fantastic with kids but hell as puppies, which is why we tried this one out. He's 3 1/2. I'm trying to cut him some slack because he must be nervous too. As you say, maybe a mutt is the way to go. Normally I am find with big dogs but this one has me a bit freaked out.

    When we said we'd take the dog, we asked the owner and her daughter if they wanted time to say goodbye to the dog. The owner took 20 seconds. The daughter could not have cared less. Then there's my kid who has known the dog for 24 hours (shit, that's all!!) and she sobbed herself to sleep. I suppose that's a red flag I should have given more thought.

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    Elite Member choozen1ne's Avatar
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    I'm sorry for your kids , the original owners never properly trained this dog and have let every bad traits that labs and retrievers can have just flourish . It sounds like the dog was never properly exercised and probably never socialized which was pretty rotten of the owners to lie to you and your family

    And I get a little sad when I drop my dog off at the groomers so any owner that just gave away it's dog without any emotion makes me sad for the dog
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    Elite Member Bellatheball's Avatar
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    ^ Agree!! In hindsight, that should have been a huge clue.

    Maybe the dog would listen after he has a chance to settle down with us a bit. It's not fair to the dog to take him if we aren't 100% sure. Right now, I'm not even 10% sure! LOL

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    Elite Member HWBL's Avatar
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    The lab is in the middle of dog puberty and if he's not neutered on top of that, good luck to y'all. I would say, although it's a lot of work, but only for the first two months or so, to get a puppy. I don't know how active you all are and what your housing situation is (apartment, house, garden or otherwise woods or something nearby). You could try to do something like this: Dog Breed Selector & Puppy Finder - Choosing a Dog Breed Selector, Dog Search, Puppy Survey, Puppy Test, Test to find the right dog, Breed Quiz ★☞ Dog Breed Selector Quiz SelectSmart.com Dog Breed Selector Quiz - Which Dog Is Right For You Quiz - Good Housekeeping to see if all tests will get you the same answers. Good luck.
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    Elite Member Icepik's Avatar
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    I foster dogs (well over 50 or so now) and have for years. This sounds exactly like one of the dogs I fostered just recently.

    Obviously the previous owner lied to you about this dog (anything to get rid of it) and it wasn't trained at all. He would be trainable; you would have to take him to obedience training. When at home, you would have to be strict with him. He's been with the same people for 3 1/2 years, so that's his entire life of bad habits you would have to break, and contrary to popular belief, some dogs can not be re-programmed.

    Are these people willing to take him back? By the way you described their behaviour as he was leaving, they don't sound like they would want him back, and would probably end up dumping it somewhere if they realize people will figure out the dog is the way it is and will be constantly returned.

    It's actually sad to hear things like this. All dogs can be trained to be awesome pets, but some people just don't want to put in the time when they're puppies.

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    Elite Member Bellatheball's Avatar
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    Icepik, they planned to take him back. This was just a two day trial to see how everyone felt about the situation. We agreed to bring him home tomorrow night and then decide if he would stay with us permanently or not.

    IT seems like the owner cared about him (called him her baby more than once) but he clearly hasn't had enough exercises in awhile. He does know the commands, he just doesn't follow them (again, except for my daughter). The owner says she had 4-5 other people ask about him and was consistent when she told me about them. For whatever reason, she wanted him to be with a family with young kids. He doesn't need young kids. He needs older kids or a couple with a big alpha male. She scoffed at the idea of him being a farm dog or a hunting dog but that seems a better situation for him!

    Thank you for the comment that it's hard to reprogram them. I've heard it before but it's reassuring to hear from you and know I'm not giving up on this dog too easily.

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    Elite Member KrisNine's Avatar
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    We've had two labs and they are honestly the most awesome dogs with kids...BUT they need serious training. Nothing severe, they are really smart and eager to please. Out first lab, I got her as a 10 week old puppy. She was smart as a whip and could learn anything within minutes. Our second dog, we adopted at 10 months. They swore up and down he was trained and fully housebroken. Lies! All of it. We got him a crate and made it his home when we weren't home or awake. We had to walk him every night in order to get his energy out. We also did "clicker" training with him, just to teach him the basics and teach him some manners. For him, that did the trick. He still gets a wild hair up his ass and he's 5 years old now. I couldn't ask for a better dog to be with my kid. They are best friends.

    Still, labs are big dogs and without any training, they can bowl you over and be really hard to handle. Any dog of that size can be. I will say that Toby was a nightmare for the first week or so. I'm a huge animal lover and I kept questioning whether or not this was a good choice. At 10 months, he was still in the mood to tear up a few things and he also liked to bolt.

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    A*O
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    3 1/2 isn't a puppy and a lot of bad habits have either been allowed to fester or haven't been tackled in the first place. I think you already know this dog isn't the right fit for your family - it happens - so don't feel bad about it. Or you can decide to take it on as a full time job but it will be a huge commitment. Some dogs just "aren't quite right", I know one of mine isn't. He's a sweetheart and very loyal/affectionate but he's as dumb as a sack of hammers. Luckily he has his much smarter brother here to be pack leader and general protector.
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    Elite Member KrisNine's Avatar
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    ^^My dog is as dumb as they come. I think that's what makes him so sweet. I'm not really sure he's dumb or he just lacks confidence. Either way, he's a love.

    I'm sorry this guy isn't working out for your family. Did he get better towards the end of the two days? Maybe he was overwhelmed with excitement. Even my guy can get out of control when he's overly excited.

    I think bigger dogs are a good fit for families. You don't have to go as big as a lab, but generally the big dog will tolerate a lot more than a small dog. Of course, there are exceptions to that.

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