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From: Saysfaa (
Subject:         consistancy
Date: July 20, 2008 at 6:41 am PST

In Reply to: Chocolate Lab Water Fixation Problem posted by Wendy on July 19, 2008 at 11:31 am:

Right now he knows he is to obey in certain settings and that he doesn't need to in other settings.

I had the same basic problem with my lab... she would obey in all situations except when she was greeting people. In that situation it was like she didn't hear. It took me a long time to solve that, but we have. It took so long because I wasn't consistant for the first three years, at first I wanted her to be thoroughly socialized and so I sought out as many social situations as I could and was lax about the obey first part then get attention part. Later, I got better at it and wouldn't let her greet everyone that came along and sometimes required control before I let her greet. She was an expert at knowing which people wanted to pet her, because I was better at being disciplined and in charge if the people weren't coming over to her eager to pet her.

In your situation, teach him that the rules aren't off at the lake. He is to obey where ever you are and whatever he is doing and whether you have food or not. He is to obey because you decide what the rules are and that they will be followed.

I think a good place to start, is getting out of doors. This is an exciting time but not so exciting as going to the lake. And it results in a lot of short lessons often. And it carries a strong psychological messaage from the dog's point of view. The goal is to get his attention and then for him to "give" the decision up to you. It can also save his life, if you apply it to getting out of a car door as well.

Another good short/often lesson time, is to have his sit before he eats... again the goal is for him to give you the decision of when he eats and it is not about whether or not his tail brushes the floor for a moment. (sigh, I didn't understand that distinction with my dog for too long).

Dogs don't like to be leaders sometimes... they like to either be the leader or not so the more situations you can lead in the happier and more secure they will be. Take him to the lake and don't go in. Sometimes sit on a towel and watch or wade along the edge with him. It will be hard the first few times, and probably take all of your attention but use your body language to tell him this is how it is going to be. It is important to not be apologetic about it... the whole point is that you make the decisions. If you can get that across to him, you will be able to take him a lot more places or a lot more often.

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