Our 11-month old Black Lab is very badly behaved. Please suggest ways that we can deal with out-of-control biting and other bad habits.
Here's a pic of the vicious offender, Riley
We took her to two rounds of PetSmart training and she did very well there. She learned very quickly and knows Sit, Down, Stay, Leave It, and Go To Your Bed. BUT she only does these things if she feels like it and if there’s a treat involved.
Her problems are biting, jumping on people, jumping on the counters to steal food, and stealing anything not nailed down. We got her as a 6-week-old puppy (I know that’s too young) so it’s not as though she has a troubled history that would explain her problems.
She bites pretty viciously. She will come up behind you when you’re standing at the counter and bite a mouthful of butt. She “talks” to us by snapping her jaw in the air. When she’s in a “frenzy” it’s just flailing teeth all over the place, and it’s all you can do to race to find the bottle of water that we spray her with as a punishment.
She is a big dog—90 pounds. Often she will snap and try to bite just for trying to pat her. When we try to sit on the couch, she bites and jumps all over us, to the extent that we bribe her with bones to distract her long enough to watch a tv show. This isn’t innocent puppy mouthing—it can get aggressive. On the other hand it’s not “mean”… she jumps and bites when we walk in the door because she’s excited to see us. It’s like she doesn’t know how else to interact with us.
I know we have been pretty lax in her training, and some people in the family aggravate the problem by feeding her off the table, playing rough and talking baby talk to her. (Granted, some of these people are the ones who take her on long walks, resulting in several blissful hours of sleeping-puppy quietness on the weekends.)
We’ve tried the ignore technique. This is not feasible. She has drawn blood and torn clothing. You can’t just stand there or walk away and pretend nothing is happening. The spray bottle technique only works if you have a spray bottle in your hands at all times.
We would like to have a Christmas tree and have guests over for the holidays. What steps can we take to minimize the biting? It seems like she’s either biting us or sleeping— how can we get to a point where we can just enjoy the dog? Is there something like a “Couch to 5k” for rotten dogs (i.e. daily training exercises)? We are considering more obedience school, but this is more of a day-by-day, hour-by-hour problem that needs to be worked on in the home.