Black Lab... and how she plays

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Hears The Water, Jan 24, 2005.

  1. Hears The Water

    Hears The Water Well-Known Member Supporter

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    My 18 mo Black lab Emma has started to behave in a certain way when I take her for a walk. I am wondering if there is something I can do to encourage what I think is a very natural behaviour. When she and I go on a walk (she gets realy realy excited when she sees me get my walking stick) she will chase a ball or a rock in a very spacific way. I will toss it down the road and she will run like crazy after it, then pass it and turn around and stop it with her paws. Then she picks it up in her mouth and runs to the ditch to deposit it in the water. She will then stand in the ditch waiting for us. If I throw the ball in the ditch she will run, and ether leap or pounce on the ball, pick it up in her mouth then walk a few steps and drop the ball and then dig in the dirt. It is almost like she is going to burry it, but she never does. I get such a kick out of seeing her play like this. It helps to wear her out and I think it stimulates her mentally. It also gets me out of the house which is very important for me too. Do y'all think I should get some kind of different toy? Could I take this behaviour a step futher to train her to do something? I am working on clicker training each day. So far she will look at me, come to "Emma Come", sit, stay and shake. She is very smart and eager to please. I just want to make sure I am doing what is best for her. Thanks in advance for any and all advice.
    God bless you and yours
    Debbie
     
  2. jackie c

    jackie c Well-Known Member

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    I have a lab mix and he plays like this, yes good time to start some serious training of whatever you want her to do. They are very smart and will learn almost instantaniously!
     

  3. Rouen

    Rouen Well-Known Member

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    only problem I see is obsessive behaviours aren't exactly great for them mentally.
    my puppy also plays like this but he will carry his ball in his mouth and toss it chase it and toss it again then he gets tired and finds something more interesting, if your dog is focused on the ball and nothing else I'd be concerned, but if this is not the case, take it as far as you want.
     
  4. BCR

    BCR Well-Known Member

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    Labs sure are tireless. My friend's lab will hit a ball with a stick, chase it and carry both back and do it again. Once we threw the ball in shifts (sometimes into a pond, other times down a hill) to see how long she'd last. After three hours we were done and she wasn't.
     
  5. lacyj

    lacyj Well-Known Member

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    We had a yellow lab that was very smart, she taught us things. A few were that :
    She learned both voice and hand signs.
    She would,"Go See"(voice) and by pointing hard, she would also check out things. She would, sit, stay and lay down by both, verbal and pointing.
    Eye sight and hearing may fail at different speeds, this way she would know what we wanted, longer.

    She knew the difference between, a ball and a frezbie, by voice and sign.
    I would make her search for her balls and toys, and say "Not that one, get another". This way, she cleaned up the field of allllllll her toys, before mowing.

    She knew the important kind of 'shake'. Not the hand shake. The body shake.
    She loved the water and wanted to shake on us. By saying No, moving our hand back and forth, sideways, she would shake somewhere else. By pointing and making the shaking sign, we got her to shake in one place. This is great at large picnics at the lake. It also works in the bath tub, she couldn't get out of the tub, until she shaked three times.

    She also knew, to stay in the truck.
    We went to the flea market and bought an iron bed, put it in the back, with her. We continued shopping. When we came back to the truck, I noticed a dog in the truck next to us, that looked just like our dog. She was wagging her tail and smileing. I looked in our truck and our dog was gone. Our dog had gotten hung up on part of the iron bed and jumped out, she knew she was supose to stay in the truck, so she jumped into the closest one..........
    Boy was that a suprise...
     
  6. mightybooboo

    mightybooboo Well-Known Member

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    I wouldnt encourage the rock thing.A friends dog got into rocks,got obsessed with rocks and would chew on em.Ground her teeth to nubs.

    BooBoo
     
  7. whodunit

    whodunit Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Our Lab loves rocks and brings all she can find into the yard, doesnt chew just carries.

    Loves to bring them all back when you try and throw them back into the pasture.

    She will play with sticks, balls, frisbies,but left alone she just carries in rocks and more rocks.

    Amazing thing is she can carry an egg in her mouth and never break it
     
  8. Hears The Water

    Hears The Water Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Thanks for the advice on the rocks. I have wondered if it hurt her teeth when she has cought the rock a few times. So far she does not chew them. We started taking the ball the last couple of walks. As far as her being obsessive, I am not sure if she is or not. She is one of those dogs that is very dependant. She will follow me where ever I go. Once I went to the bathroom thru one door, but left on a walk ot the other one. She was sleeping and had not got up with me. John told me that she got up and could not find me. She then went to my bed where I had been lying down and proceeded to follow my scent to the bathroom, out the door and to the back door. When she figured out that I had gone out, she took her normal perch on the foot of my bed to watch out the window for me. This kinda worries me. I don't want her to become to dependant on me. I admit that I love the devotion, but only want the best for her.

    As far as using hand and voice signals, that is what we are doing with her too. The book that I found on clicker training suggested to use signals as well as words, and so far she is doing great with it. I just love that she likes to "work". When I say the word, she goes to the cabinant where I keep her clicker and treats. I can't wait for the Summer when we can go the creek and see if she likes to chase dummies into the water. I bet she does! Thanks for everyones input. Any suggestions on how to get her not so shy of strangers?
    God bless you and yours
    Debbie
     
  9. logcabn

    logcabn Well-Known Member

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    We have a chocolate lab that loves to play but we have been shaken by a friends experince. Labs love to play and to please, their dog was playing ball with them and (we've all seen it) he jumped into the air to catch the ball and broke his back they were devastated, the vet told them it is comon for lab to push beyond their ability just to please their owner. Our dog still goes crazy over the ball and running through the woods, but when I get out her harness for the wagon well she goes nuts but she's just pulling and not straining herself.
    Good luck with your training ours also picked up hand signs very fast and half the time she will quickly comply to a hand sign where she will not to a voiced command.
     
  10. dreadstalker

    dreadstalker Well-Known Member

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    Debbie labs are loyal to the extreme.the devotion issue can work in your favor in your training.when she knows what pleases you she will repeat that behavior.therefore encouraging her to also spend time with your s/o and letting her know that it pleases you as well will help on the dependency.you will find that she will do anything in her power to please her favorite human.as far as the shyness i wouldn't worry about that to much as she will take her cues from you......i recently lost my black lab after 16 yrs.make sure you get lots of photos they definetly make their place in your heart
     
  11. MorrisonCorner

    MorrisonCorner Mansfield, VT for 200 yrs

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    Absolutely train her to the "body shake!" most useful, that!

    We've trained dogs to close doors and turn off lights by training them to use their noses (or paws) and then being rewarded. Train "proximate" behavior (nosing the door) then get specific with what you want her to do.

    Everybody needs to feel important and have a job... even bouncy black labs!
     
  12. Corgitails

    Corgitails Well-Known Member

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    Callling natural, instinctive behavior 'obsessive' is a little bit counterproductive. After all, retrieving is what a lab is SUPPOSED to do. A lab that doesn't find retrieving (especially in water!) terribly interesting and very exciting isn't a very good lab, imo, and should be altered and not bred from, although they are in no way inferior as a pet. Ditto for a BC that won't herd, or a GSD that isn't (appropriately) protective. We've lost so MUCH instinct from so many dog breeds because people find intense, hard-working dogs inconvienent and breed away from that, for the sake of show wins, puppy sales, or whatever, and it's wrong.


    Cait *hides the soap box*
    Whose Corgis are much beloved, but really not terribly USEFUL farm dogs...
     
  13. Corgitails

    Corgitails Well-Known Member

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    Debbie, I think you're definately on the right track with the clicker training, however, I'd start carrying a ball or choose a different found-item for her to retrieve- rocks can chip their teeth!

    At 18 months, she's mostly physically mature (depends on lines), but until she's 2 and you've had her hips checked, I'd minimize throwing things up in the air, or encouraging super-tight turns, just in case there IS a hip or elbow problem.
     
  14. evilbunny

    evilbunny Well-Known Member

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    Black labs are very loyal and yes they love to please. Another trait they seem to have is they like to "have" things. I have my 3rd lab and his "things" are stuffed animals. The first one I had kept taking anything the neighbor or my children left outside and took it to her special place. She collected glass bowls, rugs, sacks, dolls, many tools including a huge pipe wrench that weighed at least 10 lbs. The love to feel like something is theirs and that they have a special place.

    Labs are very loving animals. Every one of them I've had has wanted lots of attention and when they didnt get it they found ways to.

    My current lab is approaching 10 years old. He was a rescued animal and had not been socialized at all. He had some behavior problems that we had to work out but he came out of that with lots of love. He learned word commands without us even trying. While we lived in town he learned nearly every way we could think of to say someone had to take him outside, including spelling of a lot of words like his name, the word outside, go, he even figured out what was meant by "take you know who, you know where". That is a pretty long string of words for a dog to learn what it means. Without much effort he learned the difference between "food" "water" "upstairs" "downstairs" "in the kitchen or your choice of rooms" he learned each of my kids names and would go to them when told, he learned the command get back and go away, lay down, get down, and shake off. My vet told me that dogs cant learn multiple word commands and it is especially hard if some of the words are the same such as go to the kitchen, go to the living room but he learned them without any real work.

    The one word that completely baffles us that he learned is "foot". He was such a mooch for petting that if a hand, foot, elbow or any body part hung over a chair or sofa he would come up and pet himself on it. One night I was complaining that my foot hurt and he walked over and sniffed it. I thought it was a fluke but decided to see. I told him to go to my daughters foot and he did. We tested him on this for half an hour and he went to the foot every time we said foot. If we told him another body part he just stood there confused.

    Now that we are on the farm he still loves his stuffed animals and they can be found nearly anywhere on the farm. He protects me from the other dogs by blocking them out if he thinks they are running at me too fast.

    Reinforce any learning with a good pat or show of affection. I found he learns so much faster with that than any treats or noises. If I dislike any behavior all I have to do is use the tone of voice showing disapproval and he will immediately stop.

    About the rocks and balls. Please be careful as in their excitement they can swallow them. I have used the stuffed animals, medium sized butter dishes (he loves chasing them because they bounce funny), he hates frisbees, he ignores tennis balls, baseballs and softballs not sure why. One thing that was a riot to do was throw snowballs. He loves the snow and when we throw snowballs he seems to think that is great fun. He grabs them gently and loves to get close to us and squash them. Almost his way of throwing it back at us. Last year I threw some tomatos to see what he would do. He chased them a few times and brought them back but when our puppy started to want one too, he decided that it was food and started eating them. Never seen a dog eat tomatos. LOL

    Another strange trait this dog seems to have is a sense of humor. He has been with me during some rough times and when I've been down he has done a lot of things to get a laugh out of me. Each time he completed something he expected me to laugh at he would stop and look at me and cock his head to the side as if to say..."are we happy now?"

    I caught him admiring himself in the mirror. I think he learned this because I had a mirror beside the desk and a fly landed on his foot while he was looking at the mirror. He put the fly on the dog in the mirrors leg together with the fly on his foot. He even played a joke on me once with the mirror. He watched me working on the computer and would make a racket whenever I got involved in what I was doing. Each time I'd start to turn to see what he was doing there he was just laying there quiet as a mouse. I finally caught him at this by placing another mirror on the desk so I could observe him. He was watching me in the big mirror so he could tell when ever I started to turn around.

    I'm blessed by my friendship with him and I hope you enjoy the same fun and love with yours. Good luck with the training.