Our Black Lab Rosie today, August 12th, turned two years old. Wow, it feels like such an eternity…LOL. No question that a Labrador pup is a high energy dog, but Rosie combines that high energy with a persistence that is downright frustrating. She was so head strong and persistent that we actually had to hire a trainer. We’ve had dogs before and we’ve gone through dog training, and we even took Rosie to a dog training class. She learned the usual “sit, stay, come” commands, but her problem was not learning. She’s a smart dog like most Labs. Her problem was she felt entitled to the same comforts as the humans in the house, such as use of the couch or use of all the rooms.
To some degree we were way more lenient with Rosie than our past dogs. We did not use a training collar up front, otherwise known as choke collar. My wife got this gibberish from the training class she took her. In fact we didn’t even have collars. We used a halter at the beginning. And we let her lay on the couches and pretty much have her way. We started with Rosie where we had left off with our previous dog, Brandi, which was a mistake. Dogs have to earn privileges and come with maturity. Starting with privileges only leads to being in command, and Rosie must be an alpha dog by nature. Also we were fooled. The breeder told us she was the calmest pup out of the litter. Maybe so, but we found out the breeder breeds for hunting dogs, and hunting dogs by nature have an excess of energy. It wasn’t before long we saw just how much energy Rosie had.
All I can say is there were shouts of frustration that came out of my wife’s mouth on a regular basis. “I hate this dog.” “She’s ruined my life.” “This dog is the worst.” “One more week of this and she goes.” LOL, and the thing that got me was that she ate a hole into our couch. Yes, a large hole and she would keep going there no matter what we did to stop her. She just enjoyed doing that too much. I can stand insubordination but I can’t stand destruction.
So we got the personal dog trainer. Save your money on personal dog trainers. There’s not much they teach you in addition. Yes, you need to perform your discipline exercises, and you need to be as persistent as the dog. But she did recommend three things which did help in the long run. (1) She recommended keeping a training leash on her in the house which we give her a correction with when she does something unwanted. (2) We use a dog pinch collar which is a choke collar with prongs. (3) We take her for at least an hour walk in the morning and a half hour walk in the afternoon. All three of these things worked to some degree—she’s still a persistent little bitch—but that last one does bite into one’s personal time. However, it does give us exercise as well, and we can always use more of that.
Here are some movie clips of Rosie. I took them a few months ago in the spring. You can see some of the trees blooming, and it was cold enough to see Rosie’s breath. While our previous dogs loved to play fetch with a tennis ball, I found that Rosie prefers a hard ball baseball. In this first clip, you’ll see me throw one out and she run after it, and then wait for me to throw a second ball and go after that.
It took a long time for me to trust Rosie off the leash. She wouldn’t come back. She wouldn’t let me clip the leash back on. I had to tackle her a few times to get her where I could put the leash on. You’ll see her fully retrieve in this next clip. That also took some work. She would run after the ball and then wonder off on her way. She was just so headstrong in her ways.
And finally in this last clip you can see the joy she has in running in an open field. There are ticks in this field, and so we put the tick oil on her. She needs to do this to tire her out, and I take her almost every weekend morning if the weather is not bad. This is the one thing I couldn’t take away from her.
Slowly she’s getting to be a good dog. Happy birthday Rosie.