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Young, hyper Lab mix... what to do?

Posted by vieja (My Page) on
Tue, Nov 16, 10 at 17:53

Son has a young yellow Lab mix neutered male x the City Shelter that is so lovable but... SO hyper!!! He jumps all over any one when he greets them & constantly in motion... like the 'energizer bunny'! He 'flunked' out of dog classes (!) as he wouldn't settle down & pay attention & that is probably why he wound up in the Shelter. He is like a hyperactive child: he tries so hard to behave & settle down & be calm but his hyper body just takes over. Has anyone ever used any kind of drug to calm a dog like this? Someone suggested an OTC antihistamine that they had used for allergies that also quieted their dog. A neutered female Corgi mix was adopted at the same time & she is SO calm & really was well named by the Shelter: 'Serenity'! She & the Lab get along great but he constantly wants to know where she is & is calm with her.

Son & wife need help !! They hope perhaps when this Lab gets older he will quiet down as I guess Labs take a long time to mature?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Young, hyper Lab mix... what to do?

Labs just need a lot of attention and exercise. No way would I ever suggest any type of medication to calm a young dog...that is just the wrong approach big time. Young labs just need a lot of walks, playtime...swim-time if you have the means...but drugs are not the way to handle a young dog. Yes, Labs will be wonderful calm dogs...but it takes a minimum of 2 years and sometimes up to 4 years for them to 'calm down'. If that is too much to handle and for many folks it is....try to re-home the dog...but please don't medicate it....not at that age....just my opinion...but having raised a hyper lab I know it is hard...but if you have the patience to get through those first few years the rewards are bountiful!


RE: Young, hyper Lab mix... what to do?

Exercise is mandatory. The dog just has a LOT of energy.

Several things might help.

First, a routine. Does not have to be on the minute or even on the hour routine, just the same set of steps.

First, discipline. The dog has to be calm before going out/playing/eating/meeting people. Start by requiring a sit of several seconds. Then gradually extend the sit time to a minute. The dog has to not only sit, but be calm. Ears down, tail still, calm.

Then comes the fun. Outside to run, be leashed for a walk, whatever. Find his fun thing---tennis ball for instance. Make him sit before a throw.

Use a hand/voice signal for the calm sit. Open hand, palm facing dog and Quiet! as an example.

Teaching that may take weeks, and possibly a couple months. As long as the person training is calm and expects obedience, the dog will get it. Not necessary to punish non compliance. Just repitition.

Play two or three times a day when possible.

Grooming can be a substitute on rainy days. As can indoor games---tug of war, find the ball, and so on. You can let the dog win tugs now and then.

Exercise, teaching calmness and requiring compliance will shorten the time required for the dog to be less energetic.

RE: Young, hyper Lab mix... what to do?

Your new addition is a puppy and is acting normal. Please dont drug is not necessary and can cause problems in the future.
I read one posting that suggested you play tug of war with your pup - I do not recommend this EVER not with any puppy and certainly not a new or over active dog. Tug of war can cause aggression.
To solve this issue you will need to invest just a couple of things, mostly time and energy.

First thing in the morning. Before you do much of any, take your dog out on a leashed walk...At least 15 minutes - no less. Then feed your pup breakfast.
If you have a local dog park, take your dog there. If you have a lake or creek take your dog there. Labs are water loving dogs and are hard wired to work all day retrieving, you need to work with that hard wire to wear your dog out in order to help your dog feel useful since it does not have a traditional job.
Teach your dog to sit, stay and leave it are basics. If you want your dog to do well in class, run it before hand, let it play with other dogs for an hour before hand or swim beforehand, a tired dog is thousand times easier to train than a fresh one.
Dont let your dog jump on anyone or the furniture, you have to be firm, try not to get frustrated, just keep up the good work. It takes time, consistancy and positive reinforcement. Giving your dog a kong or other toy it must use to work at to get the treats.
Feed your dog food without corn or wheat or grains. These fillers are like junk food for your dog, and can cause health problems - corn is like sugar so your dog food should be without it.
Ideally your dog should be walked two or three times a day on a leash, work on not pulling. Purchase A dog whisperer DVD for new puppy owners and do the work. If you are consistent you should be seeing results in 2 weeks...Good luck

RE: Young, hyper Lab mix... what to do?

You got some amazing advice already. Just wanted to add that I totally understand the challange young labs can bring. But like Duane, I have to agree that they are totally worth every minute of these challenging years!!!!!! One morning your son and his family will wake up to the best companion they could ever dream of....It just take consistancy and a lot of patience and love to get there.
Until then follow the advice from Mazer and Handymac. Take walks until your feet hurt, and throw the ball until your arms feel like they are going to fall off!

I had a very young lab during a horrible tropical storm here in Florida. He was probably just about a year old ( the terrible 2s for a lab) It literally rained for a week, and Riley was jumping out of his skin with energy. He was making us and his 10 year old lab brother INSANE. We started playing hide and go seek with him in the house. It saved our sanity ( and probably his life, lol). He is now 3 and we still play the same game!

RE: Young, hyper Lab mix... what to do?

Tug of war is very normal puppy play when done with litter mates or pack mates. Whjile it is a factor in developing status, it seldom becomes aggression when controlled.

There are types of dogs that require much more supervision when tugging---bulldogs, boxers, Boston bulls and pit/pit type.

Tugging with control---Stop! and the game ends immediately, for instance---is simply a bonding exercise. And often, dogs do not tug after puppyhood. Neither my GSD/chow mix or our whippet mix tug at all.

RE: Young, hyper Lab mix... what to do?

My first thought was exercise, exercise, exercise! Yes, labs are bundles of energy! Thing is, they are also people-pleasers as a general rule, so that makes them easier to train-- though you still have all that energy to deal with.

I would also suggest the possibility of getting into an organized obedience class. It's a good way to get tips and advice from more experienced dog people, plus it gives the owner specific things to focus on throughout any given week.

The first dog we ever owned was a black lab/german shepherd that turned up as a stray. She was very energetic and a very independent thinker (unlike my lab/rottie who was a good follower). That lab/shepherd was a handful, and so hard to train. The local dog trainer who ran the obedience school said she ranked as the most untrainable dog she had ever had go through her class. We tried, but she seemed to have so many issues and was so hard to contain. We just kept at it with lots of walks, and lots of play and training, and after 2 or 3 years she settled down and became a very well behaved dog. A dog with a bigger heart, and more loyalty, you would be hard pressed to find. If your son and wife stick with him with patience and hard work, in 2 or 3 years it will pay off ten fold I'm willing to bet.

RE: Young, hyper Lab mix... what to do?

Oh, I think there is still hope then?! The previous Lab mix(female) son had must have been older as she was SO calm & sweet so this new one was a surprize when he showed so much energy. He is so (overly!) friendly & craves attention & refuses to go in a dog house ever... even when the female Corgi mix goes in hers. We wonder if he had been crated/penned a lot both in the Shelter where he had been returned twice or by a previous owner. He SO wants to please & make this his 'forever' home but his energy is beyond his control!Of course with Lab mixes it may be the genes of the 'other' breed in him that may be part of the problem too. He is a yellow 'Lab' with very short hair, black outlines of the eyes & mouth & appears to be more Lab like than the other ?breed in him.

Thank you everyone for your help/suggestions!

RE: Young, hyper Lab mix... what to do?

I dont blame him for not wanting to go into a dog house after spending so much time in the shelter...To make his house an okay place put in a bed, his water a couple of treats and just let him explore it by himself. My dog hated crates - the closest thing I got to putting him in a crate was buying the van I got for him...a rolling crate!!
That he wants to please you is a great thing...bonding should be easy which makes training easier as well.

RE: Young, hyper Lab mix... what to do?

FWIW, neither of my lab mixes ever tolerated a doghouse or crate, and to the best of my knowledge, neither had a background that might have influenced that. It was as if they were just not made to go in little boxes :)

Instead of crating, my dogs were put into enclosed areas or rooms with gates. They seemed to like to keep an eye on things so I never blocked their view of household happenings. By the time she was a year old, my lab/rottie could pretty much be contained in the kitchen by putting a row of empty paper bags across the doorway!

In the future I plan to get another young lab mix and while I won't rule out crating if it seems to work for the dog, I intend to put up several strategically placed baby gates around the house which will allow us to manage where a dog can and can't go- at least until the dog matures enough to be trusted wherever.

My lab/rottie was initially such an uncontrolled bundle of energy that she would become destructive (chewing, tearing, tugging, etc.). To combat that, as soon as those behaviors would present, I would snap a leash on her and walk her until she was exhausted and didn't have energy to be destructive (I'd be exhausted too!). Granted the energy came back within about an hour or two, but in very short order we broke the habit of destruction. Keep in mind what labs were bred for and that will help you remember where all that energy comes from! Time and patience will make him a wonderful dog!

RE: Young, hyper Lab mix... what to do?

mazer: yes, this Lab also hates the dog house but loves jumping in the back of the SUV & going places but refuses to even get a treat if it is in one of the big dog houses. Pulls out all the blankets & then lays on them on the cold patio & wants his Corgi mix girlfriend to do the same & pulls out her blankets too! So cute though to see them sleeping all cuddled together. He will sleep indoors in the house at night (they are not restricted anywhere indoors) on his pillow on the floor for awhile but then wants outdoors again; he is not destructive in the house at all. He can -& will- jump the 6 ft. block wall around the property & either jump back in or wait by the front door for son & wife to come home x work but has never run away. Wants assurance that 'mom' & 'dad' will come home & he not abandoned again. Oddly, he doesn't like to go on walks by the river & has to be pushed into the water & doesn't seem to like the water! A big walled in back yard with only a small garden part with buried 'invisable fence' battery lines that both dogs have the collars to. He is the one that knows he gets 'zapped' if he goes in the area protected but he just closes his eyes, 'smiles' & jumps over anyway & says: 'it only hurts for a little bit'!! So funny to see this... but not so funny the holes he digs on the protected side! Oh what tales we will tell him as he (hopefully!)matures!!! At the Shelter (they name all the animals brought in there & soon run out of new names!)'Marquez' kept coming to the front of his cage whenever our son would go day after day to chec out the other dogs there & soon seemed to recognize him each time he came so it was a ? as to who chose who?! When the dogs come to our place to visit & we 'dog-sit'them, our mellow,reserved German Shepherd (she is our 7th full GSD!) just sits & stares at her 'wild cousin' & refuses to play his games & our three Min-Pins look for a place to hide from this huge guy!! The Lab doesn't want his mellow Corgi mix girlfriend to socialize with them either. What a circus when all 6 dogs are in the back yard! Our City Shelters are so good about trying to have a 'no euthanasia' policy & adopt all the pets out ... even have a store in a big shopping center for more exposure. Adoption, neutering,microchipped, all vaccinations & one free follow-up vet appt. for less than $50... what a bargain for a bundle of love!

RE: Young, hyper Lab mix... what to do?

What a joy!!! He is just being a dog and loves the freedom he has with you. He will calm down, but it might take another two years. Just be patient. He is a prize.

RE: Young, hyper Lab mix... what to do?

I had a beautiful female lab for 8 years, when she passed away last June from a tumor. She was probably a mix, but looked like a full-on lab. She was a stray, that a friend's neighbor kicked out onto the street, and my friend rescued her. When I first got her, she was about 5 months old and very hyper. Whenever I petted her or gave her attention, she just went crazy (not mean or biting, but wiggly and happy and she couldn't stand still). I read that Labs take about 2 years to mature and that was about right for her, because after 2 years, she was the most calm, well-behaved dog I have ever owned. Give your guy a couple of years, and he will settle down, and you will have the best dog ever. Labs are wonderful!

RE: Young, hyper Lab mix... what to do?

valerie: 'Buddy' is so great still with people but not so good with other dogs except his girlfriend x the shelter 'Serenity'. He occasionally now has been seen in the big igloo doghouse with his girlfriend & each also has their own big pillow in the livingroom where they sometimes sleep & never bother until morning. 'Buddy' still will jump the 6 ft. block wall & has been seen walking around the block when son & wife turn the corner but when he sees/hears the car he runs back to the property, jumps back in over the wall & sits by the back patio sliding doors & greets them 'woof!'as if to tell them he has been there ALL day long !! What a character! He has tried to figure out what zaps him when he goes in a certain area & has tried to dig in that area to 'unearth that darn thing'!

So sorry to hear of the death of your lab x cancer; we too have lost both a Siberian Husky 'Shaman' & two other Shepherds to cancer & twisted gut syndrome. So hard to lose those precious souls! Always a place in our hearts for - not a replacement- but for another pet to capture our hearts!

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