My husband and I are doggysitting for a 2 yr old chocolate lab for about six months. We have a 3 yr old black lab and a nearly 2 yr old catahoula mix as well. Our two dogs are very well behaved and have no issues, but this new dog has a lot of training issues and we would like some additional advice on how best to approach him. He hasn't been socialized to other dogs but does get to play with another catahoula mix at times. We have a large backyard that the dogs are free to play in while we're at work. They get fed before I leave for work in the morning at 8 and have a few chew toys out in the yard. My husband feeds them again when he comes home around 4 and we usually go for a mile walk later that evening. The issues we have with the temporary dog are these:
1. He barks at the slightest sound. The "hush" command that we taught him doesn't seem to stick. Most of the commands we do with this dog seem to come slowly, as if he is slow to process things.
2. He is a gorge eater. I know labs can do this but our other lab has learned to not go in the trash or try to steal food from anywhere else. He will wolf down his own food and then try to steal from the other dogs. Sometimes this leads to him vomiting later because he ate too much. He always seems to be hungry, which was an issue at his old home because they didn't guard the cat's food and he would eat it.
3. He can't seem to hold his bowels. We have a two story house and we had to block the upstairs area because, even though we would let him out to pee right before bed, at 6am (right before my husband wakes up) he would wander upstairs to pee. Once we started blocking the upstairs area, he wouldn't do this. When we opened it again because we have guests, he would immediately fall back to this habit. This is particularly annoying in the mornings because we try to catch him before he does this.
4. Because he was locked in a kennel for most of the day at his home, he doesn't fixate on humans for commands. He may take clues from the other dogs that he needs to sit or lay down, but he rarely looks up at us, whereas the other dogs are constantly looking at us. Therefore, commands are slow to comply (though we give him praise and treats when he does). Even after two months of living with us, he still hasn't settled into our routine of sitting before the door is opened, waiting to be let in, not pulling on a leash, etc. We've used the same training techniques as we did when we adopted our other two but again, he is slow to comply or catch on. I would love ideas on how to get him to fixate on humans and not his next entertainment/food fix.
We know that at his old home, he didn't have any structure and was kenneled most of the day. The first thing we did was institute a pattern of commands, like we have with our dogs, and we stopped kenneling him all day. This helped immensely but we still have these lingering issues that I would love some advice on how to smooth out. He will be going home in March to his owner with a young child, so I would like for him to be trained enough to be trusted around a small child. Any ideas would be appreciated
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