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Two boisterous Labrador brothers

4 posts in this topic

Hi all,

I'm in a bit of a pickle and have turned here because I want to make the situation better. Our family has had labradors always as pets and never had any real behavioural issues, always done basic puppy school training and then always been fine.


Our family currently has 2 labradors (brothers) who are about 4.5 years old. My parents refuse to do anything about the problems we have been having with them but I don't have the money to bypass them and get a trainer out to visit us and they refuse to pay for one. So I am looking for any and all advice that could help as I am frustrated and can't let this go on forever.


Our boys are fine in their yard, apart from I guess defending their territory (?) and barking anytime a neighbours walks their dogs past our house.


The biggest issues are that one of our boys (Gus) seems to have an anxiety issue, he gets super worked up and starts wiggling, jumping and biting whenever someone gets home or lets them out of their smaller night time yard in the mornings. He will bite hands, clothes, arms, bums, thighs and sometimes jump at faces when he is in this mood. And it's always when he sees a person he hasnt seen for a few hours/someone gets home. The other issue that compounds this is that his brother Murphy will get extremely aggressive when this is happening when someone gets home. At the front gate Gus will start the jumping and biting and then within a minute or so of this Murphy basically goes nuts and starts biting Gus, chasing him, knocking him over, sometimes this isnt for long and sometimes this will turn into a "fight" or "chase" for a good few minutes and then they're fine again and go back to the normal, happy labradors they are most of the time!


I have no idea what to do and my parents refuse to take any action on this issue but the biting and fighting every time a person gets home is making me get frustrated. I try to get both the boys to sit when I get to the front gate when I get home but usually either Murphy will sit for a few seconds before he starts on Gus and Gus will rarely listen at all and begin jumping biting etc. The bits arent super hard and never draw blood etc but he loves to grab any clothes/arms etc really hard and wont let go.


Any suggestions, or is this something I will have no chance at without somehow convincing my parents to pay for a trainer?


Thanks in advance,





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Litter mates are particularly challenging to train as they bond with each other so closely and it's harder to get them to bond with you and focus on you. That said, you will need to start training them individually before you can train them together.


Your issues sound very much like a lack of basic life skills: place training, sit, recall, loose leash walking etc The first thing i would be getting is crates and using them to teach the dog self regulation; Susan Garrett's Crate Games DVD is excellent for this. Search this site for Steve Courtney's (k9 pro) NILF (nothing in life is free) as it's another good training exercise to teach self control.


From what you describe Gus and Murphy get very aroused during play which can cross into a fight easily - control their play so that this doesn't get worse.


In fact, i'd highly recommend contacting k9Pro to discuss training options as you'll have your work cut out for you with litter mates and no training experience. I've had labs for more than two decades and over the past 3 years, i've had my first challenging lab. After working with my young bitch for 3 years and also engaging a behaviourist trainer (which was costly and didn't give me any real results) I decided to contact Steve last year. It was a decision that I have never regretted. Our 'problem/challenging-child' is so easy to handle and a joy to be with. My older lab certainly appreciates the calmer sister he now has.

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Do these dogs get walked or leave the property or have any excitement outside of the property ?

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I have a book called "why does my dog do that". I'd be happy to give it to you, you'd just have to pm me a postal address.

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