The Labrador is a friendly affectionate dog lacking self control


The three beautiful dogs gave me a polite greeting when I arrived and it would have been hard to guess there were any problems. Fourteen-year-old Border Collie Dizzy is no trouble at all, Yorkie Waffle, age 4, does more or less what he wants but that causes no problems really – but the one who is challenging is three-year-old Labrador Blake.

Despite training and tricks, Blake lacks self-control. He is becoming increasingly edgy with dogs when out and he pulls on the lead. When all three dogs arrive home and rush into the garden, Blake will persistently hump poor Dizzy (he’s castrated). He does this also after he’s been hosed down after a walk.

These two dogs are no trouble at all

Dizzy and Waffle

However, on the occasions when walks end on lead, the humping seldom happens. They hadn’t recognised the connection (it’s hard when you are living inside a situation to see it objectively). They thought for some reason Blake was being ‘dominant’. Charging back into the garden, off lead and without boundaries, Blake can’t cope with the whole uncontrolled thing so he takes it out on poor Dizzy – who sits down! The end of a walk is the culmination of too much excitement, pulling, freedom and worrying about other dogs, and he has a build-up ready to overflow.

A walk that ends with dogs in a very high state has probably been too stimulating.  It’s certainly not done the job it was meant to do. You know when you have got it right because when the dog comes home he has a long drink and then lies down, satisfied. No humping, charging about or unwinding.

Blake is a lovely, biddable dog. Scolding him for humping only adds to his frustrations. Calling him away with encouragement and praise for disciplining himself along with something else to do to redirect his angst is the right way to go. There are a lot of behaviours he could be offering that are incompatible with humping. Lying on his bed with something special to chew is one of them. Meanwhile, he needs to be de-stressed in every way possible.

As with so many of the dogs I meet, walks need to be completely re-thought. It takes a different mind-set and a load of patience, that’s all. When asked what they do when their dog pulls, people usually say the do things like stopping, turning around, saying Sit or Heel, jerking the lead and so on. I ask “well – you have been doing this for three years, has it worked”? No.

So it’s obvious they need to do something completely different about walking Blake. Walks need to start off in a calm controlled fashion, and they need to end in a calm controlled fashion.

They are surrounded by fields and perfect dog walking countryside, but walks are no longer fun and the lady can’t walk all three together any more which is a shame.

A couple of weeks later I received this message: “I have been doing what you have suggested and the change in Blake has been dramatic. I take him on walks on his own and it is working brilliantly ….. He is really learning. Thank you again. I have also been playing with the dogs individually whilst the other is in the kitchen – no humping! Problem solved! I am really pleased with his performance in such a short time”.