Tag Archives: training a lab puppy


We’re making some progress on teaching Amber to stay on the dog bed in the living room while we’re spending time together in the living room. She’s really antsy, but she’s getting the idea. It’s to all our benefits, because this allows her to spend much more time with us. Otherwise, she’s busily driving Molly nuts, dive-bombing her, licking her, trying to get her to play, putting a paw on her, or chasing her, if Molly won’t settle somewhere. There’s also the issue of one or more of the cats taking exception to her chasing them.

We say, “PLACE!” and lead her to the dog bed, making her lie down, and then saying, “Good Dog!” and giving her a treat. We might have to repeat this a couple of times, but she’s getting the idea!

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Trying to Meet the Challenges of a Lab Puppy

Yesterday Amber finally got us to admit that the nice metal gate that my husband made years ago to keep our pit bull, Bambi, and our cocker spaniel/schnauzer cross, Molly, in the office with us will not meet the challenge we have before us.

Amber is fine until one of us leaves the room, she sees Molly, she sees a cat, or her toy rolls under the gate, or…. She proved yesterday morning that, unless one of us sits at the gate, like a gatekeeper, flyswatter in hand, ready to jump up, yell, “NO!” and swipe her with the swatter, the gate will not keep her in. She can still slide under it, though she won’t be able to do that much longer at the rate she’s growing. She can easily leap over it, and that will get easier as she gets larger. The gate is a joke, only making it harder for the people to get in and out.

We ordered another Carlson Walk-Thru Pet Gate from Chewy.com yesterday. We just got confirmation that it has been shipped today and we should get it Monday or Tuesday.

It comes with a couple of extensions, and we still have the ones we didn’t need for the doorway to the porch, so we think we can make this work, though our doorway is 48 inches wide.


Our efforts to allow Amber to come inside with us seem to be working, albeit slowly. This morning, for example, we had Molly sit beside my husband’s chair at the table while we were eating breakfast. We brought Amber in. She ran around like a mad thing for a few moments, and then zeroed in on Molly. My husband was ready with the flyswatter, and soon Amber got the message that if she dive-bombed Molly, she got swatted. She finally decided to lie down at my feet. This worked well until Molly decided to move. We went through the whole thing again, but a shorter amount of time.

Molly is learning that Amber is not trying to hurt her and that her people are aware of the problem and are trying to make the problem go away – eventually.

I’ve been told that Amber will be in ‘puppihood’ until she is 2 years old. Some have said 4 years. I remember my mother telling my brother and me from time to time, “I’ve read all about this stage and you’re going to skip it.” It didn’t work very well for my mom, but maybe it’ll work for us…

Meanwhile, Amber showers us with love (and slobber) every time we see her. Since we see her very often during the day and evening, we’re building a good relationship. One day at a time!

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Worth Its Weight in Gold

My good friend Cathy wrote, telling me that she was worried about my trying to climb over the gate between the living room and the porch where our new puppy Amber is. She told me about a new style of gate that has a ‘people door!’ I had never heard of that, and after she helped me appreciate what I was seeing, I showed it to my husband, the installer of all things.

He was a bit worried because our door frames are steel, but he said we should go ahead and order it. It arrived today and we installed it within 10 minutes or less. My husband said, “You should tell this company they’re making a well thought out, well designed product.”

The product is from Chewy.com, a wonderful place that ships the product almost immediately. It’s astonishing how quickly things arrive. This is our third order from them, and I couldn’t recommend them more highly.


Carlson Pet Products Extra Wide Walk-Thru Gate with Pet Door

Carlson Extra Wide Gate with People Door and Pet Door

We didn’t need to use the two extensions that come with this gate. It installed quickly and easily with no tools required. It’s very sturdy. There is no place for Amber to hook her feet to climb over it. She can’t get under it. If she gets so she can climb over this 30″ tall gate, we can relocate it up a bit higher.

The very best part is the people door. We’ve fixed it so it opens OUT into the porch, so that Amber can’t open it by accident. When we go out there, she has to back up, and she isn’t quick enough to go between us and the door closing again. I’m really delighted. I don’t have to concentrate on standing on one foot, lifting the other foot over the gate (which Amber immediately latches onto), trying not to step on her as I put my foot down, then grabbing the door with one hand and bracing my other hand on the brick to the side of the door as I bring the 2nd leg up and over. It’s REALLY been fun when I had something in my hand…

THANK YOU, Cathy, for

  • worrying about me and figuring out a good solution
  • letting me know about it
  • writing back to point out the people door I didn’t see and appreciate the first time
  • your patience and caring

I can’t tell you how happy we are with you and the new gate. NOW – if we could get Amber to quit barking and whining….

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Filed under Amazing Animals, Bright Ideas, Challenges, Changes, Family

Who’s Teaching Whom?

We’re spending a LOT of time with Amber every day, and we’re working on a lot of things, but I begin to wonder who is teaching whom? We’ve modified our own behavior, trying to give her enough love and attention, training sessions, walks, food, water, and just plain sitting on the floor and hugging her.


Amber is complying with a lot of our commands, but I have the hands to show that we’re only successful part of the time so far. She seems happy, but I think we’re learning as much or more than she is. Our lives are revolving on HER schedule.


So far today, we’ve had three walks, food, water, play time with the ball, sitting out on the porch, meeting and getting swiped by, Smoke, the cat, and some quiet time (Ahhhhhhh!)  I have a new bruise on TOP of the old one, and have added one more bandaid…

So, is Amber the teacher and we’re learning to meet her needs – albeit slowly – to HER point of view?


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