My Lab puppy Rip is almost 5 months old at the time of this writing. He’s not very big yet. He’s about 30 pounds.
He is a very good puppy with just the usual puppy issues like trying to chew rugs and jumping on us for attention.
The potty training also seems to have finally clicked!
He hasn’t had an accident in a few weeks, although we still take him out at least every 90 minutes. I think puppy potty training generally takes longer than people expect, so hang in there if you’re going through it right now!
I wanted to write this update about Rip for my own reference. I like to go back and read articles like these to remember the progress we’ve made. Here’s one about my weimaraner at 5 months.
So, here is my Rip update!
“Puppy bird dog camp”
Rip is actually spending the next 6 weeks in Wisconsin. Three weeks with my parents first and then three weeks at “puppy bird dog camp” with his breeder and trainer.
So I won’t see him until late November when we go pick him up. I can’t wait! He will be a bigger puppy then but he will also learn so much.
Rip’s breeder is one of the best hunting-dog trainers in the country. During 3 weeks of introductory training, my puppy will get a lot of experience with flushing and retrieving live birds and a lot of proper exposure to gunfire.
I will be very much involved in my dog’s training process and obviously training is ongoing. But I’m happy to have our breeder as a resource.
I hope to hunt with Rip next fall and possibly take him to some retriever hunt tests. I can’t wait to see what he can do and have fun with my pup.
Over the last three months, I’ve spent a lot less time training Rip on actual obedience than I did with my previous puppy, Remy.
Instead, we’ve focused on lots and lots of socialization to people, dogs, places, sounds and experiences.
We’ve done A LOT in three months such as …
… flying from MN to MT, camping, staying in a hotel, lots of short road trips and one long road trip with my parents, about 10 visits to the puppy daycare, 2 nights of boarding, puppy playdates with a friend, off-leash hiking, 6 weeks of Saturday puppy classes, swimming, vet visits, visiting cafes, nail trims and stopping by agility events just to observe.
He’s not at all fazed by noises like the vacuum, smoke alarm, blender, piano, clarinet, loud trucks, sports cars, motorcycles, lawn mowers, the hair dryer, etc.
Meeting different dogs and people
Rip has met lots of different dogs and people of different ages. He gets excited and will sometimes jump on people but he is not as over the top as my dog Remy still is.
Rip is more reserved and does a lot of thinking.
He plays appropriately with different dogs. He is not too rough. And he’s definitely not shy or anxious.
He does not do that annoying, anxious whining that a lot of puppies and dogs do when they’re excited or nervous. Such as in the car while driving somewhere fun.
I will say, Rip seems to be a very well-adjusted puppy and I know most of that is from his genetics. It’s not because of anything I’ve done. He is a puppy that would’ve adjusted well even without a lot of socialization. As I said, in this article, he’s a dog that makes me look like I know what I’m doing.
But, I’m glad I’ve made sure to spend as much time as I can socializing him, regardless.
He’s a sweetheart and such a nice dog.
Basic obedience training for a 5 month old Lab puppy
As far as actual obedience, I have not done very much training yet and I’m OK with that.
When Rip comes back from bird dog training, I plan to dive into obedience a lot more. He’ll be about 6 months old and I’ll need to make a point to train him every day. We’ll also start beginning obedience classes in January.
Right now, he really only knows sit, down and stay (for a few seconds) and come! And to be honest, he comes to me because he’s still in that stage where he loves to stick close. He doesn’t really challenge me yet.
“Leave it” and “drop”
I also need to give him higher-valued food items when he’s chewing something like a bully stick. I already have one resource guarder, I would prefer not to have two!
Not jumping on people
Rip does not get quite as excited as Remy does when we greet people but he does want to jump on people, as most dogs do. So I am going to try to really get ahead of that habit and correct it early. Wish me luck.
Puppy leash training and walking
Once he turned 4 months old, Rip finally wanted to go for walks so I started walking him for about 1 mile twice a day. My parents are doing something similar with him now, I believe.
He is so different from my weimaraner Remy who was marching along for 3-4 miles a day by 10 weeks old.
Right now, Rip has no leash manners. He pulls, stops, sniffs, cuts behind me and in front of me, chases leaves, bites plants, sits down, zig-zags, stops to look at birds. He’s very much a puppy during his walks and I don’t even mind the pulling right now. I’m just glad he’s finally moving in a forward direction!
But … at about 30 pounds my 5 month old Lab puppy is already strong and he’s only going to get more powerful. So, I have a plan to work on some serious leash manners starting in late November when he comes home.
How to stop a 5 month old Lab puppy from pulling
There are different methods to teaching a dog not to pull. I think it’s one of the hardest things to teach some dogs.
My plan is to be very consistent and not allow any pulling at all when the leash is attached to Rip’s collar. If he pulls, I simply will not move. It’s a matter of how patient and consistent I can be.
When he’s in a harness, I will allow him to pull all he wants. This gives me an option when I can’t be in training mode, which is often.
I will probably use a prong collar when we’re training and give light corrections. Regardless of people’s opinions on different training tools, you have to ignore the noise and use what works best for you and your dog.
Walking multiple dogs
One problem I have is what to do when I’m walking both dogs together. My adult dog Remy pulls all the time. Due to my lack of patience and his strong will, I gave up on him and just manage him with a no-pull harness.
So … unfortunately, I’ll have to put Rip in a harness when we all walk together and then they’ll both be pulling!
I’m not sure what the best approach is with this. I suppose I’ll have to do all “training walks” separately and then head out for fun exercise walks/runs together and see how that goes.
Let me know if you have suggestions on this. I don’t want Rip to think he can pull every time Remy is along.
Life with multiple dogs in general
Rip gets along well with Remy but they’re not obsessed with each other.
I wrote a Facebook post a few months back where I said I purposely have my dogs spend time away from each other each day – chewing on Kongs in different rooms or walking with me at separate times. And then we’re together most of the time, of course.
I was surprised to see so many people offended that I would “separate” my dogs and be so “mean.”
I hope that is just the nature of Facebook drama and that most people don’t actually believe dogs should never be separated.
Keeping dogs together 24/7 is a good way to create anxious dogs that have problems when they’re alone.
Anyway, my two dogs enjoy playing together but they also don’t mind when I take one for a walk without the other or take one to agility without the other. They have separate training and exercise needs so I’m not going to take them both along every time.
I’d say the hardest part with multiple dogs is I feel guilty that maybe my adult dog is not getting enough exercise and attention. Remy is a very high-energy dog and needs to run hard every day to be fulfilled.
My adult dog guards toys from my 5 month old Lab puppy
The other issue is how Remy will guard toys. Thankfully, he does not lunge and bite over a toy. Instead, he snatches the toy and then clamps down hard on it with black eyes and hackles raised, growling.
So, we can’t have any toys out when they’re together unless I’m certain Remy is in a calm, stable mindset (rare! haha).
This can get frustrating because the puppy obviously needs toys to chew on or he starts chewing on rugs and furniture. So this is another reason why they get separated at times. Remy chews on a Kong in another room while Rip plays with some other toys.
Puppy kennel training
I have never had an issue kennel training a puppy. I just plop them in it for meals and bed time and when I can’t supervise. I’ve been lucky that mine have just learned to accept the crate/kennel. They might fuss for a few minutes but they learn quickly that I don’t respond to that nonsense.
Rip doesn’t seek out his kennel on his own like Remy does, but at least he does not complain when I put him in there. He usually just falls asleep.
So, those are the latest updates with my 5 month old Lab puppy Rip!
He really could not be any better. He is such an easygoing puppy. I’m very lucky!
If you are raising a puppy right now, what is your biggest struggle?
Also, let me know if you have any suggestions for me on Rip’s leash training. Thank you!
-Lindsay, Remy & Rip!
Lindsay Stordahl is the founder of That Mutt. She writes about dog training, dog exercise and feeding a healthy raw diet.