First of all, please do not down breeds. Whether she is a pit or a Saint Bernard has absolutly NOTHING to do with her behavior. With that way of thinking, everything that she is doing going to look so much worse if you feel it is because she may or may not have any pit in her. She is a dog. A young dog. Simple as that. You have a 6 month old PUPPY on your hands that was NOT taught any manners or socialization. It is as simple as that. Some puppies are more outgoing than others. Whoever had her before you completley ignored how to raise a puppy. Lab puppies can be VERY high strung and energetic. What may seem like aggression to you is probably just an incredibly bored dog who has WAY too much energy and needs to burn it off! She also needs to be taught rules and boundaries, which apparently have never been done.
If you feel that there are no bad dogs, then why are you so concerned if she has pit in her? If that is her picture as your avatar, I see only yellow lab. More like a field lab versus a conformation lab, hence the larger head. But I do not see any pit. Shouldn’t matter anyway if you believe that there are no bad dogs.
For someone who says that they are a huge animal lover, using a shock collar on a 6 MONTH OLD PUPPY is incredibly irrepsonisble and dangerous! Those collars aren’t meant to be used for the reasons that you have described. If by hurting your dog is your way of teaching her what is and isn’t acceptable, then you may not need to have a dog. Prong collars and shock collars can make things SOOOOO much worse, and is leaning on a form of pyhiscal abuse! No puppy should wear collars like that. The dog will associate you with pain. That is not the desired response that you need…trust me. I have it seen it many times before in my classes. What you need is to take her to a puppy class and learn how to properly train her and not train her by fear and pain. Being that she has lab in her, she also needs a job to do, even at this young of an age.
It also sounds like she was never taught bite inhibition. She was probably taken away from her mother too soon, and was never taught what is right and what is wrong, nor did her previous owners. Now it is up to you to do so. Biting, mouthing, and chewing are normal behaviors for puppies. Dogs don’t have hands so they investigate objects and their environment with their mouths. To a curious puppy, everything about this big world is brand new and exciting and is awesome to put in her mouth.
Playing is also a normal learning behavior for puppies, especially play-fighting. Play-fighting with littermates, other animals, and YOU develops reflexes, coordination and physical skill. It also helps them develop social skills and teaches them how to interact positively within their canine society, their “pack.” And it’s great fun for them. Sometimes their fighting and “attacks” on us appear frighteningly fierce but to them, it’s just a game. We give them attention by yelling at them, which is the wrong thing to do. If we don’t want them to do something, there are better ways to teach them.
Here is something that I wrote in a previous thread:
To teach the puppy appropriate play behavior, hard biting should elicit a painful shriek or a loud noise from the human, like a rapt “eh eh”. Just like it does with the pup’s siblings or mom, this sends the message to the pup that this behavior is unacceptable. Stop interacting with the puppy. Get up, cross your arms, and walk away, ignoring the puppy for a few. Puppies and older dogs hate to be ignored. Sometimes the worse thing that you can do to a dog (in his mind) is to ignore him when he is just trying to get your attention or play. By walking away or even just crossing your arms and turning your back to him, you have removed the “rewards” (you and the playing), and you are teaching bite inhibition. Gradually decrease the pressure of the bite you permit and add a cue before yelping to teach a signal to the dog. Ignoring the dog is kind of like a time out for humans.
Another way is once there is biting, keep your hands very quiet and still and then redirect the puppy to other appropriate objects. Sometimes shrieking, then ignoring, and then handing the dog something appropriate to chew on is the way to go. Always have something available to transfer to her mouth. It may seem like you are rewarding, but if you do it correctly and with good timing, you are not rewarding.
Other biting, such as on pants leg or shoes, can be handled by distractions such as throwing a toy or a simple clap. Remember to NOT engage the dog verbally. Just talking to the dog by saying “no” reinforces the negative behavior. You just paid attention to the dog by opening your mouth to yell at it, so you are reinforcing the behavior. Reinforce only the positive behavior.
As for the cats, that is something that you should have known would happen by bringing a 6 month old puppy into the house. You need to introduce them SLOWLY and not all at once. You may have to keep the cats oenned up unless you can learn to introduce them properly. This is where a good trainer could help also.
Crate the cats and allow the dog to sniff around the crate. As you are doing this, each time the dog reacts positively (by not growling, lunging, etc.), reward the dog with a really high-value treat (chicken, steak, liver, tripe, etc.). After some time of doing this day after day for a few weels, move the cat to a room where there is more free movement and allow the dog to watch and sniff, keeping the dog on a short, tight leash. Having a baby gate up in a room and monitoring the cats on one side and the dog on the other is a great way to do it also. But you have to monitor what the dog and cats do!
Introducing a cat to a breed of dog that already has a high prey drive takes time, treats, a lot of praise, and a lot of patience. This is NOT something that you can RUSH. Many dogs will never take to cats, or take to them at first, and then treat them as prey later on. Please research it more before you allow them to meet nose to nose. Always supervise them when they are together, and never leave them alone together. Many people have dogs and cats that coexist and many have grown up together, but problems still can occur. Many don’t ever get along. Just be prepared. 🙂 Cats do things that entice dogs to chase and go into hunter –> prey mode. You have to be watching them all the time!
In a nutshell, what you need is to take your dog to sebveral puppy classes, work on obedience at home, and not hurt your dog anymore with senseless “training” tools. You need to exercise your puppy as much as you can. Walks, runs, playing ball, whatever you can do to wear her out. A good dog is a tired dog.