Originally posted on https://chocolatelabradorretriever.ca/lab-puppy-training-tips
Labrador Retriever pups are working dogs. This means they live to please you for a treat. The more you engage them with different puppy training behaviors the happier they will be.
The single most asked question we get is how can I potty train my Lab Puppy. Of course, Labs will be Labs, and this means that dogs do dog things unless they are trained to follow your expectations. Potty training your puppy is just the beginning of you making clear expectations for your Lab. Puppy training is discussed in greater detail along with clear, easy to follow videos at www.puppytrainedright.com including potty training charts and socialization charts, but your breeder will give you an expert training tip summary below. One thing you don’t want to happen is for your puppy to stop listening to you. For this reason, you need to become an expert on puppy training. Contact us for a discount on the Puppy Trained Right positive reinforcement training program.
1. Socialize. Expose your puppy to as many different people and situations possible.
2. Teach dog to dog manners when required. Don’t complain that your Lab is doing Lab things. If you want a different behavior it has to be taught.
3. Use Positive Reinforcement. Your Lab doesn’t understand being punished. It simply doesn’t work, so focus on rewarding behaviors you desire.
4. Don’t Repeat Commands unless you want your Labrador Puppy to sit the fourth time you say it.
5. Allow for Play with Other Puppies. Play with other Lab Puppies not only allows your pup to get some exercise it is a form of puppy socialization.
6. Bond with your Puppy. Once a strong bond is formed your Lab Puppy will want to please you even more.
7. Gain Your Lab Puppy’s Trust. If you call your lab and say “want a treat?” and you don’t give him a treat, he will begin to understand your trick that your recall is just not that strong. A Lab who doesn’t trust you won’t be a very good listener.
8. Potty Train Right Away. It’s important to establish where the potty spot is and recognize your Lab’s signals when they have to go.
9. Learn how Dogs Learn. Training a Lab puppy is easy if you understand how to go about it. If you are having training trouble it’s time for you to do some research.
10. Give your Lab Puppy Play time to Explore. Labs need this as part of their natural development.
11. Spend more time with your puppy when young. This is the time when your expectations should be clearly outlined and can decrease as she gets older.
12. Begin Training day 1. This happens weather or not you intend it to. Every action and reaction is something your puppy uses to form new habits. So ignoring them jumping up as an 8 week old puppy is training them to jump up and will be much more difficult to un-train once they are 70 lbs.
13. Develop your Lab’s Vocabulary (they can learn over 200 words). They don’t understand any specific language and will respond to any sound or word you choose to associate with a behavior.
14. Relax and make learning fun. Your pup needs you happy and enjoying yourself!
15. Use Positive Training Methods because they work. This means reward what you desire.
16. Ensure most Experiences are Positive. Imagine a training session of No, No, No, No! Your puppy needs to understand what you WANT them to do, not what you don’t want them to do.
17. Don’t trust old sayings about training your Retriever, many (most) of them are inaccurate.
18. Expose them to as Many Human Situations possible. Ever hear someone say my Lab doesn’t like men? One cause is that there was not adequate socialization with different men.
19. Be Patient. You are building an amazing K9 personality. Small baby steps, gradual progress toward your puppy’s training goal is required.
20. 20 weeks old is the end of the best training days. The window is between 8 and 20 weeks old. Make the most of it.
21. The better your Lab is socialized the happier they will be. Anxiety in dogs comes from many things. The more things your dog is comfortable with the less chance for anxiety and therefore the happier they are.
22. Prepare yourself, your family and your home before your puppy comes home. It is too late once you meet your puppy as simply interacting with her is training.
23. Allow for Safe Experiences both in the home and outside.
24. Seek professional trainers to help guide you when faced with a problem.
25. Be consistent. Clear expectations are easiest to learn.
26. Do not force rather create the puppy’s desire to execute the command.
27. Focus on Guiding not controlling.
28. Best Start Training or Training Classes are beneficial for both you and your puppy.
29. Expect Success. We tend to move in the direction we believe we will travel.
30. Reward the Behaviors you want to see even something as simple as 4 paws on the ground if you are trying to train your Lab not to jump up on you.
31. Become Well informed. You don’t know everything you think you know.
32. Rome wasn’t built in a day. You are teaching a skill like reading that takes clear expectations and builds upon last session.
33. Lab Puppies need constant supervision either human, a crate, a fenced area or a baby gate across a doorway.
34. Encourage a soft mouth. Don’t allow nipping from day one.
35. Keep your training up or it will be forgotten.
36. Don’t allow resource guarding weather it be food, toys or people.
37. Begin Walking on a Loose Leash Right away. This is always easier for your Lab when they are 12 lbs not 70lbs.
38. Don’t let your Lab Pull on Leash, not even once. Change direction before the leash tightens so they are followers not leaders.
39. Don’t allow your dog to jump up from day one. This is much easier to train before it happens than correct.
40. Allow alone time for your Lab.
41. Know when to end a training session. End training before your puppy quits.
42. Make time for a few shorter training Sessions. Three fifteen minute sessions are better than one 45 min one.
43. Teach your Lab to respond to their name.
44. Always call your dog’s name in a pleasant tone, they won’t want to come to someone who is screaming, yelling or angry.
45. Teach your Labrador basic obedience before tricks-come, sit, stay, down, leave it.
46. Have all humans learn the commands and be consistent.
47. Ignore undesirable behaviors. Ignoring includes not saying no, bad dog, touching your dog or making eye contact.
48. Find rewards that your Retriever loves and use them when you have breakthrough training moments.
49. Respond with praise within a second of your Lab’s behavior so they can associate the reward with the action.
50. Learn your Lab’s body language.
51. Adjust your expectations as your Lab puppy matures, the older more experienced the higher the expectation.
52. Don’t skimp on nutrition, this is the foundation for your dog to have energy to perform and think.
53. Set Realistic Expectations.
54. Rotate your Lab Puppy’s toys so there are always new ones to use.
55. Don’t Punish your Lab they don’t understand. It doesn’t work.
56. Minimize distractions when you begin training.
57. Don’t Intimidate. Again, it doesn’t work.
58. Be aware of your Body Language, Labradors pick up cues from you.
59. Be aware of your leash tension. A tight leash says anxiety from the handler.
60. Don’t Send your Lab away to be trained, you need to be trained as well.
61. Know when to get Help
62. Don’t Give up.
63. Have fun! Don’t get lost in the work part, it can all be a lot of fun.
64. Understand that Labs do Lab things.
65. Make them work for food and treats.
66. Don’t allow bad habits to form.
67. Exercise your Retriever properly for both intensity and duration.
68. Don’t try a guilt trip (they are neither moral or immoral)
69. Learn some exercise games Labs love.
70. Provide short cue words and don’t change them.
71. Give lots of repetition.
72. Stop before they get bored.
73. Establish a Pattern by Praising.
74. Redirect undesired behavior.
75. Accept partial actions at first and gradually increase your expectations.
76. Withdraw treats intermittently rewarding every other task, then every three tasks etc… until your reward is simply verbal praise “good girl!”
77. When treats end Verbal treats and chin scratches rule.
78. Rub your Labrador’s paws at the end of training as a form of praise and to bond.
79. Don’t train if you are in a bad mood. They will know.
80. Enjoy your well balanced purebred Lab puppy for many years.
The answer to that is definitely maybe! Not all purebreds are bred for intelligence. For example, if a Labrador Retriever breeder chooses to breed their dogs for a certain look then they may overlook intelligence as one of the important characteristics in order to get a specific Lab look.
We however breed for intelligence, health and temperament. Our focus has to be this because of the service dogs we donate for Veterans with PTSD. So in our case, yes, our Purebred Lab Puppies are easier to train than many because we choose the parents and their puppies specifically for their smarts!
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