How to train a Labrador Retriever Pup
27 May 2015
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Many dogs grow up without rules or boundaries. They need exercise, discipline and affection in that order. – Caesar Milan
are one of the most popular dog breeds in the world both as a working dog as well as a household pet. Their wagging tails, deep loving eyes and happy smiles have melted the hearts of people all over the world. However, just like any other dog breed, Labrador Retrievers too need training from an early age so that their energies are channelized and they do not develop a destructive or difficult behavior.
Training a Labrador retriever requires perseverance and consistency and they do well with a firm yet assertive training. Training is one of the best ways to bond with your new pup as it helps both the pup and the pet parent to understand each other and to establish and define acceptable boundaries for the dog to follow and remember.
Types of Dog Training
Source: Brooke McCullogh
For a new pup there will be a few types of trainings that will be required namely, crate training, house training and learning to walk on the leash.
Crate Training - Some habits such a sleeping in a designated area or playing in a designated area has to be established from an early age. Canine behaviorists advise on crate training so that the puppy understands from an early age that he / she has his / her own special place to sleep or play and does not wander on your bed or furniture.
House training - Puppies, unlike adult dogs, are unable to control their bowel or bladder movements as neither are fully developed. Since puppies are also growing and developing and are always a little bundle of energy, they have a high metabolism.
Walking on the leash – A collar or a leash should not be seen as a punishment by the dog but as an accessory. Training a dog to walk properly will ensure that there is no tugging and pulling.
Labrador retrievers excel in many training activities and love to learn new tricks. Since they are a working dog breed, obedience and agility training provides them ample amount of opportunities to use their intelligence and energy in a positive and rewarding manner. Some of the key things that you would want to keep in mind while developing a training regime for your new puppy are:
Understand the breed – It is imperative to know about the breed so that you understand that Labradors are active, intelligent and energetic dogs.
Keep the pup engaged and active – Labradors require ample amount of energy and training to expend the excess energy and to stay fit. If they do not receive the necessary mental and physical stimulations, they will develop destructive behavior out of sheer boredom.
Training your Labrador retriever
Be precise and direct – Keep the training and commands simple and precise
Be firm – Shouting or excited behavior does not fare well with Labrador retrievers as they are very impressionable in nature. All training should be done in a firm and controlled voice.
Use Clicker training - Clicker trainining is an effective way to begin training. Clicker sound is a means to communicate positive behaviour and appreciation.
Timely commands and response – All commands and training response should be timely. Good behavior should be followed by praise, while bad behavior should be admonished.
Start early training – Start the training as early as possible to make a strong bond with the pup and to define acceptable boundaries
Keep training sessions short - Though highly intelligent, Labrador Retrievers also get distracted very easily. Keeping this quality in mind, you would have to design short training sessions, usually lasting 15 - 20 minutes in duration for effective results.
Early socialisation is imperative - Socialisation with family, other people and pets is one of the key factors for an all round development of the puppy. Early socialisation ensures that the puppy is comfortable around people and pets and does not display protective or aggressive behaviour.
Frequent grooming - Grooming is an important part of training a Labrador Retriever puppy. Starting a grooming regime from an early period ensures that the puppy becomes comfortable with the brushing of fur and teeth and also with a veterinary who conducts regular health check ups. Frequent grooming also helps in developing a strong bond with the puppy and also when they are all grown up.
Involving working dog activities in daily routine - Even if your Labrador Retriever is not a working dog, it will be good to include working dog activities such as fetch, agility, obedience, pet facilitated therapy, hiking, running, tracking and the like to their regular training and exercise routines. This will ensure a positive and rewarding use of the dog’s strength and energy.
Ample amount of chew toys & interactive toys - When a puppy is growing up, teething causes a lot of gum irritation and the pups end up being destructive - chew on curtains or furniture, shoes, magazine or newspaper or even walls and doors. One of the best ways to avoid such destructive behaviour is to provide ample amount of chew toys and puppy friendly bones that keep the pup busy and away from destroying household items. Another way is to give interactive toys that stimulate their intelligence.
Do write in to us and share what all puppy training tricks have you adopted to train your Labrador Retriever puppies.