Teach Your Labrador Retriever Give & Take In Three Easy Steps
Labrador Retrievers are among the most popular dog breeds due to their playful demeanors, loving natures and calm, steady personalities. Labs are also very easily trained. Not only are Labs intelligent, but they are also eager to please their owners. This combination of characteristics makes it easy for them to learn to obey commands as it plays to their natural strengths. Labs learn commands much easier and more quickly than other breeds and retain their training without extensive follow-up. However, training any dog takes dedication, patience, and love. Here are some general tips on training your Labrador Retriever before we get into the specifics on the commands “give” and “take.” These general recommendations will help prepare your dog to learn these commands with ease and will also ensure your pup is happy, healthy and calm.
Start Training Your Labrador as a Puppy
If possible, it’s best to train your Labrador Retriever as a puppy so as to avoid the development of bad habits. An older dog becomes set in his/her ways, and it becomes much harder to modify its behaviors. This is particularly true with the bad habits. It’s ten times easier to train a puppy correctly from the start than it is to try and reverse bad habits developed from inadequate training. You can start to train your dog as early as eight to nine weeks from birth. Just know that a young puppy won’t learn everything right away; you will have to be patient. However, this early training will help to develop the right behaviors and eradicate the odd and destructive ones.
Exercise Your Lab Daily
Labradors are known for their high energy and bouncy personalities. While this makes them fun dogs to play with, it also means they need sufficient exercise to prevent them from feeling bored and anxious. Boredom and anxiety in dogs can lead to behavior problems such as chewing, barking, digging, scratching and escaping. Many times a destructive dog only needs more exercise to calm their excess energy and stimulate their brains. Make sure you take your Lab for a daily walk or jog. Also be sure to play with your pup for at least twenty minutes to not only provide him/her with more exercise but to stimulate his/her senses.
Socialize Your Labrador Early
Labradors Retrievers are born to please people. As the owner, you have the responsibility to teach your Labs to connect and cope with others. Socialize your dogs with people and other pets as early as you can. The more people and pets they meet, the more friendly and easygoing they will become. Also keep in mind that this breed is extremely social. Being alone is not a good thing for them. If you have to leave your dog alone for extended periods of time, consider doggy daycare or petsitting to keep them entertained.
Use Rewards and Positive Reinforcements
Labradors Retrievers are affectionate and eager to learn. Rewarding them if they do well is the best way to get them to respond positively to the training as it plays into their natural personalities. Rewards should be something positive and uplifting, like some treat or a nice cuddle from you. This will make them feel loved and will reinforce their desire to please you. Soon enough, they will follow your commands with fewer prompts simply to get that positive reinforcement.
The “give” and “take” command is particularly important for Labs as these dogs have the tendency to take things they aren’t supposed to have. The “give” and “take” commands allow you to get these items safely from your dog while also keeping the object from being destroyed. Here’s how to teach your Lab these commands in three easy steps:
1— Train With Two People
“Give” and “take” are best taught by two people. One person is responsible for the clicking sound that cues the dog of the proper behavior while the other person focuses on the behavior of dog itself. It is important that the person with the clicker is paying attention to the training as the clicks must happen at the right time. Otherwise, the dog will not understand the cues and will not learn the commands.
Put your dog on a leash and gather all the items that your Labrador is allowed to play with such as toys and other non-food materials they like. The dog-focused person should sit with all the toys. They should then grab one toy and offer it to the Labrador. The dog should try to get it right away but if they don’t, call to them or wave the toy around to make them want the toy. When the dog takes the toy, the other person should make a click and give a reward. The reward should be a hug, cuddle, or vocal praise, something that does not require the dog to drop the toy from its mouth.
Repeat this several times, adding the vocal command “take” gradually.
To teach “give,” rank the dog’s favorite items in order of least loved to most love. Start with the least loved item as this will be the item the dog holds onto the least, making the training process easier.
Give the dog the least favorite using the “take” command. When he takes it, praise him but do not make the clicking sound. Carefully attempt to take the item back. As the dog, let’s go, click and reward. Your Labrador Retriever will soon associate the click with letting go of the item.
Move on to the next item and repeat the process while gradually adding the command “give” until the dog can easily complete the command with its most loved toy or object.
Teaching your Labrador Retriever certain commands requires time and patience. It takes a lot of hard work, but it’s worth the effort. A well-trained dog is a happy dog, and the time you spend training your Lab is time well spent.