10 TRAINING TIPS TO GET YOUR LABRADOR TRAINING STARTED
For several years now, Labradors have continued to top the list of the world’s most popular breed. According to the American Kennel Club, “this breed has got millions of fans due to its even temperament and trainability which makes it the best breed for a pet dog.” Now that you already own a Labrador, you are most likely wondering how you can begin the Labrador training exercise. The information provided in this post will help to calm any nerves you might have about starting obedience training and contribute to making you feel well informed and excited about beginning training with your pup. For a start, here are ten tips to help to make sure you kick-start the training process right.
1. Early Training for Your Labrador Retriever
Start training your dog at the earliest stages of its life so that it grows to those habits and adorable behaviors that you may wish to see in your lab. Even though your cute new friend may just be a small puppy now, remember that Labradors grow to be quite large and tend to be very excitable dogs. By building a strong bond between you and your dog from day one you promote obedience throughout all stages of its life.
2. Puppy Socialization
This is the very first step of the training process. Labradors are known to be people pleasers. This means you can easily build on their genetic predisposition to be great companions by making sure that your Lab puppy is perfectly socialized. How? Introduce your dog to as many new places and people as you can at every growth stage, especially in the early months of life. This teaches your lab correct social behavior when confronted with new and different experiences. Just be sure to keep each new experience and meeting upbeat and positive, as this helps reinforce your dog’s natural tendency to become friendly and accept new people.
3. Exercise Every Day
Being highly energetic dogs, labs are the best dogs for active families. However, if these dogs are not given enough attention or in other words sufficient exercise, they sulk away and become bored very easily. This will most likely lead to destructive behaviors such as barking, digging and chewing. Therefore, be sure to plan on dedicating an hour of your time every day for exercise. Most Labradors enjoy long walks and are big fans of the fetch game. These are just a few simple ideas to get your dog to exercise and burn off some energy, so get creative!
4. Performing Research
Why is performing research a necessary step in the training process and what information should I seek? To successfully train your lab to be the best it can be, you must first become the best trainer that you can be! This means finding the appropriate training techniques before you begin the actual training. There are many places to check for information including the internet and local animal organizations, but even the local library can be a place to get you started. Typically, these are the best places to find really resourceful material.
5. Start Small
When beginning training your lab, start with the basic instructions and commands such as sit, stop and turn. The best place to begin this training is at home, where your lab will be in a safe and familiar environment. Work slowly and focus on teaching one command at a time, making sure to reward your lab for each minimal progress. Allow your lab to fully master a command before moving on to the next one, as this can cause confusion or overstimulation in your lab, major symptoms of disobedience.
6. Enroll Yourself in an Accredited Obedience Program
Pet stores, local shelters and other organizations are the best places to look when looking for a training program. Most of these come at very friendly costs so you don’t want to break your bank training your pet. Make sure the training service provided is the one you need to apply to your pet, because certain training services offer different programs for specific breeds, events, and categories. Do your research to be certain you’re putting your lab into the right program that it needs.
7. Buy a Leash and an Appropriate Collar for Training
These are the two most important items you’ll need during the training process. Make sure that the leashes are no more than 6 feet in length (equivalent to 1.8 meters). It is advised you buy a leather leash for your lab. Leather leashes are more durable than their nylon counterpart, and are highly recommended by dog trainers due to the fact that they don’t stretch as much which helps to keep your lab from developing the habit of pulling on its leash.
8. Praise, Lavish and Reward Your Dog
Every dog needs some favors to follow your instruction. Reward your lab for any appropriate behavior with a treat, belly rub, or another form of praise. Do not punish your lab for doing something wrong during this stage as this can hinder the training progress.
Labradors are very literal thinkers- When giving instructions, make sure to always be consistent in both your commands and what your desires for your dog are. This helps them understand what is expected of them and how they can solve it. Once your lab has become comfortable with the main exercises, feel free to start testing your lab in a variety of different situations, adding one distraction after another. This helps to keep your lab stimulated and ensures that it won’t get bored from doing the same routine.
10. Make Obedience Top of Your List
It goes without saying that an obedient dog makes a great pet. By making obedience a priority in the relationship between you and your pet, you’ll not only ensure that your lab listens and responds to you, but that it loves and is loyal to you. Make it your regular routine to practice different commands throughout the day during different interactions with your dog. Not only will the constant attention keep your dog happy, it will also help to reinforce the training commands it had previously learned.