In this knowledge-based article, we will be discussing all you need to know about how to train a Labrador puppy.
The most well-known breed of dog in the US today is the Labrador Retriever, which originated in Newfoundland when hunting and water dogs were crossed in the 1830s.
Training a Labrador can be difficult, yet easy with the right tools and methods. This article will explore what you will need to train your Labrador, how you will train it, and some tips on training your Labrador.
How To Train A Labrador Puppy
If you recently acquired a Lab puppy, you can start training it as long as your techniques are based on positive reinforcement.
When you obtain your Labrador Retriever puppy, which is often when it is around eight weeks old, you can usually begin training. The following steps should guide you to provide good training for your puppy.
1. Start by Puppy-Proofing your home.
Making your home safe for the new puppy is essential to prevent accidents that could hurt your puppy or cause damage to your home. Chewing is one of the major concerns for new puppy owners, especially throughout the first year of living with their puppies.
It is important to keep all electric cords sealed or tucked away, and keep all houseplants that could be toxic to the puppy’s health away. Secure windows, toilets, and trash cans, and keep medications, cleaning supplies, and objects that could be choking risks out of the way.
2. Begin with Housetraining.
You should ensure that you have everything in place to make your dog comfortable and safe. When it comes to crate training, make sure the crate you get for your dog is not so big that it would tend to use the other side as a bathroom.
Yet, the crate should not be too small to make movement difficult for your dog. This creates an uncomfortable situation for your dog. Train your dog to use the bathroom outside the crate and make sure to reward it when it complies.
You should also train them to use the space in your yard and be comfortable. They should be able to move back into their crate at any time without your directions.
3. Train your Labrador on basic commands.
This is an important part of training your new puppy friend. Once you bring your new friend home, find a distraction-free environment where your dog will focus only on you.
This will ensure an effective training and bonding session between you and your dog, making compliance relatively easy.
You can start with “sit,” “stand,” “go,” etc. reward your dog once it can understand and undertake the command. Rewarding your dog is an effective way to enforce good behavior.
4. Train your dog on socialization.
This is also a very important step to ensure that you have a friendly dog, one that would not be a nuisance to you and your neighbors.
Take your new Labrador friend on a walk through your neighborhood to the park. This exposes your dog to its new environment and allows it to meet new dogs.
However, the best way to start socializing your dog is to start with family members. Once your dog gets comfortable with family, it would be easy to get it to behave properly when at the park.
Use your basic commands to steer your dog’s behavior with other dogs when at the park frequently.
Then, you can introduce additional unfamiliar people one by one over time. Make sure your puppy meets people with varied appearances too, e.g., children, someone with a beard, in a wheelchair, in a uniform, wearing sunglasses, or holding an umbrella.
Remember to always reward your dog with treats when it complies and behaves well in a new environment. This is a good way of enforcing good behavior.
5. Train your dog to get comfortable grooming.
Right from the start, you must train your dog to get comfortable with you handling it during grooming. Whether it is brushing the coat, cleaning its teeth, trimming its nails, full-on bathing, or cleaning its ears, you ought to start during the dog’s early days with you.
Your first attempt may be met with some resistance from your dog. Yet, with patience and rewarding your dog, things should run smoothly from the second time onwards. The good news, though, is that Labs are easy to groom.
However, each dog is unique and yours might give you a bit of attitude the first time. Nail trimming, ear cleaning, and teeth brushing should be a weekly routine, while bathing should be once a month.
Tips On Labrador Puppy Training
1. Patience is key.
Remember that training your new Labrador puppy can be a tedious undertaking. Yet, exercise extreme patience with your new friend as its brain is still forming, and it is only starting to get familiar with everything around it.
The trick is to start early and be consistent to enforce good behavior. Negative reinforcement can be detrimental to the psychology of your dog. As such, always remember to reward your dog each time it complies with a command.
This makes it understand that such behavior is good and will always do that. For instance, if you catch your dog pooping inside your home, you have to gently say “no” and take it outside to the area you want it to poop.
If it repeats it, you do the same until it realizes that it is not good to poop inside but rather use the designated space.
Reward it each time it uses the designated area instead of pooping inside your home. Remember, patience is key when it comes to training your new puppy.
2. Avoid overcorrection.
It is important to keep training sessions short and to avoid over-correction. Training sessions should be about 15 to 20 minutes for puppies.
Structure the session like a game or playtime. Puppies like to explore, and yet they have a short memory span.
Thus, be careful to overload the lessons. Teach it little by little per session and do not try to force down a lesson on your dog by overcorrecting the same thing, to get it to understand and execute the command.
You must take things one day at a time. With patience and consistency, your dog will eventually catch up.
3. Be consistent.
As already mentioned, if you wish to attain a happy ending for yourself and your dog, you have to be consistent with the training sessions.
Remember that puppies have a short memory span and as such, it is only with consistency that are you assured of a successful training experience with your dog.
Also, it is important to adopt a particular training method and stick with it. This way, your dog finds it easy to grasp the lessons. For instance, if you use a clicker, keep using the same type so your Labrador friends get used to the method.
4. A kennel is recommended.
Being larger dogs, Labradors are capable of holding their bladders even as puppies, longer than other dog breeds. You must take advantage of this to potty-train your puppy from the early days.
Using a crate or kennel is recommended for potty training, as your dog will get used to it and know it as a place it can feel comfortable.
Do not crate your puppy for far too long, as it may mistake the crate as a place of punishment.
Training your new Labrador puppy can be a daunting task. Yet, with patience and consistency, sticking to a particular training method. Over time, your dog will get used to it and things will begin to ease.
Training should focus on such key aspects as basic commands, socialization, grooming, housetraining, etc.
Once you can gradually get your puppy friend to understand and execute basic commands and to be able to socialize with other dogs, cats, and humans, you are assured of a happy, healthy relationship with your new friend for many years to come.
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