How To Train A Labrador Puppy

As soon as you bring your new Labrador Puppy home at 7 to 8 weeks. The world around your new puppy changes and everything is a new experience for them. Therefore, as an owner, it’s your responsibility to learn how to train a labrador puppy so that they can grow up to be a member of your family or even a hunting buddy. There are many methods on proper ways to train a Lab. So, we have highlighted the most common considerations to begin training your puppy.

 

Labrador Retriever –

Having been listed as the number one registered breed since the AKC started counting. Labrador Retriever’s origins can be traced back to the islands of Newfoundland. Labrador Retrievers have been cited as far back as the early 1800’s, showing signs being easy to train for retrieving wild game. They became sought after and imported across England and North America.

Waterfowl Hunting Dogs

Labs today are most often categorized either as an American or English Lab. There are some apparent behavior traits and training aspects that differentiate the two. However, the easiest way to tell the difference is in their appearance. English labs have a more “blocky” head shape and larger build.  Whereas the American Labs have a more narrow head and leaner body shape. Some owners have a certain preference for the style of dog they desire. English Labs are thought to be easier to train and a little less energetic compared to the American Labs. However, the American style lab tends to have more stamina and drive. The thing they have in common is that they are bred for being duck dogs with a family side to them.

SIZE –

Males can range from 60-80 pounds
Females can range from 50-70 pounds

BUILD –

English is bred to be a little shorter and stocky and heavier frame.
American Labradors are bred to be leaner and taller than their English counterparts.

COAT –

Labradors have a short and dense coat of hair. The hair is water-resistant helping them stay dry as they leave the water. This especially helps in cold weather hunting. Labs tend to have a more oily coat that helps protect them from water as well. They can be found in Black, Yellow and Chocolate. Black is the first to be bred. Then yellow was bred in the late 1800’s and the chocolate coming in the early 1900’s.

TEMPERAMENT –

Labs are kind, people-pleasing breeds. They want to make you look good as a duck hunter. However, I will contest they may make you frustrated every now and again. They are dogs. However, they are great with kids which is why so many families choose a lab as a family pet. They can be quite athletic and energetic. Which usually goes well when you plan on using your lab as a duck dog. They usually won’t turn down a bumper being thrown every day.

HEALTH –

Pure-bred labs from reputable kennels tend to have great health pedigrees. However, labs have been known for obesity and the most common health issue being hip dysplasia. Most kennels do offer a guarantee with their breed lines for hip dysplasia. Make sure to ask.

How To Crate Train A Puppy –

Crate training your puppy is a crucial step in understanding how to train a labrador puppy. A crate for your new Labrador puppy will give them a safe place to relax and sleep every night. However, this training is usually easier said than done. It can take a few days to even a few weeks to coax your new puppy into their kennel without being anxious. The best option is to move slowly and patiently as you introduce your puppy to their crate. You’re trying to have your puppy stay quiet for periods of time inside their crate. Because crate training takes quite a few steps we have gone into more detail in our article How to Crate Train A Puppy.

House Training A Puppy –

Usually alongside crate training is house training a puppy. Of course, in the event you plan on keeping your Labrador outside in a kennel this may not be of a necessity. However, for many dog owners house training, a puppy is an important step to ensure your puppy can become an obedient new dog. House training takes lots of patience and consistent positive reinforcement. Think of house training as taking two steps forward and one step backward. When using consistent interactions and positive rewards achieving an obedient new puppy is quite possible.

House Potty Training –

One of the first steps to in learning how to train a labrador puppy bathroom training. Now similar to crate training this can be a tedious and long process, that requires positive vocal tones. The two main and common sense things to teach your new puppy is where they can go eliminate themselves and where they can’t. So obviously this usually is outside and inside. Seems simple, but your dog being new to the world is going to have accidents. To prevent anything being damage be sure to pull rugs away and gate your new puppy off from places you don’t want them to ruin.

The first steps to begin training your dog to become house potty trained is to train yourself. Puppies need to be let out every 1-2 hours. Therefore, it’s best to train yourself to a schedule so that your puppy can have the opportunity to eliminate outside. Most of the time when your Labrador puppy goes to the bathroom in the house, it’s due to not having the opportunity to go outside. Therefore, the more times you can get outside on a consistent schedule with your Lab the first few weeks. The more likely you will begin to see your puppy become house trained. The thing to keep in mind every dog is a little different for when it finally clicks for them.

Preventing Chewing –

How to train a labrador puppyAlongside house potty training is preventing your Labrador from chewing on unwanted items, shoes, furniture, kids toys, rugs, you name it. If your puppy can get something that will help them teeth they will find it. I’ve had dogs chew corners of walls and even a wooden coffee table, why? Because I wasn’t watching my puppy is the reason they were able to do some unwanted house damage.

The first thing to do for your Labrador puppy is to get plenty of items they can chew and relieve their teeth on. As puppies begin getting their adult teeth they usually will begin to chew on anything in site. This helps them soothe the pain, and it also can help them pass boredom. Puppies require a lot of steady attention as young dogs. To help create constructive chewing, having plenty of soft bones and chew toys will help your Lab learn to chew on designated toys versus home decor. The other thing you can do to help prevent any temptations is close doors where shoes and chewable items are within reach of your puppy. You may also want to remove valuable items as well as rugs, furniture, or other items that you would prefer not getting chewed up.

Lastly, chewing unwanted items is going to happen and by responding with presenting your dog with a proper chew toy will help them understand what can and shouldn’t be chewed on. Make sure you give them an item to chew otherwise they are going to begin to become confused on what they can chew on.

Barking Training –

Puppies seem to always find their vocal chords quite quickly when they are brought home the first time. It also doesn’t take an owner or angry neighbor to become annoyed with the barking. Therefore, the next step in How to Train a Labrador Puppy is to eliminate unwanted barking. First, as owners, you have to understand that puppy barking is a normal communication behavior. similar to how a young toddler begins to talk and not stop talking. As parents, we don’t tell our kids to never talk instead we teach them what are appropriate times and volumes of talking.

Similarly, this is the same idea for training your puppy. Dogs can bark for any reason warning, fear, happy, or even while playing. So as owners we need to teach our puppies when is the proper time to bark and when it’s unwanted. Which is why we have listed a few tips to help you in teaching your new puppies when to and when not to bark.

TIP 1 – Knocking / Door Bell Rings

  • Create a simple scenario of you ringing the doorbell and when your puppy barks teach them that this is an unwanted behavior. Instead, teach them that when the doorbell rings and if they are quite they either get a treat or their favorite toy. This behavior can be really nice if you have sleeping guests or kids.

TIP 2 – Don’t Yell Back

  • It’s natural when your dog barks you yell back at them to quiet down. However, this really only teaches the dog that it’s okay to be loud. Instead, teach your puppy with a soft and positive tone to quiet down and when they do quiet down reward them. This will help them learn that if they listen and respond to your commands they will please you and be rewarded.

TIP 3 – Pay Attention To The Situation

  • Dogs can bark at visitors, delivery drivers, or even new house guests. This can be more difficult because you don’t know when that will occur. Therefore, once it doesn’t happen, try and introduce the guest right away and have them give positive rewards. This will help your puppy think of this guest as a safe person and someone and prevent barking.


Positive Dog Training –

How to train a Labrador PuppyStaying positive is probably the easiest thing to say but hardest to do when you are learning how to train a labrador puppy. Of course, you need to remain positive and teach your puppy with rewarded opportunities when they warrant good behavior. However, when training a puppy good behavior doesn’t happen overnight and even when you think you have them house trained they eliminate on your rug. The first attribute you need to reinforce positive dog training is patience as a puppy owner. Training takes times and at times you can take a step backward. However, as soon as you introduce intimidation or physical punishment your dog will begin to misread training and more than likely act out and it only creates more issues.

Simply put positive reinforcement is reward good behavior. So when a puppy goes outside and goes to the bathroom reward them with positive vocal commands or treats. They soon will begin associating this good behavior with pleasing you. Eventually, you won’t need to reward them every time. However, for any new training habits its best to maintain the positive rewards until they have fully created that good behavior.

The biggest thing to avoid is overrotating and when they don’t respond or learn what you are training to be aggressive and verbally responsive. Instead learn to ignore and not reward is a much better technique. A simple no command or non-reward will begin to teach your dog that this behavior is not warranted. You also need to know your dog’s limits. One dog may learn a habit quickly while another from that same litter may take a week. Don’t become frustrated when it seems your dog isn’t learning a new command.

Dog Walking Training –

How to train a labrador puppyWalking your dog is one of the best means to give them exercise and allow them to relive they’re built of energy. Puppies especially have tons of energy and need a form of playtime. Walking your dog is perfect for that. However, if your dog pulls and bites at the leash or is unfriendly with other dogs walking will become quite difficult. So instead you want to get your puppy used to their leash and collar right away as a puppy. This will help in building a great walking dog.

TIPS FOR LEASH TRAINING –

  • Teach Commands with positive rewards. Starting with when you feed them is a great opportunity to teach them a command.
  • Teach them “here” or “heal”. This can be done when they are on a leash and when you say the command and they look at you or move toward you reward them with a treat.
  • Practice this commands and walking in the house before you expose them to a new environment where there are cars, more dogs, people, kids, and animals. When you practice inside the house they are in a comfortable setting and they are used to learning in.
  • Next, you will want to take this to the backyard and walk around the yard and eventually to the open road. As long as you stay positive and work slowly your Labrador puppy will begin to be comfortable when walking with you.

WALKING TROUBLESHOOTING –

  • BARKING – Some dogs will begin to bark at cars, other people, or even other dogs. To stop this behavior walk your dog in a situation where you know they will bark and preemptively give them a treat before they are about to bark and command them to be quiet. This can take some time in learning your dogs barking behaviors.
  • PULLING – Puppies tend to have a natural tendency to pull on a leash when they see something. Instead of pulling back turn into a statue and wait till your dog comes back to you. This will begin to teach them that the behavior is not wanted. You can also teach them to sit while on a leash and as soon as they begin to pull make them sit.

How to train a labrador puppyWhat Can My Labrador Puppy Do –

Having a good realistic expectation of what your puppy can do is helpful when learning how to train a Labrador puppy. So to help with knowing what your puppy is capable of doing will help you understand the patience required to train a puppy.

Labrador Puppy 8-10 Weeks Old –

  • Socialisation – Introducing your dog to their surroundings. Planning visits to see other dogs, family members, and children. Introduce them to vehicles and other places they will occupy someday.
  • Preventing Biting -  Discourage biting and allow them to teeth on permitted toys only.
  • Walking and Following – Encourage your puppy to follow you and walk with you indoors and outdoors. Stop frequently to reward your puppy for staying close.
  • Here & Heel – Teach your puppy to heel next to you come. Present them with rewards for good behavior.

Labrador Puppy 10-12 Weeks Old –

  • Socialisation – Begin to introduce them to higher traffic areas maybe a park or busy street.
  • Preventing Biting -  Discourage biting and allow them to teeth on permitted toys only.
  • Walking and Following – Introduce your puppy to walking next to you at heel and on one particular side.
  • Here & Heel – Teach your puppy to heel next to you come. Present them with rewards for good behavior.
  • Retrieving – Introduce your puppy to bumpers that they can bring back to you.

Labrador Puppy 3-4 Months Old –

  • Socialisation – Take into new situations and places that you want them to be familiar with.
  • Preventing Biting -  Discourage biting and allow only gentle teething.
  • Walking and Following – Introduce your puppy to walking next to you at heel while using a short slip lead.
  • Here & Heel – Teach your puppy to heel next to you come. Present them with rewards for good behavior.
  • Retrieving – Encourage the drive.
  • Commands – Introduce sit, stay, down.

Labrador Puppy 4-5 Months Old –

  • Socialisation – You puppy should be pretty well adverse in its settings by now.
  • Preventing Biting -  Discourage any biting.
  • Walking and Following – Should be walking with no pulling or barking.
  • Here & Heel – Begin to teach heel in many situations and without a lead.
  • Retrieving – Encourage the drive.
  • Commands – Introduce sit, stay, down and well as place and kennel.

Labrador Puppy 6 Months and Older –

  • Advanced Training Begins - This is where you would introduce them to advance training programs. If you are looking and training your dog to be a hunting retriever this is where they would begin their training phase.

Intro To Gun Dog Training –

How to train a labrador puppyIf you are planning on using your Labrador puppy as a hunting companion learning when to introduce hunting scenarios is important. To help in teaching your puppy to be a gun dog, here are some things you may want to introduce them to and get exposure to.

  • Kennel Training
  • Familiar with other people and dogs
  • Open fields and hunting cover
  • Introduce them to Water
  • Expose them to live and dead game birds smell and texture
  • Guns and Gunfire
  • Boats and Blinds


Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: