Aside from their cuteness, Labradors are desirable pets because of their intellect and physical agility. These qualities make Labradors capable of learning and executing many entertaining tricks. Showing off your Lab’s skills is one of the best ways for your Lab to wow your friends! These are some of the best Lab tricks for your Lab to learn quickly!
This one is a surprise, right? Did you know that your Labrador retriever is good at fetch? Okay, so you probably did. However, while fetch is a basic instinctive trick for your Labrador to learn, there are ways for your dog to take this trick to the next level.
Teach your dogs the names of the toys he will be fetching. For example, “squirrel” of a plush squirrel, “ball” for a rubber or tennis ball, and “Frisbee” for a flying Frisbee or disc. Repeat the name and point to the toy for your Lab to learn the name of each toy. Once learned, it’s time to put the lesson to use.
Taking your Lab’s learning toys outside, throw each toy, and command the dog to retrieve the one you say. For example, after all the toys have been thrown, command your dog to fetch the squirrel. Your Lab should run to the squirrel toy and bring it back.
Reward with positive reinforcement through praise and treats. If your Lab retrieves the wrong toy, throw it back and repeat the name of the toy for the Lab to retrieve. Repeat until your Lab fetches the correct toy!
(You can also implement this technique if you want your Lab to bring you a particular item, such as your slippers or a newspaper!)
2. Scent Games
This trick is similar to hide and seek, except you will be hiding a treat or toy for your Lab to seek!
The best way to teach your Lab this trick is to lay a scented trail of the treat or toy to have your Lab follow. Like any trainable command, start small and work your way up.
With this trick, you will want to start with a small distance. Once your dog has mastered the technique and idea of the trick, expand the distance. This trick will quickly become a favorite for your dog in no time! (Especially if the dog is receiving his favorite treat or toy at the end!)
One of the most helpful ways to guide your dog, in the beginning, is to have your Lab on a harness or leash. Directing the dog towards the scented trail will teach the dog the purpose of the trick. Once repeated, your Lab will quickly learn the premise to the game and begin to easily find the treat! Once accomplished, you can begin making the trails longer and more complicated.
This trick is so simple yet seems so astounding!
As Labradors feed off of your movements and behavior, you will need to be extremely active and very still during this exercise. Your Lab will quickly pick up on both the voice and visual commands!
With a handy treat available, such as these bacon-flavored reward treats, reward your Lab with praise and treats when he copies your moves. In order to teach your dog to freeze, you will first need to dance around.
Once your Lab has begun mimicking your moves, toss him a reward. Continuing to move, command him to, “Freeze!” and suddenly stop all your movements. Do not reward your Lab until he has completely stopped as well.
It will take your Lab a few tries to catch one. Once he has caught on, repeat the trick and incorporate the trick into your daily training schedule!
4. Voice Commands – Sit, Shake, Drop It, Down, Etc.
One of the most appealing characteristics of dogs, especially Labs, is their obedient behavior. Have you ever gone over to someone’s house and their dog will not respond to any of the owner’s commands? You have a dog jumping on you, sitting on the furniture, and licking you relentlessly. While dogs are loveable, not everyone wants to be bombarded by a dog’s desire to show affection.
To have the Lab that your neighbors love, teach him basic voice commands that will show your Lab’s obedient and “good boy” behavior.
You will teach your Lab these commands using the basic positive reinforcement method. Treats and praise when the command has been executed will quickly teach your Lab what to do on the verbal command.
To assist your dog in sitting, wait for your Lab to sit on his own, and then reward him. Some Labs may respond to the physical act of touching the dog’s hips, but not all Labs may respond to this. If the Lab sits on his own and is rewarded for it, he will quickly catch on to the idea of the command.
To teach your Lab to shake, wait for him to sit. Once sitting, speak the command “shake,” and wait for the dog to lift his paw. Once lifted, reward him with a treat. You may have to tap or indicate to the Lab that “shake” refers to his paw. This trick is usually easily learned. Once learned, repeat the command to make sure the Lab has retained the instruction.
Labradors are endlessly smart. Labradors easily retain commands they have learned, and they enjoy carrying them out for people. As Labradors are loyal dogs that love companionship, they will want to make sure you are happy with them and their performance. This makes Labradors willing to continue working at each command until it has been successfully accomplished.
Labradors respond to positive reinforcement through praise and reward treats. Petting your dog, offering a verbal “good boy,” and giving him a treat will make these tricks easy and quick to learn!
Remember: try not to get frustrated with your Lab. Your Lab can feel your temperament and feed off of your disposition. Staying calm and happy during training will help your Lab learn these tricks quickly!