Labradors are highly intelligent, trainable dogs. Labradors can quickly and easily learn a plethora of words and commands. These commands can range from a simple a sit or shake all the way up to playing hide and seek with your Lab!
The right method of training will allow your Lab to learn these commands quickly. A Lab that enjoys learning commands will enjoy executing the commands when requested.
The best way for your dog to learn commands is for you and your Lab to enjoy the process, and these Labrador training tips will make sure that happens.
1. Positive Reinforcement
Making sure your Lab is rewarded with praise and treats during training is the most effective and enjoyable training method for both you and your Lab.
Rewarding your Lab with a treat and praise when he has successfully executed command will make your Lab want to continue learning and performing these commands.
A Lab that is trained through hostility and frustration can lead to an aggressive dog, even in a breed as gentle as a Lab.
These bacon flavored training treats by Pet Botanics is a surefire way to encourage your Lab to learn commands.
(After all, they are bacon flavored!) Giving your Lab one of these bacon-flavored treats after the successful execution of a command or trick will keep your Lab coming back to learn more!
2. Routine Training
Once you have established that you will be training your Lab through positive reinforcement, you now need to implement this method into a training schedule. Labs learn quickly through repetition. You will want to schedule a time each day to work on training.
If you are working on voice commands with your Lab, you will need to make time each day to work on this command. When the Lab successfully completes the command, reward him with a treat and praise.
3. Start Small
Even an intelligent dog like a Labrador will need to learn small commands first. A grown Labrador cannot execute a large trick or task simply because he is old enough to know.
Instead, start with small, basic commands with positive reinforcement to teach your Lab the principle of fulfilling the request.
A Lab praised with a “good boy,” and a treat will want to continue the process. Additionally, the Lab will understand the basic principle of the task to advance to a more complicated task.
Starting small will keep you and your Lab happy and calm during the training experience, which will yield more successful results.
4. Incorporate Tough Tricks with Easy Ones
One of the best ways for your dog to learn complicated tricks or commands is by mixing them with easier ones.
For example, command your dog to do a simple task that he can easily perform, such as sit. Once performed, reward him with praise and a treat, and then ask him to perform a much harder task, such as “play dead.” This may be a trick that you have been working on repeatedly, yet your Lab has not quite mastered it.
If he does not execute the trick successfully, command another easy trick that you know he can perform. Once performed, reward him with praise and treats accordingly. This method allows your Lab to perform successful tricks while attempting difficult ones.
5. Do NOT Punish
A Lab that has not successfully performed a command does not need to be punished. Punishing a Lab for unsuccessfully completing a trick has many consequences for both you and the dog.
If the Lab is punished during training, the Lab will feel inferior and lose the desire to continue learning the trick. Losing desire during training can also cause the Lab to appear unintelligent. It can be a never-ending cycle.
Punishing the Lab during training can also cause the Lab to become aggressive. An aggressive dog poses a threat to the public as well as the dog itself.
Aggressive dogs have been known to require being euthanized. Do not put your dog at this disadvantage by punishing him during training.
6. Leash Train
Believe it or not, Labradors aren’t born knowing how to walk on a leash. This is a training application that needs to be put into practice as much as possible.
Have you ever been to a park and witnessed a dog owner struggling to control his dog on a leash? This is a commonality between all dog owners, but it doesn’t have to be permanent!
Taking your Lab for routine walks on a leash is the best way to ensure your Lab knows how to walk on a leash, as well as around other people and dogs. Voice commands incorporated with leash training will keep you, your dog, and other people happy!
7. Train in Different Environments
Labradors are extremely smart animals, but they can also easily relate the commands they have learned with the environment they were in.
For example, if you teach your dog commands at home, he will probably execute these commands fairly easily and quickly. But what happens if you take the dog out of his element?
To better ensure your Lab can follow commands in all environments, take him to various parks, and repeat the training. This technique allows your Lab to more likely to perform the successful command.
8. Film Yourself
If you are having difficulty with your Labrador learning a command, film yourself during training. There is a chance you may be making a mistake in your training that you wouldn’t have otherwise noticed.
In the world of Smartphones, it is simple to set your phone up to record the time you spend training your Lab. Reviewing the video will likely point out flaws that you may not have noticed.
9. Lower your Expectations
It’s understandable to imagine your Labrador successfully performing the many tricks they are capable of. After all, they are highly intelligent dogs that are equipped for the task!
However, going into training a Labrador with high expectations that they will “get it” on the first try can quickly leave you disappointed and frustrating.
Understanding that Labradors, while intelligent, will still need a learning curve to understand these commands will leave you calm and relaxed, making for a more positive training environment.
10. Enjoy the Moment
While you want your Lab to quickly learn these tricks, enjoy the moment you are in with him. There will come a time where the training time in your dog’s life has passed. These are the moments that you can’t get back.
These memories should be filled with funny, uplifting moments during training. The only way to make sure your memories are happy and positive is by making the moments of training happy and positive.