Teaching your Labrador different tricks goes beyond just showing off to your friends. It is an important step in the development of your dog.
Not only do they keep your dog challenged mentally, but they can keep them safe in times of sudden danger.
There is a multitude of tricks that you can teach your Labrador Retriever. They can be as simple as “Sit” or as creative as “Say Your Prayers”.
No matter the desired end goal, you must always first set expectations. How will your dog be rewarded?
Not only are a great variety of tricks and commands, but the training methods are diverse.
There is reward-based training, clicker training, positive reinforcement, or the Alpha Dog method. To train your dog to “Lie Down” and “Stay”, you will one of these techniques.
Which Type of Training is Most Effective for Labrador Retrievers?
The best technique used with Labs is reward-based training. Labrador Retrievers are known to be eager when it comes to anything including their owner or the reward afterword.
This can be done by giving your dog a treat after completing a trick. Some dogs also respond well to being given their favorite toy.
Hunting dogs especially enjoy playing with their retrieve, or decoy. Identify whether your dog gets more excited over a treat or their favorite toy.
The Most Important Commands Include “Lie Down” and “Stay”
Among the most critical tricks to train your dog, “Lie Down” and “Stay” are in the top 5, according to the standards of the American Kennel Club. Other commands include “Sit”, “Come” and how to walk well on a leash.
How “Lie Down” and “Stay” Help a Hunting Dog
Labrador Retrievers have been bred to aid hunters in retrieving waterfowl. Wag Walking pinpoints just how crucial it is to teach your hunting dog these two commandments.
A gundog that cannot stay still will most surely scare away the birds, making shots impossible. It is equally beneficial for them to stay hunkered down and out of sight.
More importantly, “Lie Down” and “Stay” keep them close to the duck blind and away from any firing shots until the coast is clear.
But what if your Labrador Retriever doesn’t hunt? Can these commands help you and your dog without the need for retrieving waterfowl?
How Exactly Can These Tricks Help in Your Everyday Life?
Both of these commands are essential for simple obedience and are recommended by almost every trainer that you come into contact with.
The reason for this is that they can become extremely useful in times of trouble, even if it is just around the neighborhood.
The Labrador Site states that “Lie Down” is a way to keep your dog close without having to worry. It also allows you to physically pick up your dog when need be.
“Stay” can save your dog from running after a potentially unsafe situation such as when trying to cross a busy street.
The Difference of Teaching an Adult Dog Compared to a Labrador Puppy
Dog trainer Michele Welton of Your Purebred Puppy remarks on how it is easier to train an adult dog.
The attention span of a puppy generally doesn’t last long as they get easily distracted. It is best to only train a puppy in 15-minute intervals where a dog can be challenged for longer.
Teaching Your Dog How to Lie Down
It is easier to teach your Labrador “Sit” before beginning on “Lie Down”. Once this has been done, you can use a treat to lure the dog into the positions that you would like. This is known as “luring”.
Pedigree advises to first make your dog sit. Then slowly move the treat in front of them and slide it down towards the floor, letting them follow with their nose.
If they stand up, simply try again. Once they follow the treat with their body, immediately praise them and reward.
Add the vocal command once they are able to do it without standing up. For a demonstration, watch how Nancy Field of the Port Chester Obedience Training Club lures her Labrador Retriever into lying down on command.
Teaching Your Dog How to Stay
Dr. Jo Righetti of Purina admits that teaching your dog how to “Stay” can be one of the most difficult basic commands, but it is easily one of the most useful. She lists the steps involved with this process.
- Begin by asking your dog to “Lie Down”.
- Once your Labrador is down, say the word “Stay”, putting your hand out in front of them.
- If they have stayed in the same position for a few seconds, consider it a success.
- Even with such a short duration of “Stay”, reward your Labrador and practice the same thing over and over, each time increasing the time between being rewarded and being given the command.
- If your dog does not stay put, do not become agitated. You can always ask again or take a break to avoid any counter production.
- Also remember that if your dog does not understand, then it is best to save it for later.
- If they seem to grasp the concept, then begin to distance away from your dog in addition to the length of time that they should stay put.
Stay can be taught in either the sitting position or while they are in a “Lie Down”. For a detailed and visual aid, trainer Zak George demonstrates how to teach a dog how to “Stay” while being positive and mindful of the dog’s well-being.
Teaching your dog to lie down and stay opens up the door to a variety of more tricks that can be a fun learning opportunity.
The list below provides a few of the next commands for you and your Labrador, all of which are built from “Lie Down”.
- Head down: where the dog places his or her head onto its paws while lying down.
- Roll over: a fan favorite and a fun trick for both you and your Lab.
- Play dead: although more complicated, this is involves your dog to lie down.
Teaching your Labrador how to “Lie Down” and “Stay” is not only a great way to bond with your dog, but it can also be lifesaving.
Through the use of reward-based training, you can make your dog want to learn with you. Just be sure to take breaks when either of you needs them. In no time, your Lab will be safe and happy knowing both of these commands.