Labrador Dog Training Tips

A Labrador dog makes a wonderful pet, but as adolescents, they can be very difficult to train. Because they have a lot of energy and are bred to work, they need a lot of exercise and training to teach them how to properly behave in a human world.

Polite Greetings

Labs love people, but as they get bigger, they don't always realize that their greeting routines aren't fun and maybe even be dangerous. Always ignore your Labrador dog when he jumps. Walk right past him or turn your back. Don't yell, push him off or even look at him as these behaviors are all rewarding to an excited lab, even if you mean them to be punishing.

When you have company, keep your lab on a leash so he doesn't have access to jump on people who may not love him as much as you do. Don't let him anywhere near your guests until he stops wiggling, barking and pulling toward them. Once he is more calm, give him a chance. However, if he jumps, be ready to pull the leash back and make him wait more.

If your lab puts his teeth on you during greetings or play, yell "ouch" very loudly, even if it doesn't hurt. If your lab nips again, turn around and storm from the room. Have everyone else in the family respond the same way.

Loose-Leash Walking

A Labrador dog needs at least 40 minutes of full blown running each day, and even more during adolescence, so expect a handful when your dog is under-exercised. This usually exhibits itself on walks as your muscular lab drags you down the street, sniffing everything and greeting everyone.

Start training an alternate behavior as soon as you get your puppy. Never let your dog pull you to something he wants, including dogs and people. There are two ways to handle this:

  1. Every time your dog pulls, stop. Don't talk to him or pull on the leash, just stand firm. When your dog makes the leash loose by turning to look at you, praise and continue walking. As soon as it gets tight, stop again.
  2. Every time your dog pulls, turn the other direction and walk briskly the other way. When the leash gets loose, as it always will, praise and walk back toward the desired object.

Sometimes, a combination of these methods will be necessary. Practice this on each walk, even if it means you don't get as far on your walk for the first few days.

Leave It

Labs are bred to hunt, so they love to have something in their mouth. They must be trained what is appropriate to chew on and what isn't. To teach this, teach a leave it command.

Get a handful of treats. Give your dog one and say "take it." Repeat at random. Finally, close your fist and say "leave it." Be patient. Ignore barking, pawing and nipping. When your dog stops and looks at you, praise and say take it. Practice until your dog can do this without you closing your fist.

Then, start placing the treats on the ground and using your foot. Once your dog can do this with treats, build up to practicing with anything your lab picks up. Practice on walks and around the house until your dog can leave all inappropriate objects.

Labs make wonderful pets, especially for families, but they do require plenty of training and exercise. If you enforce these skills with consistency during adolescence, you will have an excellent adult Labrador dog.