Labrador Puppy Training Tips

Labrador puppy training is an important part of owning a lab. Though labs make excellent pets and have a great temperament, they do grow to be large and strong and need to be shown how to behave properly.


Labrador retrievers are bred to hunt and bring back the birds in their mouths without harming them. Because of this, lab puppies love to have things in their mouths. This includes toys, treats, inappropriate items and your skin.

Though it may not bother you when they're puppies, the most difficult time to own a lab is between 6 and 12 months, where they are still puppies but have the bodies of adults and can be very difficult to handle. If you don't want your puppy mouthing you at this time, you need to teach them not to when they are puppies.

Any time your lab puts his teeth on you, say "Ouch" in a loud voice. Stand up and storm away from the puppy, much like a litter of puppies would do to a puppy who was nipping too hard. Wait a few minutes and then return to play with the puppy. Any time the puppy is chewing on a toy or licking you, the play and attention continues. When his teeth are on you, repeat.

Leave It

Once your puppy reaches 12 to 16 weeks, teach "Leave it" for inappropriate items. Take a handful of treats or kibble and allow your dog to take one as you say, "Take it." Repeat two or three more times. Then, close your fist and say "Leave it." Ignore all puppy behaviors such as nipping, licking, pawing and barking.

When your puppy does something polite, such as sit and look at you, say, "Good, take it," and allow your puppy to have the treat. Practice until you can hold a treat in your hand without closing your fist. Then, put the treat on the ground. Always reward with a treat from your hand. Don't let the puppy have the treat on the floor.

Gradually, build up to practicing with everything your dog puts in his mouth so he learns what is appropriate and what isn't.


Labs also love attention. When you come home, your puppy is so excited that he will probably jump on you. Don't let him do anything that won't be cute when he weighs 100 pounds. Start ignoring the jumping. Turn your back and greet him only when his four feet are on the floor.

Any type of punishment you try will reinforce the behavior. If you yell at your puppy or push him off, you're still looking at him, talking to him and touching him. Just ignoring it will do the trick.

Loose-Leash Walking

Your lab is going to get big and strong, so teach him not to pull when he's still a puppy. When he pulls, stop walking. Wait for him to make the leash loose on his own. Don't pull him back. Be patient. If after a minute, the puppy still hasn't looked at you, walk the opposite direction.

As soon as the leash is loose, praise and continue the walk. The walk should continue as soon as the leash is loose and stop as soon as it gets tight. This way, the puppy learns that he only gets to walk when the leash is loose.

If you practice these basic skills when your puppy is young, you will have a well-mannered adult lab who is the perfect companion for your family.