Labrador Retrievers are famous for being super intelligent and easy to train. Understanding Lab behavior and the best training practices can help make your training experience even better.
Slow and Steady
The best way to train a lab is to present one concept at a time and work on that one concept until you are pretty sure the dog has mastered it. Presenting too many ideas at once will confuse your dog and cause you frustration. Begin by introducing one new command and working on that command for several sessions.
Mastering one command at a time will build your dog’s confidence as he sees that he is pleasing you, and it will also build your confidence if this is your first time training a dog.
Use Treats Carefully
Many people think training with food is the end all method to dog training. However, training with food only works well when it is done thoughtfully. The food you choose should be something out of the ordinary for your dog, otherwise he will lose interest. In other words, regular dog food is not going to entice him to obedience. You should also keep in mind that as he grows accustomed to a certain training treat you may have to switch it up a bit if he grows board. So have a backup training treat in mind.
Your lab will need a calm environment when he is learning new commands. If there are too many distractions at first, he will not be able to focus on what you are presenting to him. However, as time goes on, you will want to purposefully present distractions in order to make sure he will obey you under any circumstances. Remember that in many cases a dog’s training could save his life. You are not just teaching your lab to do tricks. You are instilling important obedience commands that could be vital someday.
In order to be most effective in training your lab, you will want to identify problems early on. The problems may be with your training methods or with distractions that your dog notices but perhaps you do not. Filming your training session will help you to identify such things early on so that you can correct them quickly before your entire training program is put off track.
Successful dog training has more to do with the dog trainer than it does with the dog. Dogs will almost always react a certain way to certain stimulus. Therefore it is important for the dog trainer to understand how to present the correct stimulus at the correct time. Training yourself will help you tremendously when it comes to properly training your lab.
To train yourself you should read any information you can get on dog training, watch television programs or DVDs concerning lab training and most importantly, just keep practicing. With each training session you and your lab are both improving your skills. If you keep practicing, with time you will have an obedient companion who is a joy to be with.