Behavior Problems

Training Your Labrador: FAQs

Getting a new dog is exciting and fun but it also can be a lot of work. If you think that they will pick up good behavior naturally, then you will get blindsided by an out of control dog in no time.  A dog who is out of control is not welcomed at kennels, dog camps or parks.  A poorly trained dog is never anyone’s first choice to take for an evening stroll.  Dogs that beg for, or snatch, food are not welcome in the house during meals.  They are, in short, not trustworthy.  But, it isn’t their fault.  Dogs crave and need your attention and guidance.  Labrador Retrievers are friendly and smart but they still require that you train and support them as they grow.  To do otherwise will limit both of your lives and weaken your bond.


Why is Labrador Training so Important?

The importance of training any dog can’t be driven home enough.  There’s a single universal truth when it comes to canines:  Your dog’s life in the human world will be successful or not because on how well trained they have been to adapt to the human environment.  Dogs are not humans and should not be treated as such.  It is not good for their mental or physical health.  They will be calmer and happier when they know that you, their owner, is in control.

Why Can’t They Just Learn to Behave On Their Own?

This yellow Lab is as cute as they come.

This Labrador puppy has certainly gotten the “sit” command down. What a cute yellow Lab!

Dogs are brilliant, but the brightest canine in the world will not learn to successfully navigate the human world completely on its own.

It is not safe for the dog, or for people, for your dog to be totally untrained.

Labradors, like all dogs, will pick up on and emulate behaviors.

But, if they are not properly supervised and trained they, like human kids, will almost always get themselves into trouble.

They will do pretty much anything that they think they will get rewarded for.  If the activity satisfies a desire, want, need or ambition would qualify as a reward, for example:

  1. Chasing is fun and a great way to get exercise.  They will likely chase cats or smaller pets, as well as animals in the yard unless they are taught NOT to.
  2. Jumping up to the counter almost always provides a tasty treat.  They will do it over and over again unless they are properly trained NOT to.
  3. Chewing  things is a natural instinct as well as often feels nice and helps clean teeth. They have no reason to stop doing so unless you teach them NOT to.

Are Labradors Easy to Train?

Labrador Retrievers are known to be very easy to train.  Some people claim  that yellow Labs are dumb and harder to train and that chocolate Labs are more aggressive, and difficult to control.  But, the stereotype  that Black Labs are the best and easiest to train is silly and unfounded. Training time offers you and your Labrador chance to spend time together working as a team.  This quality time will  help to build a strong bond.

The training sessions provide you opportunity to reward your Labrador, and praise him, when he does the right thing. Your Lab loves to to please you and to feel like they are important to you. They love to be useful and complete tasks.  They get a real sense of accomplishment from that type of interaction with you.  The trust and respect that you two will mutually gain will pay off in spades for years to come.

Why Do We Have to Have Rules All Of The Time?

Simple answer: Because your dog needs them in order  to feel safe and secure.  Sometimes, owners feel that they are being hard on their dog  by imposing rules but rules allow for the dog to know what he can or can’t do and to predict what will happen next.  It is actually very loving to create routines for your dog and to have clear boundaries from day one.  The consistency with which you to adhere to the rules is also very important.  They will learn quickly what types of behaviors they get rewarded for and what types of behaviors are not acceptable.

If they get rewards constantly for activities that are inappropriate then they will continue those behaviors indefinitely.  And, if you let them get too far out of “puppydom” before behaviors are nipped in the bud, you will have a rowdy, loud “teen age” dog in your hands in no time.

Does it Get Easier?

Like any new “parent,” you are likely overwhelmed and tired.  You are wondering if this training  thing will ever, ever, ever get any easier.  And, the good news is that it does.  But, you have to be committed to getting that pup where you want them to be.  They cannot be held accountable for behaviors which they have not been taught are wrong.

Put in the work when your Labrador is a puppy and you will find that your life will be much easier in the long run. It will be a few months of hard work but it will be worth it when you have a grown dog who is well adjusted and bonded to you, that you can take to the dog park and to the outdoor patio of a restaurant, etc.


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