labrador retriever training

Obedience training tips for Labrador Puppies

My son got a Labrador retriever puppy as a birth day gift. This was the first puppy even in my life. We had no idea on training a puppy.

We searched advertisements titled "training your dog" in local newspapers and also sieved through the internet. One of the articles we read on dog obedience training said that it was the dog owner himself, who needed to receive training first. We approached a few dog trainers near our home in Atlanta & attended a few classes for dog owners to get some idea. We also purchased few popular books on dog training. Age of your dog is important while undergoing obedience training. Small puppies learn commands more quickly than adult dogs. The breed of a dog also plays a role in training, as some breeds learn commands more easily than others.

In this article, we shall share our experience on Labrador retriever puppy training for the first basic command "SIT"Obedience training is quite simply training your dog to be obedient. It includes training him to distinguish between the basic commands such as: sit, stay and heel, come and so on. There are two basic approaches to obedience training. One school of thought employs negative reinforcement techniques like choke collars and electric shock, while the other utilizes a simple click and reward.

We studied both the techniques to prepare our own strategy. I'm sharing our strategy here.

Training your dog to sit on command is a good place for you and your dog to start your obedience training. It's a nice and easy command, which your puppy or dog will learn very quickly. Another benefit of training your dog to sit is that, it gives you a good alternate behaviour to request of your dog. This comes handy when you are annoyed by his barking and want him not to bark. In any case, sit command is easier than asking your puppy to jump or run. This will make his behaviour more predictable and you can avoid many undesirable incidences, when your guests visit you.

Six General Rules to Remember When Training Your Dog to Sit

1. Keep the duration of your training sessions short and small. Five minutes is plenty to begin with, especially when teaching a young puppy. Incorporate the training schedule into your daily routine and let the puppy take it as a play for himself. Make the puppy calm before you start training.

2. Get your dog to sit before you feed him or make him sit before you throw his ball at the park. When applied in this manner, obedience training will be fun in your dog's mind and also rewarding.

3. Make it perfectly clear to your dog what you are asking of him - what you want him to do. Make training your dog to sit fun; don't make it feel like a chore or an undesirable activity for you or your dog.

4. Training sessions should be full of consistent repetition, praise and positive reinforcement. Be patient and don’t expect your dog to immediately learn this or any other obedience command and then never forget it. It's up to you to reinforce the meaning of your command through repetition and consistency throughout your dog's life.

5. Gradually phase out the food rewards you may use in the learning period of a new command. Giving a food treat or reward every now and then doesn't hurt your dog though, even if he responds to your commands without one.

6. When training your dog to sit for the first time, make it easy for him/her to succeed. Start your training sessions in a familiar environment to your dog, free from other distractions.

Two Techniques I Adopted To Train Sit Command to Our Labrador Puppy

Technique 1

This first training technique is great for young puppies. When you are with your pup and you see him about to sit or in the act of sitting, say "sit" in a clear and firm tone. As soon as your dog's rear end hits the floor, give him praise, a bite of his favourite food and maybe a bit of a scratch behind the ear. In your dog’s mind you are building an association between your verbal "sit" command and the act of him sitting. Most puppies make this connection very quickly. Before long, you will be able to say "sit" at any time and your puppy will understand what you are asking of him. It is important to always reward and praise your pup as soon as his bottom hits the floor in the position of rest. Your pup will love it, he'll be thinking "all I have to do is sit down and I get attention, treats and praise!"

Technique 2 - On Leash

If your dog doesn't respond to the methods outlined above or if you prefer to use a collar and leash in your training, this technique will do the trick. Stand next to your dog, both of you facing the same way. Hold the leash straight up, directly above the collar. At the same time gently press down on your dog's back (down near his hips) and call out "sit". As soon as your dog is in the sitting position, reward and praise him. You can give a shake to the collar of the dog to give him an indication of what you want from him. Within no time you won't need to press down on your dog's back or even hold the leash up. He will understand that your "sit" command means that you require him to plant his backside on the ground. And he'll be happy to do it for you because he knows that he receives praise and attention when he does. You can also make use of reprimand to make him learn the desirable behaviour.

Several of my friends tried these strategies on dog obedience training  for dogs of other breeds successfully. Always keep the temperament of your dog in your mind and try to develop a friendly relationship with him.

Next, we'll share with you how we taught Tango  "stay" & "fetch" command.

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