Training a Labrador puppy is a lot of fun, provided you have some sensible information and advice at hand.
Modern puppy training methods are gentle, positive, and very effective. Smacking and rolled up newspapers are a thing of the past!
Training your puppy can be challenging at times, but it is an important part of puppy care and management. Good behaviour is also a key ‘safety feature’ where a large and relatively powerful dog is concerned.
When you look at your adorable eight week old puppy, it may seem hard to believe he could ever harm anyone, but he won’t be small for long.
A full grown Labrador can easily knock a person over or drag them along on the end of a lead. Or cause a serious accident if he were to stray onto a road. So it’s worth spending some time finding out how to go about the important task of educating your pup.
What to teach
For safety’s sake, the minimum any Labrador puppy should learn is how to sit and to wait calmly to be stroked or fed, and to walk nicely next to his owner on a lead.
Tricks versus serious training
Many people separate dog training, in their mind, into tricks versus ‘real’ training. In fact, everything you teach your dog is in a sense a ‘trick’. And all tricks are a valuable form of training.
You may well benefit by teaching some tricks to your puppy before getting on to the serious stuff.
This is because you are less likely to feel pressured to succeed with trick training, and therefore more likely to keep training fun and to speed up the learning process for your dog.
Trick training also teaches you to be a better trainer, by improving your skill and timing with practice.
When to teach
With modern training methods, which are largely force-free, training can begin at a very early age.
The secret to successful early training lies in keeping the whole process stress free and cheerful.
Your puppy should have no idea he is being trained, and he will enjoy his training sessions as if they were games. So, provided you teach your puppy using modern, positive reinforcement training techniques, you can start from day one.
If you are not sure what constitutes modern training, or positive reinforcement training, visit our sister site Totally Dog Training for more information and advice.
How to teach
You will also find information lots more information on other aspects of puppy care in our labrador puppies section.
More help and information
There is help and support for all aspects of puppy training available on our busy Labrador forum.
You’ll be able to chat to other puppy owners and talk to those experienced in training Labradors. The forum is free and you are very welcome to join.
If you enjoy Pippa’s articles, you will love her new book: The Happy Puppy Handbook published in 2014.
Now available in most countries, the handbook is already a bestseller in the UK.
You can buy from Amazon using the link on this page. If you do, the labrador site will receive a small commission which is greatly appreciated and won’t affect the cost to you!
(training a Labrador puppy was originally published in 2011 and has been revised and updated for 2015)