Labrador Retriever Training

let's train our labradorsAre you struggling to train your Labrador Retriever?  Do you need a little help?

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Popular Labrador Training Topics

A trained Labrador is a pleasure to own, and training your dog should be fun.

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Most people have problems at some stage, and with a little help you can overcome them.

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Common Training and Behavior Problems

Common problems for Labrador owners are dogs that drag their owners along behind them,  dogs that won’t come back when they are called,  and dogs that jump up and push past people!

We can help you with that. Check out the links below and browse through our entire training section for more resources.

All the training advice on this site is reward based and effective, and provided by experienced labrador trainers.   We hope you find it helpful!

More Labrador Training Information

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215 COMMENTS

  1. does a professional trainer has to be applied or can we teach a pup basic training at home by ourselves. if yes then how shall i potty train my pup? please suggest a way.

  2. Hi, I have two lab puppies. 80 days old. I have problem with training. This is my first time. I usually take him to the crate at about 8-9pm and then morning 6-6.30 am. But there is always poop inside the cage. How can I train them?
    I take them out each separately and wait for them to poop , at the same place always, but if I’m lucky they might. It not habit yet. Should I be patient or ll they be never trained? How should I proceed?.
    And also what else should I need to train them?

    Sangeetha.

  3. Hi,
    I have a 4 month old black Labrador Retriever called Chester and he is totally out of control. He jumps all over my guests, chews my stuff, bothers the other 3 dogs, and everything else that is obnoxious. He also bites me and chews the other dog’s ears. He is super hard to train too. Help!

  4. My 6 month old black lab bites a lot. Sometimes I feel like she is after me to hurt me. I try to push her away and ignore her but sometimes I feel like she bites harder so I look at her. I put her in her bed to let her relax and teach her that that’s she is doing is not good. How can I stop this. She only does it to me and I am the one that always takes care of her. Help please!

  5. Hi-we have a 6 month old lab puppy who we have had since he was 8 weeks. We go to puppy training classes every week and he has really come along with his heal, sit, down etc training. Howeve, over the last week or so when we take him for a walk after he’s had lunch and dinner he often will become jumpy, and tries to bite. If I ask him to sit during these episodes he will sit and if I drop the lead and walk away and make him wait he will also do this, but then when I take the lead back and try and get him to walk to heal again he starts jumping and biting again.when he is on the lead he jumps, bites and tries to grab the lead. Any tips to help stop him? We can go for walks when he doesn’t do any of this and walks well-it’s usually during his lunchtime and evening walk.

  6. hi pippa
    m a first time time pet owner ,we have got one month old lebra female could you pls help us regarding its training and regular diet and one more thing i want to ask she sleeps a lot is dere any health issue or what?

  7. my 2 month old lab is still in training I cant get her to stop pulling or chewing on her leash or stop jumping or biting or stop scratching and I’ve tried all your tricks what do I do

  8. Hi, my 14 month old yellow labrador pulls clothes off the line after they are hung out, and i don’t know what to do… any suggestions??? thanks.

  9. My puppy is going out of his boundary in our yard and when I call him to come he ignores me, I go pick him up and he growls at me.

  10. My lab is about 9 weeks old and when I take him outside to play in the yard he wants to go towards the yard and in the large grass from the empty lot next to us and when I pick him up he growls at us. I read in a book that if I push on his shoulders and growl at him like a dominant puppy will that he will know we are the dominant one and listen. Is this good and what can I do about this behavior?

    • Hi Rebecca, at 9 weeks old, puppies only growl if they are playing, or if they are scared. It sounds as though you are frightening your puppy when you pick him up. Please do not growl at your puppy or try to dominate him. You will make things much, much worse.

      Have a look at this puppy recall video, and teach your puppy that following you and being with you, is the best thing in the world. The puppy in the video is the same age as yours. Pippa

  11. My lab keeps on running away in the yard and even when I call her in the same tone for her to come back, she acts like her ears are made of stone. How do I train her not to run away?

  12. Hi
    We have a 12 month old lab x border collie, he is much bigger than our other, older dog and seems to ‘bully’ the other (border x beagle). Can you offer any advice or tips, we have other problems with him but this seems to be the main problem at the minute.

  13. Hi again. Both my lab and my Australian Shepard/ Cattle dog are both throwing up constantly. What could be wrong with them? They were fine yesterday and they threw up 4 times this morning! What should I do?

  14. Hi. I just got a 11 month old black lab puppy and I am having a hard time getting her to stop pulling when I am trying to teach her how to heel. She doesn’t respond to my “leave it” commands she just keeps on pulling. But she is doing good with the sit, down, and stay. Is it too early to teach her how to heel? I just got her last Friday night.

  15. I adopted a 3 month lab mix about 2-3 weeks ago. At first, he was very gentle and learned quickly. I took him to the beach and dog park and wouldn’t have to put a leash on him for he never left my side. He learned to sit real quick and is doing really well potty trained. My parents have 4 yorkies and I am living with them. My lab really wants to play with them, but they are not having it. How can I help them be better with each other? Also, in the past week, my lab has not been listening very well. He use to listen to sit and come here with no hesitation. Now, he wanders off and does his own thing. Am I doing something wrong or is this him being more comfortable now than before?

  16. My dads friends lab attacked me this weekend, and by that i mean i have a 2 inch gap near my elbow. He usually doesnt go on walks, and when he does its with the same person (his owner). when i took him for a walk, and got to the backyard, closed the gate, I was cornered, and he started growling at me. I don’t have a dog, i was planning on getting a dog, so i didnt know what to do. I tried walking around him, but he attacked me and sunk his tooth into my arm. I didnt hit him back, because it happened to quickly, and as soon as his owner called out “Max!”(the labs name) he stopped and got put back into his fenced area. what caused this, and how can i make him a happier less aggressive dog

    • Tackling aggression is complex and is a job for an expert. Your Dad’s friend needs to have a good behaviourist visit the dog and assess him in his own environment. In the meantime he has a duty to ensure that the dog cannot attack anyone else, and I recommend you stay away from this dog until he has received professional treatment. I hope your arm is better soon. Pippa

  17. My daughter has a labrador and he is nine years old. He has taken to making horrendous messes in the night. He is on one and a half pills twice a day for lachmaniosis and has been for some time.l He stays with us frequently and am not enjoying clearing up after him!! He gets two not very large meals a day, one in the morning and one in the evening. Should I cut out one of these meals and give him more at the other. How long does their digestion take? Very many thanks for any help you can offer.

  18. Hi I am looking for some training advice, I have a 3 year old female black lab, two years ago we had our first daughter followed by twins recently, our dog growls at our two year old everytime she goes near her, unless my daughter is carrying food then they are best friends 🙂 what can I do to resolve this issue? Many thanks
    Vicky

    • Hi Vicky, you should probably see a good behaviourist as soon as possible. They’ll need to assess the dog in your home in order to figure out what is going on and work with you on resolving the problem. Your vet should be able to refer you. Best wishes, Pippa

  19. I ‘ve a Labrador Retriever puppy called Tiger of 6 months age. It’ve 13 kg of weight… The only problem I am facing is that It is not barking when he see a stranger rather he jumps to him and show affection just like what he is doing to us… Is there any problem in him..??

  20. Hi,
    My name is samantha and I have a 10 month old male lab x pointer. Dallas is a wonderful dog, but I have been having some serious troubles with leash biting. We have been letting him off to play in the near by field and he is great with me and won’t leave unless someone is in the distance. When I want to leave I put him back on the leash and he goes nuts trying to bite the leash out of my hands and jumping around and just will not stop! I will loudly say no and stop and make him sit but as soon as we get going again the whole process starts over. I’m starting to loose my cool with him as he thinks it’s just a big game! HELP what do I do?

  21. Hi I have a 7 year old yellow lab and now have a choc lab we had him from 8weeks old he is now 7 months old.
    Our old lab was toilet trained in one night(I know this is extremely lucky!!) but the pup hasbeen very difficult to train. He took a few weeks to stop him messing in the house but he finally got it after we did all correct training. Unfortunately he was still messing at night. We were unable to crate him as he liked cuddling up with other dog. So we made bed area smaller in our utility room. He has gone ages with nothing but has started doing it again. And will even lie in it until we go to him. He doesn’t wine or bark in the night although When I shut them in there leaving access to the garden in the daytime he will pull on handle trying to let himself in and whine a little. He goes out in the evening before bed and I’ve tried taking him a small walk before bed but he won’t go to the toilet always. I try and feed him between 4-5 pm and we go to bed about 10 and up at 6. He is a good dog very obedient on walks, is learning new tricks and doesn’t chew much apart from sticks he finds in the garden. Although he is a real sclem and will steal food and will raid the kitchen bin at every opportunity. I’ve noticed if he has got hold of anything he will almost def mess in the night and it’s sloppy so I kind of understand that. Please any ideas would help. Do I need to get up in the night to let him out??? Thanks

  22. Hi,

    i have 1.7 years yellow labrador dog. What we usually ask him that not to bite, break things, take things . he do not listen us. He break our plants after then we beat him wit stick. But he again do same thing after some time.
    Please do let us know what we do in this case.

  23. HI, I have an 16 month old male Labrador, over all he’s not a bad dog, he walks well, always goes to the door when he wants to go to the loo and basically well behaved until he’s left on his own, I work days and my daughter who lives with me works night so to be honest there is someone in a lot of the time but we cant both be in all of the time, as soon as i leave the house he’s destructive, toilets on the floor, chews furniture etc, you can latterly only be out the house 15 mins to go to the stop and you come back to a trashed living room, I have tried putting him in a large crate but he barks so much that both my neighbours have complained so have had to stop using it, any help or advice gratefully welcomed

    • Hi Allison, the crate is the only effective way to stop the destruction. He will eventually grow out of it but the sooner you prevent him from doing it, the sooner you will break the habit. You can teach him to be quiet in the crate using this technique Click for quiet. Best wishes Pippa

  24. hi pippa,
    i have a 12 week lab yellow puppy.i feed him thrice a day with the special kibbles for lab puppies but he is still always hungry, he is over excited and sometimes obeys me and sometimes doesn’t and he is also very aggressive if he does not get what he wants he just starts biting hard and slowly .. slowly. i am loosing control over him. can u tell me the reason for this and what should i do to overcome this problem.

  25. Hi Pippa

    Great site, really enjoying reading all of your training tips.

    I have a question about crate training. We are intending to crate train our pup, and we are also planning not to allow the pup upstairs.

    I have seen a lot of people mention keeping the puppy in your bedroom when the pup first arrives to help it settle at night.

    Should we do this if we are not intending to allow the pup upstairs long term or will having the pup upstairs for the first few days confuse things.

    Thanks
    Aaron

    • Hi Aaron,
      Glad you like the website. Provided you make it no more than a few days, keeping your puppy by your bed when he first arrives will not do any harm. When you move him downstairs he will still probably cry, but he won’t be so distressed because by then, your home will be familiar to him.
      Best wishes, Pippa

  26. Hi My 3 month old labrador puppy seems to be taking a long taime to house train We have had him just over 4 weeks. He is quite good during the day but still dirty at night we are using newspaper and he is restricted to a kitchen area. Our problem is we are on the 1st floor with a door and fire escape leading to garden but the door is not in the area where he sleeps at night. so we cannot move paper close to door. do you have any advice or should we just continue and give him more time.
    thanks david

    • Hi David, I don’t use the newspaper method and recommend crates for house training. Most three month old puppies would not be clean overnight if not crated. I am not sure how long it will take with your method, but it is early days yet. Pippa

  27. Hi, we have just welcomed an 11 month old labrador into our family, she is house trained and I am starting recall training, as per your book. When using food as treats, are you better doing this when she is hungry, so on a morning walk before her first meal, for a few minutes at a time?

    Thanks

    Stephen

  28. Hi, we have a 7 month old black lab, he’s fully toilet trained but the last 3 nights he has been wetting and messing his bed overnight which he hasn’t done for months.

    We have recently changed his food from Burns puppy food to the Burns puppy food which is the larger size biscuits and he is 14 kilos.

    Do you have any advice on why he could suddenly be doing this?

    Thank you, R

    • Hi, a sudden change in toilet habits in a previously clean dog could be due to a physical or an emotional (anxiety issues) problem. Have a chat with your vet to exclude any physical problem and then you will need to mull over what has changed in his life that could have caused him stress or anxiety. In the meantime, I would get up during the night for a few nights, to let him out and attempt to break the pattern before it becomes a habit.

      Good luck, Pippa

      • Hi .we have a 7 month old labrador puppy & this has happened to us this week too.she has been clean for weeks now then 3 days ago she has started to mess in her crate,this is the first time we have ever used a crate for any of our previous dogs ,but this one chews anything she can get hold of,but thinking about it I thought that she was in the huff about something,but this week our young grandson has broken his elbow,so we have had to put the pup in her crate in case she knocks him over ,as she jumps up at him..then our son daughter in law & grandson lost there black labrador suddenly at only 6 years old,we are all devastated ,we usually take our pup up to there house but left her at home in case it upset any of them,because it’s only just happened,& she loves our son & he loves her too,so I do think it’s emotional with the pup, so we are trying our best to make her feel ok.so fingers crossed she will not mess her crate tonight,if fact we have even thought of taking her to bed with us tonight,but will we be making a rod for our own back.??? X

  29. Hi Pipa
    My lab puppy is 3 month old she dont listen to me at all she keep bitting my son who is 7 yrs old in excitement and keep barking she also torn all my furniture n clothes she doesnt obey at all …please help

    Monika

  30. Hi pippa,we have a 10 week old puppy..Simba,he has done so well with his toilet traing in the day but every morning it looks like he’s exploded in the night

    • Hi Nicola, what time do you shut him in at night, and what time to you let him out in the morning. What time does he have his final meal of the day? Pippa

  31. Hi Pippa,

    I got my lab at 16 weeks old after the family couldn’t take care of her anymore. She’s very well trained off the lead but I have just two problems.

    If shes on her lead I can get her to heal a few times and then she starts looking for treats if she doesn’t get a treat she starts pulling again!

    The other problem is my partner works away and only comes home on the weekend, she doesn’t listen to me when he’s around and if we’re out together she can be quite disobedient and will attack other dogs if they come near! I don’t have any problems like this on my own and and neither does my partner.

    Any advice?

  32. I have a 7 week old lab named cherry and i wanted to know how to train her to poop n loo in the right place cause she is messing around pretty much. Also at night she doesnt prefers to sleep in her bed n walks in d whole room……..so plzz help

  33. My red lab is 9 weeks old. We just got her @ 8 weeks. Her name is Ginger and she is very sweet and extremely smart. I have only had lap dogs till now so I’m new at the big dog thing. I am crate training her and she is doing pretty good. She has NEVER went in the crate and goes from 11pm-ish till around 6 am till she hollers to go out. Doing really good. BUT…during the day I am letting her out of the crate and she is STILL going in the house. Not a lot but it’s been at least 10 times with the pee and about 3 times for the poop. I have tried everything. And she goes in her designated area everytime I take her out so I don’t understand why she goes in the house even though she just went outside. Do I just need to give her more time? The vet said she would be trained within 2-3 days after I kept her in the crate. Not true. Help!!

  34. my lab puppy is 3month old and it is kind of biting every1 and jumping on every1 , it always does toilet for mostly 10mins everytime !! can you help me out with some things to make it control .

  35. Hello,
    We adopted two lab rescues a few weeks ago. One is about 5 years old and very mellow while the other is about a year old (as best as our vet can guess) and he is loveable but active. That is not the problem; his biting is the problem. He bites us on the hands and arms and grabs our clothing with his teeth to pull us along. He does not break the skin, but the bites are beginning to hurt. He has lots of chew toys and rawhide bones that he likes. When he bites us, we have tried a spray bottle with water and that will stop him for a bit. We are just not sure what to do to help him stop so we appreciate any advice you can give us.

  36. Hi
    We have a beautiful black Labrador, and although she is very good when with us in the house, she seems to change into another dog when we go out, the other day on our way back from a walk, she slipped her collar and she ran off not a long way but ran in front of a car which luckily wasn’t going too fast and stopped, but she just wouldn’t come back, she stood and looked at us then decided that she would rather carry on having a look around other peoples gardens, this has worried us as if she had slipped her collar earlier when we were on the main road she could have been seriously injured and caused an accident, could you please give us some advice to get her to come back when called. Thank you

    • Hi Julie,
      You need to teach your dog a good solid recall. Have a read through the articles in the Recall Training Centre and pop into the forum for help and support. If you enjoy reading, you can take a look at my book on the subject.
      But do come and say hello in the forum, it is much easier to answer questions there.
      Best wishes
      Pippa

  37. Hi
    my lab is 9 weeks old. I put him in the crate at 9 in the night and he wakes up at 5 in morning at starts barking for food, which disturbs me, as I woke up at 8 in morning
    what should I do?

    • Hi Jason,
      A nine week old puppy can’t last from 9pm til 8am. You will have to go to bed later or get up earlier until he is older. Check out this article for more information. Pippa

    • I have chocolate coloured lab. female 8 weeks old named Sasha, it frightens from stray cats and starts barking like weeping. It barks at night at around 1-3am, I speculate due to hunger or may be some other reason. How much food shall I offer her daily in terms of weight.Please reply?

  38. Hi Pippa
    We have a 6 month old black lab. When it’s just us at home he is as good as gold, but as soon as we have guests he starts behaving really badly. He constantly jumps up on our visitors, barks and generally will not leave them alone, no matter what we or they do. He’s going to puppy classes and is well socialised, but meeting other people is becoming a pain. Any tips? Thanks. Amanda.

  39. Hi Pippa
    I have a 13 week old black lab and am a first time dog owner. I am keen to have a happy, well-behaved dog for our family (3 kids, 13, 11 and 7) We have had her for 2.5 weeks and as of next week she is free to mix having had her last jabs. I would be very interested in gun dog training for the pleasure for both of us (it’s unlikely I’d work her but who knows?!!) but I have been given different bits of advice. Do I take her to puppy training classes in a few weeks time or do I try and do things at home? I have been given pointers from both schools of thought but as I am a novice myself, i’m finding it difficult to know which path to follow. Any advice, gratefully received!

  40. I would love to get a lab puppy and train it as a bird dog. My concern is I work full time. How can achieve this task and have a good bird dog at the same time.

    • Hi Don, there are people who successfully combine a full time job with looking after and working a gundog. There is no one right way to do this. It depends on your hours, your support (at home and from other gundog folks) your access to training facilities and so much more. Everyone’s situation is unique. What you need to do is look honestly at what is involved in raising a puppy and training a dog, and ask yourself if this can be combined with your working hours. Don’t forget that small puppies need regular attention throughout the day, whereas older dogs can be kennelled whilst you are at work. A compromise might be to buy a part trained dog. Hope that helps a bit. Pippa

  41. My son just brought home a five week old yellow lab and I have a few concerns. The biggest is that this parents are brother/sister. How big of a problem can this be? Also, he has fleas and we have another dog and three cats, how can I treat the puppy at such a young age for the fleas?

    • Hi Angel, please have a look at this page Your puppy should remain with its mother until he is about 8 weeks old. Brother and sister should never be mated as this greatly increases the risk of genetic disease. If you cannot take the puppy back, you will need to contact your veterinary surgeon for advice. Pippa

  42. Hi 🙂 I have a 6 month old yellow lab named petals. Overall she listens when we say no bite, but I think she can be much better. I want to teach her not to do it at all instead of just stopping after we say no. What is the best way to train a lab to never bite me or our guests?

  43. I’ve been reading Keith Erlandson’s book, “Gundog Training”, published in 1976. He says that, although it is impossible to state the ideal age to start training, “a pup should never be started earlier than six months”. He suggests that “a pup’s mental processes are not sufficiently developed before six months of age to absorb training” and quotes an example of a case where “too early training” killed a dog’s drive and “effectively ruined this pup”. His firm advice is not to start until around eight months.

    If he’s right, I may have made a bad mistake. I started gentle “fun” training for my labrador pup Oscar when he was about four months old – for example, he quickly learned to sit and wait for his dinner alongside is father Ned (a five year old trained and reliable gun dog) and only move when told (sometimes dad goes first and sometimes he does). I got a little more serious (but still fun) at five months and now, at six months, have a pup who walks nicely to heel (on the lead – sometimes a little erratic off the lead), sits and stays happily (to voice, hand and whistle), is remarkably steady on simple retrieves – and can remember two marked retrieves and, aided by early hand signals, loves to search for a hidden dummy. And he’s just as eager as ever.

    Have I gone too far, too fast?

  44. hello, may I ask a toilet training question please?

    I have my 15 week old puppy doing very well at night in the cage. She has never made a mess or barked etc. I started letting her out every 2 hours for the first few days and then since we have got down to one visit and now it is at 6 hours. We tend to go to bed at 10pm and rise at 6.30 am because I have the one visit. Without a visit I would make it a max 8 hours. But when do you think I can open the door of the crate at night? I am sure she will be toilet trained if she isn;t already (although she will toilet when I let her out) and she isn’t chewing stuff. I dont like the thought of her being in the cage and shut in 8 hours but maybe it is good for her? She isn’t in her cage in the day as I work from home and if I do go out for a couple of hours she is good left in the kitchen.

    Thanks

    • Hi Tina
      I don’t let pups out of the crate at night until around the end of the first year. Longer if they are keen chair leg chewers!

      You may find that she remains clean and dry if you open the crate door at night from five or six months old, but I probably wouldn’t attempt it before then. It is much harder to solve a night time pooping problem, than it is to avoid one ever getting started.

      The downside of night time crating is that you may need a bigger crate as she grows. She needs to be able to stand up comfortably and turn around easily.

      If you decide to do this, don’t worry about her. She will be fine in the crate at night. Dogs really don’t mind being confined whilst the household is sleeping.

      Pippa

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