The Labrador is a highly capable and versatile working breed as well as the number one most popular family dog in UK and several other countries around the world! But despite being a common pet dog, they are an extraordinary breed with a fascinating history and a breed profile full of superlatives. This includes fabulous intelligence and trainability, adaptability, friendliness and trust towards people and other animals, motivation for work, endurance, and a phenomenal sense of smell. This makes the Labrador a breed of choice for many canine jobs, for example, medical scent detection, military and security force scent detection, search and rescue, a service or assistance dog for the disabled and people with a broad range of medical conditions, an autism support dog, hunting dog and even a therapy dog! It’s clear to see why they are one of the most-loved breeds in the UK and beyond. In this post, we’ll be telling you a bit more about this breed as well as our top Labrador training tips if you are considering adding one to the family!
Adorable Labradors can make wonderful family dogs, but only if their needs are met. They have a really goofy and playful nature which is heartwarming for many people! And, their trusting nature and eagerness to please people means they fit in easily into a family and human society as a whole. They tend to be bouncy and full of energy, which makes for a great company on countryside walks, jogging and recreational dog sports. Their boundless affection makes them particularly lovable, which is highly important for a family dog.
Labradors: What To Consider
As with all dogs, there are some things that you absolutely must consider before you add a Labrador into your home. And, Labrador training is always going to be a big essential. With all of their amazing energy, intelligence, enthusiasm for work, and highly social nature, also comes a list of requirements for potential owners. Unfulfilled and untrained Labradors are likely to find themselves a job or another outlet to release that energy and frustration. This can lead to destructive or inappropriate behaviours and a dog who is simply out of control. Typical challenges can include pulling on the lead and lunging towards anything that interests them, boisterous and over-excited behaviour including jumping up, grabbing the lead in their mouth, crashing into people and objects, stealing food and other items, and running off to greet people and dogs instead of coming back when called. However, early intervention can help make sure that they don’t develop these traits and that they grow up into the loving family pets that many people think of straight away when it comes to Labradors!
Labrador Training: Our Top 9 Tips
Labradors are many people’s favourite breeds, and we can really see why! But what do you need to do to make sure that they grow up into perfect family pets? Check out our top tips below to find out more about training this sweet and fun-loving breed.
Socialise them early!
Early appropriate socialisation is key with this breed. It’s important to ensure that your puppy is allowed to experience everything in a safe and rewarding way. This includes all kinds of places, people, animals and sensations that will be a normal part of their life by the time he or she is 12 weeks old. This exposure should work in line with the puppy’s natural curiosity so that they can approach and discover new things and experiences at their pace, without either getting too overwhelmed or not experiencing enough.
Self-control is a big part of Labrador training
Teaching your dog self-control is a really important skill for a Labrador, or any dog really, to have. You can help teach them self-control through impulse control games and real-life situations. This will help with teaching them basic doggie manners such as how to politely greet people and other dogs with all four paws on the ground, how to wait for their food bowl or their lead to be clipped on, how to pass through the door politely without dashing through, and so on. All those skills require mental self-control and focus despite distractions, which is essential for an excitable and boisterous dog. Plus, it’s always good to have a dog who knows their manners from an early age, as this will make life a whole lot easier for both of you!
Lead etiquette is always needed
Teach your Labrador to walk politely on a lead from as early an age as possible. For a Labrador, the world is full of fascinating scents, posts and tufts of grass that must me scent-marked immediately, especially for males, dogs and people that he or she is absolutely delighted to see (including strangers), and objects that must be immediately investigated. This makes it hard for them to remember that there is a person on the other end of the lead. But with lots of practice, patience and a smart way of rewarding that works for them, keeping an eye on their human counterpart can become a habit for your dog that will last a lifetime!
Don’t forget playtime!
It’s absolutely vital to play with your Labrador as much as you can! Interactive games including, fetch, tug, trick training and scent games are great for building a solid relationship that makes you the centre of your dog’s universe. Once this happens, training will become a lot easier. And, they will be that loving family pet that you’ve always dreamed of! Even better, the whole family can get involved and play with the dog. This will strengthen the bond between all of you, and who doesn’t want their dog to be bonded with the whole family?
Recall is vital
Teach your dog a reliable, fast and enthusiastic recall as soon as possible. This is so that no matter what other fascinating things are going on, they will always turn on a penny and run like the wind back towards you! Having a great recall is not only useful for your day to day lives, but it is also a safety concern. If there is a potentially dangerous situation for your pup ahead, you can always recall your dog back to you and keep them safe!
Always give them mental stimulation
It’s not always all about Labrador training. Their mental wellbeing and happiness is important too! So, make sure to provide plenty of exercise and mental stimulation, including walks, swims, and sniffing opportunities. if your dog doesn’t have a good recall yet, or if you can’t let them off lead for another reason, learn how to use a long lead on walks, so that they can enjoy some freedom to engage in normal dog activities while still remaining under your control.
Don’t forget them when you go out!
It’s normal for any family to have to leave their dog at home sometimes. So, make sure that you provide them with something appropriate to do if you have to leave them alone. Food dispenser toys, puzzle games for dogs and appropriate raw bones can keep your dog busy and calm, and your furniture and shoes whole! Remember, they are far more likely to be destructive if they are bored, so it’s important to keep them well occupied.
Keep health and wellbeing in mind
Always try your best to keep your dog slim and fit. Labradors have a tendency to become overweight because of their keen appetite. You can help to keep your dog lean by feeding them the right amount of nutritious food for their age and activity level, using their normal food as training treats wherever possible so that they can work for their food, and a versatile and appropriate exercise regime that you really stick to!
And their appearance!
Don’t forget to also keep their coat, nails and teeth clean and healthy! And, regular health checks at the vet are important for any dog, to ensure that they are well and any potential health issues are caught early.
Labrador Training Video
We love our Labrador customers who come into Royvon for training or boarding! They really do make the perfect pets, especially with a bit of training to help them along their journey. Check out this video featuring Archie the Labrador to see more about what a well-trained Labrador can look like! Don’t forget to check out our YouTube channel too, where we have plenty of videos about Labradors and many other breeds as well!
Here at Royvon, we are passionate about training dogs of all breeds, and this includes Labrador training! Many owners come to us for a whole variety of reasons. perhaps they are having a bit of difficulty training an unruly dog. Or, they may simply just not have the time to train their dog as they wish, and want to leave it up to the professionals. Whatever the reason, there is no shame in getting dog training help! In fact, you will be amazed at the difference it can make and how well behaved your dog will be, especially for problem pets who are hard to handle! We offer everything from group puppy classes to residential training tailored to aggressive or anxious dogs. If you’d like to find out more about what we can do for you and your pup? Simply visit our website today!
Darren is the Managing Director of Royvon Dog Training & Hotels. The business has been in his family for over 60 years! Darren uses this blog to share knowledge and information about dog training and more.