HOW TO PROPERLY TRAIN YOUR LAB PUPPY
So far we have discussed everything you will have needed to be prepared for when your new Lab puppy comes to it’s new forever home. Now let’s talk about Basic Training and how to properly train your Lab puppy. There are a few things to understand about training before we get right into it. First and above all else, the best dog (or especially puppy) to train is a exercised and tired one. So if you want a student that will devote their attention to you and not the squirrel crossing the street, the leaf blowing in the wind, the ant crawling on the ground, the shadow of their own tail, take them for a good 30 minute solid high paced walk. Playing and wrestling in the living room is not exercise. Get their heart beating, raise their body temperature, get those muscles really working.
TYPES AND STYLES FOR TRAINING, WHICH WILL BE YOURS?
There are two types of training, the Traditional training and there’s Clicker training, which will be yours? The difference between Traditional and Clicker training is the actual cue in which the command is given. Clicker training is when you get the desired action, you click the clicker and then reward the dog. Traditional training is a combination of verbal and visual cue. A verbal cue is given to get the attention of your pup or dog. Once their attention is acquired the cue is giving again with a visual cue and once the desired action is reached, the visual cue is given again to end the sequence. I personally opt for the latter and I will explain why in just a second.
Then there are three styles of training, the first being Positive reinforcement training, Reward training and finally Respect training. Positive reinforcement training is exactly as it sounds, once your dog performs the task or action you have asked for, they are then shown praise and affection. Reward training they are given a treat or a favorite toy once they fulfill the command given. Respect training is when you use a hierarchy of the dogs habitat, have you heard the term “pack leader” before? This is your respect training. Most people will develop a style that invokes two of these styles into their own style. Do you know which two styles are most often used? And why this leads to the most unbalanced family pets? It’s the positive and reward training and you can always tell these ones as they are the handlers repeating a cue over and over and over and the dog is checking out the poodle walking across the park instead of listening, this is because the dog does not respect the handler.
Most often than not, our human nature follows results until serious commitment and work come into play….this is a very important sentence and I will explain why shortly. Humans are smart, we also don’t like to work hard but we are also drunk with seeing results for the least amount of work. Why wouldn’t we, it seems like a great concept and it truly is. The problem is most handler just can not transfer it over for a dog to understand the request. That’s all dog trainers are is inturpiters. Dog training is that old testement of what you put in you’ll get in return but dog training requires a little more than work and even more inderstanding than just that. Want an example? Ok, how is it that the most popular breed of dog in 2 contenants is also the #1 most reported dog bites by breed in the ER? This should explain itself right there. It’s our training of this breed and our lack of wanting to put in that last little bit of work. This is simple research and understanding. From here on out, I am hoping to fix this issue and get our dearest Labrador Retriever away from the stigma of the biggest biting or nipping breed. I could tell you the answer to it all but again, that would be the easy way out and still would not fix the real problem at hand. Instead I will work with you every step of the way, educating you more on what this great breeds needs and desires and in the end give you the tools for the best balanced and developed dog you can possibly have.
So, we have exercised our dog on a good 1 hour walk and we have returned home. I would also like to reiterate that playing fetch or chasing around the park is not exercise. I want you to do this on 3 separate occasions and hopefully as time allows as closely as permitted. Try to also makes these walks all different parts of the day like a morning, afternoon and evening walk. Once you return from the walk I want you to do nothing more than observe your your fury friend and see what they do and how they act at the end of this brisk exercise. Are they still rowdy, do they search out water, do they want to play, do they look for food, did they look to go potty, do they curl up for a nap, do they seek effection, do they seem tired, what is their overall disposition? These 3 bouts of exercise will affect our pups in different ways. Just like you may be a morning person but your spouse is not, these breeds have the same personalities. Once we discover the best time to exercise and train our fluffy companions we can then develop the best training and exercise regime.
We want their energy level to be depleted from our exercise regime but we don’t want them to go to sleep either. we want them attentive but not still bouncing off the walls and doing somersaults across the living room floor. You will find of these 3 walks, your results, although not identical but will retain some like characteristics of these. One walk will show still or renewed energy levels being high while others wanting to play, exploring everywhere, carrying things in their mouths barking, while another will find them the opposite ,slouched posture, instantly looking for water, food is not a priority and usually cuddling up somewhere with maybe a chew toy. These two behaviors are not what we are looking for. We are looking for the medium energy drain, following you everywhere, always looking at you with that head tilt we all think is cute, we will discuss that tilt at a later time and what it actually means. This is the result we are looking for, energy drain but not so much they are exhausted but not so high they can’t focus, inquisitive state, looking for leadership and a time where they can please and serve, what a Labrador Rertiever and destined to do, what they love to do.
This behavior will tell you if your furry friend is a morning pup, a nighttime owl or a mid-day mutt and will also show us the best time to direct majority of our training efforts. Of course we should be training all day long but the bouts in which we really concentrate our efforts and teach a desired behavior or lesson and we should be focused on getting the best results. The rest of the time is more like practice and learning the cue in different situations. So now we know the ideal time where we have the right amount of energy and focus, where do we start? What are the best type of training to focus on? What are ideal tricks to work on? How will our pass, or fail and reward techniques work and if they require tweaking? What should come first and what should wait for later on? All this and more as we step into our first training module.
So pull up a seat and sit down and stay for instructions that will make you internal lightbulb turn on to those, Ahhhhh moments. (off topic but I just realized I told you to come, sit & stay in that last sentence without meaning it lol) I also find it important to have a few tools on hand so your training does not get interrupted by having to fetch something ( ok, you caught me planning that one lol). In our next post we will go over these required tools and we will start on our Basic Training with private puppy first class. This is how you will properly train your Lab puppy.