At the core of every Labrador puppy training are basic routines like teaching them how to sit, stay, and heel. While training your puppy to follow such commands is a good thing, what’s more important is to focus on the training methods you use.
Back in the day, owners didn’t start training their Lab puppies until they were at least 5 months old. The reason was that dog training tended to involve a lot of firm handling and corrections. But today, modern methods have come into play and these rely more on positive reinforcement rather than force.
Here are five training tips that will come in handy when training your Lab puppy:
Tip #1: Set a specific training routine
When you first begin training your Lab puppy, make sure that your lessons don’t go for more than 5 minutes at a stretch. It is also recommended that you train your puppy after he has had adequate exercise. You should also find a room that has enough space and as few distractions as possible.
When the five minutes of training are over, give the puppy a break. If you plan on continuing with training later on the same day, try to make the break a bit longer. On the other hand, there is really no need to take your Lab puppy through daily training. A couple of days a week will work better. The goal with training your dog isn’t to cram as a much information as possible into your puppy but to enable them to learn at a reasonable pace that they are comfortable with.
Tip #2: Know the best times for practicing
It is very important that you are able to judge when to have a training session and when not to. If you don’t get this concept right, you will find yourself wasting a lot of time. If your goal is to make sure your Lab puppy learns effectively, then you must train him at the right times. Do not schedule your training sessions after he has had his meal, when there are guests present, when he is excessively excited, or after he has spent hours in the crate. Ensure that you begin training when your Lab puppy is focused, calm, relaxed, and not distracted.
Tip #3: Use treats appropriately
It’s always a good thing to use treats to encourage and reinforce positive behavior, but you have to do so properly. A treat should always be something that your Lab puppy doesn’t eat regularly. These treats are only to be given the first few times that the puppy obeys a command correctly. This will motivate the puppy and help him know that if he follows instructions, he will get rewarded. However, once your puppy has learned and understood a command, don’t use treats anymore. It is important that the dog doesn’t come to rely on food to engage in good behavior. The only reward that should be given on a consistent basis for proper behavior is praise.
Tip #4: Combine hand signals with verbal instructions
You need to create a hand signal that goes along with every verbal command that you use when training your puppy. The puppy will then be able to link the sound with the hand signal. For example, if you want to train your puppy to lie down, call him by his name and then say “Down” using a firm tone of voice. As you give this verbal command, use your index finger to point to the floor. If you keep on repeating this tactic with every command you give, your Lab puppy will learn much faster.
Tip #5: Sandwich the easy with the hard tasks
This is a really effective way to ensure that your Labrador puppy training is successful. The truth is that memory works in a distinctive way. People as well as animals will always recall things best if they occurred at the start or end of a specific event. By sandwiching the difficult training tasks between two simpler tasks, your Labrador puppy will gain confidence and you will be able to stretch their ability gradually.
For example, let’s say you managed to get your puppy to lie down for 10 seconds the previous day, and today you want to stretch that to 15 seconds. This is what you need to do. First, get them to lie down for 7 seconds. Then get them to lie down for 15 seconds. Finally, get them to lie down for 4 seconds.
These five tips will help your Labrador puppy learn important skills necessary for growing into a well-behaved dog.
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