Labrador - First Routines

A puppy’s early experiences set patterns for life. Train your young Labrador from its first days with you to accept being left alone, to wait patiently in its own crate while you are busy, and to learn about permitted behavior. Most importantly, train it to enjoy coming to you when called.

Accepting Being Left Alone:
No matter how much you enjoy being with your new puppy, there will be times when you must leave it on its own. Train your Labrador to accept that this is part of its routine by confining it to its crate with an interesting reward, such as a hollow toy filled with a little peanut butter. Then quietly walk away, signaling “wait”. Gradually accustom your dog to being left alone for extended periods.

Stop Over – Aggressive Play:
If one puppy hurts other during rough play, the wounded puppy will usually bite back or retire from the game. Either way, the aggressive dog learns a lesson. Do the same with your puppy. If he behaves unacceptable, say “No!” and stop play for a minute. If necessary, you may grab the scruff of the neck as a firm but painless admonition.

Problem of Training Several Puppies:
Any training requires the undivided attention of both you and your dog. If you have two or more puppies, train just one at a time, keeping the others out of sight and beyond hearing distance. Otherwise, they may actually learn not to respond to your commands since their obedience is not being reinforced. Training sessions with individual puppies should only last for a maximum of 10 minutes.

Coming to You on Command:
1. For safety and responsible control, your puppy must learn always to come to you on command; this is central to all obedience. Having trained your dog to accept a collar and lead, put these on the dog and kneel a short distance away, with the lead tucked securely under one knee. Hold a chewable or attractively scented toy as a reward; a food treat is less clearly visible but may prove too exciting for many Labradors.

2. Call your puppy’s name in a clear, friendly tone to attract its attention. When it turns its head towards you, give the command “Come” and wave the toy as an enticement. Keep the lead slack; do not reel in your puppy but encourage it to come willingly for the reward.

3. Welcome your puppy with open arms. Out of curiosity, it should walk towards you, as it moves, say “Good dog” in an enthusiastic voice. When the puppy reaches you, reward it with the toy. Never call your puppy to discipline it, or it will then associate returning to you with being reprimanded. Develop a happy bond so your dog comes because it wants to be with you.