Training your puppy to come, sit, lie down and stay down is most important both for the safety of your dog and for harmonious relations with your family, friends, and outside the home. Labradors are among the most trainable of all breeds, and usually respond superbly to food rewards.
Come and Sit
1. Train only for a few minutes at a time twice daily when you, and your puppy, are alert. Try to work in a quiet, narrow space such as a hallway, with no distractions. Holding the puppy on a loose lead, briskly and cheerfully call its name and let it see that you have a food treat in your hand. As it begins to move, give the command “come”. Always be enthusiastic and encouraging. While your puppy walks towards you, praise it by saying “Good dog”.
2. When your puppy reaches you, move the treat above its head. To keep its eye on the for, the puppy will naturally sit. As it does so, issue the command “Sit” and immediately give the reward. Repeat the exercise regularly until your puppy responds to words alone.
The Value of “No!”
It is vital for everyone’s well-being that your puppy quickly understand the meaning of “No!” with this one word, you can regain control and even prevent an accident. Just as you use a friendly voice and warm body language to reward, adopt a stern tone and a dominant stance when issuing this reprimand. There is no need to shout; most Labradors are exceptionally eager to please, once they know what behavior you want. Nevertheless, it is best to practice all basic obedience commands indoors before moving outside, where your dog will be more easily diverted.
1. Kneel beside the seated puppy, holding its collar with one hand, and place the treat by its nose. If your puppy tries to get up, tuck its hindquarters under with your free hand say “Sit”. If it lunges for the food, use a less exciting reward like a soft squeaky toy.
2. Move the treat forwards and down; your puppy will follow it with its nose. As it starts to lie down, give the command “Down”. If the puppy refuses, gently raise the front legs into a begging position, then lower it down, rewarding its compliance with praise.
3. Still holding the collar, continue to move the food treat forwards and down until your puppy is lying completely flat. Then reward the puppy with the treat and praise. Take care not to praise excessively, as this can encourage your puppy to jump up.
With practice, your Labrador should learn to stay down until commanded to rise. If it will not obey, kneel beside it and press over its shoulders. After a few seconds, release the puppy, saying “OK”. Response to the “Down” command is important in potentially hazardous situations.