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Labrador Retriever Training Tips - The Complete Guide

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Labrador Retriever Training Tips - The complete guide 2016

It might seem a little bit mean to keep putting your dog into a crate, just so you can teach them a few basic ground rules. It's much more likely to bother you than it is them. Out in the wild, one of the first things dogs learn is to find a small, sheltered place to make their den. They're small, protected and allow them to feel more comfortable. So by you providing them a similar, small, secure place, they'll have that safe place they can go to if things get too much. They'll enjoy sleeping there, and just knowing that they have a place for themselves will make them more receptive to stressful situations. Labrador crate training can be used to help keep your puppy from destroying property when you're not home, from having accidents in the house during the night to developing separation anxiety when you leave him alone.

One very important thing to remember though, is that dogs aren't like children. A crate shouldn't be used as a punishment in any way or they'll start to develop a negative feeling towards it. With kids you can just send them to their room, but that is the wrong thing to do for your dog. If you keep their experiences in there positive, you'll find they use it as a retreat on their own, and will get a lot of benefit from that type of assurance.

Teaching them to Sleep on their Own

You'll also find that Labrador crate training is a really good way of showing your pet that you're the head of the household. Out in the wild the pack leader will sleep on their own, away from the rest of the group. So if your dog is sleeping well away from you, then it emphasises your command over them. On the other hand if you DON'T have that clear distinction then it puts your authority into question, and even more concerningly, your Lab might take it upon themselves to take up the leadership role. Labrador crate training is helpful on many levels, but establishing that hierachy is definitely one of the most important effects.

A Good Way to Start

If you start your Labrador crate training while the dog is still young, then it's a pretty simple and logical process really. With a bit of research, you'll see a number of recommended ways to get the process underway, so it's really just about finding what's right for you and your pet. One of the biggest problems people have, is that so-called experts tell them it HAS to be done a certain way, ignoring the fact that every dog, owner and home are different. That being said, one helpful option, which works in a number of different situations is feeding your dog when they're in the crate, or if not giving them their proper meals inside, then giving them treats while they are inside, so the associate these good experiences with their crate.

One of the worst things you can do is to just throw your dog inside and walk away. While that might keep them out of your hair for a short period of time, they'll very quickly feel like they're being punished, and that the crate will become a negative experience fo them. What you need to do is put your Lab in their crate, but stay where they can see you. They'll most likely wimper or whine to begin with, but you have to ignore that type of behaviour. They shouldn't get too upset if they can still see you, so wait until they're quiet and reward them. Only let them out when they are calm and relaxed, otherwise they'll think they can kick up a fuss and you'll do what they want. Which is one of the worst things for Labrador crate training. Remember that you're the boss. You make the rules, and they need to behave on your terms. Once your dog is comfortable with their quarters you can leave the door open so they can come and go as they please. As we discussed earlier, once your dog sees the positive side of having a crate they'll treat it as their comfort spot, and you won't need to do very much at all.

Labrador Problems

Every dog owner has their share of problems. Their dogs will dig, bite, rip, whine or yelp away whenever it is least convenient. So, if you own a Labrador, there is a very real possibility of you experiencing issues, especially if the dog isn't properly trained from a young age. To help with each of these problems, here are some common issues and solutions:

Mouthing and Biting

Labradors are retrievers and are never as happy as when they have something in their mouth. While they can be extremely gently and carful with their mouth, there is a fine line between holding something in their mouth and biting. Like all problems this is best addressed when they are young, by setting clear limits on what things they can and can't put in their mouth.

Separation Anxiety

Dogs can easily grow agitated and start showing signs of extensive anxiety - especially if you give them too much attention when leaving or coming home.

Not only will the dog bark when you're away, they may begin to hurt themselves, pulling hair, scratching their paws, breaking teeth, or making messes in the house.

As you can imagine, this can be a serious problem and can be a major disruption to your home. With Labrador problems with anxiety, your dog needs to understand from when they are young that you won't be giving them attention when you come and go from the home.

This rule in particular needs to be reinforced by the whole family. Even one person saying goodbye to a dog can create anxious feelings


While the Labrador today is a very happy dog with a ton of energy and a loving personality when trained properly, the breed was originally designed for helping to hunt. So right down in the depths of your dogs instincts is a desire to protect itself from anything that could be a threat.

This drive can be made worse if the Lab is not properly socialized at a young age.

The may become anxious, overreact at the wrong things, and bite out at new people or animals in their homes. By no means does this happen very often with Labradors, but there is a possibility it CAN happen, and owners need to know the potential is there.

To stop Labrador problems with aggression, you should start socialising your pet when they are young, and make sure you show a strong leadership presence in your home at all times. Your Labrador needs to see that you are the boss and that they should come to your for all decisions.

Then they can see that you will fix anything that goes wrong, so their need for aggression is unwarranted.


Moving on from separation anxiety, Labrador might become neurotic over any number of things - feeding, exploring, scratching, sounds or other common behaviours. The easiest way to fix this is to give your Labrador plenty of exercise and preoccupying them with lots of things to do.

One to two hours of exercise, in one form or another, is the minimum that your Labrador needs.

If you cannot spend time at home with your Lab in the first 1-2 years of ownership, you should consider a different breed that does better spending time alone. Additionally, consider getting a second dog for company and spend at least 2-3 hours of every day in the company of your dog, no matter how busy you get.

Labrador problems are similar to most dog problems, but can grow exponentially if you are not careful to nip them in the bud early. Spend time with your dog, address common aggressive tendencies and build a relationship early so that your dog remains fit and happy for the duration of his life.

Labrador Obedience

Labrador obedience is vital. They are an exceptionally clever, loyal and keen breed of dog, but even so, they have several behaviours that can create a lot of headaches for you and your home if they aren't checked properly. 

Establishing the Ground Rules 

Labrador obedience starts at a young age with teaching your puppy the rules of the house. It can be difficult laying down so many commands on a young one, particularly when they can't always remember them, but young puppies are most receptive so it is the perfect time for them to learn. Specific actions you should take to make these ground rules include: 

• The Expected Types of Behaviour (Especially when they're young) - If you ever met a person who growled over toys and food, grabbed things without permission, struck out at others, whined, and just kicked up a fuss in general, then you'd consider that pretty bad behaviour wouldn't you? Well it's the same thing with you dog. Labrador obedience is about correcting those basic attitudes, and doing it as early as possible will provide excellent results moving into the future. 

So make sure that when they are still puppies, young puppies at that, they should wait to be given things. Food comes to them on your terms, and you also control their water, and treats. Extending that even further they need to know that YOU are the one who draws the lines and makes the boundaries. The kitchen is out of bounds, the couch is, the bed is too - all those common places that a dog should be kept away from. This one first point sets the standard fro everything else. 

• The Baic Commands Your Dog Should Know- Early Labrador obedience training includes simple commands such as sit, down, and speak. By helping your dog to understand these simple words, you're teaching them the right way to behave in certain situations. Also remember that it's one thing to get your pup to follow these instructions, but you need to develop your Labardor's obedience by extending the period of time that they will follow these for. Getting them to sit or stay means almost nothing if they get up three seconds later. So focus not only on the initial response, but the patience and temperament to hold onto that command as well. 

• Spatial Guidelines - Make sure you establish some very clear boundaries during your Labrador obedience training so that your dog understands exactly where they can and can't go. There's no hard and fast rule for this, but make sure you pick some places and stick with them. I know some people who let the dogs inside, but not the kitchen or bedroom part of the house. I know other people, farmers for example, who won't even let their dog on the deck. So long as they know their limits. This will also help enforce your role as the boss of the household too, which is helpful for all kinds of training. 

• Leash Training - After all those basics have been ticked off, or at least are well under control, you should also be thinking about how you can get your dog to behave on a leash. This can be a particularly difficult moment in Labrador obedience training, but there ar e a few things you can do which will make the process a whole lot easier (in most cases that is).  

For example, you should start inside the house, where you have your puppy learn how to sit and wait while you get their lead. This simple trick is very important as it forces the dog to remain calm and subdued until you are ready to initiate the walk. If you have your puppy behaving itself before you even get out the door, you should be able to shift that attitude to the walk itself. 

Getting your dog walking in your home while they're on a leash is a helpful way to have him or her get used to the rules. He should always remain by your side, not pulling. 

• Exercise - Dogs, in many of the fundamental behavioural aspects, are very similar to humans. They respond well to routines. When it comes to exercising your dog, if you organise a clear timetable when they are young, and stick to it as they get older - for the rest of their lives if possible, then you'll find a lot of problems will be a lot more subdued. One of the biggest behavioral problems with Labradors is that they grow bored which leads to disruptive behaviour. This can be as simple as barking and playing up, to getting aggressive or distructive with things around the house. If you can avoid that boredom then you can overcome 90% of the problems people encounter with this particular breed.  

Basic rules like these ones will develop a good starting point for training, but they are just the beginning of Labrador obedience. 

Advancing Your Training 

So once you have those standard things sorted, you should find that you have a perfectly happy, well-adjusted addition to your family. But if you're like me, and want to take your Labrador obedience training to the next level you could try looking past the basic techniques and into some really fun and challenging tricks and behaviors. You know… the kind that get your neighbours going How did you get them to do that?! Improving their behaviour to the absolute top level will involve consistently introducing them to situations with other people and animals so you can correct any behaviors you'd rather avoid. These could be snapping at others, chasing animals, growling or jumping. The more your dog experiences unusual or new situations with you by their side, the more experience they'll have to call on. 

You can also begin Labrador obedience training for tricks such as rolling, turning, fetching, jumping and more. Labradors are typically a very intelligent dog, loyal, and look to please in general. If you expose them to tricks not just once a week, but on a daily basis then you'll find you get a lot more success with even the more complicated of endeavours.

Training Labrador Puppies

A lot of people enjoy training Labrador puppies. After all, if you didn't like the dog and want to take part in it's development, what's the point in getting one right? Some people are a bit scared about making mistakes, or that they might do the wrong thing, but as long as you find a plan that works, keep an open mind about what you're doing and stick to your plan from the start then you're already on the right track. People who take the time to start training Labrador puppies will improve their dog's development significantly, and are much more likely to have a well rounded and generally more likeable pet.

Those first few Weeks

A dog's most impressionable time is between the ages of eight and fourteen weeks old, which is why training Labrador puppies should begin at that time. Starting any earlier might be tricky, because your dog won't have the cognitive ability to understand what you're telling it, which can result in a lot of frustration on both sides. If you've got a dog at seven weeks, just enjoy it for that first week before you crack into any regimented training programme!

Once they get into this crucial period you need to get them used to a regular schedule. If your pup has a routine and a feeling of structure then they'll usually behave a bit more calmly and are more likely to follow the instructions you give them. They should get food every day, and you need to remove their food between feeds, so they get used to eating it in one sitting.

Give them a set walk time and a set bed time. You may even start to place them in a crate throughout the day for short breaks. These need to be at fixed times as well.

In those early days and weeks you can't expect your Labrador to understand any commands really, although it doesn't take long to get the gist of what No! and Good mean. Actually, one tip you might find useful is to use the word Stop rather than No, because the word No gets thrown around so often without people realising it, your Lab might be able to recognise Stop a bit more easily. But anyway, feel free to use those words when your puppy does something right or wrong. Remember to avoid any violence or yelling at all times.

While they're still young, remember that your pup is still learning it's way around. Imagine getting a speeding ticket when you weren't told what the speed limit was. It doesn't seem fair does it? It's the same thing with your dog. It isn't fair, and they won't respond well if you punish them for things that they don't understand yet. You'll also find training Labrador puppies is easier if your expectations are realistic.

It's during this stage that your dog should be learning not to bite, and to respect figures of authority. So make sure that your dog doesn't take things from you without your permission, and that they don't bit at your or your family. Don't let their small size and cuteness get the better of you. In the wild they'll get taught quick-smart not to bite at family so you need to make that a clear rule as well. The sooner they understand that one the happier everyone will be.


Training Labrador puppies is a bit  like raising a baby in some ways. You feel like it's hard work at the time, but it's not until you get to the next stage that you realise how easy it was in those early times. Circumstances are always changing, and the learning becomes more and more complex as they get older. By the time your pup is three months old; you should at least be in the process of housebreaking them, if you haven't got them there already. Using a Crate is probably the easiest place to start this by the way. For more advice on this check out my Crate Training pages.

This age is also a good time to break out a clicker and start teaching them some more basic commands. The most common and helpful instructions for your pup at this point are; sit, lay-down, here, to get them waiting by the door, answering to their name, speak and quiet, and drop whatever is in their mouth. This may seem like a lot to throw at them all at once, but remember that this is their real learning phase, so they'll take it all in. Don't be get carried away with complicated tricks, but a whole stack of these basics should go down quite nicely. An important note when training Labrador puppies, is how important it is for you to remain the alpha of your pack - which your pup should be all too aware of by now.

The Older Years

At this stage, we're no longer training Labrador puppies. Your dog will have a personality well and truly established and you'll have laid the foundations for the rest of the life. All the normal social and behavioural training should be done and dusted, so you can move onto the fun stuff! Fetch, Jump, playing Frisbee, running in the park, and whatever else you want to give a go… it's all possible with your Labrador. Remember you're dealing with a clever animal here, so see what he's capable of! Have Fun!

Your Labrador really IS a clever dog - you can almost guarantee it. Just remember, that to maximise that potential you need to; start the training process as early as possible; remain consistent throughout; and measure those results on a regular basis. If you do that, then you'll have yourself a wonderful companion for the rest of their life!

Labrador Dog Training

Labrador dog training doesn't always go as you planned, and there are a number of reasons why this might be. They have a strong personality with traits that are hard wired into their system They were bred to chase, hunt and collect all kinds of game for their owners.

So even thought they are one of the most loyal dogs around, but they have a lot of energy andit needs to be contained from a young age.

To prevent any issues from surfacing Labrador dog training is important and should begin from the time you bring your puppy home.

The Basics of Labrador Dog Training

There are a lot of training methods for Labradors, but the most effective are those that provide a complete social experience for your dog. This includes:

• Early Socialization - Your dog should be socialized from a very young age. Be it with pets in your home, or with other neighborhood dogs, they need to discover the importance of respect towards others to prevent them getting aggressive towards them

• Clicker Training - While you may hear about a number of issues that a Lab might cause, don't forget that these are very smart dog. Clickers can be extremley helpful for Labrador dog training and can be done from when they are just young puppies.

• Dog Whispering - No matter what it's called, this idea is now a regurlar method of training in today's dog owner circles. What it basically does, is help you gain the leadership role in your home and using controlled, dominant actions to highlight the position of your dog.

It can be used to make spaces off limits, to deliver commands more successfully and to severely limit the aggression your Lab shows towards other animals or people.

Pretty much all the Labrador dog training options are as useful as each other. For dogs like the Labrador, it can be helpful to employ not just a single training technique, but as many as possible during the course of your training.

start at a very young age. The most significant time in a puppy's development is between 8 and 14 weeks. This is when they learn not to bite, and develop any anxieties or fears they might carry around with them for the rest of their life.

Young puppies will also benefit greatly from crate training. While some puppies may not be ready for it before 10-12 weeks, you should start familiarizing them with the crate as soon as possible. They really need to be able to relax and hold their bladder for an hour before you should start seperating them from your family by using a crate.

There are a huge number of positives that come out of Labrador dog training from early on. If you socialize early, crate train and show your dog a strong, assertive master before they exit the impressionable stages of youth, they will become far more pliable in their old age.

But don't get too comforable just yet. Remember that Labradors have heaps of energy, and love to frolic, search and take things in their mouth even after all your training.

If this is the case, you may want to consider more intensive obedience training classes or the help of a qualified expert in Labrador dog training. A bit of extra help can be all that's needed to get to that final stage.

There are a number of very good reasons why you should try crate training Labradors. The process is also quite simple as long as you start with a puppy between the ages of 10 and 16 weeks. Because it's such a simple and effective way of training your dog, and because there are so many positive spin-offs, it's a tool you should make sure that you use.

One of the biggest concerns most people will have is that the crate feels like such a small, cramped place. It almost feels cruel to be shutting your gorgeous wee pet inside. But what you need to remember is that a dog (which includes your Labrador by the way) is used to living in that kind of environment. In the wild they take refuge in caves and small shelters so they can be safe and protected for sleeping. So while it might seem a bit mean to you, your dog's natural instinct will draw them to the kind of atmosphere that a crate provides.

Where do you Begin?

When you start crate training Labradors pups, you need to start by getting them used to the crate. Put them in there for a while, and leave the door. Again, this helps simulate that in the wild scenario, where they have a small place they can go to, but one they can also leave if they want too. Have them eat in there, give them treats while they're in there and get them feeling like it's a safe and comfortable place they can go to. It's that positive association that you're building which will have them feel like the crate is THEIR special space that they can go to and feel happy, safe and relaxed. That's the perfect mindset for your dog to have. Remember that just because you might not like being curled up in a close, cramped room doesn't mean your dog is the same. They'll relish the protection that their crate will provide.

Closing the Door

When you can see your puppy is happy to come and go from the crate, you need to get them comfortable staying in there for a longer period of time. This isn't an excuse to put them in and throw away the key so you can go off and do whatever you like. But they DO need to learn that you're in charge, and that YOU determine how long they should be staying in there for. The biggest problem during this phase is that your puppy will start to see their crate through negative eyes, which will ruin all that hard work you put in to begin with. The most important thing when crate training Labradors, is that they must NEVER think of their crate as a punishment. You can't scold them and then lock them in there. How many children will walk to the naughty chair on their own when things get too much? None. Your dog's crate is their sanctuary and they need to trust that it will always be there for them. If you start punishing them by locking them away then you will create a whole lot of other problems further down the track.

Keeping them Comfortable

The best way to keep your dog happy inside their crate with the door closed, is for you to stay in their line of sight. Or in some cases (if that's not practical) you need to just stay nearby. Remember that your dog's hearing and sense of smell is the best way for them to know you're still around anyway. They will whine and moan and kick up a bit of fuss during those early moments, but so long as you're nearby they shouldn't get too upset over the whole thing. Just remember that once they're in there, you can't take them out until they're in a calm and relaxed state. This is a point you'll notice in almost all your various dog training. In order to emphasise good behaviour, you mustn't acknowledge them when they're behaving badly. So if they whine, bark, snarl or anything like that, just ignore them. When they're calm and relaxed THEN you can give them attention, or treats, or anything else which will show them that THAT's the right way to behave. Looking back at crate training Labrador puppies, nothing will sabotage your training quicker than your pup assuming that they can make a bit of noise and be let out again. You're almost handing them the Hat of Leadership for them to put on whenever they want something to go their way. Always remember that YOU are in charge, and they do things on YOUR terms.

Combating Anxiety

Labradors can be prone to separation anxiety, so you want to avoid any action which will draw that tendency to the surface. Yet another benefit of crate training is that a dog who is crate trained properly, will become less susceptible to that issue. It makes sense that if they have a safe crate that they can retreat to, your Labrador will be much less inclined to work himself into a frenzy if you leave for any length of time. If they start to feel worried or upset they can simply go to their crate for some quiet time.

Simple Housebreaking

Crate training Labrador puppies is a great way starting the house training process as well. Since a dog's den is THEIR special place, they have very strong instincts not to soil it. This is especially useful as a way of reducing accidents overnight, and it helps your pup improve their bladder control more quickly.

The Right Place in the Household

Organising a designated sleeping place for your dog is also a very useful way of showing them their position in the household. Dog training usually stems back to the experiences they'd have if they were in the wild, and this is just another example of that. Their pack's leader will always sleep separately to the others. So if you have your dog sleeping in the same space as you they are much less likely to accept your leadership and are less likely to do what you tell them.

Now you can keep the Door Open

Once your Labrador has been crate trained properly they will have their own separate space to go when they feel overwhelmed or threatened. This will help reduce other behavioural problems, like aggression, and will have your Labrador feel a lot more relaxed with their place in your home. By this stage you should be keeping their door open almost all the time so that they can come and go as they see fit, and so they can always take advantage of the comfort and security that it brings.

Labrador Puppy Training

Labradors are used and bred all over the world. Their natural wit and versatility mean they can pick up all kinds of different skills, meaning they get used in a number of roles outside of just your every day family pet. There was a time when almost every guide dog you saw was a Labrador. Their loyalty and obedience made them terrific candidates for police dogs, and their natural hunting and retrieving skills, especially their highly developed sense of smell made them perfect for customs sniffer dogs. On top of all this, they love to get out and about as well. They love the water, so beaches and lakes make them feel at home, and getting out in parks or reserves are also great ways of passing time with them. But even though they have all this potential and wonderful attributes doesn't mean that Labrador puppy training is an easy thing to do.

Finding the right Puppy for You

Before you welcome any dog into your family, it is prudent to put a bit of thought and do a bit of research into which breeds will best suit your personality and situation. For example, Labradors are prone to a couple of health problems, especially as they get a bit older and their joints start to break down. It's best to find yourself a puppy who is around eight weeks of age, one who has a social nature, and is a bit more submissive if you can find them. Before you take them home, pay close attention to your dog's ears and nose, which are other common problem features of the Labrador breed. Also, it makes sense to have a vet give them a quick check up to make sure they are in good health from the beginning. There's nothing worse than inheriting long term problems and costs which come with an unhealthy or sickly dog.

As long as your new Labrador is around the right age bracket (between 8 and 14 weeks old) and has some basic social nous, then you should start your Labrador puppy training as soon as you get your dog home. The best place to start is their socialisation skills, as this will help avoid any problems with aggression as they get older. Also, making sure that you have the dominant position and authority at this early time will make things a lot easier in due course.

Once you have your dog's basic socialisation is under control, a good place to start the more complicated of training is with house breaking. This part of Labrador puppy training will develop a number of skills simultaneously and lets face it… the sooner you can stop your puppy making a mess inside the house, the more pleasant life will be for everyone involved. There are a variety of options here, but for the best results it's really hard to find any option that beats crate training. If you use a crate properly and are home as often as possible during the early stages that's really the best thing you can do. Your dog won't want to mess their crate if they can help it, so make sure you don't put them in that position too much. If they become resigned to living around their own mess then things will get VERY tough to fix after that. Once your Labrador has been toilet trained properly they are generally very good about NOT soiling its home.

After your dog has become socially sorted and iss pretty well house brokens, you should re-emphasise the point that YOU are the clear and obvious alpha pack leader. Dogs can be a lot like a troublesome child in a lot of ways, in that they will always try and test your limits, especially in those early stages when they're still learning the world around them. Training not to nip or bite with a Labrador puppy can be done by using a clear whining noise to show that it's sore and offering them toys as a distraction. Do not let your puppy jump on the couch and NEVER let it sleep in your bed. A crate should be used as often as possible during the first few months so your puppy becomes comfortable spending time in there, and so it develops a feeling of safety and comfort whenever it's inside.

Labrador puppy training should move into the obedience phase between 3 and 6 months with focus on basic commands like lying down, sitting, staying, focusing on you, coming when called, waiting inside doors and not pulling on the leash. You will find that a Labrador is very adept at picking up on these cues, but may not initially want to follow your lead due to its strong nature.

Using Labrador Puppy Training to Protect Them

Labradors are curious and adventurous dogs, and will love to get out exploring as much as the possibly can. Because of this, you'll need to teach them not to chase cars, to stop at the curb and to stay by your side when they're out in public. This is for their own well-being as much as anything else. Your dog doesn't know what a pedestrian crossing is, and they certainly can't tell what a green or red traffic light means! Never take a Labrador off its leash until you can be sure it will return upon being called and not run too far from you. The risks are higher with Labradors than with many other less curious breeds.

Labrador Bark

A Labrador bark can mean a variety of things. They aren't shy about voicing their opinion, which is good if they're protecting your family, or trying to warn you of something, but incesent noise can easiliy get on one's nerves.

The first step in dealing with Labrador bark issues is determining what is causing your dog to bark in inappropriate situations. Unless you know what is causing this unwanted behavior, you won't be able to address it appropriately.

Protecting it's Territory

Labradors are wonderful family dogs, as they are naturally quite protective and observant creatures. But being so aware, they can be prone to yelping at a whole stack of random little things that they see and hear.

In order to deal with this particular Labrador bark issue, you will need to be able to quickly correct this behavior whenever it occurs. Of course, this can be tricky if you are out of the home and away from your dog for long periods of time, as you won't be around to address the issue when it arises.

Anxiety or Stress

Separation anxiety when left alone is another common cause of Labradors starting to bark. This type of Labrador bark issue is really part of something a lot bigger, and it usually results in your dog making a lof unnecessry noise while you're away - which your neighbors won't exactly thank you for.

Separation anxiety is a difficult thing to deal with in a Labrador once the dog is full grown. If you start training your dog appropriately from an early age, however, you should be able to keep this type of problem from developing. Leaving your pet on their own for only a short while and gradually increasing the time is a key idea behind this type of training.


Dogs will usually bark if they are trying to stamp their dominance over another animal or if they get startled. Due to this point, some Labrador barking issues might be the result of an underlying aggression problem. Aggression in Labs can also be a fundamental problem, and getting on top of bark issues related to aggression will require you to deal with a larger behavior problem.

The best way to subdue aggressive tendencies in your pup is to socialize your dog properly when they are young With the proper socialization and training, Labrador puppies will usually grow up to be well adjusted dogs without the inclination to bark excessively. If you have an older Lab then it will be harder to curb their personality, as it will be more engrained. Setting a good example, making sure it knows YOU are the leader and in charge of protection and being firm with your dog are the best ways to start getting that control back. Most importantly, don't be silly with your correction of your dog's barking. If you use aggression to teach it that aggression is wrong, what kind of message are you sending? Firm but fair is always the best way.

Excessive Energy

Another common reason that Labradors bark is simply that they have a lot of energy. These dogs were bred to hunt, meaning that they were very active for long periods of time. So unless you're planning any big hunts over the next little while, you'll need to find other ways to work that energy out of your dog. Your Labrador is just like any other dog, in that they are likely to bark and play around if they get restless and bored. You'll find them a lot more subdued at home if you've managed to take them out for plenty of exercise before you settle in for the night.

So what does this mean exactly? Well, one big walk a day just isn't enough for your Labrador to be really satisfied. They need plenty of play time, a couple of long walks every day and lots of oppertunity to bounce around. If you have a big back yard they that can be helpful as far as time goes, because your family can just take them outside. Otherwise there are plenty of opportunities to go to the beach or a park or a field somewhere. Labradors LOVE the water, so don't be scared to get them out and really enjoying themselves!

Taking Charge

Some kinds of Labrador bark issues, like alarm barking need to be addressed in a certain way. The best starting point is to assert your leadership role in the home.

When your pet knows that you are in charge, he will not feel such a huge responsibility to protect the pack and you will have an easier time eliminating the excessive barking.

The Speak Command

Another excellent technique for cutting down an excessive Labrador bark is to teach your pet to speak on command. When you train your dog to follow any command, you are creating a relationship in the dog's mind between the action and the command. So if you don't give a command, then they don't have that stimulus to generate an action. If you teach your dog to bark in response to a speak command, he will be much less likely to bark when you haven't issued the command.

Remember also, that a dog's barking is a big part of their communication. So learning how to speak is an excellent way for them to understand the structure of your conversations, and that a couple of simple barks are enough to get your attention. Often a dog will bark and bark over one problem, because it doesn't realise it has your attention. By understanding how to speak then that monotonous barking is MUCH more likely to decrease.

Labrador Training Tips

Every dog owner has a handful of things that truly drive them nuts. If you own a Labrador, that list might be a bit longer than others. So, to help relieve the constant change in behavior issues you may be having, here are five top Labrador training tips.

1. Over the top Barking - Labs get noisy for a variety of reasons. To begin with, there are a number of situations when they will give warning barks. Outside sound, strangers or other dogs can get them unsettled quite easily.

Teaching your dog to speak is a simple way to reduce the excess barking without shutting them up completely. Some Labrador training tips will get you to limit contact between your Lab and influences outside, but keep this to when you're both indoors. It it's practical to do so, it can be helpful to get your dog interacting with outside people and animals that seem to get them so upset.

2. Housebreaking Problems - While most Labradors will be diligent in their potty training once it's instilled, all dog owners need to put a bit of time into doing the job right. Crate training can be extremely helpful with this type of problem. Because your puppy's crate is it's own special space, they won't want to spoil it for themselves. By keeping them in that crate for various periods of time, they learn pretty quickly that if they don't hold on, then they have a mess in their quarters, which is something they'll try quite hard to avoid in the future. You should also be available for frequent walks in their early age. The more control you have over when your Lab goes and when he doesn't, the easier you'll find the corrections will be to make.

Just a quick reminder as well - Remember that there's no point in punishing your Labrador for a mistake after the fact. They just won't understand what your growling is in regards to. So unless you've caught them in the middle of the act itself, just bite your tongue and think of how to avoid it all for next time.

3. Jumping on People - Labradors are also notorious for leaping up on people, but this can usually be fixed pretty easily. The main thing is to make sure you are the clear master of your household. Make an artificial boundary between the door and a spot on the floor that your Lab cannot pass.

See that your Labrador stays behind that line when the door is opened. Make sure any guests to your house know that your dog is to be ignored. If a correction needs to be made, use an assertive yet calm voice and then leave them alone afterwards. He'll figure it out pretty quickly.

4. Chasing the Cat - Not many Labrador training tips will help with this one. The best scenario is to have your dog meet the cat while they are still young. That will let the two get used to each other. If your Lab is older though, it gets a bit more tricky changing any long established behaviours. You should find it helpful to keep him inside when you can and limit any time where they might be in the same space together. That way, if your Lab behaves aggressively you can correct them more easily.

5. Separation Anxiety - Out of all the Labrador training tips, separation anxiety is one of the most requested solution you'll get. Because of their social nature they really don't like to be isolated for any serious length of time. Which can cause some very frustrating moments where your Lab barks nonstop, tears things apart or even makes messes in the house. Ideally, you should avoid being gone for extended periods of time.

However, if they start showing anxiety when you're out for just a little while, you need to stop showing them attention when you've just come home, or are getting ready to leave. You might find that mixing up your schedule is a helpful way to get your Lab a little more desensitised to your movements.

There are a lot of possible issues you may have with your Labrador. But there are Labrador training tips for most situations, which help isolate the problem, correct their habit and fix any issues that may have come about because of them.

If your dog continues to behave poorly despite everything you've done, it might be time to upgrade to the bigger guns. There are more advanced training regimens out there, as well as obedience schools and trainers who can provide hands on assistance.

Labrador Jumping

If you're the proud owner of a retriever, but are having problems with your Labrador jumping onto others… Don't panic! Help is at hand! Unlike some other breeds, your Labrador isn't likely to be making any territorial claim, or trying any kind of dominance play with this gesture, it really comes down to the fact that Labs are an especially social type of dog and will try to interact with all different types of people in what they feel is the best way possible. Unfortunately for you (as their owner), it's not uncommon for them to becoming a little bit too excited over the whole thing and hence why we have the problems with your Labrador jumping. With some other dogs it can be annoying, but bearable, but to the large size of a fully grown Labrador, this can cause quite a problem for owners… and for any guests who are on the receiving end as well! Labs are a friendly type of dog and they like to show that affection when they can, which is part of their personality. But even dogs need to understand about good manners, and if you find your Labrador jumping at inappropriate times, it's a bad behavioural trait which you should try to correct as soon as possible. A word of caution though, before we go on. Just remember that their jumping is usually a sign of affection and excitment, so it is important that you take care of your dog's feelings when you're training it not to jump. That being said, the points to consider around this problem are:

Damage and Injury

As you've probably seen for yourself, Labrador jumping can be a frustration problem to deal with. It doesn't matter how friendly or how good their intentions are, it doesn't change the fact that they are large, powerful dogs, who are capable of injuring people and damaging property. The other point to think about, is that if your Labrador is jumping around in a small, cluttered space, then they also run the risk of hurting themselves as well. Not only with your pet be a little worse for wear, but so will your wallet if you're having to pay to get avoidable injuries fixed! This isn't always a BIG concern of course. Most Labradors are agile enough to look after themselves, and avoid doing TOO much damage. But when they're young and still finding their feet they're a lot more at risk and likely to knock things about when they're jumping around.

So not only is there the issue of breakages, but anyone especially young or old might also find themselves on the ground if a boisterous Labrador gets going.

Labrador Athleticism

The early Labradors were trained and bred for getting out in the wild with their masters to go hunting. So even though most Labradors today don't participate in game hunting they do still have the physical attributes of their retrieving forebears, which means that they are extremely athletic and love to engage in physical activity. If your dog is not getting the necessary amount of exercise, however, they will likely try and burn off some of that excess energy in an inappropriate way, like literally bouncing off the walls. An abundance of energy is the usual cause of Labrador jumping, which means that an easy solution is to simply get the dog so tired they don't want to jump around any more. We're not just talking about a walk around the block here either I'm afraid. To really wear your dog out they'll need at least two big walks every day, or better still, a lot of running around and playing at a park or on a beach. If you do any hunting they'd gladly tag along, although you want to make sure they're well and truely ready before getting involved in that type of thing.

Two ways to Discourage Labrador Jumping

So it's all very well for you to take your dog out and exhaust them into not jumping, but what if they're already in the habit of jumping up at you and your visitors? What can you do? To be honest the techniques are pretty simple, and are a pretty common type of technique used in all kinds of training. It basically comes down to discouraging the behaviour you don't want, and rewarding the behaviour that you do. It can take a bit of work (as all good things do) but you should find a significant improvement, quite quickly if you stick with it for a week or two.


The first option will have you taking no notice of your dog when they begin jumping up on anyone, and it is actually a very effective method. So whenever your Labrador leaps up at you, you ignore them completely. Some people call this Becoming a tree. You don't look down at your dog, and you have your arms stay at your sides. You shouldn't look in their direction if possible, and you shouldn't say a single word to them. What you are doing here is helping your dog realise that their boisterous greeting is not the way to get a response, and after a while they will stop making that approach. As with all other methods, this method needs to be repeated several times in order to be effective.


What you do with this method is wait until the exact moment your dog is about to jump and you turn away. This requires impeccable timing in order to be effective! You have to watch your Labrador jumping and quickly turn just as they make their move. You'll find that your turning will deflect your dog's jump and yet it won't result in any pain either. Your dog will lose interest in jumping up on you as a greeting once they realize that it isn't the right way to say hello.

Labrador Biting

Labradors in general, are extremely caring and devoted dogs. Their kindness and loyalty make them  a wonderful pet for the family. However, like all dogs, they do have animal traits and instincts which might result in the unwanted problem of Labrador biting. It's not an ideal situation, and it's not especially common, but if you are experiencing this then remember that it's not a lost cause.

Why do Labradors Bite?

To begin with, every dog has the opportunity to bite. However, a Lab is an extremely clever and especially enthusiastic type of dog. This means that they are highly sensitive to you and your family and can grow fearful and anxious easily if not given the right kind of supportive home environment. Being retriever dogs they are also especially comfortable with things in their mouth, and even though they can be very gentle it is important that they are taught what is okay and what isn't at an early age. It is recommended that you don't leave Labradors around small children until the dog has been taught properly, evern though they are usually very kind and sociable dogs.

Holding things in their mouth is the most common reason for Labrador biting, but fear can also cause the same problem. If a dog is put into a certain situation where they become anxious or concerned their natural instinct is to snap with a bite, in an effort to defend themselves from an unknown person or dog.

The most influential time in any dog's life is between the ages of eight and fourteen weeks. It is the best time to mould your Lab's personality, so it's important you feed the right signals and behaviours into them. Be a strong master during this phase in their life. Show them that they have no reason to fear anything - that you're there for them. Don't go to the other extreme though. If you coddle your dog, or show them sympathy in the face of any nervousness, then you're simply reinforcing that timid behaviour and it will get harder and harder to deal with.

You can also help them overcome any fears or un-rest by providing a calm, stable home for them to grow up in. Supportive behaviour isn't about spoiling your dog, and giving them whatever they want. Dogs are different to humans. They are looking for a strong, powerful leader who they can look to for protection. They will look to you for that alpha leadership role and if you give it to them, their desire to protect their territory will diminish. After all… that's your responsibility!

Other reasons for fear in dogs might include abuse or poor treatment when they were young. If you adopt a Lab when its a bit older you must be especially wary of any behaviours relating to fear.

How to Handle Labrador Biting

Usually, if your Lab has begun to bite or snap as a result of fear, it's an issue that you should be able to fix with the right kind of attention and careful training. Assertive leadership and soothing training will help calm your dog and should improve any violent tendencies they might show. You cannot use negative reinforcement in this case - it will only worsen the behaviour.

What is really useful is building your Lab's esteem with positive training, where they receive praise for good behaviour. You must also desensitize the dog to any objects he fears. If your dog gets worried around the postman or the neighbour's dog (for example), you should provide positive reinforcement while interacting with that source of fear. This doesn't mean you should let your dog run up to them all the time, but you should watch the postman come and go with your dog, and if they stay quiet (your dog that is) you should give them treats as a reward.

Labrador biting can be a real worry for their owners. But if you address it early on, when your pet is most open to training, then you should see that they quieten down a lot and accept your control of the family and home. Ultimately though, if your Lab doesn't stop it's biting or actually gets worse through training, you might need the help of a professional. Most of the time training at home will be fine, but sometimes, when you're dealing with fear or aggression the problem is so fundamental that you'll need a professional's expertise to help.

Labrador Chewing

Chewing is a perfectly natural and expected behaviour for dogs. So while it's annoying and in some cases, very distructive, your puppy won't be trying to upset you, and they'll want to do it for their own comfort even. So you'll need to be careful about how you choose to stop Labrador chewing. The two most common reasons are to relieve boredom, or because they are teething. Because both of these reasons are valid (to an extent), you'll find that it's not about getting them to stop chewing completely… it's about redirecting what they knaw on. To stop them messing up your cushions, shoes or curtains you need to find them plenty of other things to keep them entertained. 

Why would you want to Stop your Labrador chewing? 

Many people believe that while a Labrador is young they should let it be free to chew on whatever it wants. It's ordinary, right? Or at the other extreme they might scream and yell at their puppy, which causes confusion and other behavioural problems (see my page on Labrador Aggression for more information on this). In reality, your response should be somewhere in the middle, showing the dog that chewing on your things is not okay, but that there are plenty of alternatives. 

Different things you can do to help Stop your Labrador chewing 

When it comes time to stop your Labrador's chewing behaviours, there are a few things you can do. To begin with, don't hit your dog for any reason or scold them openly. Regardless of how angry your puppy might make you, it is important you don't direct it towards your pet. They will inevitably get confused by the anger and will almost never figure out exactly what they did that was wrong. Instead, consider the following actions. 

Aversion Sprays - To deter your Labrador chewing items like slippers or papers, which they can easily ruin, find a safe, considerate spray with a taste that the dog will avoid, like Citronella or Bitter Apple. Puppies really don't like these types of tastes and scents so it will really bug them to get a face full whenever they do the wrong thing. If[ you can do this a few times, then it won't take long for them to associate those types of items with that bad taste, at which point they'll just stop going for them. 

Re-programming Their Behaviour - Instead of simply trying to stop your Labrador chewing on your things, teach it to chew on the right things. When you catch your Labrador chewing on a slipper, get the puppy's toy, replace it and then praise the dog when it starts chewing on the new toy. This will teach your puppy that the new item is good and the old one is not. 

Giving your Labrador PLENTY of Exercise - Keeping your Labrador from getting bored is a good way to stop them from chewing. Even when not teething, a puppy will chew to keep active. It's like giving a child a playstation. You can help avoid this problem by giving them plenty of play-time and exercise. When you're not home make sure there are stimulating toys that will keep them active. 

Maybe Try Crate Training? - If your Labrador is getting amongst your things while you're away, you can limit their access to the home by crate training them. Another way to limit their access is by keeping your dog in a single room while you're away, but the intension will stil be the same. While some people are against the idea of this type of treatment, it's exceptionally effective and can help combat a number of other potential issues, like Separation Anxiety, Toilet Training, and Understanding of Boundaries. 

Even though chewing is totally normal for a Labrador, they should never be focussing on things like you or your possessions. If it is, then you should find something different for them to focus on. 

Being Consistent 

If you really want to stop Labrador chewing, make sure you are consistent in all of your actions. You shouldn't allow your dog to chew on old shoes or boots, if you like to have your clothing around. Don't give your dog a stuffed animal to play with and then growl if they attack a stuffed animal that they're not allowed to. Don't get them involved in a good old tug-of-war game with an old sock and then shout at them when they attack your expensive new business socks. They don't know the difference between Hugo Boss and old football gear do they? As their master, you should set strict rules and stick to them. Your dog will soon work out what they can and can't chew on, and it will become much less of a problem.

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Published in Labrador Retriever Training on 2016-03-07 Labrador Retriever Training Tips - The complete guide
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