How to train a Labrador Retriever (learn the essentials)

Labrador Retriever training is very important if you want to bring the best out of your lab.

However, you should always make sure that this is fun for both you and your canine friend. Therefore, knowing the essential will be very helpful in this.

Training a Labrador is as easy as it gets mainly because he has an eagerness to please and is very intelligent.

This guide will cover all the basics of Lab training that you need to know and how best to do it.

Labrador Retriever Training tips

Training your Labrador puppy should start the moment he gets home because although they love to have fun they can also be mischievous.

These dogs are quite smart and it comes as no surprise that they are commonly used as service dogs. They learn from every interaction that we have with them.

So, here are some of the tips that you need to know before we get to the steps on how you can train them. 


1. Always make training fun

Puppies are known to have a short concentration span. You cannot force a pup to learn something that he is not interested in.

If you want to keep them interested in what you are teaching it is key that you keep their attention.

Adding some fun gifts and toys can help you keep them in check.

Lab puppies are also known to be highly motivated by food. So, having a pouch with some of his favorite and other sweet and healthy treats will bring back his attention when his interest seems to be waning.

Keeping the dog enthusiastic will help him pick up those tricks and commands much easier.

You should also make sure that you always end on a positive note.

The fact that these Lab puppies get easily distracted also means that the training session should be kept short.

Do not expect to keep your Lab puppy engaged during training when you are going for 20-minute sessions, especially for a new pup. Start with a 5-minute session then increase the time as he gets used to you.


2. Training requires positive reinforcement and consistency

Using positive reinforcement during Labrador Retriever training is very important when you are building a relationship with your puppy.

You can do this by using rewards such as food which reduces the chances of them having undesirable traits.

Using a clicker is also a great method of positively training your Labrador puppy. Clickers can help you streamline your dog’s training experiences and get their attention back easily.

Dogs learn by the consequence of the behaviors and are likely to repeat something good if it is always followed by a reward or praise. Always be consistent with how you praise your pooch, encouraging him every time he does something good.

This also applies to those negative behaviors and do this by always reminding him when he gets something wrong.

Consistency brings me to my next point. 

3. Prepare a dog training schedule for your Lab

This is something that most dog owners overlook.

Preparing a puppy training schedule and sticking to it is one of the most crucial training tips that you could get.

This will also make sure that you are consistent with your training and also reduce the anxiety on your side.

You can visit this puppy training schedule guide to where we delve diver into the topic.

4. The tone you use is fundamental

You should keep in mind that dogs do not speak English, and even those that can understand, you cannot understand many words.

Most of them can understand maybe about 30 words.

Your Lab pup may not understand what you are saying but he will always respond to how you say it.

You must keep your voice upbeat and happy, helping build your dog’s confidence. Your pup will see you as someone he can rely on and trust.


5. Check out what is working out for other Labrador Retrievers during training

Join social groups and forums and see what is working best for other dog owners.

You can also get encouragement and a sense of collaboration from such social settings which is completely remarkable.

Take part in what others are doing, feel free to ask any questions that you have, and comment on what they are saying.

Those are some of the tips that you should keep in mind before starting your Labrador training. 

Now, let us look at stage after stage training guide. 

Potty training a Labrador Retriever puppy

When you bring your Lab puppy home, potty training is the first thing that you should start with.

You should avoid using indoor toilet areas or pads when you are starting as it can be very confusing for the doggo.

What you can do is take your Labrador Retriever to the yard frequently using a set routine that can be;

  • After a play session with your Lab pup.
  • Immediately after meals.
  • When he wakes up.

When you go outside you can simply wait for them to be toilet and once he goes to potty you should reward him with that treat that he loves so much.

Below is a schedule that you can use during training and one that can be adjusted as your dog gets older and as he improves.

Time Activities
6:30 to 7:30 am The pup wakes up, he potties, a bit of play, breakfast the potty again
7:30 to 8:30 am He takes a nap
8:30 to 9:00 am The pup wakes up, potties, training session, play then potty
9:00 to 11:00 am Pup probably napping again
11:00 to 12:30 pm Wakes up, potties, gets lunch, potties, a play session, and potties again
12:30 to 2:00 pm Naptime
2:00 to 3:30 pm Wakes up then potties which are then followed by a short playing session
3:30 to 4:30 pm Naptime
4:30 to 7:00 pm The pup wakes up, potties, rest or play, he takes dinner and potties again
19:00 to later Play, potty, sleep


More on toilet training

Be prepared for some mishaps that may happen during the first month of potty training.

Avoid punishing or shouting at the puppy if he gets something wrong as it may make him have anxiety.

You should clean up by any chance he potties in the house and take him frequently.

As time goes your Lab will learn how to hold his bladder for long and will eventually learn to go-potty outside instead of in the house.

Learn more about potty training your puppy.

Train your Labrador Retriever not to bite

This should be high on your Lab Retriever training agenda and, especially if you have small children in the house.

A biting Labrador puppy can be very problematic and you should get rid of this behavior as early as possible.

Puppies are notoriously good at using their mouth during play. It will be up to you to slowly but surely teach them otherwise.

When puppies are hungry, tired or when they need to go to the toilet they tend to mouth a lot. You should, therefore, make sure that your puppy gets enough to eat and has a proper sleeping routine.

A pup should also be trained to direct his mouth to his toys other than your hand.

Anytime your puppy tries to bite your hand, you should ignore him, giving him none of your attention and even walk away. By doing this, he will be conditioned to learn that such interactions only get him ignored.

No one in your home should be roughhousing this puppy.

If you do this consistently, in over about 4 to 8 weeks, your pup’s biting tendencies should reduce, and by the time he is about 6 months old, he should have stopped biting.


Labrador Retriever puppy crate training

Crate training your Lab pup will ensure that he is secure and safe when you are not there to watch out for them. It also comes in handy when he is tired and needs a place t snuggle and rest.

One of the best ways that you can introduce your Labrador Retriever to a crate is by hiding some treats in there and letting him find them at his own volition.

He will learn that his crate is a safe space and a nice play to spend his own time.

You can also create a positive association with the dog by feeding him in his crate(you can utilize a slow feeder when you are doing this)

After some time, extend the time that he spends in his crate even with the door closed. Continue feeding him in his crate closing the door as he feeds and only opens it after it is done.

At other times you can extend the period where you live the door closed after he has had his meal.

Lab crate training schedule;

The Age The time that is spent in the crate
8 weeks Lock your puppy in his crate next to your bed overnight to prevent him from getting distressed
12 weeks It should be possible to leave the Lab puppy for about 30 minutes in the crate at this age
14 weeks As you continue with the puppy crate training, he can be left for up to 60 minutes in the crate
16 weeks By this age, leaving the Labrador in the crate for periods of up to 2 hours should be easy

Labrador Crate training

More on Lab Crate training

You should watch to see if your puppy shows any signs that he is distressed. If he shows any signs such as crying, you should wait for a moment quietly before you proceed to open the crate’s door.

How comfortable your Labrador puppy in his crate will determine the amount of time he spends in there.

How can you leash train your Lab dog

Exercise is very important for your dog’s well being.

Taking your dog for daily walks can play a great part in ensuring that he gets enough physical stimulation. It can be difficult to control your puppy from wandering off if he is not put on a leash.

This can involve letting the puppy learn several things; 

  • Being next to you is the best place he can be when you are walking him.
  • He will have to learn to cope with walking with a barrier and not going straight to where he wants to.

When you combine these, you will train the Labrador on how he can walk when on a lead.

Leash training a Lab puppy can take time for him to be able to control himself in different environments and situations. It takes hard work and consistency to do this.

You should reward your Labrador Retriever every time he gets close to when you attach the lead to him. He should be rewarded frequently for being close to us when going for walks.

By doing this he learns that is a good thing being next to the dad or the mum.

Stop immediately if he tries to pull his lead(remember that Labrador could weigh as much as 80 pounds). Wait for him to get back to you and you can also use this by using a lure such as a treat, reward him then continue with the walk.

In between these walks you want your puppy to explore new things and not be too far from.

Creating a proper balance between sniffing, running, and leash walking is as important.

Leash training a Lab Retriever can be difficult that is why we prepared this leash training guide that you can follow to achieve the best results.


Labrador Retriever training(recalling)

Teaching your puppy is another step of a Labrador Retriever training and he must master this when he is still young.

Recalling can also be important when it comes to walking your Lab puppy and for whatever reason, he manages to escape from your grip. Remember that he is still a curious being that wants to explore and learn new things.

Your word choice(you can also use noise or a whistle) for recalling should be on point:

  1. The Labrador puppy should start by first learning a “cue word” and you can choose one that is the most appropriate for you. Mention the cue every time that you are about to feed him.
  2. Use the cue frequently when you want your puppy to get closer to you in the house. Reward him when he gets close to your feet and his responses will get faster in time.
  3. When your pooch understands the cue, start calling him when he is further from you and without using any lure.
  4. Once he fully understands the cue you can start using it even in other places that have more distractions such as your yard, making sure he is focussed on you before using it. Add more distractions such as children playing then use the cue.
  5. Start testing if the cue by taking him for short weeks in the neighborhood or the dog park. The puppy should be on a leash for him to safely explore.

Train your Labrador to “STAY” and to “SIT”

Sit and stay are as important as the other skills that you will be teaching to your dog. They can also play a great part when you are training him new commands and tricks.

Teach your Lab the SIT command

  1. Take a treat and show it to your canine friend holding the treat between your fingers.
  2. Once he sniffs tha treat, you can then gently take your hand up and backward over the pup’s head.
  3. When this happens, pups tend to plonk to the bottom of the floor and once this has happened you can go ahead and reward him.
  4. Do this several times and by the time it will get smooth.
  5. But we are not yet done because once your furry friend has mastered this hand move you can now introduce the sit command. You should make sure that you are clear enough when you are using the word.
  6. Eventually, after several repetitions, the pooch will sit by you simply using the word.

And as we had mentioned above, you should keep these sessions short with a maximum of 7 minutes after which you can take breaks.

Teach your Labrador how to sit

The STAY command

  1. Use the sit command to let the pup sit and don’t reward him, not yet.
  2. Say the word “stay” then take a step back opening your palm.
  3. If your pooch stays in the sitting position, reward him.
  4. In case he moves towards you, repeat the stay command, and take a smaller step back.

The Labrador should retain the same position regardless of your movement and get rewarded after.

Soon enough you should be able to introduce other distractions without him moving.


Labradors were born to please people and introducing him to as many people and animals make them much better at this.

Positive interactions can help to prevent any aggressive that may arise from the canine as he gets older. Remember that dogs are individuals and they differ in their behavioral traits.

With all that said, socializing a Lab Retriever should not be hard because they are very social creatures.

Repeat, Repeat, Repeat

When training a Labrador, repetitions are key to him mastering what you are teaching him.

Do not move to a new command or skill if he is yet to learn what you were teaching him previously.

You should be prepared to repeat the process several times before you can be confident he has got it.

Labrador Retriever training

Labrador Retriever Training summary

Raising a Labrador puppy and training him will not be easy for you as the parent and you may be running around a lot.

Most of the tricks that we have mentioned above should be incorporated into schedules.

We have also looked at some tips that you can follow when you are training your Labrador retriever such as keeping the session short.

Do not be afraid to get creative, trying out new things even those that you see in other dog training guides to see what works best for your pooch.

You can also consult an expert dog training and consult in case you are having problems, especially with housebreaking your puppy.

Let us know if this guide was helpful to you in the comment section below. 

There you go, WOOF!

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