Dog Search Center - All About Dogs

Doggy Steps

Does Your Pet Have Difficulty Climbing Up To His Favorite Spot?

The solution is Doggy Steps. It’s just the right height to help smaller and older dogs step up where they want to go - up to couches and beds. It’s also great for pets to step up into cars or trucks.

Order your Doggy Steps and Help Your Pet!

Surf The Internet For Little Something

Do You Realize How Valuable You Are? Advertisers, search providers, and online retailers are paying billions to reach you while you surf. How much of that money are you getting? You Deserve A Piece of the Action AGLOCO gets paid by companies to reach our Members through our Viewbar™ software.We give that money back to you. Build the Community, Make More Money Through our Referral Program, we reward those who are helping to build this Global Community. The bigger the community, the more money AGLOCO makes for its Members. What's the Catch? No catch. Sign up, refer your friends, download the free Viewbar™ software and surf the Internet as you normally would. Sign Up Now - Start Making Money From Your Internet

Friday, May 11, 2007

Preparing to train Labrador Retriever

The health of your Lab

When you have decided to train your Lab, the first thing to do is ensure that he is in good health. Make sure that the structure of his body is capable of withstanding the rigors of training. Since the hipbone takes the brunt of the training tricks you must make sure that your dog does not suffer from hip dysplasia and the soundness of the hipbone must be tested. An OFA or Penn hip certification will tell you about the status of your dog’s bones.

Will my doggie by a good student?

You can evaluate whether your dog will make a good student from the following factors.
  • 1 Does he accept domination?
  • 2 What is his level of curiosity?
  • 3 Does he fetch or retrieve promptly on command?
  • 4 How high is his level of stamina?
  • 5 Does he get motivated easily?

You will be able to get a fairly good idea from the above factors about what your Lab’s reaction to obedience training or agility tricks will be.

How you should prepare yourself

This is really very important because you are the leader and your dog is totally dependent on you for every aspect of his short canine life. So you really must be exemplary in your behavior towards your pet!

1 Patience & Persistence

These two factors form the very crux of a successful training schedule. You would need to be very patient if you were teaching your little child anything, wouldn’t you? Well in the same manner you have to draw on your vast reserves of patience to teach your puppy.

Actually your patience may be pushed to its limits. After all you are dealing with a species that is not human. So you have to establish a wavelength that both you and your four-legged friend can understand.

Never, ever give up your quest for turning out a well-trained dog. If you do, you are relinquishing your status as the leader. Your Lab will instinctively try to test how far he can push your patience by
not listening to you. Do not fall into the trap. Once you have established your clear-cut leadership role, you will literally have your pooch eating out of your hands.

2 Consistency

Consistency is very essential when you are training your Labrador Retriever. This is because he is a creature of habit. He loves routine. So you must conduct his training sessions at the same time everyday and preferably maintain the same period of duration too.

This way he will soon start looking forward to his training sessions. Do not disappoint a willing student.

3 Repetition

Along with being consistent, you need to be repetitive too! You have to ask your dog to answer to the same command or perform the same trick over and over again. You have to continue this process until his reaction to your command becomes second nature to him. This is the key to successfully training your beautiful Labrador Retriever. The duration of repetition will vary from dog to dog.

4 Simplicity

All of your instructions to your doggie should be absolutely simple. They should involve no more than two or three actions when your doggie is a puppy. The level of complexity can increase only as the puppy grows in age. This is very much in keeping in line with the fact that we first send our children to play school, then to kindergarten, and so on.

5 Brevity

Keep each training session short and brief. You do not want your puppy to get bored with his classes. You want him to be alert and attentive. Since the puppy’s attention span is rather short, do not keep any single session too long. Once you feel that the puppy’s attention is wandering, stop the class and just play with him. In this way you can have brief sessions lasting 10-15 minutes about 2-3
times per day.

6 Respect

Any living creature appreciates being respected. This will even work with your dog. Respect the Labrador Retrievers keen sense of canine intelligence and when you teach him something, give him time to assimilate the facts and then perform the task.

Talk to your pet as you would to an equal. Explain things to him. He may not understand a word of what you are saying. But your mannerisms and the inflection of your voice and your actions will have a lasting positive effect on him. Talking to your dog while training is a strong way of bonding. You ensure that all his attention is focused on you and you alone.

7 Recognition & Rewards

When your dog responds to any command, you must recognize his efforts and intelligence in doing so and praise him lavishly. You can reward him too with little treats. A warm hug can also work wonders. As a result, your Lab will soon associate rewards with his ability to respond to your commands. This way he will be even more responsive to your commands.

8 No punishments

Never ever carry out physical or verbal punishments on your dog. It will only damage your relationship with him. A firm “NO” is sufficient to make him understand that you are not happy with what he has just done. You can bar his negative actions by using your hands to restrain him. Never hit or physically abuse him.

Now that you have mentally prepared yourself to tune in all the aforesaid qualities into your training scheme, there are a few other things that you need to be acquainted with to make a success of training your Labrador Retriever.

Your agility and footwork

You will have to be physically agile as well as mentally agile to train your dog. You have to be really quick on your feet to avoid tripping over a playful pup simply bursting with energy. You have
to watch out for accidental trips, especially when you are executing quick turns. Tripping over might hurt you or your pup and disrupt your training schedule.

The pace at which you move should be comfortable for the pup too. If you move too quickly you could tire him out too fast and reduce your training period. Standing with your feet placed in a “T” position while turning is an ideal stance.

Timing and body language

Your little Lab needs time to process your commands in his mind. So once you give a command, do not expect immediate response. Wait for about 5 seconds at the least. Soon the time lapse between your command and your pup’s reaction will fall into a perfect synchronization.

Constant interaction with your pup will keep increasing your rapport with him. He will soon be responsive even to your body language. Your smile will brighten up his day and set his tail wagging. Your sigh or cry will bring him running to you to lick your tears away. This is the beautiful relationship that you will develop with a well-trained Lab.

Leash handling

Leash handling is an important lesson for a potential trainer like you to learn. It will increase the comfort level for both you and your dog. The leash is the link between you and your dog, so learn to handle it properly.
  • Stand with your arms dangling loosely by your sides with the palms facing inwards.
  • Loop the leash over your right thumb and let the loose end cross your palm.
  • Then fold the leash accordion style, allow the loose end to show under your little finger.
  • Let the leash pass along the thumb, index finger, and palm of your left hand.
  • Attach the leash to your dog’s collar.
  • This position is called the control-start position. It gives you a better control over your dog.
  • You must keep your right hand stationary. Make all corrections with the other hand.
What to teach your puppy at 8 weeks

The right age to start teaching your puppy is at about 8 weeks. And where do you start? At the very beginning start by teaching him simple things such as the following.
  • 1 The place where his water bowl is placed.
  • 2 Teach him the location of his food plate.
  • 3 Let him learn the timings of his various meals.
  • 4 Teach him where his bed is placed.
  • 5 He must also learn the timings when he is expected to go to bed and when he should get up.
  • 6 It is most important to teach him where to go to the bathroom.
  • 7 He should know the timings for his walks or runs.
  • 8 He must also be aware of where his toys are kept.

Your puppy must be aware about all of the above routines simply because a puppy simply loves routine. A routine gives him a feeling of security and safety. He feels reassured when he knows what is coming next. As a baby he is not comfortable with surprises – pleasant or unpleasant. Above all a routine gives him the reassurance that he can depend upon you.

At this age he can also learn to respond to some simple instructions such as the following.
  • 1 Obedience – Obey simple commands such as “No” or “Stop That.”
  • 2 House breaking – Your 8-week-old infant pup can be introduced to his toilet area. This will be the beginning of his house training. You can make a commitment to take him out to his toilet every 2 hours for him to get used to relieving himself there.
  • 3 Crate training – He should follow your instruction to go to his crate and stay there quietly.
  • 4 Handling – He should learn to stand still while you brush him, clip his nails, or open his mouth to clean his teeth.
  • 5 Mildness – Mildness is a much required quality in a dog.

He should know how to take things gently from your hands. Grabbing, biting, or clinging should be firmly discouraged.

What to teach your puppy at 3-4 months

At this age he should be alertly responding to the following commands.
  • 1 Sit and Stay even when you walk away from him or when alot of other factors are likely to distract him.
  • 2 Lie down.
  • 3 Look towards you when you call him by name.
  • 4 Come when you ask him to do so.
  • 5 Walk happily beside you on a leash.
  • 6 Drop whatever he may be carrying in his mouth when you tell him to do so.
  • 7 Be quiet whenever you order him to stop barking.

At this stage he must not yield to the temptation of running away from you. Neither should he be uncomfortable when other animals or people are around.

What to teach your puppy at 4-6 months

At this age your puppy should have progressed enough to do the following.
  • 1 Listen attentively whenever you speak to him.
  • 2 Catch and fetch a ball when you throw it for him.
  • 3 Never run out of the gate even if the gate is left open and unattended.
  • 4 Stays lying down without getting in the way while your go about your daily chores.
  • 5 Greet guests in a polite manner.
  • 6 Do simple tricks such as shake hands, roll over, play dead or speak.
  • 7 Recognize names of members of your family.
  • 8 Play games such as Hide and Seek.

Training materials that you will require

For yourself you must ensure that you are comfortably dressed. Flat rubber soled shoes for your feet, well fitting trousers, and a comfortable shirt will be the ideal clothing ensemble. You should be able to run, walk, bend, or squat without any encumbrance in such clothing.

There are a few a material requirements that you will have to get together for your Labrador Retriever.

3 Collar - Even when your Lab is a puppy get him used to wearing a little puppy collar. If you don’t, then it may be difficult to get him used to wearing a collar at a later date.

Wearing a collar is essential for a dog as it carries his identification tag. You also attach his leash to his collar! Even though your puppy might not welcome the idea of wearing a collar do not give in to his moody behavior.

4 Leash – You should get a good strong leash to attach to your Lab’s collar. After all you are the leader that your pack dog has to follow. You will find that your doggie will soon grow to love the leash because it signifies that he is being taken outdoors.

5 Treats – These are essential tools to reward and recognize good behavior.

6 Toys - Your dog’s toys are very special to him. They keep him company while you are away or busy with your other chores. So when you go to buy toys for your dog, there are a number of factors that you must take into account before you decide what to buy.

Your foremost concern should be for the safety of your pet. Check for small objects on the toy that can be swallowed by your Lab. These objects include small squeaky objects, buttons, ribbons, rubber bands, etc. The toy must not be too small. Otherwise the risk of the entire toy being swallowed is high. Worse than swallowing is the risk that the dog could choke on the toy.

Never buy a toy with parts that can be broken apart. These sorts of toys are very dangerous as your dog will be able to bite on the toy and break it into many pieces. These smaller components can be swallowed with fatal consequences.

Look for toys that are marked as safe for children below the age of 3 years. Normally such toys will be safe for your dog also; as such toys do not contain potentially harmful fillings, polystyrene beads, or nutshells. Toys for below three-year olds are normally soft toys that can be machined washed too. So they are convenient for you to maintain as well.

Avoid toys with squeakers. The noise will rouse your dog’s curiosity and he will pry it out of the toy and swallow it. The consequences of this can be really devastating.

After consulting with your vet, you can get your Lab toys that are chewies. These toys are normally made of rawhide and are considered to be safe. They also keep the dog occupied.

You can consider the following types of toys for your doggie.

  • 1 Toys made of hard rubber. They come in various shapes and sizes and are ideal for carrying around.
  • 2 Rope toys that are shaped like bones with knotted ends.
  • 3 Tennis balls are good too. But once your doggie has chewed his way through them, throw them away. The little bits and pieces that come off can accidentally be swallowed.

Comfort toys

Your pet Labrador Retriever is like a little child. He needs toys that can provide him with some kind of solace and comfort. You can consider getting him soft toys that he can easily carry around.

Toys to kill!

Some doggies like to shake their toys up in their mouth in a manner similar to that of killing a prey. So the size of the toy hould match that of a mouse, rabbit, or duck. This will satisfy your Lab’s natural instincts. After all, his ancestors were bred for hunting and retrieving!

Solace toys

To give him the feeling that you are nearby you can give him an old shirt of yours. He will find the smell very comforting. It can also function as his security blanket.

Hide & seek

You can use his toys to play hide and seek with. Hide a toy and ask him to find it. This game will provide loads of fun. It will also hone his smelling and tracking instincts.

Do not put all of your doggie’s toys out for him to play with at one time. Keep rotating them. Otherwise he will get bored of them very quickly. If he has one particular favorite, you can make an exception and permit that one to be with him at all times.

Once you have all these preparations in place you are all set to train your Labrador Retriever into a dog that will be the envy of the neighborhood and the owner’s pride.

1 “At what age should I start training my dog?”

You can begin training your dog in earnest from the age of 6 months old. Even earlier you are always training your dog when you talk to him and tell him what to do. And when youprevent him from doing something wrong you are weaning him away from bad behavior.

There is no reality in the saying that, “You cannot teach an old dog new tricks.” A dog can always be taught even up to the age of 13 years or more. The time taken to teach him might take much longer but go ahead and teach. Do not give up. The dog is willing to learn if his master is willing to teach.

2 "What are therapy dogs?"

Health care providers are using therapy dogs quite a lot nowadays. Therapy dogs are used to visit people who are ill or elderly. These dogs provide a source of comfort and solace to these people who are in distress. Research has shown that petting, grooming, or hugging a dog provides a safe outlet for emotions for people who may have no other outlet for their pent up emotions. So hugging, petting or just fondling a dog helps these people recover faster from their ailments or feeling of loneliness.

3 "My Labrador Retriever is now 8 months old.

I want him to become a therapy dog. How do I go about accomplishing this?"

This is a really noble thought! Now you need to assess if your Lab fits into the general characteristics that suit the profile of a therapy dog.
  • Is your dog well behaved?
  • Does he have a calm and unflappable nature?
  • Is he obedient?
  • Does he readily respond to commands such as sit, stand, down, heel, come, etc.
  • Is he comfortable with strangers?
  • Does he allow himself to be petted by people whom he has just met?
  • Does he willingly shake hands or give paw to them?
  • Will he be happy to plant a slobbering kiss or lick on the face of an almost total stranger?
  • Will he stand calmly by if children want to stroke him or hug him?

If your answer to most of the aforesaid questions has been yes, then you can contact organizations such as Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) or Animal Facilitated Therapy (AFT), etc. Such organizations are actively involved in providing therapy to the sick, elderly, or people recuperating from illnesses using the warmth and affection of animals such as dogs. They will evaluate the animal to see whether he is suited for therapy work. They will assess his overall personality, temperament, and behavior. They will then guide you about what course of action you must take to make your dog a professional therapist dog.

Your dog will then have to get used to the sights, sounds, and smells of hospitals and convalescent homes. Having a therapy dog is a commitment. So make sure that it is what you really want. You should also make an honest evaluation about whether or not your dog is suited for such work.

No comments: