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How do I leash train my Labrador Retriever?

An important part of any training program with your Labrador Retriever is leash training. Proper leash training will allow you and your dog to enjoy the outdoors, while still in a semi-controlled environment. This is important for you as well as your dog, as it will establish the boundaries of good outdoor behavior.

Labrador Retrievers are very athletic, active dogs, and can be significantly difficult to control when outdoors. Male Labrador Retrievers have been known to weigh up to 100 pounds! Needless to say, it is important to teach your dog proper leash etiquette as soon as early as possible.

Proper leash training begins with established basic training techniques. Depending on your training style, you may select any number of training programs to assist you in a structured training routine. Establishing that you are your dog’s teacher is very important, because it will help them understand that listening to you is important (and can result in rewards!). Your dog has to trust you for a training program to work, and building that trust is an important part of your relationship with your dog.

A good leash training program also involves effective socialization training. Many of the problems that dog owners experience while walking dogs on a leash (such as pulling, refusal to listen, barking) are caused by a dog being exposed to new and exciting stimuli. This new experience instantly attracts your dog’s attention, and will cause them to ignore your attempts to keep them in line. A common problem for Labrador Retriever owners is experienced when their dog attempts to chase squirrels, cats, or other small animals that may be nearby. This can be avoided by constantly distracting your dog with treats, toys, or other objects when a small animal is spotted. Food-related distractions work best, because that symbolizes instant gratification for your dog.

Some pet owners have dogs that constantly bark or become excited when they see other people and dogs. This can make leash training very difficult, as your dog is constantly becoming animated and ignoring your commands. A good way to avoid this is to expose your dog to other people and animals around the home, before exposing them to the outdoor world. When your dog is more comfortable with constantly meeting new people and other dogs, they will be less likely to become excited when they encounter others while on a leash. Also, you can attract your dog’s attention during a walk on a leash, by constantly giving them small treats. Your dog will realize that you are carrying food, and will usually give you their full attention.

Once your Labrador Retriever has begun to become socialized, it’s time to teach them the proper way to walk with you on a leash. There are two types of leash training: “loose-leash” and “short-leash”. Loose-leash training is used for average pet owners, and for more docile breeds, such as Labrador Retrievers. Short-leash training is a training program for more aggressive breeds (such as pit bulls and Dobermans), and requires strict discipline. Short-leash training is also used by pet owners who wish to train their dog for professional dog shows, as this will give the pet owner the maximum amount of control over their dog.

Loose-leash training for your Labrador Retriever can usually be accomplished without the use of a choke-collar (which many dog owners are already steering away from, as this is a source of significant discomfort for your pet). Begin by using a typical nylon leash, usually about six feet in length. Attatch the leash securely to your dog’s collar, and begin walking. If necessary, frequently give your dog a treat to keep their attention. As soon as your dog begins pulling, maintain the tension on the leash, and become immobile. Try to prevent your dog from moving, without yanking or jerking on the leash. While the “jerk-back”method is used by some pet owners, it is not as effective as the immobility method. As soon as your dog retreats, and puts slack on the leash, give them praise, as well as a treat. This will help reinforce the fact that not pulling on the leash is classified as good behavior, and will provide subsequent rewards.

Above all, be patient with your Labrador. Teaching them to behave while on a leash is a new concept for your dog, and they will learn from you eventually. With a lot of positive reinforcement, as well as a good training method, you will be walking a well-behaved dog on a leash before you know it.

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  1. […] How do I leash train my Labrador Retriever? Male Labrador Retrievers have been known to weigh up to 100 pounds! Needless to say, it is important to teach your dog proper leash etiquette as soon as early as possible. Proper leash training begins with established basic training techniques. Some pet owners have dogs that constantly bark or become excited when they see other people and dogs. […]

  2. Tina says:

    How do you train an older lab (about 1 1/2 year) who is very timid to feel safe on a leash? Scared too death.