Training a Labrador Puppy

By Rena Sherwood

Positive Training Basics

Labradors grow up to be big, strong dogs. You want them to respect you but not fear you, because fear leads to biting. Basically, you want to ignore bad behavior and reward good behavior. Set up a situation in which the puppy is sure to win (such as when he is just about to lie down) and then say, "Down" and give a reward (a treat or a toy). With persistence and time, the puppy learns to look for you for guidance.

Health Basics

Make sure your labrador puppy is eating nutritious food and not sugar-laden treats that could get him hyper. Giving the puppy plenty of play time and at least one brisk, 45-minute walk a day will help burn excess energy. If the puppy can't sit or lie down after a few months, have the vet check for deafness or another illness. Neutering or spaying your puppy will make her calmer and more willing to let you be in charge.


The puppy is most teachable between ages 8 and 14 weeks. In this time, expose the puppy to a variety of activities and calm dogs that have had their vaccinations. Brush the puppy. Have the puppy watch the vacuum cleaner do its job. Give the puppy a short ride in the car. The puppy will also bond with you.

House Training

The puppy will sniff the floor and walk in circles right before she squats. When you see this, scoop up the puppy, take her outside and wait until she squats. Praise her profusely. Eventually, she'll get the idea. It's normal for puppies to have accidents up to 1 year old.
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