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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

10-Month Lab Old Won't Come

I am a new black lab owner. It seems like you have done a very good job of training yours. I was hoping to get some advice about getting my 10 month pup to come. She will sit and come when she is on the leash but when she's off her nose takes over and her brain shuts down. Do you have any tips for getting her to come. Thank you
~ Jordan B.

Yes, our Labs are very well trained and the most important thing when training is to remember that it is never too early to start. That doesn't mean that older Labs cannot do well with training; just that they may be a little more difficult and take a little more time because they have become set in their ways.

Training to "come" when off leash can be tricky because you are missing the control that a leash offers. Our Dakota does very well when off lead, however, Cheyenne had to be worked with. Here is what we did with Cheyenne that worked very well.

First, start working with the "come" command while on a 6ft leash. You will want to have someone or something distract your pup's attention from you and then you give them command. Say the command once and reinforce it by pulling the pup towards you if it doesn't listen. Once it gets to you, give it praise and a treat (if you treat). Keep doing this whenever you have the pup on a leash to reinforce the training. Once the pup does this well on a 6ft lead, then you can move to a longer lead. Try using a long rope and tie it to the end of the leash. When you call the pup, give it a second to heed your call. If it doesn't come, then reel it in very fast towards you until it is right in front of you. Then praise and treat. Remember, the praise must be like you are celebrating a birthday or something. Use a very excited and high pitch voice.

Secondly, you can make it into a game while using a leash, long rope, or even when the pup is off the lead. For example, if Cheyenne is in the backyard and does not listen when I tell her "inside", I will use a high pitch voice as though I am playing a game and say something like "Come on. Quick, quick, quick, quick..." She thinks it is a game and comes running towards me and inside the house. After a while, you can start to wean off of this type of excitement when the pup starts to understand how happy you are when it performs the "come" command. If you choose to treat, you can start weaning off of those as well. At first you can give them every time the command is performed and then every other time and so on. The last thing you want to do is have your Labrador Retriever perform only for treats because when you are all out of treats, you are all out of luck.

One final note - remember that you are in control and that your training must be persistent and consistent. If you allow your pup to get away with not listening to you some times when you use a command, it will begin to not listen to you when you really mean it. Even if you think the action is cute (as most puppies are), hold fast to the training and correct the pup immediately. There is always time to laugh later; but training and corrective action must be immediate.

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Blogger Girasol said...

I trained my humans so well.

April 24, 2007 10:39 AM  

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