Not all training starts with food rewards. But as your puppy grows they are more food-driven. As a young puppy, we
imprint them by handling them often. And by the time they are weaned from the mother she has also taught them
some basic manners. This is why it is so important that the puppy is with the Mom from birth to weaning age. When
puppies are not raised by the mother and are taken away too soon they can go through some anxiousness. Dealing
with this is also special training that we will not address in this article.
Yes, Labrador Retrievers can be calm.
We use affection training with our young pups. Giving them praise and touching them. This goes a long way to
encouraging them to perform for us. Proper ways of handling puppies are to pick them up and cuddle them. Part of our
routine is grooming with nail trimming and cleaning ears. And to handle them properly during this age helps as your
puppy learns that he or she is being taken care of. When puppies get a little rough with their biting or jumping it is time
to take a time out. Working one-on-one with each pup is important and the puppy learns to respond to how we act.
If they are trying to jump we turn our back. And if they are trying to bite we stop play. Over time a puppy associates
appropriate play with humans. As they play with their siblings they are also learning how to appropriately play with
other puppies. As they get older they also are introduced to adult dogs and it is always amazing how they will know this
Labrador Retrievers respond exceptionally to affection.
Starting with food rewards is usually around the 12-week age. Using food when we reach this age because it is a
fantastic motivator. Take a food reward in your fist and hold it at nose level to your pup. Keep your fist closed tightly
around the treat until your puppy stops trying to get it by pawing, biting, licking, etc. The second he pulls away from
your fist, use a command such as, “Good” or a high five motion and give him one small piece of the food. Repeat the
exercise but this time keep your fist closed until he backs off for two seconds. Continue until he will wait patiently for
you to give him his treat for 5 seconds. Never give him a treat without expecting him to back off first, even if just for a
I use the command “Good” and the high five sign when practicing behaviors by immediately putting my closed fist
with a treat down to his level when he does something correctly, but always wait for him to retreat before opening my
hand. This prevents the bitey, grabbing, pushy behavior so often present in young puppies. It also gives you time to
teach him to take it with a soft mouth. Also I find that the high five motion teaches them to not jump up on me.
Ready to welcome a Labrador Retriever into your family?
If you’re looking for a loyal companion who will love your family unconditionally, then a Labrador Retriever is just the dog you need in your life. We at Siess Ranch specialize in Labrador Retrievers. Feel free to check out our Labrador Retriever Nursery, or give us a call so we can answer any questions.