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Puppy Training - How to Avoid the #1 Puppy Training Mistake of All-Time

Labrador Retriever pups are cute, playful, and soft. And they are extremely gentle. That is the perfect balance of attentiveness and receptiveness.

Puppy Training

Most puppies grow out of this stage, but keep it. Because they are such a huge dog breed, with huge teeth and a thick tail, a big hard growl is not something you need to worry about.

Now it is time to "potty" your new Lab. This is not hard to do, so you have your work cut out for you. Most people recommend the newspaper method for potty training. It is OK to break this rule. But here are few suggestions.

Hand Sanitizes

Start right before you bring puppy home. In the summer your lab will not want to go outside. He will be hot and thirsty and want to be with you. After a short while, start taking him to his potty area. Do not play with him until he has finished. Watch closely. When he has finished, give him a treat and praise him.

If your puppy does not finish on the first try, try to hold him in place with your hands. Get him on his leash and assure him that he is going to the right place. Pull him in the direction you want him to go at the same time. Praise him every time he goes in the direction you want.

Wait until your puppy goes in the same place consistently before introducing him to another command. If he was 10 feet away when you picked him up and he is now at 100 feet, you cannot expect him to stay there.

When your puppy does not go in the same place consistently, you have progressed too fast. Return to a few steps previously until you can begin to bring the game back to where you wanted it to be.

It is OK to use treats now in the early stages, but move to praise and petting later.

What not to do:

  • Do not allow your puppy to play with other puppies. If this is happening with your puppy, pull him back to where he was playing and put him into a different room. This is a scary environment for a puppy and could cause him to become afraid of other dogs.

  • Do not allow him to jump on people without an ask. If you don't ask, he will just jump on anyone. And, given that he is so little and does not understand about what is appropriate and what is not, this is dangerous.

  • Do not stop playing with him until he has finished his task. If he takes longer than three seconds to "do his business," remove the play immediately and move on.

  • Do not expect him to know what you want immediately. Just like children, they have a limited attention span. You have to teach him what you want and even he may have to be trained before everything is working perfectly.

  • Do not punish him for mistakes without knowing why he did it. If you discover a mess two or three days after it happened, he won't understand why you are punishing him.

  • Do not punish him without being told what he did wrong. If he was chewing your favorite shoes, you can certainly find a way to punish him, but without telling him he should drop the shoe. That will only confuse him and make him think he chewed it because he was told to do so.

  • Do not punish him without a chance to explain. If he isn't caught in the act, he won't understand what he is being punished for.

  • If you find out a while after the act, do not punish him. He will not understand what he is being punished for and will eventually start to fear you.

  • If you have found that your puppy has been chewing on something you don't want him to chew on, remove the item and replace it with something he is allowed to chew on. Being patient and consistent will pay off and he will eventually understand.

  • Keep him confined to a room and dog proof it. Replace all electrical cords and other things that can be chewed into pieces. You want to be able to spray them with bitter apple or something similar that will taste bad to him but is not harmful. This will keep him from chewing on things he is not supposed to at the time.

  • Make sure he has plenty of toys. Keep a variety of things for him to chew on at a time. Things that will be fun to chew on include rawhide, rubber toys, a Kong, and Nylabones. You can find all kinds of things at the pet stores. You can also buy things like this at garage sales and flea markets. You will have to make him understand that these are his things and he gets one for his effort.