Retrievers are among the most intelligent dog breeds that exist, both golden and Labrador retrievers.
Retriever dog training is VERY easy, as is Labrador training. so they're a great start for new and inexperienced owners.
Also, they're really adorable and ridiculously cute. That'll help you want to train them even more!
Training retriever breeds is easy because they're gun dogs/bird dogs ie originally meant to hunt felled birds. This makes them highly driven and intelligent.
Despite that, they're not hunting dogs unlike beagles ( surprise! ) - they only retrieve (hence the name) so their prey drive to kill isn't particular strong.
That said, despite their natural intelligence, they aren't as smart as us, and are not able to decipher everything we want them to do mentally, and physically. It's thus up to us to guide them, step-by-step into being the dog we want them to be.
As with all dogs, retriever puppy training is far easier than training a full grown adult, so bear this in mind when you adopt/buy a retriever.
But, many people do not know where to start or what to do for training, so here is a short list of 7 things to bear in mind when training your retriever.
1. Be Consistent
Retriever dogs are smart, but they can not always figure out humans that change their mind very often.
Always keep commands the same. E.g. If he does something right twice, and once you reward him and once you get angry, he will not know what to do the next time.
2. Do not Expect Too Much At The Start
Many dog owners have too high expectations. Dogs will not fetch your newspaper the very first day you start training them.
They will also not do all the things Lassie does, either. In fact, Lassie is not even one dog.
3. Teach Difficult Commands in Small Steps
If you do want your dog to fetch your newspaper, start by teaching it not to tear it up first (he'll probably want to do that).
Then teach him to hold it in his mouth at command. Next teach him to give it to you on command. Then teach him to fetch it.
4. Be Positive
If your dog does something you do not want him to, it's not the dogs fault. He's not too dumb, he just does not understand you.
If he does not learn something immediately, take a break and resume training later. He will get it sometime soon.
5. Reward Good Behavior
This trick works with humans, too. Rewarding good behavior works better than getting angry at bad behavior. Give the reward immediately when the dog does something right.
Do not give the same rewards every time: you can give a treat, you can pet him or just award him verbally. "That's a good dog!" A positive tone of voice will do wonders!
6. Do not Make Your Training Sessions Too Long
Retrievers love to play. They'll learn a lot when you'll play with them, but do not train too long. This will be counter productive.
Remember that there is no best training method for Labradors and retrievers.
Although it's not a bad idea to go to a training center with your dog, training sessions are usually a bit too long.
They do this because it's rather inconvenient to have people come over 3 or 4 times a day for 15 minutes. You can teach him all the important things yourself.
If you do want to train your dog, but there's no center nearby, or the times they train are not convenient for you, I would suggest you to buy a book.
It's good to know a bit more about which training methods work best.
7. Have Fun With Your Retriever
The most important thing is to have fun with your dog.
Training retriever dogs is a lot of fun: you'll love to see your dog grow and learn more and more commands.
He loves to please you, and a well trained dog means you'll not get annoyed by any bad behavior. Train him well, but do have fun. That's what you got him for in the first place, is not it?
However, if you need more help, don't hesitate to check out our 5 golden rules of dog training to push your Labrador dog training ideas further!