Important Information about Dog Training

In this part we look at the most important parts of training a dog very shortly. Firstly there is a General part about education and dog training and the second part is about the very basic part of steadines and calmnes, which is not Always easy for a very driven working lab.

There are a lot of questions involved, when being interested in a breed. On this seperate you find FAQ, which might answer some of your questions -> link.(German)
Here you can find information for prospective buyers -> link.

General Training

The Labrador Retriever is a very friendly and sensitive dog, even when he does not look the part because of his wagging tail and joyful exterior. However it must be difficult to control such a big joy of life. Working labs do not work well when pressured and they learn much more quickly and efficiently in a friendly atmosphere.
Often when you train your dog according more traditional methods, you have tell your dog off for mistakes he makes and one tends to ignore the good behaviour he might show. However it would be much more helpful, to help prevent our dogs from making such mistakes just to correct those. And pay attention to the good things they show on their own and praise them for it. By doing so we are getting this good behavior much more frequently and the dog learns that this is in fact what he is supposed to do.
With young dogs I focus on strengthening (using a clicker or marker word) approriate behavior  (e.g. looking at me, loose leash, waiting patiently) and try to avoid with management situations, which could lead to problems on the long run (e.g. food is put away, shoes are put away, have a child gate installed). With enough experience our dog will learn our rules and need less and less management in these situations. Nevertheless I am consequent when setting my rules and limits. But I manage all this without any scare tactics or nuzzle grip in my daily life. This is the key to a nice and fair dog handling. 
The Labrador is not a dog who learns well when pressured as a Certodog® certified dog trainer I look to train my dog appropiate and nonviolent. Therefore I wish that all Bramley tree's keepers will adopt a respectful and patient dog training style according newest research in learning theory. Of course I am happy to help find a suitable dog trainer or can offer my assistance with my own courses on especially the theory course for first time dog owners before the puppy moves in, is a good investment.
I reject aversiv methods, effectivley marketed training methods based solely on either philosophies or expirences of individuals, dog "gurus", dog whisperers oder personality cult etc as well as old fashioned, outdated concepts based on dominance or the idea that the dog because of his heritage is to be treated as wolf.

Calmness and Steadiness

All dogs from a working background tend to like work al lot - working line Labradors are not en exception. Due to that enthusiasm the daily life can be a bit of a challenge. To stay fit and healthy our dog needs to sleep between 17 - 20 hours - also our FT Labrador. Yound dogs need their relaxation times a lot to cope with all the new thing they experience throughout the waking hours. However those young dogs sometimes do not see de need to sleep because everything else is much more interesting and they could miss out. Therefore it is our duty to help them realise, that there is no need to miss out on those ever so important sleeping periodes. Sensible kennel training can be a very useful tool in that case.
The dog has also to learn to relax and stay calm outdoors, even with cars, trains or people passing by. The biggest praise is when after a nice meal in restaurant the people sitting at the next table tell you:" Ohhhh, we did not even notice there was a big dog there!" when you leave the place with Maura. A well trained dog does not draw any attention and is therefore a easy to handle everyday companion. This makes our life much easier and it also ideal for our role as dog owners in the society. 
Other than our bond and the basic training the first year should be used to show our dogs, that the world is a boring place. Instead of playing with ever dog wildly and without measure or too long and tiring embossing walks it is much better in the long run to find a nice spot and sit there and just view what is happening around you quietly. Consistenly I reward the good behaviour and make the situation more and more difficult by reducing the distance to the interesting situation. Because of their speed and quick learing very often working breeds are trained too quickly in respect of their "job/hobby", while the everyday habituation is not taken care of sufficiently and the calmness suffers. Working is what the Field Trial Labrador want to do more than anything, they do not have to learn that - to train for the "hobby" there will be more than enough time later on. To get a already worked up Lab relaxed and calm again is much more challenging.
For the Labrador Retrievers original use as a hunting compangnion it was essential that they were very quiet. They needed to wait calm and patient next to their handler until needed. This so called steadiness is very useful in everday life, however it does not come natural to all Labs. There are some, who are very much at ease and keep a cool head all the time, but there are also those who have to learn that first. Most important is a slow and careful Progress without any overstress. I recommend to read some books about retriever training early on and find a competent dog trainer. Of course I can assist in that process.
Book tipps (nur einige Beispiele):
  • Dog Sense - John Bradshaw
  • Auf ins Leben!: Grundschule für Welpen – Imke Niewöhner