Teaching Retriever Commands

Teaching retriever commands is an important part of bonding with your dog. Retrievers are highly social and intelligent dogs and training enhances their natural abilities.

retriever commandsTeaching retriever commands reinforces discipline, makes your life easier and ensures the safety and security of your dog.

Tips on Teaching Retriever Commands

There are a few simple rules to obedience training that, if followed, will make for a happy dog and a satisfied owner.

  • Start training as early as possible. Even a tiny puppy can learn simple commands. It is important to set boundaries early so that a dog grows up with one set of rules.
  • Consistency is paramount. Don’t chop and change the rules. Remember that a retriever is just a dog and will only get confused if he is allowed to do something one day and then not allowed to do it the next day.
  • Patience and repetition. Puppy training takes time so don’t expect too much too soon. You will have to keep repeating the same things until it becomes a habit.
  • Be firm but kind. Your place is the leader and a firm but kind hand will earn your dog’s love and respect.
  • Praise lavishly. Always use positive reinforcement to encourage your dog to try harder. Dogs do not understand language but pick up on tone of voice. Be happy and enthusiastic during training.
  • Keep it short, simple and fun. Treat your puppy like a toddler by keeping the lessons light, simple and, above all, enjoyable when teaching retriever commands

Basic Retriever Commands

There are 3 basic commands that form the bedrock of all future obedience training.

  • Sit command. This is probably the most important command and the one you should tackle first. Put a treat in your hand and make sure your puppy knows it’s there. Hold it above his head and move it back while repeating “sit”. Your puppy will be forced to sit. Praise lavishly and give him the treat. Keep repeating this as often as necessary until he sits on command. Then have him sit before being fed, having a leash put on, for grooming, petting and any other activity.
  • Stay command. As an extension of the sit command, you cannot move on to this until ‘sit’ is mastered. Once again, have a treat and when the puppy is seated, move back a step or two, saying “Stay”, while holding up your hand. If he manages to stay for a few seconds reward him and then gradually increase the time and the distance between you until he stays put for a prolonged period.
  • Come command. You want your puppy to always respond to this command, whatever the distraction, so make sure you spend a lot of time reinforcing it. Use really special treats in the beginning so that he associates immediate compliance with a reward and praise.

When you and your dog have mastered these basics you can move on to leash training and other commands like ‘heel’, ‘down’ and ‘release’. By this stage he will be primed for further training.

Obedience training can be a satisfying and rewarding exercise for both dog and owner. Start teaching retriever commands early and reinforce them often with patience and consistency for a well behaved dog.