Training a Retriever Puppy

Training a retriever puppy is easy when you know how. Retrievers are wonderfully affectionate dogs with a desire to please.

training a retriever puppyTraining provides mental stimulation as well as strengthening the bond between dog and owner. It should begin as soon as possible and be a lifelong practice.

Training a Retriever Puppy the Right Way

There’s a right way to go about training and a wrong way. Start out on the right foot by following these guidelines:

  • Be the pack leader. When a dog joins your family he thinks he is joining a pack. His instincts will kick in and he will look for a pack leader. If you do not promptly and firmly step into that role he will assume that he has to fill it himself. This is just the natural order of things. The leader gets to do everything first, like eating and going out the door. He also gets the best of everything. If your dog gets confused over this issue, it is your responsibility to put it right. You are in charge of the food, the training and the rules. Your dog, as a dependent, needs to understand this.
  • Be firm, but kind. Whilst it is important to be the leader, it is equally important to be a kind and loving leader. Fairness, patience and affection will take you a lot further than bullying and punishment. The goal is to earn your dog’s respect, not his fear.
  • Accentuate the positive. Using a reward system of treats and praise to celebrate each little success is a sure fire way to motivate your pup to please you. This creates a win-win situation where the dog feels loved and confident and the owner sees results fast.
  • Be predictable. Nothing confuses a dog more and gets in the way of successful training than inconsistency. Simple, short commands applied consistently and repetitively are the answer.

Tips on Training a Retriever Puppy

  • Train when your dog is hungry. I am not suggesting you starve the pup, but rather that you train before feeding and not after. He will then be more motivated and compliant.
  • Short frequent training is best. Puppies have the attention span of a gnat, so don’t try for more than 5 -10 minutes at a time, repeated frequently during the day.
  • Clicker training. Using a clicker can get good results fast. Get some treats ready and with clicker in hand, click and treat when the puppy approximates the behaviour you are trying to teach. Say you want him to sit on his mat. Reward him at first for going anywhere near the mat, then actually getting on the mat. When he lies down on the mat you can praise lavishly and get him a really special treat.

Dog training is really very simple when you approach it from the dog’s point of view and start thinking like a dog. Training a retriever puppy can be simple too if you are patient, consistent, realistic and kind.