How to Train a Smart Dog
Now that you have identified that your dog shows signs of amazing canine intelligence, how do you use it to teach them new skills? Training is one of the most important responsibilities of dog ownership, and it can also be one of the most fulfilling parts.
Many dog breeds require their own unique training style, and the same is true of an intelligent Labrador. You will enjoy the most success when training your dog if you can tailor your training methods to their unique way of learning.
Thankfully, Labs are very straightforward to teach things to, and they love to please! This makes them really wonderful partners if training is your goal!
Remember that we talked about how emotionally aware Labrador Retrievers are! This means that you will need to be patient with your Labrador and not allow your own emotions to influence your training sessions.
Nothing derails a training session faster than hard feelings, frustration, or anger. An emotionally sensitive dog like a lab will also mirror your emotions back at you. This means that you need to be aware of your own feelings while teaching your dog new skills or tricks.
Give Them a Job
Labradors are working dogs, and they are also water dogs. Labs almost require a “job” to make them feel content and like they know their place in your family unit. Experienced Lab owners know that their dogs need to feel needed and busy to be happy.
Even if you are not planning to use your Labrador for hunting or agility, it is possible to keep them mentally engaged in other ways. Providing them with a solid daily routine can fulfill this need. Even better, making sure that they are always included in tasks like going to the mailbox, or putting the kids to bed, will make them feel needed and bonded to you and your family.
Praise that is not earned doesn’t mean much to a high-drive dog like a Lab. If you are going to provide praise for a task completed or reward a behavior, make sure that you do it correctly. Because labs are sensitive, genuine verbal praise or a stroke on the head is often more than enough positive reinforcement for them.
Labs can become pushy or overly excitable if they are given praise with a high excited voice. They can also become confused by the overuse of treats to communicate intentions. Remember that these are smart dogs and that they can read your emotions. A smile and a pat on the head can sometimes be far more effective than a treat.