Labradors are made to go to fetch and go back to their owners after retrieving the object. However, owners need to understand that dogs have their own individuality apart from their breed. The dog can choose not to follow the actions of their ancestors so it’s a better move to trust training than the dog’s genetics.
Genetics of retrieving
Many Labrador owners claim that their dog understand how to fetch and retrieve more easy compared to other breeds. Labradors is a type of sporting breed that has been used since the early 1800ss to drive away birds from hiding. After the bird has been shot by their owners, they would retrieve the bird and bring it to their owner.
Trained hunters still utilize the aid of Labradors in hunting because they make things easier and more manageable. Many suburban owners also enjoy the company of the Labrador and the breed’s natural retrieval skills are used for more relaxed games such as fetch or frisbee.
However, the retrieval instinct of the Labrador is not always evident in every puppy because some dogs are slow learners when it comes to the game of fetch.
Why do you need to teach the retrieve?
Teaching and training your Labrador how to fetch and retrieve toys is a great way to build a bond while releasing the puppy’s pent-up energy. Labrador owners understand that it is important to release the dog’s pent-up energy to make them feel more relaxed at home.
Not every owner has the time to go for a jog with their dog so playing fetch is a good alternative for jogging. Since everyone is busy playing fetch with your dog is a good activity because you can relax while your dog is getting an exercise. Retrieval game is an interactive activity that helps improve the communication and bond between dog owners and their dog.
Squashing the natural retrieve in puppies
Playing fetch with a Labrador puppy is easy, you throw the toy and they would naturally race it down and try to bring it to you. However, if you get too overjoyed and excited that they are retrieving the object, you do it again and again. Remember that the puppy who keeps chasing it gets less and less enthusiastic each time you throw it. In the end, the dog would only stare at you after you threw the object.
Many puppies in their early years naturally gifted with some or all of the steps in retrieve. The only problem is when their owner keeps on repeating the act, they get bored from it. A good tip for dog owners who has a puppy that can naturally retrieve a toy, ensure that you do not engage your dog in a game of fetch too much until they are sick of it.
Since puppies have a less stamina and focus compared to other dogs, asking them too retrieve too many times can be draining. The dog would start to perceive the game of fetch as a work rather than an enjoyable time so they do not want to do it as an adult. Remember that it is important to leave the dog wanting more every game or training so that they will not get bored from it.
Focus on positive training methods
Dog training has evolved and come a long way from the past because trainers managed to create various training styles effective for different types of breed. Trainers in the past only used methods such as ear pinches and forcing objects into the mouth of the dogs to retrieve it.
Old methods can get the results that the dog owns want but it can destroy the bond between the owners and the dog. Through research, we have learned so much about dog behavior and ways to teach them. Since dogs are willing to work for a reward, it’s better to focus on positive training tactics.
Event marker training
Clicker training is a famous training method because it gets the desired result without breaking the bond between the dog owners and their beloved dogs. Clicker is a form of positive reinforcement because it uses a click to mark the moment where the dog followed the desired action of their owner.
Through the clicker, it allows the dog to take a snapshot of the correct behavior then receiving a treat afterwards. It tells the dog that after the event marker, the behavior they just did deserves a reward.
The clicker method is effective because owners cannot always give a reward to their puppy at the exact second, they did the desired behavior. With the help of the clicker, it helps them remember the action they did before getting the reward.
Breaking down the fetch and retrieve
The fetch and retrieve may look like one fluid motion but in reality, it consists of smaller steps that the dog must connect together to accomplish the desired action. If the Labrador does not naturally retrieve the object, teach and break down each segment before connecting each action.
However, if the Labrador can do a partial retrieve, skip the steps they already know and focus on the other actions that needs more breaking down.
Before the start of the training, figure out the favorite toy of your dog and designate it as their fetch today. Remember that the dog should not play with it except during training so keep it out of reach.
Breaking down the steps
The initial part of training is making the dog sit politely before the starting the game so it can be a challenge because they are excited for the toy. Next is making them chase the toy which is easier than the first step because dog have an ingrained desire to chase things that are running away from them.
As they chase the toy, teach them to pick it up through their mouths which is also an easier step because puppies naturally pick things through their mouth. After picking the toy up train them to hold the toy by increasing the time that they are biting into it. Lastly, make sure that your Labrador understand that after holding the toy, they need to bring it to you.