How best to prepare your young dog for advanced training.
To give your young dog the best chance for success in either of our two programs your pup should be well "Socialized".
"Socializing" a pup requires teaching a specific set of behaviors, and applying appropriate levels of corrections that ensure obedience.
All discipline should be age appropriate.
No barking or biting. Young dogs want your attention; thus, they bark and bite as puppies. Every time a pup either barks or bites he should get an appropriate correction with the command "quiet" or "no". Cute at first, but annoying for everyone else.
Retrieve. Every Lab needs their retrieving instincts developed early. Throw anything to build his desire to retrieve. If the young puppy does not show a desire to fetch, Do what you can. Throw food one kibble at a time. Throw his favorite toy. Build from there.
Swim. Your Lab should enjoy and be comfortable in water. Make water fun. Swimming is best learned as early as possible. Puppies don't splash around when they get into the water, they just swim. Seeing a puppy swim like an old pro is awesome. Go slow and pick warm water. It is best to convince the puppy to swim out and grab something. But if that doesn't work use a lead and walk out with him.
Sit. Teach your pup to "Sit" until he/she is released. At first, you can use food to help teach him to sit. After he learns the verbal command "sit", enforce the command with an appropriate level of correction. Use treats to keep him sitting until you say "Free". At first, have him sit for a short time. Gradually increase the length of time he is to remain on the command "Sit". Use appropriate correction levels to increase the length of time the pup is to remain on the "Sit" command. Only give treats (dog food) when he successfully sits until you release him.
Leash introduction. Puppies need to have experience with a leash and collar. Use appropriate leash corrections to convince your pup not to pull on the leash, bite at it, or bark with frustration because of it.
Our biggest concern is for dogs that have been ignored for long periods of time, especially while being kept in the same enclosure with other dogs during their formable stages of development. It is vital that the pup understands and accepts you as his friend, caretaker, and authority figure. Puppies should start "socializing training" at 8 weeks of age. Or, as soon as you get them home.