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Chocolate lab training

Discussion in 'Clicker Training' started by MRROSTREVOR, Jun 4, 2018.

  1. MRROSTREVOR

    MRROSTREVOR Registered Users

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    Hi has anyone successfully trained an English Show dog chocolate Labrador. I have one for two years and cannot get him to do very much. I,m beginning to believe that what they saw about this breed is correct, that they are neigh on impossible to train. Is this true. I,d really appreciate some help.
     
  2. snowbunny

    snowbunny Registered Users

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    Hello and welcome!

    I have a lovely show-bred bitch who is 19 months old and a complete superstar. She's a bit bonkers, for sure, but so were my other two at this age, and they're a black and yellow from field lines. My girl's parents both have their stud book numbers and her sire won his class at Crufts for the second year running. Most of my breeder's dogs work throughout the hunting season and enter working tests - and they are majority chocolate, show-bred. So, no, I'm afraid it's not correct that they aren't trainable :)

    We only dabble with gundog training, but here's Squidge at a year of age doing a nice long memory retrieve:



    Maybe if you told us a little bit more about what you're trying to train your boy and how you're trying to do it, we'll be able to give you some tips :)
     
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  3. MRROSTREVOR

    MRROSTREVOR Registered Users

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    I have tried to teach him to walk by my side on loose lead, fetch,drop,come,stay,stop.I have been using treats and clicker to no avail. He will come only when he is ready to. He will walk on loose lead for 2 seconds then it,s back to pulling. he will not respond to stop, he will respond to stay and do this quite successfully.
     
  4. snowbunny

    snowbunny Registered Users

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    OK, how about you explain what a normal training session looks like? When our dogs are struggling it's normally just because we're asking them for too much, too soon.

    The reasons that dogs don't perform a behaviour when we ask are really very simple:
    1. The dog doesn't understand what is being asked;
    2. The dog isn't properly motivated to perform the behaviour;
    3. The environment is too distracting.

    So, we have to ensure we set them up for success by practicing a lot - and I mean a LOT - in a low distraction environment before we think about taking it "on the road". By setting them up for success, we give ourselves the opportunity to reward them a lot, which builds a very strong "reinforcement history", which in turn gives the dog his motivation to perform the behaviour without the presence of a bribe. We need to practice this in increasingly distracting environments, making it easier in other ways every time we increase the distraction. The "three Ds" of training are:
    1. Distance;
    2. Duration;
    3. Distraction.
    Every time we make one of them harder, we have to make the others easier and often go back a few steps in our training process so we're making things really clear to the dog.

    This process of making it gradually more complicated is called "proofing". Here is an article about proofing recall: https://www.thelabradorsite.com/proofing-your-labradors-recall/

    Really, it just sounds like you're expecting too much and have to go right back to basics - and stay there a while. It's so easy to rush on before the dog is ready but by doing so, you set him up for failure and both of you up for frustration.
     
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  5. Joy

    Joy Registered Users

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    My last dog was a chocolate Lab and I didn’t do a lot of training with him, but he could certainly walk properly on a lead, come when he was called and stay in one place until released.

    There are lots of ways to teach a dog to walk on a loose lead. The video links I’ve given show a method I’ve used recently when helping someone else with their dog - and it worked amazingly well. Be patient with the videos - the dog is being trained in real-time so it seems quite slow at first. the videos show a progression.







    I taught my current dog to walk on a loose lead, when she was a puppy, by having her off lead and just on for a short time - seconds at first - and rewarding her with food. So she would be on and off lead multiple times during an outing, and to start with only on lead where it was easy (so no other dogs around etc). gradually I lengthened the time on lead and added distractions.

    Another dog I’ve worked with recently (an adult Lab who pulled very hard) - I made lead walking exciting and unpredictable as well as using food. So I took one step, turned quickly, gave food, ran a few steps, gave food, did a sit, gave food, turned and walked a couple of steps - released (still on lead) to go sniff (as this dog finds that very rewarding). Again it has worked - he no longer needs to wear a headcollar when I walk him.
    He’s been the hardest dog, probably because he’s quite old and he’s not mine. I have to really be engaging and concentrate.

    As regards coming when called, the book Total Recall is brilliant - it gives a complete training program and works.
     
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  6. Naya

    Naya Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    It is about being consistent too. If one day you give in and let him pull, and the next day persist with walking nicely, he won’t understand what you want.
    I had to go back to basics when Harley was just over a year old as she pulled horrendously. The first week we only ever got as far as up our drive and half way across next doors driveway. It took another few weeks to get to the end of our cul de sac (about 8 houses!). For her daily walks we went in the car and she was off lead so as not to give her mixed messages. It took me about 2-3 months to be able to walk to and from our local shops (approx 10 min walk each way) without pulling. It took lots of treats, consistency and patience. I gave her treats ever other step to start with and over time gave them randomly.
    I used a head collar to start as I have spinal injuries so couldn’t have her pull and slowly moved to a back fastening harnes and eventually to a normal lead and collar.
    It does take a lot of time, but every night we do a walk around the block which takes about 20-30 mins and it is so enjoyable.
     
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