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The Complete Guide to Training a Labrador Puppy

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This book will help you train your pet. You can do that by learning how to call them, no matter what the dog is doing or where they are.

In this article, I will show you how to train your dog to come when you call him with my Get it! Pair it! Teach it! Dog training system. This is a step-by-step approach with exercises. It is friendly and easy for you too.

Imagine your dog running towards you with his ears blowing in the wind after hearing a single ‘toot’ of your whistle. It is a warm sight. But many dogs do not come when they feel like it. Or they won’t come at all because you don’t let them close enough to see the whistle sometimes. This is wrong,

Is this for dogs or puppies?

When people used harsh and uncompromising techniques to train dogs, we trained adult dogs differently from puppies. But now we don’t need those things. It is terrible to correct your dog when he is trying to come back after being called. This will make him want to stay away from you even more.

In modern dog training, you use positive reinforcement. So you can start training your puppy on the first day that you bring them home. And the exercises that I will give to you are for puppies and dogs alike.

The Labrador recall training is appropriate for dogs of all ages.

Training a new dog is more manageable than teaching an older one. A new puppy has not had time to get into bad habits, and they want to follow their people. Older dogs can be trained, too. Although the technique may take a little longer, it is unaltered for your dog’s age.

My dog won’t come when he’s called!

Dogs will come when you call them, but they might not always listen. So this is an excellent command to have. If your dog doesn’t come when he is called, don’t worry. We can help him learn that command and make sure that he listens next time you call him.

When you pick up the phone to call your dog, this is not the view you want to see.


this is not the view you want to see when you call your dog

Retraining with a new command

We’ll look at training a dog with a lousy recall and starting over. The procedure is the same, but if you’re not using a puppy that’s younger than six months old, you’ll need to come up with a new command or signal to carry out what you want. This is preferable to attempting to repair an abandoned order that no longer works.

Creating a trained response

Dogs don’t come when they haven’t been trained enough. That means that the dog doesn’t understand what you want it to do, so it won’t respond to you. Training a dog is like training people. We introduce the dog by rewarding good behaviors and punishing bad ones. We work on this in phases:

  1. Get It
  2. Pair It
  3. Teach It
  4. Proof It
  5. Maintain It

We will do one thing at a time. Once you have trained your dog to come when you call him, he won’t ask himself, “is it worth it?” He will just come.

Choose your cue!

Dog trainers today are using the word ‘cue’ instead of command. The word cue means that you signal your dog, and he does something specific in response, like running towards you when you whistle.

The cue you pick is up to you. For example, you can choose a word that means ‘come’ like ‘here.’ Or it could be a whistle. Or you can train your dog to come when they hear two different cues like the word ‘come’ and a whistle.

When the dog is closer to you, tell him, “come.” When he is farther away, use the whistle. That’s OK. You can do that for now.

A word about No Fun Recalls

Many dogs have a hard time coming. They only associate the word ‘come’ with bad things, so they do not want to say it or hear it. However, you can train a dog to say “come” and then give them a treat when they arrive.

  • Going home
  • Being put on the lead
  • Being told off
  • The end of the walk
  • Being patted on the head
  • Being told “good dog” in a monotone

You may think it is friendly to pet a dog on the head, but most dogs don’t really care. This is because they get nothing of any value from this. Praise alone has not proven to affect a dog’s conduct in studies. Affectionate physical demonstrations, such as stroking, are required.

So you can see, we have a problem. Your dog does not like coming to you, or it is not fun for them. So you need to make running towards you the best thing that happens to your dog all day, every day.

The first stage of training is to get a behavior. Then you need to capture it in some way and make it suitable for the dog. Finally, you decide what you want and make sure that happens. Let’s see how that works in practice.

Stage 1: Get It! – Making Recall enjoyable

The Recall is a way to get your dog to come back. You need to get your dog’s attention, and then they will come back. Use food, games, being funny, or anything else you can think of. But do not use the cue word involved in the recall command.


a body harness may come in handy at stage four

At stage four, you’ll want a body harness to help support your back.

This isn’t about barking commands that you won’t be able to enforce or saying anything of substance to your dog. This is all about one thing: getting your dog to follow you. Dogs are eager, and dogs enjoy chasing.

What you’ll need at the beginning of Stage 1 is as follows:

  • Very tiny pieces of delicious (to the dog) food
  • A container for the meal that is portable

We use treats to train, but it is not the right word for this. We want real food because we will give them a lot of it. And we don’t want our dogs eating junk food.

Training treats for puppies.

Young puppies (under 3 months old) like you and think that you are the best. They will be happy if they can get close to you and eat some food while sitting on your lap. It’s good that puppies can eat their own food in training so long as you subtract the amount from what they would get if they didn’t.

Use high-value food for older puppies and adult dogs

For older dogs, it is best to give them food that is high in value. This usually means messy food. You can use cooked meat cut into tiny chunks or cubes. It should not be much bigger than a small bean. Try:

  • Roast chicken
  • Roast beef
  • Cheese

Don’t forget your treat bag.

You will need a bag to put your treats in. It needs to attach with a belt, around your waist, or just go in the pocket of your clothes. You will also need to bring some lovely treats that smell and taste great. Your dog. If you forget it, then your recall training will not work for today. And never, in the early stages, let running towards you end in anything other than an excellent experience for your dog.

Where and when to train your dog

Before you start training with Stage One:

  1. Read all the instructions carefully. This includes the common mistakes that people make.
  2. Make sure you have treats and your dog and find a quiet place to train.
  3. Try to start with ample space in the house, like the living room. If you have a yard, you can train in your yard.

Ample space is good, so you will not be distracted by anything else. And if it is too cold or hot outside, stay inside.

Walking Away (Stage One) – Walking away is one of the training techniques

Wait until your dog is standing by you and not distracted. Then, wait for him to turn his head and look at you. When he does, say “come” quietly. As soon as your puppy starts to move closer, you should carry out more quickly so they can catch up. Then turn towards them and give them a treat when they reach you.

If he is a little puppy, put him on your lap and make him feel like the most important dog in the world. Then, give him tiny pieces of food. This can seem simple, but it is essential. Do not skip this step; spend several days on it.

Common mistakes at Stage One

We have barely started. But I will talk about mistakes. Most mistakes happen early on, but once you understand the process, you will make fewer mistakes. Do not make any of these six errors:

  • Bribing the dog
  • Moving towards the dog
  • Giving your recall cue
  • Trying to cope without food or with low-value food
  • Training around distractions
  • Training a full dog

Don’t bribe the dog

Keep your treats out of sight. Don’t wave them around or shake the bag. This will make your dog want to come near you because he wants a treat, but it will not work when you can’t bribe him anymore.

Bribing a dog with food is not an excellent way to make friends. The dog will only follow you if it wants to, and the food won’t make it want to follow you any more than it already does. So wait until after the dog has followed you before giving it some of your food.

Don’t move towards the dog.

Dogs love to be chased. So if you follow your dog or take a single step towards him, he’s in charge. Don’t do that because then he is in control and only does what he wants. If your dog comes to you, then he will get an enormous reward!

Don’t tell your dog to ‘COME.’

If you call your dog and he doesn’t come, you will make his brain forget what you want him to do. So don’t say “come” or any variation of it. Instead, if the dog doesn’t come more than twice, make a new signal like shaking a toy or throwing a ball.

Don’t try to cope without food.

Many people do this. Don’t fall into that trap. You may be thinking about how to reward your dog with praise and a pat on the back when they do something good. But that is not a good idea.

Some people say that using food in training is cheating. But I think it’s the fastest and best way to train a dog. You can use food to get them to come when you call them, for example.


coming to you should be the best fun ever for your dog

You’ll be able to take your dog with you everywhere, and it will have a blast!

Some people do not want to carry a heavy bag. Some people don’t want to make small pieces of meat. But this is what you get if you pay for it. If you want a good recall, buy special treats. Leave the biscuits in the cupboard.

Don’t train around distractions.

No distractions mean no distractions right now. Later, we’ll add them in a planned way. But for now, keep it simple and make sure you do not have any distractions like your phone or other people around.

Do not train a dog that has just eaten.

We are using food as the reward for the behavior we want. So it is not good to train a dog with food within the last hour or two. He will like your treats more if he is hungry. Now you know what to do, so let’s talk about when things don’t work out as planned.

What if the dog won’t follow you?

Sometimes your dog might not look at you. This means that they are bored with you. You can make a noise or wave your arms around to get them excited. Then, when the dog starts to move towards you, turn away and walk in the opposite direction.

Did you Get It!

Did your dog follow you or even run after you? And did you give him something special as a reward? If so, then great! You need to do this again as many times as you can for five minutes.

Keep practicing

You need to do the training session 3-5 times every day for a week. During this week, you should not use your new recall cue at all.

Avoiding issues

If you need to let your dog walk out of a leash:

  1. Use his old memory.
  2. Don’t call this person unless you need to.
  3. Don’t go into areas where you know that you will not be able to get out.

If he is naughty, you give him another chance.

Keep your dog on a leash when you are walking him.

You can also do a walk turn. It is an excellent technique to keep your dog closer to you while walking in the early stages of training.

You are ready to do Stage One. This is easy and can be finished quickly. Your dog will learn that coming with you is a good thing. They will see you as more fun. Now you are ready to Pair It!

Stage 2: – Pair It! Giving your cue a meaning

Your dog may know what a “come” is in this language. To him, “come” just means a sound. It does not mean anything yet. You will teach him what it means by using the rule that you should not say “come” unless your dog already knows how to come when he hears it.

If you start saying COME or whatever your new command is to your dog at this moment, he will not come. So you’re back where you started with a word that your dog understands as disobedience.

Keep your dog’s treat gentle. For example, allow your dog to come to you only when they are running towards you. After this phase, your dog will understand that the word COME means “dashing toward me.” After this stage, give them a reward.

Equipment at Stage Two

  • A whistle

A whistle can be a helpful tool for dog training. For example, it is a clear and consistent sound that you can hear from a distance, even in windy weather. It is also good because you don’t have to worry about other people calling your dog before he is ready.

How to blow your whistle

A whistle cue is a sound that tells a dog to come. You can have as many pips as you want. I usually use two, but sometimes I use three or four pips. Just be consistent and make the same sound each time you whistle for your dog.

“Give your whistle cue” means to use the number of pips you have chosen. Then, if you want, you can just say a word.

When and where to train your dog

Keep your dog away from anything that might distract him. Don’t let him change his mind and go play. Do not let him chase squirrels after you give the cue.

Training instructions at Stage Two – Developing the Connection

You will teach your dog or puppy that the word COME or your whistle cue means to run fast towards you. You do this by pairing them together. You can use repetition, like saying the word COME over and over again or checking in with your pup.

2A is initiating the Recall.

If you want your dog to come when you call for him:

  1. Wear a whistle around your neck and put it in your mouth.
  2. When the dog is not looking at you, get his attention.
  3. Take one step away from him. If he comes to you, give the whistle once.

Do the exercise over and over.

2B check-ins

Dogs should be interested in you. They will want to know where you are and what you’re doing. For example, you might be walking, and then your dog will come near to see if he needs anything. This is called a check-in.

Grab the opportunity when your dog comes to you. Blow the whistle and throw him a treat. Check-ins are an excellent way to reward your dog for paying attention to you. Avoid these common mistakes!

Common mistakes at stage 2

  • Giving the recall cue too early
  • Getting mean with rewards
  • Not having your whistle in your mouth

When you want your dog to come back, don’t use the recall cue until the dog is coming towards you. If he changes his mind at this point, it will be too late. However, you should not stop rewarding him when he’s starting to learn how to come back.

With a whistle around your neck, you can’t get it out of your pocket. This takes too long and is not suitable for training. Instead, keep the whistle in your mouth when you are training so that you can get it quickly.

Regular training practice at Stage Two.

Practice until you and your dog know what to do. Then, you should keep practicing even though you are not giving commands yet. Keep at it for a week or two or longer if your dog has had problems with running away. Younger puppies should practice for shorter times so they can learn as well as older dogs.

Did you connect it? If so, you’re ready to teach it.

Stage 3: Teach It! -You teach your dog to respond to the command by training him.

When you say “OK” or whistle, your dog will do something. You will have to teach it what the word means. Make sure you are in a quiet place so that you can learn better.

Training instructions at stage three

When your dog is paying attention to you but not actually coming near you, give a cue. No matter what, he will probably go to you for a reward. Make sure that the prize is ready.

What if he doesn’t arrive?

If your dog does not come when called, you must do two things.

  1. If you ever see a dog, run away from it. Act silly and clap your hands. Maybe make some noises that the dog is not used to hearing. If this gets the dog moving towards you, then be nice to it when they get there!
  2. Then go back to Stage two for a week before trying again.

You need to use a high-value reward to motivate your dog. If you don’t, then they will not respond automatically. So you have to give them the prize, so they know what you want from them.

Surprise recalls

The next step is to make sure you call your dog when he is not expecting it. This way, the dog will not get distracted easily and will come when you call him. Call him from another room or garden or bed. Make it worth his while every time!

Common mistakes at stage three

  • Repeating the cue
  • Offering a bribe

Don’t give your dog the command twice if they don’t come. You have seen people jump up and down or say “come here” until their dog comes. We don’t want to go there. So one command, one response is the rule.

It is essential to show your dog the food and not beg or bribe him. This will be easy if you have adequately prepared. If you have trained your dog and made an association between running toward you and a signal, this stage will be easy to go through.

Practice regularly

Be confident. You have a lot of advantages when it comes to your puppy coming. Puppies almost always come when you call them from inside your house or yard. Practice in these friendlier, more straightforward situations before moving on to Stage Four.

Stage 4: Proof It! – training your dog to respond under distractions

This is the part of training where you teach your dog to come. You train them in different places and with all kinds of things happening around them. This is formally known as Proofing Recall. It takes a long time and separates well-trained dogs from dogs that don’t have a good memory.

Teaching your dog to come in all sorts of places and conditions is known as proofing. Obedience is all about proofing. During proofing, you perform the actions listed below.


Proofing means teaching your dog to come in all kinds of locations and different situations

Equipment at Stage Four

  • A training lead or long line
  • A body harness

During the proofing process, you will be teaching your dog to resist distractions. You teach them slowly so that they can get used to it. But there is a chance that you might make a mistake and go too quickly.

A long line can help you keep your dog from getting a reward if they disobey. The best way to attach the dog to the long line is with a harness. A slip leads or chokes chain with a long rope attached is no longer a safety risk.

Instructions at Stage Four

Stage Four is when you make a list of different places that your dog should come. Write down the different things you want your dog to do at those places. For example, you’ll need to teach him how to forget about:

  • Food
  • Other dogs
  • People, including children

To remember where he might go, he will need to be able to recall all of the places you have taken him.

  • At the dog park
  • On the beach
  • In the forest

This person will need to be good at doing different things. In addition, they should be able to do them from far away.

  • 5-10 yards
  • 20-50 yards
  • 50 yards and more

For a dog to understand words, they need to be taught separately. Unfortunately, dog owners usually don’t do this, and it is wrong. For example, for the dog to understand ‘come’ at the park, you have to teach them in different situations.

Start with the most accessible item on the list.

You need to make a list. Start with the most straightforward task first. Then, you can set up fake things that your dog will see or do for each item on your list, so he understands what you want him to do.

  1. An opponent can’t get points when they are not next to you. They will only move towards the direction of your ball in the game.
  2. When he reaches you, he gets a fantastic reward.

Coming away from food

If you want to call your dog away from something he wants, like food, start by giving him a treat. This way, you can control your dog and get what you want.

Coming away from people

If your dog is not friendly with people, you should teach him to come away from people before instructing him to go away from other dogs. For this, you will need a helper. Start with the helper far away from your dog. Give your dog extra special treats at the beginning of training sessions for obedience training. The idea is to:

  • Raise the dog’s motivation
  • Reduce the distraction

To make things more difficult for him gradually.

Access to rewards – manage your dog.

Soundproofing is hard work. But if your dog does something they are not supposed to do after you give them a signal, and they enjoy doing it, then all the work will be undone.

Sometimes when people train their dogs, they throw in some distractions. Take notice of what’s going on around you and see if your dog gets interested in them. If you think he might run off, move away from the distraction or put on his harness and long line so that you can control him better.

Work your way through the items on your list one at a time.

You’ll find that your dog gets quite excited whenever you start a new item on the list. Therefore, it is essential to go through each item on the list until your dog responds automatically and reliably. Once this happens, start using less exciting rewards. Even if you do not want to reward your dog, sometimes just say no.

The proofing process is lengthy. Usually, it takes months to finish. But that’s OK! At the end of it, you have an obedient dog who knows his commands and will obey them when you tell him to. All that is left now is maintenance for the rest of his life. This brings us to Stage Five.

Stage 5: Maintain It! – keeping your Recall intact

Most people don’t have too much trouble with Stage Five. But some people make mistakes. One of the most common mistakes is not giving the dog a reward for completing the training.

You can teach your dog to stay at a certain level of obedience with rewards. You will need to do this slowly and carefully. It is not good if you go too far or too quickly.

When can I quit rewards?

Quitting rewards will make your dog stop listening to you. It means that your pet stops responding. This wastes all the work you did to train him. So do not quit rewards, or he will stop listening to you.

Changing rewards

Different dogs like different things. Some will feel really happy with a game with a ball or cuddling. But some other dogs would rather not have that kind of thing. You can also give your dog treats by giving them chances to play with another dog or play games.

Jackpot rewards

An excellent way to keep your dog’s Recall sharp is to give him a jackpot. A jackpot is a particularly excellent or ultra-special reward that comes seldom and simultaneously.

How long does it take to teach your dog a recall?

People often ask how long it takes to train a dog to come when you call. It takes about 6 weeks from start to finish.

But of course, we all have different starting points. The time it takes will depend on how long it takes to get to the finishing point.

  • The age of your dog
  • His previous recall history
  • His temperament
  • How many training sessions do you create
  • The kinds of situations you want him to recall in
  • How many mistakes do you make?

Some dogs learn fast, and those that don’t may take longer to train. For example, if a dog ran away for six months, it would take six months to prepare. If a dog runs away for a year, it might take one year to break the habit. However, some dogs will learn faster than others.

You will have three stages after the beginning. It will take only a few weeks to do those. After that, it should take months for proofing. With a puppy and not too many mistakes, you should have strong Recall in distracting situations by eight or nine months old. Some puppies might get there sooner, some later.

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