A basic training methodology that teaches handy control to your dog is showing him how to focus on you. Clicker training will help you to do this simply by simply bolstering the action when your dog examines you naturally.
The following stages will help you to tune your dog into a clicker and also use it to teach him focus on you. This is a great training technique to use with Labradors and other food incentivized dogs.
- Get ready for each session with a clicker decent number of small treats. Little is better as the dog will get a little taste of the treat which is inducement in itself.
- Press the clicker and immediately give the dog a treat and repeat this a couple of times. This is known as “tuning in”.
- Eventually the dog will expect a treat each time he hears the sound. You can test this by his reaction to the sound. He should look to you right away for reward on hearing the sound irrespective of what else he does. This can take a few sessions of 10 minutes or so at a time.
- When the dog is sufficiently tuned in to the sound only click when he's looking at once at you. Proof this by keeping his attention for varying periods and alternating by amount of clicks used whilst he is having a look at you.
- Introduce your focus word; it can be anything but should be consistent. “Look, watch”, or “focus” are all options.
- If you're having problems getting your dog to look at your face you can slowly move the treat to behind your head. The dog’s eyes should follow it and when he is looking directly at you then click-treat.
When your dog is taught to focus effectively this will be useful in many situations. It's an effective way to control your dog without putting any unjustified force on him.
I hope that this has given you some revelations into how to train a labrador, and you continue on your journey. Good luck!