Adopting a Labrador Retriever from an animal shelter – Part 4
The one magic word that can train your over-excited lab
One reason many Labrador Retrievers are abandoned to animal shelters is because they jumped on small children, knocking them over or scaring them. A lot of people don’t understand how to manage jumping and when their Lab gets big, jumping isn’t so cute anymore.
People don’t know how to deal with it so they give up on the dog. Once a Lab has reached its full adult size, jumping can become a real problem, but that’s also an easy problem to fix. All it takes is one little word: “Sit.”
“Sit” is the solution to over 90% of behavior problems. The sit command is the answer, and it’s the easiest thing in the world to train a dog to do. When a dog is sitting, it can’t be jumping up. Train your newly adopted shelter Lab to sit with big rewards and you’ll see a huge difference in behavior.
Many adult Labs already know the sit command so using it frequently can nip jumping quickly. Even Labs that don’t know the command to sit know how to sit. If you teach the dog to sit on command, you’ve solved all kinds of problems before you ever get to a training class. Labs are so trainable because they want to please you and they want rewards. They really do want to sit for you!
Out of control jumpers
Teaching your dog the “off” command is necessary for those out-of-control jumpers. Jumping up is the way the Lab expresses how desperate it is for attention. The more hyper you get in response to this behavior, the more excited your Lab becomes. Even yelling is attention to your Lab. Teach him that the only time it will get love and attention is when it is sitting. Ignore it when it jumps on you – become a statue, literally.
To teach “off” you will actually want to invite this excitement from your Lab by acting excited yourself. Then, when it jumps up, cross your arms, turn away and quietly say “off.” Then wait – don’t move, talk or make eye contact.
When the dog realizes it’s not getting any sort of attention, positive or negative, it will get back on the floor. Immediately praise him. Your Lab will get bored fast and try something else, like sitting. That’s when you pour on the praise.
After only a few times, if you are quick and consistent, your Lab will learn that it gets what it craves – attention – when all four paws are on the floor instead of jumping all over you.