When you bring home a cute Labrador puppy, don’t forget that he has some basic needs. You have to start the basics of Labrador training from the very beginning, especially potty training. After all, you wouldn’t want him pooping around the house.
Start housebreaking a Labrador puppy as early as 8 weeks of age, but remember it will take time. Expect your pup to be potty trained by about six months of age. Yes, it almost takes that long because the pup is like a child and needs to be taught to obey you.
It is important for you to understand your pup’s body language. With a little bit of common sense, you will be able to make out when he needs to go out to do his ‘thing’. Don’t assume that your responsibilities are over because you brought him home. You have to spend time with him and understand his needs. It will be very frustrating at first, so you have to be very patient and gentle.
Labrador training can be a very daunting task. You must realize that a pup needs to relieve himself around six times a day. And when it is a pup, it can’t wait till you are ready to take him out. He will learn bowel control to only an extent when he is around twelve weeks of age, so you have to be very prompt in taking it out whenever you feel he is ready to go.
One common mistake during Labrador training is that people lay down newspapers for the pup to do his ‘job’ inside the house because going out so frequently seems like a big bother. This might work when the pup is small, but you will not like to continue the habit and have a big dog squatting inside the house every time he needs to relieve himself. This will only make proper training more difficult for you and the Labrador, as he won’t understand why you keep changing your commands. So from the very beginning, make it a habit to take him out.
Always take your pup out as soon as you get up in the morning and before going off to sleep. Take him out after every meal and try to take him out every hour or so in the beginning. Earmark a spot outside and take him there every time. He might not relieve himself every time, but praise him nonetheless. Take him out especially if he seems excited or starts circling or sniffing around. Once he starts relieving himself at the designated spot, he will realize that is what he is meant to do.
In case you are going to be away at work, you can put your pup in a crate. Dogs usually don’t poop where they sleep, so he will not soil the crate. However, don’t leave him there for long. In case he does soil the crate or goes inside the house, don’t yell at him or push his nose in the mess. Clean up the area nicely, as dogs tend to poop in the same area if they are able to smell it.
Learn to read the signs that your dog is sending out. He may be sniffing the floor, scratching at the door, or standing by and barking near the door. Give him his last meal 1-2 hours before sleeping so that he gets time to relieve himself before you turn in for the night. Follow these simple steps, and your Labrador training will not seem such a daunting task.