The decision to get a new addition to the pack can certainly become one of the most exciting events in the family. Once you have made up your mind to get a Lab, you have just triggered a cascade of events and tasks which are often easily said than done. It is not simply going to the breeder and picking the cutest puppy from the litter and bringing it home.
An amazing collection of advice for new or soon-to-be Lab owners. All of the advice has was contributed from our community members who shared invaluable information on Labs for all stages of ownership from before the purchase of a puppy, to training, health, general care and grooming. This is a fantastic resource for people facing puppy/obed/temperment issues with either their puppies and even for more-established Labs.
Pinch Collar Tutorial:
With guidance, the Pinch collar can be your salvation (it sure was ours!).
1) It must fit correctly. Meaning it must be snug so's not to fall down around the dog's chest, but not too snug that it pinches 100% of the time.
2) It must be worn UP around the ears. Also, be careful putting it on and taking it off. Use the same ring every time (mark it w/a piece of electical tape) so that it becomes easier. And I would not use the breakaway pinch collars, as they tend to, well, breakaway, even when you don't want them to.
3) Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever use a Pinch collar w/out you or someone responsible on the other end of the leash.
4) THE LEASH/LIVE RING MUST BE KEPT LOOSE INBETWEEN CORRECTIONS.
5) Pincher collar is a goodcop/badcop training tool, meaning the collar is badcop, You MUST be goodcop. When teaching, be sure to PRAISE the good stuff while the collar corrects the bad stuff!
6) Unlike a G/L or Halti, Pinch can be used to teach more than heel. In fact, it's pretty good at helping you teach the auto-sit, down, etc. etc.
7) A Pinch collar isn't a way of life. When your dog has learned what you wanted him to learn, graduate back to a buckle collar (maybe a choke chain first, THEN to a buckle) and retire the pinch to the bottom of your training bag.
Alhough it may look like a midevil torture device, it is not. And although your dog may yelp when it corrects, he's not being hurt. It gains their attention 100%. It's then up to you what you do w/that attention...
Recall Tutorial (courtesy of Lydia)
The cardinal rule is that you never call your dog to you unless you know they will come to you. That means most of the time you will have to go get him until he has a reliable recall.
You can still play with him off leash but take him some place he will be safe (like fenced backyard, fenced tennis courts or fenced school grounds). Do not try calling him to you when he is off leash in this scenario. You will need to build up to that point gradually but that doesn't mean he shouldn't get exercise in the meantime. When you are ready to go, tell him "last time" When he brings back the ball, praise him, give him a treat, then clip the leash on him. He will understand what "last time" means eventually. Murray will put his ball back in the training bag when I tell him "last time". Last time can be the 2nd or 3rd time I throw the ball or 25 or 30 times.
If you do not have a fenced area, then you really need to keep him on a long line for safety.
When you want to work on recalls, have a long line on him so you can reinforce it.
Recalls take lots of time to teach. My first instructor gave me some advice that stuck. She told me to practice 1000 times in each of the following scenarios (in order):
1) on lead in the house, no distractions
2) on lead in the park, with distractions
3) off lead in the house, no distractions
4) off lead in the park, with distractions
You should also use high value treats for the recall. This needs to be a treat that he doesn't get a any other time. Left over steak or chicken works really well. The only time he gets this treat is when you call him to you.
Also, no matter how trying it may be, never call your dog to you then scold him. Coming to you has to be the best thing in the world. If he comes to you and you scold him, you've taught him that coming to you is not safe.
Once I start teaching off leash recalls, I'll call the dog to me numerous times even during play and give him praise and his special treat then let him go back to playing. I don't want him to associate coming to me with "play time is over"