Some dog breeders are only interested in breeding Labrador retrievers that look exactly like the AKC standard; they are not concerned with breeding labs that act like sporting dogs. If a Labrador retriever completes the ARC championship, they are not able to use that title until they have also completed and passed a working test called Field and Hunting trial training. Although the testing itself is not difficult, the Labrador club traditionally makes it difficult for a regular person to manage the testing.
When the Labrador is in testing they do not have to stay steady because they can be held by the judge on the line until the judge is ready to send them. Once the judge releases the lab they have to retrieve a pheasant, then enter the water and retrieve two other animals. One of the hardest elements for an owner to teach their Labrador retriever is for them not to be gun shy. Any grown Labrador retriever that has never heard gunfire before will not respond well if the first time they hear such a loud noise is in the middle of their field and hunting trials. Therefore, it is important to begin working with your lab at a very young age to get them use to loud noises. Read More...
You can introduce a variety of loud noises to your puppy without ever having to actually set off a gun, because many people who own labs do not own guns or would not care to actually handle a gun. When initially introducing your lab to loud noises it is best to do so while the puppy is distracted by other things, while they are eating works best. Simply start by clapping your hands loudly while your puppy is eating, progress up to louder instruments such as banging on a mental pan, or hitting a drum. If you do own a gun and would like to use it to help your dog get use to the sound, you should start by being a very long distance away from your dog and gradually moving closer so the dog slowly becomes accustomed to the loud noise. Your lab can easily become gun shy or even afraid of guns, so introducing them correctly to this loud noise is very important. Most labs that are used for shows will also make great hunting dogs if their owner handles the training correctly. You cannot just send your lab to a professional to have them trained to be a hunter, it requires hands on work from you the owner. Your Labrador is a very smart dog and willing to pick up many tasks that you will want to teach them, learning the correct way to teach them is the most important part of your Labrador's training. It is also important to be consistent in the signals you use throughout your dogs field and hunting training.
By Andi McBreaty of Oh My Dog Supplies