Labrador Retrievers are fairly easy to train, but can be way too much dog to handle if not trained properly. They can also be obnoxious, naughty puppies if not trained at a young age. It is vitally important that you don't put off training too long. If you start them off the right way when they are young, they will not have developed any bad habits that will need to be retrained. We advise people with puppies to start them off in kindergarten puppy classes at about 12 weeks of age. By then they will have had a few booster shots and should be ready to socialize with other dogs and people in obedience classes. If you are purchasing or adopting an older dog, you should start classes as soon as possible.
Finding good obedience classes can be difficult. In most states, obedience trainers are not licensed. We strongly suggest that you look for AKC recognized dog clubs that give classes. You can find information on these clubs at www.AKC.org. Usually the programs they offer can take you from beginner puppy classes all the way through advanced competition Utility classes.
Keep in mind that there is no such thing as a too well trained dog. Since Labradors are very food motivated, training with bribery works wonders. For a cookie, you can teach a Labrador to do anything!!!
Training your dog properly could save his life someday. Imagine your dog gets out of the house by accident, and there is another dog across the street. If you dog comes to you when called, it could very well save him from being hit by an oncoming car. Training is your obligation as a responsible dog owner. Statistically, more dogs are put to sleep in animal shelters because of lack of training and/or socializing than for any other reason. So, be a responsible dog owner, and train your dog. You will both benefit from it.
Some of our favorite books/videos/dvds on training:
"How to be a Best Friend to Your Puppy" by the Monks of New Skete
"Mother Knows Best" by Carol Lee Benjamin
Training videos by Ann Marie Silverton if you are interested in competitive obedience or agility
CH SHADOWVALE'S STATESMAN CDX, TDI
He was my first Champion Labrador and his memory will live in my heart forever. It was his outstanding temperament that I will always use as my yardstick to measure all other Labs with.
HUNTCREST TOUCHED BY AN ANGEL