How to Train a Labrador Retriever to Walk

Easy
3-14 Days
General

Introduction

Your Labrador Retriever is an unusual character. Oscar seems to spend most of the day lying in places where you want to walk past or plonking his head on your lap with the anticipation food is coming. You don’t mind his lazy character, in fact, you’re quite jealous he gets to lie around all day. It was fine at first, Oscar was young with a fast metabolism. However, as he has gotten older, his metabolism has slowed and their weight has started to creep up.

Alternatively, your Labrador Retriever may be a puppy who is yet to develop leash manners. So training them to go for walks will mean you'll be able to take them out for plenty of exercise. Not to mention, they will be able to explore the world around them. Finally, if you can get ol' Oscar walking you may do more walking yourself and get a decent amount of exercise.

Defining Tasks

The good news is training a Labrador Retriever to go for walks is pretty straightforward. It’s not necessarily that they don’t want to walk. It’s more that they don’t quite know how. A leash, in particular, can make dogs feel uneasy, especially when they are puppies. Thankfully, training will consist mainly of using positive reinforcement to get them wandering around. 

If your Lab is a puppy then they should be a quick learner and eager to please. This means you could see results in a matter of days. But if they are older and lazy then you may need a while longer. It could be a number of weeks before they are walking around. If you get training right, you’ll have a happy, energetic Labrador Retriever to take out for delightful strolls through the countryside. You also won’t have to worry so much about their muscles and joints going weak, which may lead to illnesses.

Getting Started

Before you start training, you will need to make sure you have a few bits. A leash is the most important requirement. You then need to stock up on tasty treats or break their favorite food into small pieces.

Set aside a few minutes each day for training. Try and a find a time where you both won’t be distracted by a noisy household. You can train at home and a yard to start with, and then out on the sidewalk and fields.

Once you have the above, just bring walking shoes and patience, then work can begin!

The Start at Home Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Attach the leash
Your dog may not be walking properly because they are scared of the leash. So try fitting the leash to them when you are at home. Stay calm while you do it. You don't want to suggest it is a big deal.
Step
2
Remove the leash
After 10 minutes or so have passed, come back and remove the leash. Then a little bit later on put the leash back on but for a little while longer. You want your Labrador Retriever to get used to the leash before you head out.
Step
3
Walk at home
After a couple of days when the leash no longer startles them too much, you can try walking inside. Secure your dog to the leash and then slowly walk around the house. Just walk for a few minutes to start with.
Step
4
Encouragement
As you walk, give your Lab the odd treat and verbal praise. You want them to associate waking with positive consequences. It’s also important to take it slow to start with as you want to develop their confidence gradually.
Step
5
Up the stakes
When they look comfortable walking in the house, try taking them for a slow walk around the yard. Then when they look comfortable there, you can head out into public and into parks. By this point they will know how to walk nicely and more importantly, they will want to go for walks.
Recommend training method?

The Treat Lure Method

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Step
1
Play time
Spend a few minutes each day playing around at home with a toy or two. Play tug of war, talk in an animated voice and really get the pooch excited. You can then use a treat and one of their toys to lure them towards you as you slide back. This should get them to start walking.
Step
2
Reward
Make sure you praise them as they try to follow you and catch up with you. After a little while you can then give them a treat and some verbal praise. Continue to do this until they look comfortable walking after you.
Step
3
Head out
Now hold out a treat to capture your dog's attention while you secure them to a leash. As soon as they are on the leash you can hand over the treat. Then head out the door but hold another treat down by your waist to keep their concentration.
Step
4
Take it slow
Walk just a few yards slowly, keeping their attention with the treat. Give them verbal praise and use the treat to keep them walking. Then after a few yards, hand over a treat and show them how happy you are.
Step
5
Increase the distance
Now you just need to gradually increase the distance. The trick is to build their confidence slowly and use positive incentives all the way. Soon they will associate walking with treats and attention from their owner.
Recommend training method?

The Back it Up Method

Effective
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Step
1
Food cue
When you feed your Labrador Retriever their meals or any treats, give a ‘yes’ command in a high-pitched voice. You can use any word or phrase you like. This is just to let the dog know that food is on the way.
Step
2
Secure them to a leash
Now get down on your knees and secure them to their leash. If they are being challenging and trying to get away, issue your food cue to reel them in. This will soon put you back in the driver's seat.
Step
3
Back away
Once they are on the leash, slowly start backing away. Stay facing the dog and hold eye contact as you go. You can then use the food cue again to get them walking. With the promise of food just a few yards away, Your Lab will swiftly get to their feet and start walking.
Step
4
Reward
As soon as your Labrador Retriever gets to you, give them a tasty treat and some verbal praise. The happier they feel, the more keen they will be to continue walking. You can even play around with a toy for a minute or so.
Step
5
Take it slow
Practice backing away in the house for a day or two. Then start walking around with house with your dog by your side. When your Labrador Retriever is comfortable doing that, you can then start taking them into the yard. After that, head for local parks. Before you know it they will be walking, running and jumping for joy!
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

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