If your Labrador has been difficult to train you might want to know why and what you can do about it. In this post, I will show you common causes of Labradors being difficult to train and what you can do about it.

So, why is my Labrador hard to train? Possible reasons are that you have been training it in distracting environments too soon in its training, you haven’t been training it in small steps, your training method is inappropriate, it could be an issue with its diet or it might need to get more exercise.

Since there are a number of possible causes, it would help to consider what would make each of them more likely. Once you have a better idea of the cause, it should become easier to figure out what you should do.

Why your Labrador is so hard to train

Below are common causes of them being hard to train and what would make them more likely to be the reason why yours is hard to train.

You have been training it in a distracting environment

The reason might be that there are too many distractions in the environments that you have been training it in. If you train it in an environment with lots of distractions too soon, your Labrador will struggle to keep its focus on you. When training your Labrador it would help to start out by training it in an environment without many distractions and then to build up to one that has them.

You haven’t been training it in small steps

Another possible reason why it has been hard to train could also be that you have been asking too much of it too soon. If you ask it to do difficult tasks before it has learned easier tasks it will be unlikely to know what you want it to do. This is why it would help to start out by training it to do easy things and then to build up to having it to do more challenging tasks.

You have been using the wrong training method

It might also be the case that the training method you have been using is not appropriate.

The training method that I would recommend would be positive reinforcement training. This is where you gradually build up to training it to do difficult things by rewarding your Labrador each time it does a task correctly.

Diet

It could also be the case that there is an issue with its diet that is causing it to struggle to keep its attention on you. This would be especially likely if it has started behaving differently after you changed its diet or if it is harder to train when it eats certain foods.

You can look here to see what you should and should not be feeding your Labrador. If you’re unsure if its diet is causing issues then it would help to consult with your vet.

A lack of exercise

Labradors are a breed that is meant to get a lot of exercise on a daily basis. If your Labrador is not getting a lot of exercise it could be causing it to have a lot of excess energy and to be unable to keep its focus on you easily when training it.

Generally, it is recommended for them to get at least an hour of exercise per day. If your Labrador is not getting that much exercise it would help to make sure that it does by walking it yourself or by getting a dog walker to do it for you.

The training needs to be consistent

If you train your Labrador occasionally it is unlikely that you will be able to get your Labrador to form new habits. When training your Labrador it is important to be consistent with the training.

It is unlikely that you will be able to get drastic results with just one training session but if you train it consistently you will be able to get better results over the course of weeks and months.

How to train your Labrador

Below are some things you can do to in order to train your Labrador more effectively.

Train it in small steps

When training your Labrador it would help to avoid asking too much of it too soon. If you do ask too much of it then your Labrador will be more likely to fail the task and it won’t learn anything.

Instead, it would help to start out with an easy task in an environment without distractions and then to build up to training it more difficult trasks in a more distracting environment.

The video below shows you how you can train a dog to stay in small steps:

Give it exercise

As mentioned above, it is important to make sure that your Labrador is getting sufficient exercise. It is generally recommended for them to get at least an hour of exercise per day.

Avoid encouraging the behavior

It might be the case that you have been encouraging it not to listen to you by giving it things it wants when it does not listen to you.

Instead, it would help to use positive reinforcement training and to train it using small steps so that you are able to give your Labrador rewards for doing things correctly. It would also help to avoid rewarding it when it does not do it correctly so that you avoid encouraging the behavior.

Avoid punishment

It might be tempting to punish your Labrador for not doing things correctly. However, it would be advised that you avoid doing so. If you do punish it then it will likely not know what you are punishing it for and it will be less likely to listen to you.

Get help

If you cannot figure out why your Labrador is hard to train or everything that you try doesn’t work, consider getting the help of a certified dog trainer or behaviorist in your area. By doing so you will be able to get expert advice tailored to your particular Labrador.

Things to consider

Below are some things to consider to help figure out the main reason why your Labrador has been being difficult to train.

When it started being hard to train

If your Labrador was not always hard to train, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started being hard to train.

If it did start being difficult to train suddenly it would help to consider what else happened at around the same time. It would also make it more likely to be due to things such as rewarding it for not listening to you, illness or a change in its diet.

How old it is

It would also help to consider the age of your Labrador. If your Labrador is still young it would make it more likely to be the case that it won’t be as easy to get it to keep its focus on you since it will be full of energy.

You can make things easier by training it after giving it exercise and using treats to keep its attention on you (while making sure not to reward it when it does it wrong).

If your Labrador is older it would be more likely that you have been rewarding it for not listening to you but it could also be due to some of the other things mentioned above. In this case, it would help to start training it basic things using positive reinforcement training and then to build up to training it to do more challenging things.

When it is easier to train

It would also help to consider if there is a certain time that it is easier to train since the timing might have something to do with it.

For example, if it is easier to train after it has gotten exercise it would make it more likely to be the case that it needs more exercise.

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I created and currently manage Pet Dog Owner, the website you can go to when you have questions about your dog's behavior. It is my hope that you find Pet Dog Owner to be a helpful resource. It is also my hope that it will help you to improve your relationship with your dog. You can read more about me and my website here.