Human Ownership Training


  There is nothing in the world as cute as a Labrador Retriever puppy. That’s my opinion, and it has been for the last forty years of my life. As a matter of fact, there has never been a time in those short forty years that there was not a Lab, as we love to call them, in my life. I have been blessed to have owned some of the very best hunting companions that a man could ever wish for and most of these started their career at my house as a puppy. 

     Here is how what I like to call human ownership begins every time: that’s a joke but maybe not. You see when that Lab puppy arrives at your house and takes up residence, your whole world changes. Yes I know that at one time you were the king of your domain but not any longer. That Pup just became the number one actor on your stage.

     There will be fun times for sure, playing fetch with the ole tennis ball, learning to sit and stay on command, walking with the leash, and those are just a few of the things that the new Puppy will be able to teach you. 

     “The bottom line is that they are just so cotton pickin’ cute that you can’t get anything done and therein lies the problem. They know it.” 

 So with that said I hope to give you some insight on  just how to cope, so that during your training and transition, things will go a bit easier for both you and your pint size trainer. 


The big hurdles:

     House breaking:  When the puppy arrives he or she is not staying outside. You may want to reread that statement, he or she is not staying outside. The Puppy will very quickly join forces with the Lady of the House upon arrival. Check the cuteness statement at the first of this article.  Oh you thought that since you purchased him with your hard earned money that he would be yours.  Oh contraire my friend.  Lines will be drawn in the sand. You, sir, are now officially on potty duty. But if you go through a few easy steps, brighter days are ahead. 


     First, purchase a wire kennel crate with an adjustable wall inside. Puppies need room in which to do their business and you only need to allow them enough space to turn around and lay down in their portion of the crate. Next make sure that you take them outdoors several times a day and always first thing in the morning and right before bedtime. Puppies are like babies. They can’t hold anything long and they also need plenty of exercise and play time. As you and your pup get used to the routine of puppy training, each day should be better. Remember that this is your chance to bond with the puppy and you will need that alliance to be strong for when you get in trouble with the afore mentioned Lady of the castle. 

     Chewing: Puppies chew. That’s their job when they are teething. Provide plenty of chew toys for the puppy to gnaw on, but not to many at one time. He, and/or she, should have a couple that they really like and anything that makes a rattle or has a noise will help keep their attention longer. Don’t let them play with the toy that you’re going to use in teaching them to retrieve. Also do not put the puppy in the garage or any open place in which to roam while you are not around. Puppies get bored really easy and boredom will cause all sorts of disasters. One puppy can demolish a treasure of articles including four wheelers, boat trailer wires and any other interesting items that look like playthings or chew toys. Not to mention your wife’s favorite shoes. Been there, done that..  You get the picture. 


     Retrieving games: I like to start with a badminton birdie. The pup’s teeth are sharp and they stick thru the holes in the birdies, making it hard for the pup to drop it before he brings it to hand. Also don’t reach out to take the toy from him before he gets close to you. Pull him into you and love on him, then take the toy from him. A little trick I’ve learned if he doesn’t want to give it to you, is to gently blow in his ear. He will drop the toy in most cases. 

     Commands: Keep your commands short and one syllable words if possible. Most Lab Puppies are very smart and they learn quickly. Also, say the command each time that you want the pup to perform each task. Such as say ‘kennel’ each time that you put the pup in his crate. Also reward him often. Puppies love attention and the more that you can give the better. 

     Take the puppy with you everywhere you can. They love to ride, and everyone loves to pet a fine puppy. 

     Feeding: Puppies need good food, and good feeding habits. Don’t leave food out for them all of the time as this will, in most cases, teach them to be picky eaters.  I like to feed first thing in the morning and in the early evening giving the pup as much as they will eat without leaving the food bowl. 

     Playtime:  Last be certainly not least, if you don’t have a child, then hire one to play with your puppy. You can stand back and watch the magic happen as they play, plus this will give you a little time to pick up unwanted items in the yard. You know before the Boss Lady steps on something. 

     All of the above mentioned items are just my opinion formed after years of raising Labrador Retriever Puppies - but hey, what do I know. Y’all excuse me while I get back to my potty training detail.  I have been trained by some of the best. 


The puppy pictures were supplied by the great folks at Windy Hill Labradors and Rene and. Larry Lance owners, owners, from  Lewisburg , TN


Publisher’s Note:


We encourage checking the animal shelters regularly for puppies and adult labs, however, huntin’ dogs are a breed that it’s sometimes best to buy, especially if you are looking for specific breeding - and you want to train them your way, from a puppy.  That being said, one of the best hunting dogs I’ve ever seen was my Mom’s dog, Gladly, a pure bred ‘mutt’ that loved her so much, he did anything she asked - to the point that she had the opportunity to outshoot most of the guys in the hunting club when they went quail hunting.