When a Lab dog doesn’t obey its owner, it is tagged as stubborn Labrador. At that time, the question becomes as to how to train a stubborn Labrador dog.
Dogs, in general, are not born with stubbornness. It is with time and experience in this world that they decide not to obey commands. While a stubborn dog is wrong in his owner’s eyes, he is correct in his own decisions.
Many dog training tests like those from AKC check the dogs for their behavior and readiness to obey commands. AKC tests would want the dog to immediately go behind the prey as soon as he spots it.
Reasons For Labradors Getting Stubborn
Many Labrador owners get frustrated when they feel their dog is becoming stubborn. Luckily, you can begin to fix the issue and have a smoother relationship with your Lab, once you understand the reason behind the stubborn behavior.
It’s a sad fact that many dogs in the animal shelters are placed there by their owners who claim behavior problems as the main factor for giving up the dog. What’s sadder is what these dog owners term as behavior problems are, for dogs, their normal behavior.
Most dog owners have unrealistic expectations for their dogs, including the way they behave. Before diagnosing your Lab with stubborn behavior, try to find the cause of the act.
Part of being a caring and responsible dog owner is having some understanding of your dog’s breed and tendencies. Providing outlets and activities to satisfy your dog’s natural drives and urges is also being a responsible owner.
Below are some reasons a Labrador can become stubborn:
1) The Lab has too much energy
It is simply absurd to get a Lab. An athletic sporting breed of dogs and be surprised when they become restless and hyperactive.
Labradors have a lot of energy and tend to get hyperactive when they aren’t getting enough exercise. Solving the energy issue will require you to increase the intensity and frequency of your playtime or walks with your Lab.
Burning off the excess energy will help your Lab pay more attention to you and cut the stubborn behavior.
2) Your Labrador is distracted
Your dog will think it is only vital to listen to you when there isn’t anything else exciting happening. If you only trained him in a distraction-free environment.
For this reason, you must add distractions little by little as your training progresses. Soon your Lab will have understood that he needs to pay attention to your commands even when you have guests over or when a squirrel rushes past him.
3) Your Lab may be confused
When different members of your household are using various commands or methods to train your Labrador. He will become confused as to how to respond to each signal and which commands he should listen to.
It is vital to ensure that every last member of the household is using similar commands, cues, and methods to train your dog on behavior manners.
Consistency in having your Lab follow the rules is crucial. When one member of the family lets your Lab beg for food or sneak into their bed. Your dog will get confused when other family members tell him otherwise.
4) Your Lab may be afraid of you
Forcing your Lab to do something will only make him fear you. Fear in Labs can contribute to a whole lot of other problems. When your Lab pee’s in the house, and you yell at him, fear will get to him and cause him to begin submissively peeing.
The peeing may come off as being stubborn as it counteracts with what you’re trying to teach him.
Aggression in your dog is also brought by pushing him too much; hostility is the last thing you want to encourage in your Lab.
5) The motivation isn’t enough
If you’re trying to train your Lab using the regular kibble and it starts acting stubborn. It might be because he isn’t interested enough with what you’re doing.
You might have to switch up and use high-value treats that you only feed him during the training activity. Chicken, for example, may keep your Lab’s attention better than regular gifts.
Other Labs may not be exited with treats but will get more excited about getting a game of fetch or their favorite toy as a reward for positive behavior.
6) Poorly trained Lab
What many dog owners write off as stubbornness, is actually due to lack of proper training and not a conscious and willful decision to act stubborn on your Labs part.
Your Lab is not going to be able to obey a command if it does not understand the command that you are issuing. You will find yourself faced with a confused blank look from your Lab that can easily be misinterpreted as non-compliance.
7) Juvenile dogs
Puppy Labs learn things fast but can also find it challenging to focus for long periods. Once your Lab reaches adolescence, the perceived stubbornness steps a notch higher.
As your Labrador’s hormone levels increase, and he begins to display and feel sexual behavior, training him may prove exponentially harder.
You are likely to experience a range of different manifestations and signs of stubbornness during your Labs adolescence. The reduced attention span and selective deafness can make it feel as if your Labrador’s training is heading backward instead of progressing.
The timeline for this stubbornness usually begins at around six months old, peaks at one year and may extend to until your Lab is neutered.
Your Lab refusing to obey commands he understands and being stubborn can be explained by one of the outlined causes above. Sometimes, however, the stubbornness is brought about by suffering or discomfort on the dog’s side.
For example, a Lab that is in the course of developing hip dysplasia may find it painful or even uncomfortable to sit on command. Your Lab will intentionally ignore a command that they expect to bring them aches and pains.
If you suspect that your Labrador may be stubborn due to underlying health or physical reason, we recommend speaking to your vet before going any further.
What to do When Lab Retriever Simply Doesn’t Follow Instructions
- While Labradors are known generally for their friendly and gentle personalities, Some Labs give off signs of stubbornness or aggression. For the happiness of both your dog and yourself. You will need to deal with the behavior issue as soon as possible.
- Every Lab and their histories are distinctive, and each Labrador will be living in a distinct environment. This means there is no single advice or answer that can be given to fix the behavior issue.
- When your Lab doesn’t follow commands or listen to them, it is not always because he is un-trainable or hardheaded. Sometimes the problem is that normal dog behavior does not align with human standards of ethical conduct.
- It takes a lot of time and effort to change behavior that comes naturally to your Lab, but it can be done. When the Labrador doesn’t follow your instructions, you will need to carry out obedience training. Obedience training will help your dog maintain focus and avoid ignoring your instructions.
- However, for abnormal behaviors such as anxiety, excessive fear, obsessive-compulsive behavior, or aggression, particular advice will need to be given. The guidance should only be taken if provided by a knowledgeable and qualified professional.
Patience is the Key For Solving Behavior Problems
Behavioral problems in dogs are usually mishandled or misunderstood by dog owners. You may have started training your Lab but didn’t see the results fast enough so now you want to stop the training.
Or maybe you think training a Lab is a hard and tiring task. You may have already given hope of ever taking your dog to public places.
Well, don’t lose hope just yet. Getting your Lab to behave nicely is possible. It will take a lot of effort and time to solve your Labrador’s behavior problems, but it can be done. At first, the training may seem quite overwhelming.
All you have to do is persist with the practice. Gradually increase the intensity and frequency of the training exercise.
Brain Training Your Dog is Important
For dog owners, brain training your dog will bring peace and order in your world. A dog that is not mind trained will regularly misbehave and will rarely listen to or follow your instructions.
Brain training your dog will give you the ability to rectify your Lab’s behaviors at a cost far less than it would cost with traditional training.
Brain training your dog will have your dog behaving in a manner that every dog owner dreams about. Your dog will always pay attention and not make a move unless you command it. Brain training your dog will stop the jumping, nipping, and whining of your Lab.
The brain training program is online, which makes committing to the training regime easily. This program also progresses as your dog grows, and their behavior improves.
The brain training program would equip you with the knowledge you can use to take your Labrador to doggy-show status if you wanted to.
Steps to Establish Hierarchy and Boundaries
Establishing some boundaries for your dog can be achieved by doing several things. Setting boundaries works best when it is done during normal, day-to-day activities. Merging the training with everyday activities helps you save a lot of time and effort.
If you are in the process of feeding your dog, why not instill some guidelines while you’re at it? The same can be said while you are simply coming in the door or just playing fetch. There is no better time to train a stubborn Labrador than during these activities.
Below are ways in which you can demand that the dog looks to you for the directive to get what he wants. You will have the foundation of a well-behaved, obedient Labrador when your dog’s first response is to look to you for instructions.
All this begins with primary obedience training. You can start practicing the following three activities once your Lab understands the fundamental obedience commands.
1) Follow Me (You as Dog Owner) Training
First off, how many times do you walk in and out of your house in a day? Does your dog race you to the outside of the house when you do? Or you have had to adjust and learn to step aside and let it pass?
You have the best opportunity to teach your Labrador retriever to listen and wait for your cue every time you walk in and out of the house. Instruct your Labrador to SIT when you walk up to your door. You can open the door once your dog has sat still.
If you’re used to letting your dog run through before you. The Labrador is going to want to run outside or inside, once you open the door. What you want is for your Lab to stay seated until you give the command for him to join you outside or inside the house.
Close the door and start over if, at any time, the Lab hurries towards the door or stands up. Take your Labrador back to the place you started and command it to SIT.
You can start extending the time you want the Lab to sit still before calling him to join you once the dog clearly understands what is expected of them.
Vary the time as you progress with this exercise. Sometimes make your Lab sit patiently for 40 seconds to a minute, other times call him immediately.
After a short period, your Lab will be waiting for you to give the command every time you walk through a door. Eventually, whenever both of you approach the door, your Labrador will sit on his own. Wouldn’t that be nice?
2) Patience While Playing Fetch and Retrieval Games
Playing fetch is probably one of the most common ways to exercise a Lab. Labradors are hard-wired to retrieve; this makes playing fetch a great exercise and also the perfect opportunity to establish the pattern of your dog looking to you for direction.
You can use this activity to train your Lab on how to subdue their retrieving instinct based on your commands.
To begin, you will need a good 6-foot lead. Having a partner can be helpful.
Have your partner stand six to ten feet away from you and then command your dog to SIT.
Hold on to the Lab’s leash as your partner throws the bumper toy or ball. Hold on tightly to the strap as your dog will most likely break for the doll. If your Lab comes out of the sitting position, restrict him from going after the toy.
Have your partner get the toy and head back to where they were standing before. Instruct your partner to throw the toy again. Repeat this until your Lab waits for your command before fetching the toy. Retrieving the doll will be reward enough for your Lab.
You can carry out this exercise without a partner, but it will require a little coordination. You can hold your dog with one hand while you use the other hand to throw the toy. You can also opt to conduct the exercise next to a tree, post, or your truck so that you have a place to attach the leash.
The goal is to not, let your dog retrieve the toy unless you command him.
Give the release command as soon as you throw the toy, and your Lab stays seated. The release command can be any word. It is advisable always to use the same command. You will come to learn that with everything you do with your Lab, consistency is vital.
You can start varying how long you make your Lab sit before sending him for the toy or ball, once your Lab understands that he has to wait for your command. It won’t be long before you can conduct this exercise without the leash.
3) Teaching Dinner Manners
Fill your dog’s food bowl and hold it up while your Labrador sits anxiously waiting for feeding time. Place the food bowl down and if your dog comes out of the sitting position, then lift the food bowl. Put your Lab back in its initial sitting position and place the food bowl on the ground again.
Before long, your Lab will have understood that he doesn’t get to eat until you give the command.
The commands vary depending on the owner, but you will need to pick one and use it consistently. Most people use the word “GO” as their release command or “Come” to invite the Lab into the door.
Bonus Tips for Keeping Your Behavior Training on Track
Keeping the behavior training of your dog on track can sometimes be challenging. We recommend using the following tips to keep your training steady.
1) Take it slowly
The most common mistake dog owners do is try and rush the training process expecting a miracle overnight. Rushing is not a good idea. Pushing things too fast often results in the training going wrong. Taking the exercise step-by-step progressively builds confidence.
2) Use food distractions
Using food as a distraction works well, especially with food hounds. The key is to use the meal only as a distraction. Reward the dog with food ONLY after they have done something right.
If your dog lunges towards an oncoming dog, do not reward him. Remember to use mouth-watering food like cheese or chicken.
3) Be ready to step in
You should aim for the best result but also, always be prepared to step in and correct the dog or gently tug or guide it away.
4) Master the walk
You must master and have control of your dog’s walking before meeting oncoming dogs. You can also consider getting a device other than a flat collar to help you achieve the desired result.
Stay focused on the desired result – Getting sucked into following your dog’s behavior is quite easy. You need to remember to continually show your dog exactly how you’d like them to behave.
How Brain Training Keeps Your Dog’s Mind Sharp
Brain training is designed to keep your dog’s mind sharp and active. The brain training program is a comprehensive system that covers everything from puppy basics to obedience training. The training program is laid out in series with the goal being the skills/games build on each other.
Lessons in front modules will be more challenging to obtain if you skipped previous modules. Brain training offers multiple ways to train your dog and keep their minds sharp. Some lessons include props that assist when training the dog alone.
Another lesson in the program will teach your dog how to calm down on command. Some games are the foundation of scent work in dogs. The scent work exercise not only engages your dog’s brain and body but is also fun.
Hide and seek or fetch are also games used to keep your dog’s mind sharp. Throwing a ball or hiding a toy and instructing your dog to retrieve it keeps its brain engaged and bright at all times.
The Name Game is also a module in the brain training that is vital in keeping your dog’s brain sharp. In the name game, your dog will have to learn and understand words like right, left, and go out.
Why I Recommend Training the Mind Approach
There is nothing like being natural to the dog. As you train your baby, you should also try to understand the reason behind the specific behavior of your dog.
Brain Training is quite popular for training dogs by understanding their behavior and training their minds. The idea is to direct the dog’s thoughts as per your needs. Usually, you see dog owners being directed by a dog but it should be the opposite.
Your Lab can leave his stubborn behavior when you train his mind. Here is a great introduction video and complete course.
Always look at the root cause of the problem and then the solution is much easier and has long term results.
Your Labrador dog is not stubborn by nature. His experiences and environment has made it so. With the information given in this article, you will be able to solve all behavior issues with your Lab dogs.
Table of Contents