Don’t Lose Control of Your Lab

The number one hunting dog on the planet is the Labrador Retriever. Smart, lovable and loyal. While most of these gentle animals will all but hug your heel when taking a walk, they have a spark of adventure. Especially in the great wide open.

When you’re hiking the forest, labs have a tendency to forget everything they’ve learned in a controlled training situation. You can blow on that whistle until you’re blue in the face. Screaming so hard that you nearly lose your voice. Your best friend is off the hook.

The Problem

The wild is temptation-heaven for the dog. You want that in a way. What you don’t want is an uncontrollable canine. Consider this:

  • Any dog that has been bred to find their prey. The nose knows. Labs love the smell of other beasts in the woods. It distracts the living bejesus out of the pup. But that’s part of the characteristics you require. Labradors are known for their expertise in sniffing-out game.
  • That scent is as rewarding to a gun dog as a freshly cooked grouse is to you. Their specialties: Squirrels, other dogs, rabbits and whatever they inhale.


Getting control back into the dog’s roaming ways means you’re training the great lab as long as you own it. Remember these three things:

  • Fixing any recall problems means a regular refresher course on Labrador training.
  • Your goal is to become more interesting to your animal. They love the one-on-one attention. So, vary it up. Everybody, including labs, relish rewards. Since they’re so smart, you’ve got to give them a lot of mental stimulation. Don’t want to ruin your day, but dogs can get bored with hanging around with you if you’re … well, boring. If you don’t turn on the fun, the animal will find its own jollies without you.
  • The owner must modify how the pet is treated during the dog’s free time. Don’t let your hairy friend think you’re ignoring him on a walk. Sure, you may meet another bi-ped buddy on the trail, but try to involve your lab in the conversation. With a puppy that’s six-to-nine months old, don’t let them go too far afield. Up to 30-yards is fine. Once the dog hits the limit, call them back and give them a small treat and evolve that reward into simply saying “good dog!” Sometimes you’ll also get bored. Tired of calling your canine. When that happens, heel the gun dog and have them walk along side you for a few minutes.

It Will Get Better

We expect stuff to always work the right way. It’s occasionally in the owner’s mind that they have a lemon gun dog. Perish the thought. The best Labrador may stray. Our final piece of advice: Train your Labrador “gundog style.” This education will, even if you never plan to take them on a hunt, reap rewards for you and the best friend you’ll ever have in this life.

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