Preparing for the teething stage
If you have been following my puppy training program since the beginning, you will have some down time for the next month or so. This is not to mean that you will not be working with your puppy at all, but only means that you will not be adding any new training. For the next month or two, you should continue working on basic obedience. You may also do some hand throws for retrieving, but only if your puppy is not showing any signs of losing his/her baby teeth. If your puppy is teething, do not retrieve with him/her! I will discuss this more later in the post but Here is the training for your 4-month-old Labrador puppy.
Training and socialization for four-month-old Labrador puppy
Here are the things we worked on during the past two weeks while training Bubba.
Working on self-control and restraint
If you have ever been pushed out of the way as your large dog rushes to get outside or inside ahead of you, you know how that feels. It can be downright dangerous, and there is no reason to allow it. You can start eliminating these future problems by spending time now, teaching your 4-month-old puppy to have self-control and restraint.
There is a vast array of situations that you can use to teach your puppy self-control.
The first and easiest one to teach is sitting before eating. Simply do not give your puppy their food until they SIT calmly. Here are some other opportunities.
- Sitting before getting a leash on and off
- Sitting by door, waiting to go outside or inside, until released from SIT
- Staying in crate or kennel until released, even with door open
All these training opportunities work toward the same thing – self-control. There are probably many more situations that would also apply, use your imagination, and teach your puppy to listen and exert restraint in all situations.
Bubba has learned all these lessons well. She understands that she must wait for a release command and that if she SITS very still the release comes sooner.
Obedience training your 4-month-old puppy
We continue to work on obedience training using a chain collar and heeling stick. Bubba has come a long way regarding heeling. She is not perfect, but she does understand the command.
However, remote SIT is not going well. A remote SIT is where you have your puppy SIT and can walk away from him/her. Bubba really struggles to SIT still, even for a few seconds. I had to be reminded that Bubba is a chocolate lab. Chocolate labs tend to mature much slower than blacks or yellows, and Bubba is proving that to be true. Given this, Bubba will probably need some more maturity before I can expect too much from her on obedience.
Training your 4-month-old puppy to COME or HERE
Bubba is also struggling to learn the HERE command. Well, let me rephase. Bubba knows the HERE command but still struggles to respond to it consistently. This is a huge source of contention for me, but again, Bubba is a chocolate and is very immature.
A halt on retrieving
Up until now we have been doing retrieving daily with Bubba, but as she enters the fourth month, we are increasing aware that she will be teething very soon. Because of this, we will be stopping retrieving until we can confirm that all her adult teeth are in.
This concerns a lot of owners; they are concerned that their puppy will forget how to retrieve or will stop wanting to retrieve. We have never had this happen. If your puppy is retrieving with enthusiasm now, he/she will continue to retrieve after the adult teeth are present. But, if you continue to retrieve despite your puppy’s teething, you can cause irreversible damage because your puppy will start to associate pain with retrieving.
Final thoughts on training for your 4-month-old Labrador puppy
As your puppy approaches four months of age, it is good to take a moment to reflect on all the progress you have made in terms of training. If you have been working through the steps I have outlined over the past eight posts, you likely have a puppy that listens well, doesn’t jump on you or bite you, SITS before eating and before going outside and much more. These are important steps that will lead your puppy down a path of becoming a happy, healthy family dog and hunting companion.
If you are struggling or need additional help with your new puppy, you can email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or just give me a call (651-303-6459). I would be happy to discuss your goals for your retriever and tell you about the programs I offer.
Until next time, happy retrieving.