Are Brown Labradors Harder To Train? (Info For Owners)

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Some owners have said that chocolate-colored Labrador retrievers are more challenging to teach and more aggressive than yellow or black Labs. This difficulty may be due to preexisting prejudices, or science may play a role in the argument. Are brown labs really that hard to train?

Brown Labradors are not harder to train. Coat color has not been scientifically proven to impact trainability. Environment and upbringing tend to have more of an impact on trainability than coat color.

This post will examine if the notion that brown Labs are tougher to train has any merit. I will also provide training tips for those having trouble raising their pets.

Do Scientists Say Brown Labradors Are Harder To Train?

Brown Labradors may be more troublesome to train than yellow or black Labradors if they have a unique genetic composition. According to the Journal of Canine Genetics and Epidemiology, as the copies of the recessive gene responsible for the chocolate coat color rose, canine trainability decreased.

However, this allelic connection existed regardless of the coat color. But brown Labradors often have higher levels of these alleles than other Labradors.

Their Decreased Trainability Doesn't Mean They're Aggressive

Labradors with brown coats are just as energetic and friendly as their yellow or black counterparts. Moreover, brown Labradors are less aggressive toward familiar dogs than yellow Labradors are.

A sample of admitted chocolate Labradors from the Cornell University Animal Behavior clinic revealed that just 7% were treated for aggressiveness.

In comparison, 41% of yellow Labs received treatment for aggressive behavior.

Why Your Brown Labrador Is Hard To Train

When a dog refuses to listen to or obey instructions, it's not always because they're stubborn or untrainable. Frequently, the issue is because the dog is being trained poorly. The explanations listed below will help you understand why you're having such a difficult time training your brown Labrador.

You Train in Distracting Environments

If you teach your Labrador in a setting with too many distractions, they'll struggle to maintain their attention on you. You should always select a distraction-free location.

Indoors is usually a preferable option since there are fewer distractions than outdoors, but if you're training outside, keep your dog on a leash or inside a gated area.

It's better to begin by training in an environment devoid of distractions and gradually move to one that has them.

The Training Is Inconsistent

Consistency is essential in all aspects of dog training.

When you're inconsistent with your rules, the canine will get confused. Additionally, you may find yourself unintentionally encouraging undesirable habits. For example, if you establish a rule prohibiting your brown Lab from sleeping on the bed, you should not send them up there for any reason.

If you sometimes chastise your pet for being on the bed, the dog will be perplexed as to why they're permitted one minute and not the next. As a result, they'll never be sure whether to participate in the activity or not.

While Labradors are one of the easiest breeds to train, you must be consistent with your rules and instructions for them to show the behavior you want.

brown labrador playing in the grass

Your Training Is Too Emotional

Using anger or severe penalties to train brown Labradors will only result in a dog that is less responsive, fearful, and also hostile toward you. You'll transform training sessions into torment, and the pup will remember little information other than trauma.

Similarly, training using excessive happiness will significantly increase the dog's energy levels beyond what is necessary for attention and learning. You should take training seriously but behave as though it were a natural part of the dog's daily existence. 

It’s vital to keep your emotions under control to get the greatest outcomes. 

Your Rewards Are Uninteresting

Reward-based training is pleasurable for the dog and strengthens the bond between dog and trainer. Additionally, it's the most effective form of training accessible.

However, the dog must relish the treat. As owners, we often make assumptions about our dog's preferences rather than deducing from their behavior.

Careful observation is required to determine your dog's favorite reward. A food treat, a favorite chew toy, or vocal praise can be used as rewards. 

There Isn't Enough Positive Feedback

When training, make duties simple to ensure that your dog comprehends them.

Additionally, it would be best if you allowed Labradors to develop at their own pace. Try to refrain from setting unrealistic expectations. Having several small victories is very motivating in the beginning and may result in improved performance later on. 

In contrast, repeated failures and reprimands may suffocate a puppy's enthusiasm for training and learning. If you have a brown Labrador that has been difficult to train, consider congratulating them more frequently. 

You can do this with verbal praise, food, or toys.

Occasionally, dogs may do things without being asked due to other signals. For example, you may prepare your dog's typical dinner, and they sit before you give the usual command.

In such instances, continue to praise the dog for promoting continued obedience.

How To Train Brown Labradors

Brown Labradors are trained similarly to other breeds. I'll discuss a few ways for assisting your dog in developing more desired behavior below.

However, keep in mind that there are four primary methods to promote behavior in brown Labradors throughout training:

  • Rewarding behavior: This reinforces positive behavior by providing something nice for the dog.
  • Positive punishment: This reduces undesirable behavior by introducing something unpleasant to the dog. For instance, if your dog leaps before being asked, you look aside and ignore him.
  • Negative reinforcement: This technique promotes good behavior by introducing an unpleasant stimulus and then removing it after a command is followed.
  • Negative punishment: This reduces undesirable behavior by removing the desired item, such as a beloved toy, when they refuse to comply.

Try Clicker Training 

Clicker training is a variation of positive reinforcement training that incorporates a mechanical clicking machine. The clicker's benefit is that it communicates to your dog the exact behavior you're praising.

brown labrador laying on the grass

By clicking at the appropriate time, you capture the moment your dog performed the desired action. Thus, rather than guessing what you liked, the click indicates specifically what the dog performed right.

Typically, the clicking sound is accompanied by a reward or praise as a kind of reinforcement.

The method is based on animal learning theory, which states that rewarded actions are more likely to be repeated.

The first step is to get a clicker. They are often tiny, basic gadgets that fit in the palm of your hand, and are relatively inexpensive.

Here's one you can buy right on Amazon for under $5.

Using Clickers Are Much More Effective Than Praise

Given that you use praise to interact with your dog regularly, there is nothing about it unique to the training scenario. Celebrating your dog is an integral element of a dog owner's pleasure.

On the other hand, using a clicker is a training-specific signal that eliminates misunderstanding regarding the command and the coming reward.

Give Your Dog a Special Place

Your dog's special spot is a designated location where you may confine them whenever necessary. To begin, you must choose a command word. While "place" is often used, "bed" or "mat" are acceptable substitutes.

Before your dog begins going to their spot, you'll need to demonstrate to them where the place is and why they should go using a reward. Following that, stand near the location that will become your dog's space. 

Then issue the order and use a reward to entice the dog to their specified space.

And it's best to praise your dog as soon as all four feet are on their mat or a particular area. After a few brief training sessions, most Labradors will automatically go to the mat because this breed is one of the most receptive to training.

By gradually increasing the length of time your dog remains in their spot, you will soon be able to keep them there for extended periods, even while you’re away.

This significantly reduces your dog's chance of chewing cables and other home necessities during the day.

Final Thoughts

Brown Labrador Retrievers are no more challenging to teach than other Labradors. If you're having difficulty raising one, you're probably using ineffective training techniques. For new Lab owners, there is a great deal to learn about training your new companion.

Even if you're an experienced owner, there are many tools available to help you improve your dog's training and relationship with you.

If you're looking for innovative methods to teach your energetic canine, Stonnie Dennis has a series of videos devoted to Labrador training: 

About THE AUTHOR

Mark Brunson

Mark Brunson

Mark is the founder of Everything Labradors and a husband and father of 3. He enjoys spending time with his family, including his dog Molly, a Labrador/Golden Retriever mix. He’s a big fan of the outdoors and loves to travel to new places.

Read more about Mark Brunson