What is a Dudley Labrador?
A Dudley Labrador is a yellow lab with no pigment in its nose, paws, or around the eyes so that instead of a black nose as Labs generally have, it presents as pink. While all labs are born with pink noses at birth, most Labrador's noses turn brown or black during the first few weeks of their lives. However, some Labs have less melanin (the substance that provides for pigmentation - the more melanin a dog has, the darker their paws, nose, and eyes).
Many owners make the mistake of thinking the Dudley Labs are also albino, but that is not the case. They simply lack the enzyme that produces melanin, which affects the pigmentation color of noses, paws, and eyes. This lighter pigmentation does not affect their overall disposition or health. (With the exception, Dudley Labs can be more susceptible to sunburn because of their lighter coat and noses, so some care should be taken to limit prolonged exposure to UV rays).
The AKC does not recognize the Dudley as a registered breed, which means that your pet will be an excellent family addition but cannot be a show dog.
Ten Training Tips to Use on Your Labrador
Here are some simple things to help train your Labrador to do what you want with minimal fuss and frustration.
The Earlier You Start, the Better
Puppy training should begin as early as eight weeks because the first six months are a puppy's most critical development period. If you wait past this point to incorporate positive behaviors, you have months of bad conditioning to overcome.
Most Lab puppies are eager for human interaction, which can assist in developing a training regimen. If your dog feels a comfort level around you and is already inclined to please you or spend time in affection, this quality can be harnessed during the training sessions.
Most pet owners begin to train their dogs with simple commands such as sit and stay. Professional trainers prefer to begin toilet training before moving to other areas. After your puppy learns to indicate when they need to go outside, begin socialization training by introducing them to other humans. Simple commands like sitting and staying down can help the dog learn self-control and discipline.
Involve The Family in Your Training Plan
One of the most essential things in training a Labrador is consistency. If you decide to establish a rule that you want your dog to obey, be consistent in your approach. In other words, don’t try to train your puppy one moment but reward bad behavior in another. (For example, if you are trying to ensure that your Labrador does not beg from the table, don’t feed it scraps from breakfast but refuse to do so at night - this inconsistency will only confuse the puppy.
In addition, ensure that other family members are on board with the commands you are trying to implement and are willing to reinforce them when needed. A Labrador is intelligent. Sometimes they know that a particular family member will let them get away with things. So, inform your family or roommates about the training plan. Other family members should know where treats are and access them to reinforce the dog's behavior, which will help your puppy learn faster.
Use Treats that Appeal to Your Dog
Dog treats can reinforce positive behaviors you want to see as an owner. But the treats need to be something that the dog enjoys and craves. Too often, people try to train but use cheap and bland treats that the dog gets bored with. Or they use a treat that is too big, so the dog has to spend time chewing it up before returning to the training regimen. Any treatment used should be minor (the size of a pellet or less) and be made of an ingredient that the dog values. Labradors love to eat and are food-centered canines, so food treats are value targets.
One of the reasons for varying the type of rewards is that Labradors are large, active dogs that are also easily distracted. Professional trainers use high-value treats (think small pieces of chicken, meat, or moist morsels of intense treats, like Beggin Strips that instantly gain a dog’s attention). You should use these kinds of intense treats when
- Introducing a new behavior
- During socialization behavior training
- In settings where the puppy might be easily distracted, like obedience classes
It is not necessary to use the same treat for every reward. It is better to vary to amount and type of treat so that your dog doesn't get bored with it. For a listing of the best dog treats to use for training, see the review on AKC.org
Remember that Even Bad Behavior is a Teachable Moment
Training is not always a process that gets scheduled like a doctor’s appointment. Many owners think they will train their puppy at a particular hour every day but ignore lousy behavior at other times during the day. While you can schedule periodic training times, a better approach is to be vigilant that teachable nights are often happening around us. Even when a dog is not performing what you want is a moment to reinforce positive behavior and see the episode as a way of reminding your puppy about what is essential.
This consistent approach is particularly true during toilet training. While it might be tempting to just clean up your dog’s mess without bringing it to their attention, spend the extra time it takes to involve your dog.
Use Crate Training to Ensure Compliance
Many professional trainers use a crate to help with their training process. A crate can help fashion a safe place for your puppy, which helps provide a place of security and safety. The separation that a cage provides can also reinforce that destructive behaviors result in time-out periods, where they cannot be in the presence of their owners.
Many dogs do not like the crate the first few times they are exposed to it. Because Labradors are socially oriented, it is not unusual for them to bark, cry or whimper when they realize they are locked in. Many owners refuse to be patient and let the dog out of the cage, which simply teaches your puppy that if they whine enough, the owner will cave in and let them out. While the dog may have issues adjusting the first few times, they will learn that a cage is a safe place if you are consistent. For a review of crates, see the recommendations listed by worldofdogz.com
Start With Simple Tasks and Build on Them
You want to set your labrador up to gain confidence in their abilities. This principle means that you should approach training the way a preschool teacher might approach the beginning of a new day. Chances are the teacher will reinforce what has been learned by issuing simple tasks, incorporating a new concept, and finishing with an easy task after a bit. The ability to start a training session with a simple, mastered behavior will get the training off on the right foot. A confident Labrador is a willing Lab.
Don’t Just Train in One Spot
One of the mistakes that owners make is that they do not reinforce behaviors in new settings. If you do your training in the same place all the time, the dog may learn to associate the inside of your home with that particular command when you want them to learn to obey regardless of the atmosphere or situation.
Reinforce simple commands even in situations that might seem unusual. For example, in social events, your dog needs to learn to associate a command to behavior, not just a place to a behavior.
Remember Good Communication is a Key
Do not associate confusion about command with stubbornness. If your Labrador is not obeying your command, perhaps it is just a matter of knowing exactly what is wanted. A consistent hand motion or command and a festive treat can help clear up the fog about what a dog is supposed to be learning.
Decide early what sounds and motions you will use to trigger these positive behaviors and be consistent in their utilization. If you change the rules in the middle of the game, don’t be surprised if your Labrador refuses to comply.
Utilize Replacement Therapy for Chewing Issues.
One of the tendencies of Labradors is that, like many puppies, they are chewers. One of the first tasks any owner will face is to help identify appropriate things to chew on. (The legs of your couch are probably not appropriate. Replacement therapy simply removes the Lab's attention from something that should not be chewed with a toy or play item that can be gnawed). For a listing of toys that are best for dogs prone to chewing, see rover.com
Your Labrador is a natural-born fetch and retriever and a large dog that needs an hour or two of exercise daily. Use items that the dog loves to fetch and retrieve as a means of distracting your dog away from the things that are harmful or unacceptable temptations onto things that are appropriate.
Train Multiple Lab Puppies Separately
If you are a labrador owner with multiple puppies, training them can be more difficult. Many owners attempt to train both labs together, which is rarely successful. Either the puppies will attempt to outdo each other for their owner's attention or become distracted by the presence of the other canine. While Labradors are social animals and need to be exposed to social situations where they will obey even when other dogs are present, training multiple dogs at the same time only compounds the difficulty.
About THE AUTHOR
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