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How do you teach a Labrador respect?

My friend has a two-year-old chocolate Labrador which is involved in agility sessions. However, at the end of the sessions he will not return to his owner, steals food and runs off with dead rabbits. The agility trainer said that the dog does not respect or listen to its owner and might just as well be put down. Can you help?

A: Agility is, unfortunately, one of those sports where dogs are allowed, in fact encouraged, to become very excited.

Though they enjoy jumping and the freedom associated with it, this does nothing to improve obedience and discipline.

This dog has learned that four legs are quicker than two and has no respect for its owner. Basic obedience should always be taught thoroughly before putting dogs in exciting off-lead situations, whether in the agility ring or in the shooting field.

Continuing to allow this dog the freedom to disobey the recall will only make matters worse and its management must be changed to avoid any situation in which it can get away.

Common sense must prevail and the dog removed from any environment where temptation might exist until it has been taught that a recall back to the handler is the only way to gain a reward.