Dog for a lifetime!
I remember visiting my grandparents when I was a toddler. They got a Labrador Retriever after my father went away for higher studies. What a darling dog it was!
So, you have set your eyes on a Labrador Retriever, and now you are wondering, ‘what is it like to own one?’. Let me tell you one thing; when you have this breed around you, no one is going to feel alone or unloved. They are very intelligent creatures who go to ends just to please their owners.
What is it like to own a Labrador Retriever?
Here is a list of some of the most common traits found in Labrador Retrievers:
- Labradors are packed with loads of energy. You will find them jumping around with joy whenever you are around.
- They are the athletes of their species. Labs are extremely fit, healthy, and love to indulge in high-intensity physical activities.
- Labradors are intelligent and require activities that not only help them burn out their energy but also something that stimulates them on a mental level.
- They love to please their humans. Nothing else matters to them except food.
- Labrador Retrievers LOVE their food. Hence, a healthy and balanced diet is necessary to keep them fit.
- They are excellent swimmers and love to take a dip once in a while.
- Even though they are not on the extremely furry side but, Labs shed a lot. So, purchase a lint roller too!
Easy to share a life with!
Labradors Retrievers are a great breed to own if you are someone with a busy and fast-paced life. Even though this breed is not too fond of being left alone, but, they adjust to life with ease. As mentioned above, Labs are a smart breed; and hence, it is very easy to train them. They are eager to learn and perform well because they love to please their owners. I recommend starting training them to be obedient right off the bat. This way, you will prevent them from acting out. Moreover, you will be able to develop a healthy relationship that consists of love and obedience to them. They are relatively easy to deal with and share a life with if you learn how to tackle their random bursts of excitement.
The Active Lifestyle!
It can’t be stressed enough how active Labrador Retrievers are. They love to swim, fetch, run, and solve puzzles. A life with this dog breed is full of fun outdoor activities. If you were looking for an active family pet, then a Labrador Retriever is the perfect pick for you. You will never have to convince or bribe your Lab to workout. Chances are, that when they learn their relationship with their leash, they will be the ones bringing you the leash so they could go outside for a walk.
A labrador needs at least 30 minutes of exercise on a daily basis. An unexercised Lab can become unruly and disobedient. Moreover, you can expect your unexercised Labrador to make a play area out of your house with chewed sofas, tipped over pots of plants, wasted toilet paper, and much more.
Training your Labrador Retriever.
Here are a few pointers that you might want to note down.
- Start with leash training: Your Lab needs to learn and respect the leash. Let’s not pretend that you will be able to control your highly energetic and fairly large Labrador with your strength via a leash. You can expect it to pull away and run in the direction of whatever made him this excited. Always keep in mind that Labradors are a highly energetic and somewhat hyperactive breed.
- Positive Reinforcement Training: Labradors are a breed that learns quick and well with positive reinforcement training. Initially, you will have to give them treats every time they do something good, like obeying your command, responding to their name, or peeing in the toilet. As time passes, your Lab will learn through positive reinforcement without you having to prompt it. However, you can also reward your pet with a loving pat on its head, a snuggle, or with an excited “good boy!”.
- Short and Consistent: Labradors are known to have very short attention spans. They might find children playing with a ball and run after them. Hence, you should keep your training sessions short but consistent. Ten minutes of training every day will do the trick for you and will transform your rowdy Lab into a responsible pawizen of the society. Citizen, pawizen. Get it?
Health Vulnerabilities of a Labrador.
Labrador Retrievers are, in general, healthy dogs. However, they are commonly vulnerable to some health conditions. Hip dysplasia is one of those conditions which is quite common in dog breeds that grow up to be fairly large. It is a genetic condition that transforms into arthritis over time and can cause pain and lameness of their hip joints.
Another health condition that is quite common among this dog breed is ear infections. It is caused because of their long and flappy ears, as air and moisture easily trap in them.
The Shed Life.
Labrador Retrievers tend to shed a lot despite having short and smooth hair. However, with the help of good grooming, the shedding situation can be taken under control. Moreover, even though they shed throughout the year but, you will notice a lot more fur around the spring and fall season. These are the times when Labradors undergo a serious shedding phase to get rid of their old and damaged hair.
Feeding them a diet containing omega fatty acids will improve their shedding condition. Moreover, excess shedding is also caused by mites, stress, and skin allergy; hence, keep an eye for excessive scratching, dry, and flaky skin.
Maintaining a balanced diet.
This breed of dog is very fond of food. They will chew anything and everything when they are hungry. You really can’t blame them for being hungry all the time as they are active dogs who spend their days running around. You need to keep an eye over their diet; otherwise, your Lab may be subjected to various health problems.
Moreover, Labs are not good at self-regulation so, you will often find them overeating or stealing food from the other dogs. Hence, you will not only have to discipline their food intake but also take them on walks so they can burn the extra calories.
Labradors are, in general, not known for escaping but, they do have a little bit of Harry Houdini in them. This breed of dog is very smart and can learn to unlock door, windows, and other locks by seeing other humans do it. The key is to lock all doors when leaving your Lab at home, apart from the washroom door, if that is where your pet goes to empty its bladder.
Other Related Questions:
Here are some FAQs related to this topic.
- What gender of Labrador Retriever should I get? Male Labrador Retrievers are generally easier to take care of. This is because female Labs are prone to get heat cycles twice in a year due to which they shed excessively and behave in a very unpredictable manner. Moreover, getting a male Lab neutered is cheaper than getting a female Lab spayed.
- What to do when my Labrador falls prey to hip dysplasia? Take your Lab to the vet as soon as you can. The vet will prescribe oral medicines that you should give your Lab religiously. Moreover, you also have the option to put your Lab under surgery.
- How to prevent ear infections in Labrador Retrievers? Clean your Lab’s ears with a dog ear wash with the help of a cotton ball. This should be done frequently. Make sure that you are gentle. Moreover, if you see discharge or foul odor, then you should take your Labrador to the vet for a check-up.
- Is there any way to control the shedding? Take your Lab to get groomed without delay. Moreover, the easiest thing you can do is brush the dog of your Labrador twice a week, especially during the spring and falls seasons when they shed excessively.
In conclusion, I can say with conviction that life with a Labrador Retriever is full of joy. You can expect to live an active lifestyle that consists of early morning walks, playing fetch, being mindful of their diet, and toned arms due to brushing your Lab’s coat.