Thursday, February 27, 2014
This is Sharda again for another Labrador Retriever newsletter.
Is a Labrador right for you?
The Labrador is a very active and highly intelligent dog, that does need to have space to get out, exercise and explore.
They are naturally very curious and love to be into everything that the family is doing, even if it is not particularly relevant to a dog.
The breed is really a people dog, needing to be with humans more than it is on its own, although they can adjust to being left alone during the day while the family is away at school or work.
Before considering a Lab, as with any breed, there are some special considerations you should make. These considerations relate to the various attributes and needs of the breed, and will help you understand if a Lab is a good match for you and your family.
The Lab is a hunting dog and, as such, needs a considerable amount of exercise.
These dogs can self-exercise to a fair extent if they have a large, fenced yard, but they are often rather more inclined to find a comfortable spot to sleep while they are outdoors. The Lab that is kept in a small sized yard or in a house will absolutely require a couple of long walks per day, ideally with a place to run and play off the lead.
Since they are a very friendly dog when well socialized, they do well in a dog park or off leash area. Labs that do not get enough exercise tend to have problems with excessive weight gain and obesity as they mature.
Labradors will be more difficult to train when young dogs than when slightly more mature, as they tend to be rather rambunctious and hyperactive without enough physical exercise.
Labs will exercise themselves in a yard if they have a companion dog, or have a family member that will come out and romp and play with them. They are excellent retrievers and love to play fetch for as long as their owner will keep up the game.
Labs need space to stretch out and to move, as well as to investigate their surroundings. They do not do well in small, confined spaces such as dog runs or kennels unless for very short periods of time.
A Lab that is placed in a confined space during the day will often spend his or her time figuring out how to climb, dig or chew his or her way out. They can also start barking or chewing other items as a way to show their boredom and anxiety about being caged in too small a space.
Labs can do well in a house once they are trained, and are usually very calm and sedate as long as they have the proper amount of exercise.
HIGH ATTENTION NEEDS
Labs are very people oriented dogs, and potential owners should understand that this breed needs to be actively involved with the family.
They love to be the centre of attention, and can be almost clownish in their attempts to get owners to play with them or to spend some time petting and interacting with the dog. This behaviour doesn’t usually change too dramatically even as the dog matures.
They will naturally come over and place their head on your knee, gazing longingly at you until you stop what you are doing and go for a walk or throw the ball. If you cannot commit to spending time with your dog, a Lab is definitely not the right breed for you and your family.
Besides just needing attention, the Lab loves to be engaged and involved in the day to day events in the family. They will want to spend time in the house, in the room, and even in the car with you.
This is an excellent breed to travel with although they are large. They will eagerly learn how to travel and also enjoy getting into boats and watercraft. Since they have no fear of the water and love swimming, hiking and being outdoors, these make excellent dogs for active families that love camping and being outside.
The Labrador is a training intensive breed when it is young, but once trained they are very well behaved and love to work. They can be good watch dogs, and will bark when strangers approach, but they are usually not good guard dogs as they are simply too friendly.
Most Labs that are well socialized as puppies are accepting of new dogs and people, but occasionally males can be somewhat dog-aggressive and very protective of their home and territory.
A Labrador is a wonderful all round breed of dog, but they do have special requirements and a commitment from the owner. Deciding if you can fulfill the requirements for the breed is the first step in being a responsible dog owner, and ensuring the best possible match between your family and your pet.
I hope you learned a lot from today’s Labrador Retriever newsletter.