Thursday, February 27, 2014
This is Sharda again for another Labrador Retriever newsletter.
Let’s now take a look at the Labrador Retriever special characteristics.
The Labrador Retriever is a balanced, incredibly versatile dog. It has been the #1 AKC registered breed for over fifteen years.
Always eager to please their masters/mistresses, Labs make kind, loyal companions. They fit in well with large families with young children as well as one-on-one companions for older adults.
High-spirited and good-natured, Labs love to play, especially in the water. They are great swimmers and love to play “fetch”.
Labs are affectionate and patient, with other dogs and children alike. Always devoted and very obedient, Labs are neither aggressive nor shy and they make great watch dogs.
Labs also have no trouble getting along well with dogs and other pets.
With proper diet, nutrition and regular health care, most Labs can be healthy and live for about 12 to 13 years. Their short, dense, water resistant coat is very easy to maintain. Regular brushing and occasional bathing is all that is needed.
Labs enjoy long walks with their master, as they need and want a great deal of exercise. Labs are content to play outside all day, but will also nap in the shade, or snuggle up indoors with their owner at the end of the day.
The Labrador breed was originally developed for hunting. They will brave any type of terrain, weather condition or danger in faithful service to their master. Labs possess the ideal body for working on land or in water.
Their coat sheds burrs easily, and its “otter tail” makes an effective rudder for moving through the water. A number of United States organizations have developed a wide variety of training and testing methods for Labrador Retrievers.
Because of their high intelligence and the fact that they are easily trained, Labrador Retrievers are able to perform a variety of complex tasks in a number of settings. Approximately sixty to seventy percent of guide dogs for the blind are Labs. These dogs are adaptable, confident, calm and hard working.
“Signal dogs” alert their hearing impaired owners to specific sounds which inform and protect the hearing impaired. Labradors can also assist those with mobility limitations or health conditions by opening and closing doors, turning lights on and off, retrieving objects, and even pulling wheelchairs.
Therapy dogs possess advanced obedience skills, and pass behaviour tests and are specially trained to help in the treatment of a number of disorders, such as autism. It is becoming more and more common for children’s hospitals and nursing homes to have a therapy Lab on site to work with residents.
The Labrador, “Endal”, exhibited the initiative and self-direction typical of Labs in an emergency situation. In 2001, he placed an unconscious human in the recovery position (a first-aid technique to aid people who are unconscious but still breathing) without prior training.
This is considered to be the first instance of a dog performing this task without training. He fetched a blanket, and barked for assistance from neighbours. Loyal and intelligent, the Lab can aid or even save their owners from danger.
Labrador Retrievers have a rich history of service jobs. They can be trained to detect illegal food and plants, narcotics, explosives, toxic waste, oil or gas leaks, arson agents and many other harmful substances. The high energy and perseverance of Labs serves them well as service animals.
Because the original Labs were bred as retrievers, they make excellent search and rescue “SAR” dogs today. Labs can detect human scents from long distances. They can cover a much larger area in a shorter amount of time than a human ground crew, or even a “tracking” dog who has to follow a human guide.
Show Labs must be well groomed and at optimum health. They must move well, and be overall fine examples of their breed. In competition, they must be able to deal with crowded conditions and be comfortable with being handled by strangers.
Because of their desire to please, Labs do well in Obedience Trials. Labs excel at the “Long Jump” competition where they jump off of a dock into water. Winning jumps in this competition are over 22 feet, truly a remarkable distance.
With such versatility and balanced temperament, it is easy to see why Labrador Retrievers continue to top out on the list of popular canine pets.
I hope you learned a lot from today’s Labrador Retriever newsletter.
Wishing you great success with your Labrador.