You may have heard that the Labrador Retriever makes a brilliant companion dog, and a wonderful pet.
And in many respects the pet Labrador is the ideal family dog.
A FAMILY PET
There are characteristics that make many Labradors well suited for life as a pet. They are usually very ‘sweet natured’ dogs, keen to please and easily trained. Once adult, they tend to be fairly placid, easy going dogs.
Labrador coats are short and easy to manage. They are robust animals, big enough to cope with the rough and tumble of family life.
Labradors love to swim, and run in the countryside, and usually enjoy meeting other people and dogs
A LARGE AND BOISEROUS DOG
A young Labrador may not be a suitable first time dog for families that does not have the time and patients to train a new puppy and spend enough time to exercise their new pet.
Labradors that are left alone for long periods of time, especially when young, will be unhappy and may develop behavioural problems as a result.
TRAINING AND EXERCISE
Labrador training is an essential part of brining a pet lab into your home. Both in order that a dog of this size can be controlled, and to ensure that he remains physically and mentally healthy.
Training our dog is a lot of fun, but will require a commitment of ten to fifteen minutes once or twice a day, every day for several months. You can’t save training up for the weekends or holidays, as your dog will not retain what you have taught him if there are long gaps between training sessions.
Once adult, your lab will also need a good hour or so a day of brisk physical exercise this can include ball games in the garden.
HAIR AND SHARP TEETH!
In addition to its ‘bounciness’ the Labrador also moults heavily in spring and autumn.
Young Labradors can be quite destructive with their teeth. A six month old lab left to his own devices for a couple of hours may make short work of your chair legs and anything else he can get his jaws around.
The answer to this problem is easily sorted by ‘crating’ your dog whilst you are not at home to watch him. But this mean giving up quite a bit of space probably in your kitchen as a Labrador needs a large sized crate.
FIRST TIME OWNERS
Whilst the nature of the young Labrador is easily managed by the experienced dog owner through proper training and discipline the ability to manage and active young dog in this way is a ‘learning’ curve and there will be mistakes and challenges along the way.
FINDING THE RIGHT PET LABRADOR
The single most important attribute of the pet Labrador is temperament . The adult Labrador is a big dog, and alone which almost all members of the public, including parents of small children will assume it is safe to stroke and pet. It is vital that the pet Labrador has a great temperament with no trace of aggression.
The second most important attribute is good health. Most bred Labradors live ten or more years in good health. But health problems can and do occur even in this robust and structurally sound breed of dog.
Is it their kindness?
When you are at your lowest ebb, and feel the brush of soft whiskers on your hand and heavy press of a broad head on your lap, you know that your Labrador really cares
Recent studies have confirmed what Labrador owners have known for years, dogs understand when we are sad AND THEY CARE
Is it because they are so willing?
Whether your Labrador is as bright as a button or a bit of a dozy chocolate drop, you know he really want to please you.
Is it because they are ‘clowns”
Labradors aren’t afraid to look foolish or to ‘play the fool’ Your faithful friend will not mind one bit if you laugh at him. He will probably just try harder to make you smile.
Is it because he loves the world and everything in it?
Labradors are rarely shy. They are not interested in hiding behind your legs. They want to be part of the action. Whatever is happening today they are up for it!
Is it because they sometimes forget?
Young Labradors often forget what they are supposed to do. Training takes time and they need our help in remembering what we taught them yesterday.
But it is part of their doggy nature and we love them for it. A little patience when your lab is young and his memory will improve.
Is it because they always look on the bright side?
Labradors love to have fun. They are masters at enjoying themselves. It doesn’t have to be sunny, and you don’t have to give him very much, he’ll have a great day everyday just because he is a Labrador.
Is it because they forgive us all our faults?
How bad it can make us feel to be forgiven so readily. If you snap at your Labrador when you are tired he will forgive you in a heartbeat. He never bears a grudge and he never will.
8. Grubbiness Is it because they make such a mess?
Well maybe we don’t always like this bit, but it is part of what Labradors are. They are simply never happier than when they are wet and muddy and we can’t help but love them for it. We’d rather have a grubby lab than a smart little lap dog any day.
9. Contribution Is it because we owe them so much?
How can we not admire a breed of dog that has contributed so much to human lives from their work in the military danger zones to their massive contribution to our disabled community, Labradors contribute worldwide protecting us from explosives, drugs, disease and many other sources of danger.
A Labrador is the ultimate friend. He doesn’t care what you look like, he isn’t interested in how clever you are or how many friends you have. You are his everything! HIS WHOLE WORLD UNTIL THE END