Labrador Retrievers – Pet tip 162
The Labrador retriever is currently the most popular dog in Canada and the United States and it is easy to see why this is the case. Labs are generally gentle, friendly dogs that are great with kids. They tolerate all kinds of pulling and poking and hitting that other breeds would not tolerate. They are very social and also tend to get along with other dogs or pets. Labs are also very intelligent and rank consistently in the top 10 when it comes to lists citing the most intelligent dog breeds. This makes them fairly easy to train but more on training shortly.
The fact that they are such good family dogs have caused many families to simply get a Lab without doing any additional research and this of course is a mistake. The first thing that many people don’t know about Labs is that they have BOUNDLESS energy at least until they are 4-5 years in age when they start to mellow out. This boundless energy means that they need lots of exercise. They need at least a full hour in the morning and a full hour of active walking/running in the evening to help burn off their excess energy. When they are not given this chance to burn off energy they will often become hyperactive and engage in destructive behaviours such as chewing everything in sight. They need mental stimulation as well so good toys and having activities during the day will help alleviate potential behaviour problems. Therefore, if you are the type of person or family that does not have time to exercise and play with your Labrador Retriever, then this breed is not well suited to your lifestyle.
Due to the fact that it is an active breed in the sporting category according to the CKC and AKC that was originally bred to retrieve fish and water fowl, (which is why many labs love to carry things in their mouths) Labs definitely need obedience training. They can easily get distracted by birds and other things that fly and blindly dart after them. Through group obedience training, a Lab should learn that its owner is the boss at all times and the owner can spot potentially dangerous circumstances and control the dog (through a sit/stay or other command) that will keep it out of danger.
Even though labs are hardy dogs they do still have potential health problems which include hip and elbow dysplasia, diabetes, and obesity. As always, by researching a breed before you actually get one, you can avoid many surprises down the road and be happy with your choice.