Being good-natured, friendly and affectionate, the Labrador is a relatively large-sized breed and has a reputation of being an excellent family pet. Patient with children and trusting with strangers too (yes, maybe not the perfect guard dog), they are very loyal and love being around the family.
They are eager to please and responsive to training. Lead with firm guidance as their fun-loving nature and lack of fear may need lead to boisterousness behaviour. Leash training in their early years is recommended.
They are curious, exploratory nature makes them follow people, scents or anything that has novelty value and can often lead to them ‘vanishing’ or getting separated from their owners. Having your Labrador ‘microchipped’ and your name and address also on their collars and tags is a good idea.
They are instinctively good at holding objects and do so with great gentleness (need help with that egg basket?). Chewing objects is another favourite wat to pass time so keep away that pricey leather jacket.
Labradors have a large appetite and love to eat. They are persuasive in requesting food and when they start to eat food disappears, fast! Eating too fast can cause bloating which can be bad for their health. Some Labradors are even indiscriminate, eating non-food objects too (one orange smelly sock for dinner, please).
Labradors are strong and athletic and are delighted when made to work and play hard. A daily, brisk long walk or jog and they will more amiable than your girlfriend after a shopping spree. They love the water and are indefatigable swimmers. Invest in a large bag of balls and a Frisbee as they never tire of retrieving objects. They gain weight easily so adequate exercise is necessary.
Labradors have a smooth, short-haired coat, usually solid black, yellow or chocolate, which is easy to groom. This breed is an average shedder. A regular combing and brushing with a firm, bristle brush is sufficient. Bathe or dry shampoo when necessary or when smelly.
Taking care of a Labrador Retriever at home
Much of what you can do to keep your Labrador Retriever healthy and happy is common sense (phew!) – watch the diet, lots of exercise, regular grooming and visiting the vet in case of unusual behaviour or symptoms. Also, do stick to the schedule of recommended examinations and vaccinations.
Another important step is to sign up for pet health insurance that will help you cover costs of medical tests and procedures that maybe needed during his life.
Routine care, diet and exercise
Build the routine care into your schedule so that your Labrador Retriever enjoys a long, healthy and happy life (wag, wag, wag). The importance of a proper diet and a regular exercise routine cannot be overemphasised.
- Brush coat weekly.
- Brush teeth at least thrice a week.
- Keep the diet consistent and do not give her human food.
- Feed a high-quality, age-appropriate diet.
- Exercise your dog regularly but do not overdo it.
Spaying or Neutering
One of the best things you could for your Labrador Retriever is to have’ him’ neutered or ‘her’ spayed. Which basically means surgically removing the testicles in males, and the uterus and ovaries in females. Doing so, decreases the likelihood of certain cancers and eliminates the possibility of your pet becoming pregnant or fathering unwanted puppies. It is also a good time for the surgeon to evaluate and possible address some of the diseases that your dog may develop.