Labrador Retrievers can be a loyal companion for life, but before you add a pet Lab to your home, you should learn about their personalities and needs. This way you will be able to decide whether one will fit in well with your lifestyle, and if you can give it the attention and care that it will need to be happy and healthy.
Labradors are a large breed dog. They require a moderate to large amount of space in which to live. It would also be advisable to have an outdoor area where they can exercise. Labrador Retrievers were bred as water retriever dogs so try to find some water for them to play in. If you are an active person a pet Labrador will be the perfect fit for the two of you.
Pet Labs can be successful apartment dwellers if they are taken out to a park or other natural area on a regular basis. The success of this depends on how large the apartment is. A studio or one bedroom apartment is not the best place for a dog of this size. Unless you have a fenced yard you should probably think real hard before you choose a Labrador Retriever as your pet.
Labs are intelligent dogs with a moderate to high energy level. They are also very social. This means that they need regular mental and physical exercise. Daily walks are an effective way to exercise your pet Lab although letting them run is better. Training your dog is also important. This can be done with a professional trainer, or on your own with the help of an obedience book, video or just some good, common sense.
If your pet Labrador Retriever does not receive enough interaction from you, he will rely on his own curiosity and environment to entertain himself. If they are an inside dog this may mean a few chewed up shoes or spots on the carpet. Even worse, frustrated or neglected dogs can cause major property damage. They can also become sick or injured by ingesting and playing with inappropriate or unsafe items.
Like all dogs, your pet Lab will require regular feeding and plenty of fresh water. Your adult pet will need to eat two or three times a day while a puppy may need feeding 3 or 4 times. Training them to eat at the same time you do, if its on a regular schedule, will be good for your pet. After a certain length of time take away whatever food they haven’t eaten to train them to eat on a regular schedule, what they need to be happy and healthy. If you can manage you should make your pet Lab’s food at home to insure they are getting the best food available. If you do buy it make sure it is of top quality with out fillers and artificial ingredients.
Make sure your pet Labrador has frequent opportunities to relieve themselves if they are kept inside. Adult dogs may only need to go out twice a day; however puppies may need to go out as often as every hour or two, especially during housebreaking. Paper training and crate training are options if you will be out of the home for significant periods throughout the day. Be aware, however, that overuse of a crate, or frequent neglect can lead to serious behavior problems.
Labs are short haired dogs, so they do not require much grooming. Regular brushing and occasional bathing usually suffice. Your pet Labrador will like to get wet, so if you have a lake or some other body of water where you can take them to swim you will have a very happy pet. Keep you pet’s nails trimmed by learning to do this correctly at home or your will need to take them to the vet or an animal groomer.
Large breed dogs such as a Labrador Retriever tend to cost more over their lifetimes than smaller dogs. They require more food and veterinarian fees are often based, in part, on a pet’s weight. Large breed dogs, especially purebreds, tend to have shorter life spans than smaller dogs. Proper food, exercise and vet care will increase their chances of a longer, healthier life.
A Labrador Retriever is more than just a pet. With proper care it will be your best friend as well as your protector and helper. Make sure you consider how much care and attention you can give your new pet before committing to getting one. The more time you can devote to training your pet Lab the more you will enjoy it in the days to come. They are smart animals and will enjoy as much interaction as you can give them. Do this and you will have a great companion for life.