Being an active, energetic breed, Labrador Retrievers have a constant need for any type of interaction. This need can be satisfied by human interaction, though can occasionally be provided by using the proper tools to keep your Labrador Retriever busy. However, toys are not a replacement for real interactive playtime, and you should try to spend some quality time with your Labrador Retriever at least three times per day.
This is the most basic type of toy that you can use to keep your Labrador Retriever busy. Labrador Retrievers have an oral fixation, which means that they have a constant need to chew or carry objects in their mouth. You can keep your Labrador busy by providing many chew toys to occupy their attention. Labradors love to chew on anything from shoes to furniture, and providing acceptable chew toys can reduce the damage to your house and personal possessions. This will also help to discourage destructive chewing, which can be a result of separation anxiety. Providing chew toys as an acceptable chewing object will help reinforce the difference between toys and household items.
Most pet supply stores stock a variety of edible chew toys that will take your dog a significant amount of time to consume. This can include rawhide bones, cow hooves, pig ears, or hollow bones filled with meat-flavored paste. Any toy that is food-based will be able to occupy your Labrador Retriever’s attention for a significant amount of time. These are also good toys to give your Labrador Retriever if you are going to be gone for a significant amount of time, as it will make your Labrador much less likely to engage in destructive behavior. Instances of separation anxiety in your Labrador can be reduced if you provide lots of interesting treats to occupy your dog’s attention in your absence.
Labrador Retrievers are intelligent dogs, and require constant intellectual stimulation. You can help your Labrador stay interested in a toy if you constantly provide toys of different textures, materials, and flavors. Toys that make noise, or toys with flashing lights are also good interactive toys for you Labrador Retriever to play with. There are even some puzzle toys, such as a treat contained inside a rubber chew toy, that will help your dog to utilize problem solving in obtaining the treat. These types of toys are essential for your dog’s intellectual development, and will help provide a fun learning experience for your Labrador Retriever.
To keep your Labrador Retriever busy, you will need to have a constant variety of toys available. To keep your Labrador’s interest, try rotating in a few new toys for your Labrador to play with about once per week. If you wish, you can provide new toys more frequently, though this can get fairly expensive. Try to have at least one toy of each type (treat toy, interactive toy, chew toy, etc) available to your dog at all times.