Exercise is an extremely important part of caring for a Labrador Retriever. The Labrador breed is widely known for being very active and athletic. However, because their temperament causes them to be very affectionate, Labrador Retrievers are also very prone to being affected by obesity. They love interacting with humans, and will show a special enthusiasm for anything involving food. This is one of the reasons that it’s so important to practice a regular exercise routine with your dog.
The key to keeping your Labrador Retriever fit is to form an exercise routine with gradually increasing endurance. You can begin with daily walks, anywhere between 10-20 minutes in length. Outdoor walks are also an extremely good way to begin socializing your dog, since they will be exposed to outdoor stimuli. Be sure to gradually increase your dog’s exposure to other dogs and people, as this will make daily walks a much more pleasant experience for both of you. It’s also a good idea to begin leash training at this time, since it is usually required to have your dog on a leash in many communities. You can keep your dog’s constant attention by frequently giving them small treats, such as pea-sized cubes of cheese or beef jerky.
RECOMMENDED DAILY EXERCISE
Once your Labrador Retriever is well behaved on the leash, and you have developed a safe route for walking your dog, you can increase the intensity of your exercise routine. This can be very beneficial for pet owners as well! Depending on your dog’s fitness level, you may be able to jog for about 20-30 minutes on a daily basis. It’s recommended to exercise your dog at least 20 minutes on a daily basis, or 40-60 minutes every other day. This is especially important when you have a dog that is required to remain primarily indoors, as they will have a greater need for constant exercise.
EXERCISE FOR OBESE LABRADOR RETRIEVERS
If your Labrador is suffering from obesity, or is experiencing problems in the joints, a modified approach to an exercise routine is strongly recommended. Dogs that have weak joints, or dogs that are obese, are more prone to damage by a high-impact exercise such as running. For these dogs, it’s encouraged to engage your dog in water-based exercises, which are available at some veterinary care centers. Swimming is a high-metabolic exercise that has a low negative impact on your dog’s joints, and may be a good way to get your dog into shape.
Though not specifically related to exercise, a very important part of caring for an obese dog involves a significant change in diet. If your dog is being fed a low-quality, high-carbohydrate dog food, this may be one of the main reasons that your dog is overweight. Try switching to a premium-grade dog food, or a grain-free formula. This will help keep your dog’s insulin levels low, and will significantly help your dog to reach a healthy weight.