The ownership of a Labrador Retriever can be a wonderful addition to your family. Yet like any other ‘new addition,’ either human or animal, a Lab brings with it a whole host of duties and responsibilities.
As is the case with any pet, you as a dog owner will be responsible for the feeding, grooming and exercise of your Labrador
Before you purchase or adopt your Labrador Retriever, research the type of dog food that would be ideal for your lab (and have plenty of it on hand, as these dogs are strong, sturdy and typically quite large). I strongly suggest opting for a higher quality dog food. You will see the benefits in your Lab’s healthy coat (it will shine), your dog’s eyes will be clearer and will minimize health problems later on in your Labrador’s life.
The Labrador has a double coat, so sheds all year round. Brushing and occasionally bathing your Labrador will help, but not completely alleviate the shedding. Keep a broom and a lint and hair remover for your clothing handy. It’s a little extra work, but it is a small price to pay for the love and dedication these dogs provide.
Labrador Retrievers are known as active and athletic dogs that need daily exercise whether it be a long walk, or playing fetch in the back yard. They are also smart dogs, so mental stimulation, i.e having them search for hidden treats, or just learning basic commands will help keep them busy. Their main goal is to please you, and most destructive behavior arrises out of boredom.
As with any dog, a Labrador Retriever puppy will need the greatest level of care and attention. You as the owner will be responsible for the dog’s behavioral conditioning, teaching the Lab not to bite, bark excessively or chase people or other animals. Labs are generally good-natured animals, so this shouldn’t be too difficult. And, of course, potty training will be a major issue.
In navigating your way through these first, precious weeks in the life of your Labrador Retriever, it may help to seek the assistance of an animal behavioral book or expert. You and your puppy may even want to head to the classroom, investing in a few weeks of obedience training at a certified school in your area.
It may also be a good idea to involve your entire family in this process, ensuring that all members assume a role in the care of your Lab. This will be a learning experience for all of you, as you learn how to make your Labrador Retriever a helpful, beloved and valuable member of your family.
For more information about how to care for your Labrador Retriever, visit the Labrador lover’s community at http://www.clublabrador.com